Like every major city in the world, New Zealand offers excellent cuisine regardless of your tastebuds thanks to its diverse culture and multi-racial community. Incredible food and a good time out are always guaranteed in New Zealand.
Aside from actually traveling around the country, you cannot deny that food is an important part of any holiday, and New Zealand is especially famous for its diverse range of cuisines, excellent locally-made wine and wonderful, fresh seafood.
To put that in perspective, there are over 200 eateries in Queenstown alone! From fine dining, to hole in the wall joints, friendly family-owned restaurants to sumptuous burger joints, New Zealand has you covered.
Of course, if you are a vegan, Muslim, or allergic to gluten, your options are not limited so don’t worry.
How did we come up with this list?
We decided on three factors to come up with a list of great restaurants for tourists.
Price is an important decision maker for many tourists but we are not trying to get the absolute lowest of prices in this list.
Instead, we’re looking to gather restaurants that have awesome value for the price you’re paying. This means it doesn’t matter if the food is cheap or at the other end of the spectrum, the value of what you’ll receive has to justify what you’re paying.
In other words, we chose this list based on whether we think the price is worth it or not.
Speaking about value, quality is something that we absolutely have to look at to determine the value for money.
The easiest thing to gauge is the deliciousness of the food. If it tastes amazing, then no doubt it’d be a good choice for first-time tourists.
We’ll also look at how the food is prepared. A dish can be delicious but if it’s prepared in dirty kitchens or just handled poorly, we won’t recommend that so you don’t fall sick.
Fortunately, restaurants in New Zealand run their kitchen cleanly as strict local regulations force them to be as clean and as less wasteful as possible in preparing food.
We’ll also consider the atmosphere of the restaurant on this list.
Again, a dish can taste out of this world but if the restaurant is dirty and smelly, you wouldn’t like that no matter how great the dish is, correct?
So, a clean and pleasant restaurant atmosphere would sit well with our rankings today.
The best restaurants in New Zealand
The Depot Eatery is a restaurant opened by celebrity chef, Al Brown, in Auckland. This rather new restaurant fashions a simple design with all-white tiles and an industrial design to reduce clutter in the dining area.
From freshly shucked oysters to juicy pork roasts, The Depot Eatery will give you an eating experience like no other at reasonable costs as well.
The cooking at this restaurant is done on charcoal and hardwood, so expect a smoky but addicting flavour to your dishes. If you want to try a variety of dishes rather than one big meal, they recommend you to get small portions of each dish to taste everything the restaurant has to offer.
86 Federal St., Auckland – +64 9 363 7048
The Riverstone Kitchen is perfect for tourists who want to feel at home while eating great food. This rural restaurant furnishes its interior with a rustic theme and a fireplace to keep you warm.
Not only is the food delicious, the staff here are friendly and trained to deliver the best service to you.
The food here is nothing out of the ordinary; it’s not a bad thing, however. You won’t find fancy dishes here but what The Riverstone Kitchen does best is to make simple dishes taste as great as 5-star restaurants.
1431 State Highway 1, Oamaru – +64 3 431 3505
First-time tourists often confuse the name for something risque so don’t be fooled!
The Sugar Club is a fine dining restaurant located 53 floors above the Sky Tower in Auckland. Owned by Peter Gordon, The Sugar Club prides itself in mixing NZ cuisine with international dishes to come up with wonderful fusion dishes.
The Sugar Club experience is made up of small, but incredibly flavourful dishes to treat your palate. The joint also uses 100% local produce to make their dishes, something you don’t see much of today.
Skytower 72 Victoria St W, Auckland – +64 9-363 6365
Owned by Fleur Sullivan and decorated to portray the look of a fishing shack, Fleurs Place is a local favourite thanks to its fresh seafood and selection of tried and tested dishes.
The food critic, Rick Stein, is a big fan of Fleurs Place for this specific reason. Here, seafood is caught fresh every day which means that your dishes are the first place they go to (other than the kitchen, of course!)
Just like The Sugar Club, all of the ingredients here are sourced locally to enhance the flavour of their dishes.
The Old Jetty, Moeraki – +64 3 439 4480;
Looking for something chic?
Coco’s Cantina is a hip venue uptown popular among hipsters and millennials with its posh design and similarly themed food.
The Italian bistro can be loud but the bubbly atmosphere is what makes Coco’s Cantina a hit among tourists who want a first-person view of New Zealand’s community.
When you come here, make sure to get the steak and chips – the bistro’s signature dish. We advise you to come earlier, however; there are no bookings so if you arrive too late, waiting for a couple of hours for a seat is something that you will have to deal with.
376 Karangahape Road, Newton, Auckland – +64 9 300 7582
About the Road Trip
We have a reputation for preparation and detail that goes above and beyond – making excellent recommendations for your itinerary as well as including the best stops to enjoy the scenery and take memorable photos on your next time.
We offer a wide choice of private tour packages and you can select one based on your needs and travel expectations.
We’ll be more than happy to discuss your interests and the length of your stay, before putting together an itinerary that is tailored exclusively for you.
Over here at The Road Trip, we have several tour packages on offer for visitors.
From a 19-day luxury tour that covers both the North and South island to a short 6-day luxury tour for those who don’t have too much time, we have it all.
We are one of the leading tour provider in New Zealand with a host of awards under our name. You can check out our client testimonials over here.
Have a look at our blog to read more articles like this.