With more than 150 eateries you're spoiled for choice in this picturesque part of New Zealand, and much of it is world-class. Food trends in the tourist town have seen a big emphasis on locally sourced seasonal fare, often made from scratch, with chefs choosing to go into the wilds of Central Otago to forage for watercress and elderflower.
1. The Bunker
Turning 20 next year, The Bunker is a local institution, which you'll find down the Cow Lane alleyway. Downstairs is the cosy, intimate and timeless dining room, complete with fireplace, and you head upstairs for excellent cocktails and a screen showing old James Bond movies. The rustic, seasonal menu features plenty of local delights from the South and Stewart islands.
Must try: Seared striploin and braised osso bucco of South Otago venison ($40).
2. True South
This gem of a restaurant is at The Rees Hotel, with fantastic views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables, a few minutes out of town back towards the airport. English chef Ben Batterbury has put together a fantastic menu; his suppliers are listed on the back of the menu.
Must try: The slow-cooked Havoc pork belly ($39), caught by a hunter near Waimate.
If you're after a unique, sophisticated meal, head north out of town to Gantleys, located in one of the area's oldest buildings. Formerly a wayside inn, the restaurant has been entertaining guests in one form or another since 1863. Think schist exterior, stone interior, with elegant candlelit decor, a roaring fire, and five-star service. Known for its excellent wine list, the menu features some of New Zealand's finest seafood, venison, prime beef, lamb and duck.
Must try: The line-caught fish of the day, grouper, was sensational ($39.50).
One of the newer players in town, Toro offers Mediterranean-inspired dishes designed to be shared. It's open daily from 9am to 11pm, so you can drop in for a meal, a snack or just a couple of glasses of sangria. The decor is light and airy and we like the clever branding, the reindeer hides and the open kitchen.
Must try: The braised Wakanui beef brisket ($25).
Amisfield is one of Queenstown's best-known wineries, and its bistro was started as a way to showcase and support its unique wine in 2005. Put your stomach in the clever hands of chef Vaughan Mabee and his team for their "Trust the Chef" tasting menu - lunch is $75 and includes four shared and plated courses, an amuse bouche and bread; dinner is $95 and includes five plated courses, two amuse bouches and bread. You need a minimum of two people and at least two hours, and wine matches are available.
Getting there: Jetstar flies from Auckland to Queenstown daily.