Auckland and Queenstown recommendations
We will be in Auckland for a few days in February, with a couple of days in between in Queenstown. Being from France, we are looking for ideally non-French restos. Being wine store owners in Champagne, we are also looking for wine bars (and wineries) that would allow us to best understand New Zealand. Ideally we would prefer non commercial and hidden gems.
Otherwise, we have rented an apartment in Auckland, so we can and would like to cook. On what days are the markets, and which ones are worth it?
As for Queenstown, good eats in restos are also needed. We have a car here, we are willing to drive.
In both cases, we are open to all types of suggestions - our palates desire adventure!
Many thanks in advance.
Auckland - If you have a car head out and try Villa Maria's winery, meant to be excellent for visitors, has a lot of their wines on, including their excellent sweet usually. Also Kumeu RIver well worth a look, one of my favourite wines, not just nz.
Queenstown - Head out to Amisfield winery, fantastic food, views and wine pretty decent too
for a restaurant that prioritise a great NZ wine list in the auckland region (these are modern fine dining but I am pretty sure are not strictly "french" restaurants) try:
O'Connell Street Bistro
otherwise try visiting some wineries in the area:
Kumeu River well worth a visit for their amazing Chardonnay
Waiheke Island reknowned for its reds - and makes a lovely trip from auckland - can be done as a day trip.
But if you have an apartment then I would recommend a trip to your local wine store (Glengarry's is a good chain which has a good selection of NZ wine
otherwise there are more "boutique" wine stores such as Caro's
Mt Eden Village winery http://www.villagewinery.co.nz/
Staff at these 2 shops in parri
Go to a deli or supermarket and self cater and settle in for a big night tasting some great bottles!
Nosh is a great place to stock up on provisions - they have a couple of branches in different auckland locations
To be honest the wineries are much better in the Central Otago/Queenstown area than in Auckland - there are lots of great options - as someone has already mentioned Amisfield is great. Other good ones are Rippon in Wanaka a biodynamic winery (about 45 mins drive I think from memory from Queenstown? check this as I am not sure the distance) www rippon.co.nz
Carrick and Felton Road are both excellent - this area is well known for its Pinot Noir. Carrick has a lovely restaurant also.
As far as lovely NZ wines to include on your "must try" list I would say:
Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc
Kumeu River Chardonnay
a central Otago Pinot Noir (e.g. Carrick, Felton Road) or Moutere Pinot Noir from Neudorf in Nelson - they make great wines
Te Mata Coleraine - one of the most famous NZ reds from Hawkes Bay
You should trust the local Kiwi opinions more than mine, but I just returned from NZ and my best meals were at Soul Bar and Bistro in Auckland and Botswana Butchery in Queenstown. I had a fabulous John Dory at Soul and a truly incredible lamb shoulder roast at Botswana. They both have online menus so you can see if they are non-French enough for you.
If you are staying in the inner-city some places we like are :
The Wine Loft (Shortland Street) - good wine bar but full of lawyers and city folk!
Merlot - is a European style bistro but actually has a good wine list
Imas - good Mid Eastern food also open for dinner and lunch.
Bens (next to Imas) - good for coffee and food. They are more a lunch place
Inner City West
- Monteray Cafe in West Lynn Shops- great little Kiwiana cafe with excellent food and prices
- Gypsy Tea Rooms, West Lynn, good pub with great atmosphere
- For meat I go to the Organic Butcher in Garnet Road (Pt Chev)
- For fruit and Vege: I go to a local Fruit World in Dominion Rd. For quality produce I buy NZ and from shops with high turnover. I actually have not had good fruit and veges from the high end places like Nosh as they don;t have high turnover. The best fruit and vege in Auckland is in Remuera Shops (Jack Lums) though it is a bit of a trek.
- I Usually buy bread from either Baker's Delight or Pandoro (depending on what I want). This is for convenience more than quality. EVeryone raves about Wild Wheat in Mt Eden - but again a trek for you. I think the bread at the end of Mt Eden Rd called Eiffel on Eden is very good.
Further a Field:
If you want a day trip try Matakana north of Auckland for a wonderful wine trail. Lunch at Heron's Flight, swim at Omaha or Leigh, and dinner at Sawmills. Drive there should be less than an hour (remember to pay your tolls).
Have a good trip!