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Discover Central Otago's Best Kept Culinary Secrets!

May 2023

Discover Central Otago's Best Kept Culinary Secrets!

Jessica Hockley

5 minute read

A top holiday destination, Central Otago was a place of gold in the 1860s. While you can still pan, there is so much more on offer including some incredible restaurants to dine at with First Table while you take in what this stunning region offers. With amazing restaurants in Cromwell, Wanaka and Queenstown on First Table we have rounded up our list for you below to get those tastebuds tingling. 


In one of the most idyllic spots in Cromwell, you’ll find Panners. After spending your day gold panning, grab a bite to eat! Panners boast some of the most jaw-dropping surroundings. Embraced by a dramatic valley and with an eyepopping gorge mere minutes away, Panners has everything a nature-lover could want. Enjoy the impressive scenery with a cold beverage and handmade pizzas, or share options like jalapeno poppers, salt and pepper squid, and pizza bread. 

Arc Restaurant - Wanaka

Designed with an artist's eye, with a love for nature, and exceptional food, Arc breathes positivity and life into everything it does. A native plant garden, a breathable space with earthy tones, Arc accommodates a minimalist approach with dried wild Otago flowers everywhere you look. Made to enjoy an intimate evening, Arc offers a menu of plates for sharing, and to indulge in various dishes for dinner. You will find dishes like braised veal croquetas and NZ free-range pork belly topped with red pepper and rosemary or blue warehou with coriander and lemon mayo. Experts in the beauty of simplicity, Arc's doors are always open.

Urban Grind - Wanaka

Urban Grind has been welcoming diners for casual dining in its contemporary setting catered for over a decade for all seasons of the year. In Winter the fire will be roaring and in Summer the doors will be flung open to reveal the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Brunch eats offer the big brekkie, brioche french toast sticks, or bacon butty’s, and if brunch isn’t what you’re after, try the Japanese pancake with pork belly or the green egg salad brimming with mixed greens and smothered in green goddess dressing or any of their hand rolled pizzas that are light and crispy topped with traditional toppings. - Wanaka 

As the name suggests, this is where people come to b.adventureous, b.neighbourly, and Perfectly chilled and friendly, is all about a relaxed environment so feel free to stroll in wearing your jandals or come straight from the lake. Burgers stand out here with options including crispy fried chicken, southern pulled pork, beef patties, and something for vege lovers too- pumpkin and feta patty in the falafel burger. Enjoy the selection of cruisy and fruity freshly brewed beverages mere metres away, makes it easy to drop in for yarn at any given time. 

Black Rabbit Kitchen & Bar - Bannockburn 

Popular with the locals, easygoing, and top-notch kiwi tucker, Black Rabbit Kitchen and Bar is a much-loved restaurant with a delicious taste of the Central Otago region. Enjoy fresh seafood, hearty salads, mouthwatering meat dishes, and a dedicated pizza and kids menu. Award-winning mains like the rabbit; shitake mushroom pie with mash hit the spot or try the pork ribs in sticky barbeque sauce. Wholesome food and good vibes will never go a miss at Black Rabbit. 

Postmasters Kitchen & Bar - Arrowtown

With great views of the historic main street, iconic hillsides, and equipt with a garden bar, Postmasters have something for everyone. The kitchen caters to all standard dietary requirements, with a coeliac-friendly fryer. The kitchen sources local ingredients and even grows some of its own herbs. Also providing New Zealand's finest craft beers, bespoke cocktails, and a boutique list of wines, the list will keep you happy + hydrated for an experience like no other. 

Public Kitchen - Queenstown

Public Kitchen offers foodies casual dining with a stunning view of Lake Wakatipu, right on the waterfront. Their honest, no fuss style of cooking utilising the best local produce caught on the doorstep, hunted in the hills or foraged from the farms is perfect to pass around and share with family and friends. Public Kitchen also offers a hearty selection of both local and international wines to keep you happy as you drink in the views, so grab your friends and have a truly unforgettable evening. 

Canyon Brewing - Queenstown 

Sitting below the historic Edith Cavell Bridge overlooking the Shotover River sits Canyon Brewing, where beer and food lovers gather to enjoy handcrafted beer and food to match. Whatever mood you are in, Canyon has you covered. Quick bites and coffee to be enjoyed in the beer garden or a delicious meal by the cosy fire, Canyon has it all. 

Cargo Gantley's Pub - Queenstown

This historic stone building in Arthur's Point was built in 1865 by Patrick Gantley to provide food, drink and lodgings in the gold rush era. A eatery that caters to all seasons, Cargo's provides the warmth of cosy fireplaces in winter and in summer, enjoy live music on the bean bags. A brewery at heart, craft beer is available for any beer lover with options that change seasonally. Burgers are on form at Cargos with buffalo chicken, slow cooked beef brisket and kumara rosti for the vege lovers. Cargo Gantley's is perfect for anyone wishing to escape Queenstown for quieter surrounds.

Central Otago was once a place to be for gold mining and has a strong historical background and is now known as a hotspot for tourists, artists, adventurists, and winemakers. Add Central Otago to your next place to visit, it's definitely worth the time!


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