What’s on the Menu?
With its distinct seasons and remote alpine location, Queenstown offers a truly unique and diverse food experience.
This seasonal approach - working with, not against, nature’s cycles - is the philosophy that underpins Queenstown’s premium restaurants and cafes. Many forage daily for their produce, which is supplemented by locally sourced vegetables, fruit, fish and meat.
The fresh and diverse daily menus are then adapted to the ingredients that are available, with many items handmade from scratch every day. Intense, sensational flavours are a natural bonus of this sustainable approach.
Central Otago was a rich source of food well before gold was discovered. Although dry, the land is rich in minerals – the result of thousands of years of glaciers and rivers grinding away at ancient rocks.
For centuries, Maori travelled through the region on a seasonal basis, feasting on the region’s seafood, eels, birds and plants. Before its extinction in the late 1600s, moa (a giant Ostrich-like bird) was also a major source of food. Weka were hunted during June and July, when the birds were nice and plump, along with many other native birds. Eels were plentiful too, and sugar was extracted from cabbage trees.
Pioneer settlers planted the great variety of fruit and nut trees found in the region today. They also introduced many birds, animals, vegetables, herbs and grains to provide food for all seasons.
As a result, Queenstown’s signature seasonal dishes include wild venison, goat, pork, rabbit and high country farmed merino lamb.