dining in Nelson, South Island
I've been browsing the usual suspects for restaurant reviews here in New Zealand (Cuisine, DineOut) but was surprised to find no reviews here on chowhound for the Nelson area (did they get accidently deleted in the web site upgrade?). Anyway, i'm headed to Nelson for a week this wednesday and was wondering if anyone has suggestions for both a posh place for dinner and cheap but chowhoundy places for lunch or dinner. mahalo!
Had a nice lunch at the Boatshed. for the uninitiated, it's a place that's casual but nice, located right over the water. we had a table on the veranda out back and the view was very pretty. the food is kiwi contemporary, using local ingredients when available, etc. and of course, when in rome.... so we had as usual a great great sauvignon blanc from marlborough.
i must mention the Hot Rock gourmet pizza and pasta joint in Nelson. it has a real wood-fired oven, so the pizza crust comes out thin and crispy/chewy, just like i like it. :-) the toppings were good. we had the plain margherita once and a simple seafood one. overall i would give the pizzas a big thumbs up, especially for this yank who spent a year living in NYC. :-) the pasta was kinda weird while there and when we asked the proprietor, he kinda grimaced and said his supplier had given him a diffrent batch of pasta. it was kind of like a light brown wheat pasta which i'm not saying was badly cooked but put me off a bit.
I must also give a shout out to our new kiwi friend Jacqui at the Belgrove Inn at the crossroads in Belgrove. it's not yet a real inn, but does have a great layout and gardens and concert area. the place is smack in the middle of the drive from nelson to the nelson lakes areas or the trout streams of central nelson, so makes a perfect pitstop going or coming. THe Days ales and stouts are delicious and the hostess with a great spirit of aloha. thanks Jacqui! if you're nice, she may even let you sign her ceiling :-)
I would concur with the Boat Shed Cafe, we ate there back in 2004/2005 and we had a fabulous time. It is a mainstay of the Wellington scene and as mentioned above the setting is gorgeous (see attached photo). Our memories of the places the seafood was divine and the waiting staff were excellent, the service more than matching the superb seafood on offer.
Finally, for I would also suggest looking at the Cuisine magazine website (www.cuisine.co.nz), NZ's premier food, wine and lifestyle publication for some inspiration. They review restaurants around NZ every issue and the website has all the previous reviews from back issues.