Taking the best local ingredients and preparing them in styles from other countries such as Thailand, Argentina and Germany can create something rather magical. Just a few examples are Bratwurst with spicy onion in a bun, Argentinian-style steak sandwiches, fried Maori bread, whitebait sandwiches….
Fruit and vegetables are available all over the region, all year round. Much of this produce is sold directly from the farm gates, or from the growers themselves at the local markets. As you travel around the region you can’t help but notice the farm gate stalls, most of which operate with honesty boxes. When berries are in season, the pick your own (PYO) concept is a super cool activity. You’re armed with a container, and then you wander up and down the rows picking as many strawberries, raspberries or boysenberries as you want to buy.
Nelson and every single area around the region feature a staggering number of fantastic cafes and restaurants, many of which are located along the various waterfront areas. Our pick of the top eateries which make best use of our outstanding local produce are listed below:
Hooked is located in Marahau, the Abel Tasman Village, right on the waterfront. With stunning views down the Astrolabe Roadstead at southern end of the Abel Tasman, the fare is fresh, local and simple.
The Dangerous Kitchen right in the middle of Takaka is always good for true kiwi style pastas, salads, gourmet pizzas and sharing platters.
The Boat Shed Cafe has two restaurants with roughly the same sensational, sharing-plate based menus. The original restaurant is located on the Nelson waterfront while the other is nestled on the equally impressive Mapua waterfront.
Also on the Mapua Wharf, again in picture-perfect spots, you’ll find the Apple Shed and the Jelly Fish.
Located in Nelson city, Hopgoods never fails to impress with their bistro style meals.
If the idea of enjoying fresh, simple but innovative fare matched with outstanding local wines while overlooking the vineyard appeals, then Mahana Estate is a guaranteed winner.
In days gone by, Motueka has been somewhat under represented on the local gastro scene, although Toad Hall has always been good. However, the Motueka dining scene is changing radically with a new crowd of talented restaurateurs setting up places such as the Mot Bike Co. and The Smoking Barrel just to name a couple.