Blenheim , South Island
Tel: 64 3 572 8770
Concierge.com's insider take:
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.