New Zealanders certainly enjoy their food and drink. There’s an abundance of choice beyond just barbecue, and the cuisine is a blend of European and Pacific Rim with plenty of fresh seafood and excellent lamb. Whatever you choose, locals love their casual dining so there’s no need to get dressed up to enjoy a good meal. New Zealand wines have come a long way and Hawkes Bay and Marlborough wineries are world famous growing regions.

Bars and Pubbing in New Zealand

The two biggest breweries in New Zealand are Lion Breweries and DB Breweries, but there are over 50 microbreweries and so-called nano-breweries. Auckland probably has the largest number of bars and pubs, but Wellington also has its fair share, and popular tourist destinations such as Queenstown and Christchurch boast vibrant nightlife too. Visitors can enjoy a long and fun evening with most venues open until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.

In Auckland, visitors will find plenty of British and Irish pubs and bars spread around city, especially in Viaduct, Ponsonby, Parnell, and Newmarket. The Bog Irish Bar & Restaurant (196 Parnell Road, Parnell 1052) and Danny Doolan’s (204 Quay Street, Auckland) are popular traditional spots. Brewpubs are drinking establishments connected to a brewery serving homemade ales. A popular one is the Galbraith’s Alehouse (2 Mount Eden Road, Grafton, Auckland 1023), which brews what it calls Old-World beers, such as Munich and Bohemian, which are full of taste. The stylish Hallertau (1171 Coatesville Riverhead Highway, Riverhead, Auckland) prides itself in producing drafts in small quantities with only the best local ingredients and if available, try the Stuntman. Of course there are plenty of trendy bars in New Zealand as well, many of which attract celebrities, such as The Pony Club (55 Customs Street, Auckland). Spy Bar (204 Viaduct Quay, Auckland) is another local favorite, known for its good DJs.

In Wellington, visitors will find a quieter nightlife than in Auckland, but with just as much breadth of choice. Sandwiches* (Corner Kent Terrace & Majoribanks Street, Wellington 6149) is considered to be the best club, but a local favorite which has international acclaim is the Matterhorn (106 Cuba Street, Wellington), with great cocktails, an impressive wine list, and great dining. The Hawthorn Lounge (82 Tory Street Te Aro, Wellington 6011), which is decorated in a 1920’s style, serves up excellent martinis.

Dining and Cuisine in New Zealand

Auckland has the biggest range in cuisines, from local to international. The majority of restaurants can be found in Viaduct Basin, Parnell, Ponsonby, and Chancery. There are also some excellent hotel restaurants, such as the elegant and award-winning dine by Peter Gordon (90 Federal Street, Auckland) inside the Skycity Grand Hotel for its Asian, European, and Pacific Rim fusion. Auckland is dynamic and new eateries are always popping up. One of the popular newcomers is Libertine (37 Drake Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland), which serves an interesting mix of South American dishes. Seafood is a must and the best places for fish are Hammerheads Seafood Restaurant (19 Tamaki Drive, Okahu Bay, Auckland) and Kermadec (Viaduct Quay, Corner Quay & Lower Hobson Streets, Auckland).

Wellington also has its fair share of excellent dining establishments. There are clusters of restaurants in Mount Victoria, Te Aro, and the Wharf area. Logan Brown (192 Cuba Street Te Aro, Wellington 6141) is one of the best, and serves signature dishes using New Zealand produce. Another local favorite is the Capitol (10 Kent Terrace Mount Victoria, Wellington 6011), which is famous for its fish of the day. One restaurant that consistently ranks well is The White House (232 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington 6001), known for its excellent Angus beef.