South Island recommendations?
Definitely second (or third) Fleur's Place. Also Bacchus in Blenhiem is worth a nosey. If you're looking for something slighty odd-er try picking up a fresh crayfish from one of the caravans on the side of the road in Kaikoura. Oddly enough House of Ales in Nelson has a newish chef who has rather an eye for great food and for a gastro-pub I've had some good food there.
Well, I'm back from my trip, and I had some amazing meals and some other less amazing (but never ever bad) meals. Among the highlights:
Oamaru: Lovely town, with amazing food at Fleur's (south of town) and Riverstone (north)
Cromwell: We had an outstanding meal at Feast in the Cromwell Mall; unpromising location but the food was sublime
Dunedin: Excellent food in a quirky setting at Plato
Blenheim: Wonderful food (not such wonderful service) at Gibb's, and nice simpler food at Wairau Winery
Christchurch: One of the best meals of our trip at Restaurant Schwass
We loved NZ so much that we are now contemplating buying a house in Oamaru (our favorite town)!
February is busy on the South Island. You'll be at the end of summer season and about 1,000 people coming off the Ice! That said, here are a few places we've enjoyed the past couple of years.
My husband and I had a lovely dinner at Ginger and Garlic in Timaru. Wonderful seafood, amuse bouche between courses, nice wine list, attentive service, great view of Caroline Bay from several tables in the main dining room.
335 Stafford Street, Timaru 7910, Canterbury
On the west coast in Hokitika is Cafe de Paris. A nice, casual cafe we've eaten at a couple of times on different trips. Good salads featuring the local salmon, venison and lamb.
19 Tancred Street, Hokitika 7810, West Coast
If you get to Havelock (between Nelson and Picton off SH 6), I recommend a stop at The Mussel Pot. Their green lipped mussels are heaven. They can be ordered steamed in wine, beer, or garlic, white wine and fresh herbs. My favorite was the coriander, chili ginger & coconut milk.
73 Main Rd · Havelock, Marlborough
There are so many great options for eating out around the South Island - i can highly recommend Simo's in Christchurch for lovely Moroccan http://www.simos.co.nz/ ... the bakery in Reefton for awesome whitebait patty sandwiches and really good home baked pies etc - this place is always pumping which says a lot for the quality of food and coffees (they do an enormous 'bowl' for cappucino or latte). Check out the Barker's shop in Geraldine for free tastings of their fruit based products - preserves and chutneys etc. You might want to check out http://whatshot.christchurchnz.com or the blog at http://blog.christchurchnz.com for some more ideas and specials etc. Hope you have a great trip!
Some of these are a bit out of the way but if you're traveling around
Akaroa, for Blue Cod Fish & Chips try Truby's (a little bit hidden, ask around)
Outside of Christchurch, in Mt. Somers, Stonechrubie, for excellent rack of lamb
http://www.stronechrubie.co.nz/ Also a nice place to stay
Kinloch Lodge in Kinloch, if you're headed to the Routeburn track
Again, a nice place to stay
I second Amisfield and Fleur's.
I just returned to Kentucky from a trip to New Zealand and had a fabulous dinner at Botswana Butchery in Queenstown. I had the venison appetizer which was great and split the lamb shoulder roast for 2 which was tremendous. Amazing flavor and unbelievably tender. I had an OK seafood meal at the Boardwalk.
Two restaurants that we liked while holidaying and visiting family in the South Island:
Les Alpes in Queenstown
Merchants Restaurant in Christchurch
Highlights from recent SI trips for me would be:
Felafel Gourmet in Nelson- super fresh and tasty!
Splash out lunch at Pegasus Bay Winery
great food, wine and setting
cant remember the name of the cafes but there is some seriously good home baking to be eaten in Rangiora - real old school kiwi home baking
and finally again in Nelson - probably the best pie I have had anywhere at Kapie
Woudl love to try Fleurs Place as have the cookbook and it looks like its a real haven for great food.
have fun on your trip.