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New Zealand's South Island Restaurants

Amisfield Winery Bistro
10 Lake Hayes Road
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 442 0556

The closest winery to Queenstown (it's about a 15-minute drive north), Amisfield is known for its pinot, riesling, and sauvignon blanc varietals. Tour the property—which overlooks beautiful Lake Hayes and Coronet Peak—then spend an hour in the tasting room before repairing to the adjacent bistro for an early dinner. The menu served in the rustic stone dining room focuses on simple, delicious tapas-style dishes: fried whitebait with sourdough bread and organic butter; rabbit-and-prune rillette; artichoke-and–broad bean risotto; and duck breast with grilled pears. In summer, grab a table in the Tuscan-style courtyard, order a couple of bottles, and share it all with friends.

Closed Mondays. Open for lunch and early dinner (last seating at 7 p.m.).

The Bunker
Cow Lane
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 441 8030

The best place to eat in Queenstown is also one of the hardest to find: This tiny, six-table establishment is hidden, speakeasy-style, down a side lane off Camp Street, and has no signage. But ask your concierge for directions (and book a table in advance—it's necessary), and you'll find this place well worth the trouble. The cozy dining room, with its wood-paneled walls and low lighting, feels like a private club. After starting with an amuse-bouche of venison consommé with foie gras tortellini, move on to appetizers like roasted loin of hare with apple risotto and quince compote—and then entrées like rack of NZ lamb, caramelized duck breast, or macadamia gnocchi with wild mushrooms. Save room for a dessert cocktail—like a "Toblerone" made with Baileys and Frangelico—and then hit the firelit upstairs bar for after-dinner drinks (it's open till 5 a.m.).

Dinner only.

Herzog Winery & Restaurant
81 Jeffries Road
Blenheim , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 572 8770

Widely considered the best restaurant in New Zealand, Herzog sits among the rolling vineyards of Blenheim, on the northeast coast just south of the Marlborough Sounds. Here, the dining room and the adjoining winery are run by Hans and Therese Herzog, Swiss natives whose family members have been vintners for centuries. Their restaurant, accordingly, has an old-world elegance, with French silver cutlery, fine crystal, and linen-draped tables. (Don't be surprised to see diners here wearing polo shirts or even jeans, though; this is the country, after all). Diners can choose from a three-course degustation menu or a five-course "avant-garde classic" menu. Since this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of meal, go for broke (US$135 per person) and choose the latter. You'll be treated to dishes like creamy chestnut soup with cognac and macerated prosciutto; pan-seared salmon with curried lentils and beurre blanc; and seared lamb loin and belly confit with polenta and gremolata jus. Each course—including a dessert of elderflower granita and mascarpone cannelloni—is paired with a vintage from Herzog's 500-label cellar. If you can't bear to leave after your meal, ask if the winery's lovely, garden-surrounded Rimu Cottage is available for the night.

Dinner only. Closed mid-May through mid-October.

18 Buckingham Street
Arrowtown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 442 0131

No less a tastemaker than Charlie Trotter has raved about the food at Saffron—so prepare to book your table weeks in advance. Occupying an unfussy corrugated-iron building in the historic mining village of Arrowtown (about 15 minutes' drive east from Queenstown), the casual dining room is firelit in winter and crowded with a happy mix of skiers, foodie tourists, and local game hunters. All come for the creative, contemporary dishes whipped up by Aussie chefs Peter Gawron and Melanie Hill: starters like green-lipped mussels in a tamarind curry broth; mains like spice-crusted pork tenderloin on Indian vegetable cakes, served with a ginger-yogurt dressing; and desserts like steamed carrot pudding with toffee sauce. After dinner, head next door to Gawron and Hill's live-jazz cocktail bar, the Blue Door.

Closed the first two weeks of June.

Sofitel Hotel
Duke Street
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 450 0045

In summertime, visitors have their choice of places to breakfast in Queenstown, but in winter, the pickings are slim. Vie, on the third floor of the Sofitel, has an airy, minimalist modern dining room that still manages to feel cozy on a cold July morning. Grilled chorizo with potato cakes or banana buttermilk pancakes, along with a "flat white" coffee, are perfect fuel for a long day on the slopes.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.