20 Best Restaurants in The Southern Alps and Fiordland, New Zealand

Bistro Gentil

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Indulge with a modern fine French meal at this trendy bistro with lake and mountain views on the outskirts of Wanaka. The menu changes regularly, but the local Cardrona merino lamb is always there in one form or another, accompanied by heirloom vegetables and herbs from the kitchen garden. Help yourself to more oils and balsamic vinegars via the dispensing machines; you can opt to get your wine on tap as well, allowing you to sample several wines by the taste, half, or full glass. If you want to make a real event of it, opt for the seven-course tasting menu.

76a Golf Course Rd., Wanaka, Otago, 9305, New Zealand
Known For
  • provincial olive oils
  • self-dispensed wine tastings
  • multicourse tasting menus
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon., Reservations essential

Jervois Steak House

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Dine here and find out why New Zealand is so proud of its beef and lamb: you could take it to the next level with the Wagyu beef, but honestly it's hard to beat the standard Jervois fillet, with onion rings on the side and delicious sauces. Steak is the undisputed hero here, but like the great American steak houses on which Jervois models itself, there's fabulous seafood too, and even a quality vegetarian menu. Warm, interesting decor, and welcoming, knowledgeable staff (they'll bring cuts of meat to your table to show what you're getting) ensure this place delivers a memorable night. If you can't do dinner, try lunch.

8 Duke St., Queenstown, Otago, 9300, New Zealand
Known For
  • pricey cuts of beef
  • extremely knowledgeable staff
  • elegant steak-house atmosphere
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

La Rumbla

$$$ Fodor's choice

With the owners either cooking in the kitchen or out front making sure this is the best experience it can be, this is one of those rare places that's got all the elements right: food, service, and atmosphere. It's a tapas restaurant, but with generous servings; the food is a mixture of Spanish and all sorts of interesting savory influences. Make a reservation if you want to be sure of a table; locals love this place.

54 Buckingham St., Arrowtown, Otago, 9302, New Zealand
Known For
  • great cocktails
  • good vegan options
  • reservations usually necessary
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

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Redcliff Café & Bar

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Don't let the modest, homey exterior and laid-back attitude of the staff fool you: this restaurant produces the best meals in Te Anau (it was a favorite hangout spot for the cast and crew of The Lord of the Rings during local filming). The menu is strong on wild game and seafood, and if you stay after dinner, you might get to enjoy live music at the bar. It pays to book in advance.

Discover Milford Information Centre & Cafe


Situated at the main public car park, the Discover Milford Information Centre offers coffee, snacks, and counter food. The view out the front window, across Milford Sound to Mitre Peak and the mountains beyond, is amazing. It's expensive, but there's no real alternative.

79 Milford Sound Hwy., Milford Sound, Southland, 9679, New Zealand
Known For
  • only dining option in Milford Sound
  • high prices for simple food
  • impressive views
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner



A Queenstown institution, the famous Fergburger gets mentioned in media around the world. It began life as a burger bar serving from a hole in the wall and kept growing; now there's a permanent queue stretching outside. If you're not too hungry, but want to know what the fuss is about, just share one—they're big enough for two.

42 Shotover St., Queenstown, Otago, 9300, New Zealand
Known For
  • enormous and legendary burgers
  • late-night dining
  • long lines at lunch

Kai Whakapai


Just across the road from the lake, this is a great place to sit shoulder to shoulder with the locals for breakfast outside on a crisp sunny morning. The cafe's Māori name means "food made good," and the menu ranges from simple breakfast and lunch choices (coffee and croissants, salads, nachos, and kebabs) to beef ribs and rump roast for dinner. In addition to consistently good meals, "The Kai" has local beers on tap and fresh bread; it's a great place to wind down after a big day.

Kohan Japanese Restaurant

$$$ | Village Center

For nearly 30 years, Masato Itoh has run the only Japanese restaurant in town, combining fresh local ingredients with imported spices and seasoning to produce a traditional Japanese menu. The food is a refreshing change from the more traditional offerings in town; any salmon dish is a winner, but the Bento Box is an especially good value.

State Hwy. 8, Lake Tekapo, Canterbury, 7945, New Zealand
Known For
  • great lake views
  • big crowds
  • lots of locals
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Sun.

Patagonia Chocolates

Owned by a local Argentine couple who missed the desserts of their homeland, Patagonia is the best place around to buy ice cream, chocolates, cakes, and other sweets. They have locations in Queenstown and Wanaka, too.

Pier 19 Restaurant


This bright and breezy eatery beside the lake on Steamer Wharf has picture-postcard views. In summer, if you don't mind being on display, sit outside for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner (and they'll make sure you're well looked after, with a hat and/or a blanket). Inside, it's cozy with a lovely atmosphere and friendly waitstaff. The regularly changing menu is fresh with regional tastes such as Pacific tuna nicoise salad, Stewart Island salmon, and Fiordland venison. If you're feeling adventurous, consider the Seafood Platter for two.

Poppies Cafe


Set in an extensive garden, Poppies has for years been a great place to eat, drink, socialize, and bask in the sun. Meat, seafood, pizza, and pasta are complemented by organic produce from the on-site vegetable garden along with fresh-baked bread and pizzas. There's also a good range of craft beer and local wines. 

Provisions of Arrowtown


Set in a historic miner's cottage, Provisions gets its name from the range of gourmet preserves they make. The welcoming atmosphere and lovely garden make it a delightful place to have breakfast or lunch. The blackboard menu is enticing and there are homemade treats in the cabinet.

Relishes Café


You could hit this lakeside spot for every meal of the day, starting with the bacon or salmon eggs Benedict or something house-made and delicious like their cinnamon sticky buns. The café focuses on local, seasonal fare (and caters to all dietary needs), and guests can expect good service and great coffee; check the blackboard at lunch and dinner for ever-changing specials like their pan-roasted Te Mana lamb with crispy potato gnocchi and vegetables, pecorino, and lemon gremolata. The wine list is mainly local NZ, with a good selection sold by the glass. It gets busy here so it's advisable to book for dinner during the holidays.

Sandfly Cafe


This is the perfect place to load up on coffee and a hearty breakfast before hitting the road to Milford Sound or Queenstown. It's a simple menu, but the house-made counter food is well presented and delicious.

9 The Lane, Te Anau, Southland, 9600, New Zealand
Known For
  • best coffee in town
  • friendly and fast service
  • outdoor seating
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner

The Bathhouse


Built to commemorate the coronation of King George V, this early 1900s bathhouse on the beach now turns out breakfast, lunch, fresh scones, tapas, and dinner from its tiny kitchen. Many people find it by accident as they walk to the Queenstown Gardens, but it's worth seeking out deliberately.

The Bunker


A loungey vibe with log fires, leather armchairs, and an impressive wine list make the Bunker a particularly cozy dining location. Dinner is an all-night affair, especially if you continue with drinks in their upstairs bar; there's even a special Taste of the South degustation menu if you really want to indulge.

14 Cow La., Queenstown, Otago, 9300, New Zealand
Known For
  • late-night hotspot
  • excellent wine pairings
  • James Bond-esque vibe
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

The Old Mountaineers Cafe, Bar & Restaurant


This cozy, very personable café–restaurant has big picture windows for grand views of the Alps and all sorts of interesting mountaineering memorabilia and photos to peruse inside. The meals are flavorful, hearty, and wholesome, and they source a lot of organic produce, including organic wines and coffee (if you take it with milk, that's organic, too). There's a big roaring fire to keep you warm in winter. A popular option is their Mountaineers' Breakfast—nitrate-free bacon, free-range eggs, sausages, tomato, mushrooms, hash browns, and ciabatta—served all day. Fresh burgers and pizza are a specialty here, too. They may close early if it's quiet at dinner, so be sure to get there by 7 pm.

Vudu Cafe


You'll be fighting the locals for a breakfast seat at this Queenstown institution, thanks to its lakefront seating and delicious array of counter food. Eggs Benedict with a classic coffee is probably the most common breakfast order in New Zealand, and this is perhaps the best in the area. The rest of the seasonal menu is full of fresh and local produce.

16 Rees St., Queenstown, Otago, 9300, New Zealand
Known For
  • big breakfast crowds
  • coffee to go (and enjoy by the lake)
  • healthy options
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner, Reservations not accepted



This is a long-standing local favorite restaurant and bar, with a winning combination of excellent pizza, pool tables, and beer. At night it becomes a happening spot with DJs and dancing, and it's extremely popular with backpackers. Try and get a table on the balcony overlooking the mall.



In a lovely old cottage in the middle of town, Yonder has outdoor seating in front; a café-style area in the middle; and, finally, a restaurant, bar, and live venue in the rear. The menu is inspired by the countries of origin of the chefs, and it changes to match the seasons and what's fresh.

14 Church St., Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand
Known For
  • eclectic global menu
  • friendly to those with dietary restrictions
  • bright, welcoming atmosphere
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Mon. and Tues.