Eating and Sleeping in Central Otago New Zealand

Central Otago Restaurants

We ate at 3 different places while visiting New Zealand’s Central Otago Valley:

  • Mt Difficulty where we had a two-dish lunch. Joyce had broiled Gurnard (a mild, flaky, white/greyish fish) with scallops, asparagus and Kalamata olive and tomato salsa. It was good, but not especially memorable. Tom fared much better with the wonderful grilled lamb cutlets with butter beans, crispy pancetta, gorgonzola cheese and wild mushroom butter sauce. Nor did the wonderful 2010 Brannockburn Pinot Noir harm our dining experience. And speaking of the dining experience, the restaurant’s deck provides and outstanding view of Mt. Difficulty and the surrounding mountains and valley.


  • Five Stags Bar and Grill, in located in the center of Cromwell and is a casual lounge with a range of dishes. Both of our two dishes were good. Venison ragout with pappardelle; and pizza with smoked salmon, prawns, bacon, red onion, tomato salsa and guacamole sauce, topped with deep-fried prawns. While Joyce was still drinking wine (2016 Huntaway Reserve Pinot Gris from Gisborn and 2014 Mt. Difficulty Brannockburn Pinot Noir), Tom retreated to an IPA from Little Creatures.
  • Amisfield is located at the winery by the same name.  Joyce had a small, entree-sized Northland piper (needlefish) fillet with pancetta, radish, mustard, duck liver mousse and sourdough with a glass of her favorite Amisfield Riesling (2014 Dry Riesling). Tom had crackling pork belly with apple juice and greens with his favorite, off-dry riesling (2014 Lowburn Terrace with 45 grams of sugar per liter). The nice meal was bracketed by dehydrated meringue amuse with raspberry cream filling and a post-meal treat of lavender macaroons with lemon cream filling.

Central Otago Hotel

We stayed in Cromwell at the Colonial Manor Motel.  This motel is near the new Cromwell town center and is walkable to several restaurants as well as being a 20 minute walk to the historic area. The rooms are quite comfortable. The only downside is no A/C. To get cross ventilation, you need to keep your front sliding door open, which is fine until you want some privacy as anyone going by can see in. They do supply a fan and the unit has 2 back windows which can cool the room at night. It has a small kitchen area and table in the large room and you can borrow from a large selection of free DVDs. Free WiFi up to 1 GB a day is supplied. This is a nicely run and well maintained motel.

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