Just for fun

Rata Dining – A Destination Restaurant In Queenstown, New Zealand

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Rata Dining in Queenstown, New Zealand is one of the finest dining establishments I have ever been to.

To cap off the end of a recent adventure-filled trip to Queenstown in New Zealand, we decided to try a local fine dining restaurant that would showcase New Zealand’s best.

We didn’t do much indepth research looking into where we should go, so I’d say either we were lucky to pick Rata or New Zealand fine dining is just on another level.

Reading their website now after having gone to the restaurant, I wholeheartedly agree that they create genuine dining experiences featuring well balance dand inspired New Zealand Cuisine, and that they have definitely become one of my go tos when in Queenstown!

Getting there

Rata is located on the border of the busy Queenstown hub, where we found a decently sized parking lot (Ballarat Street Carpark) offering free parking at night – perfect timing for our dinner reservation.

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Where the carpark is and where Rata is

Along the the two minute walk to the restaurant, as you enter the alleyway, you wonder whether you’ve entered the right spot! It feels quaint yet rustic, and as you make your way through, you’ll eventually see Rata.

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From the outside

After entering..

The ambience is modern yet cosy, inviting yet calm and tranquil. They’ve brought a bit of nature into the restaurant and you definitely get a sense of quiet modern sophistication. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not a hush hush type of place, you can definitely bring large groups of guests together and catch up over a great meal together.

After being seated, we were served the menus and glasses of water.

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The Menu as of September 2022

One thing that I noticed was the fine glasses of water, where I recognised the brand as RIEDEL – a premium German wine glass company and the brand of choice of wine connoisseurs and drink specialists. You can tell that Rata pays close attention to the little details in the dining experience.

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RIEDEL glass of water

Now onto the food

On the advice of a good friend of mine that it’s always worthwhile to have the bread and butter at any restaurant (and I am a fan of it), I decided to opt for Rata’s option – a classic hearty & soft sourdough with a British favourite, marmite butter. Nothing in particular to mention on this – the bread was soft and pilloughy with the right crustiness, and the marmite butter was plentiful. I’m someone who likes their vegemite or marmite in abundant amounts on bread, and this was happily a good amount.

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Speights Old Dark sourdough, marmite butter

The next snack was the dark parfait profiteroles which was an item from the menu we thought would be interesting to try. This item was a bit underwhelming and felt a bit average to be honest. The manuka at the bottom was a nice touch to liven up the creaminess with a bit of sweetness.

2. Balls
Duck parfaits profiteroles, sherry vinegar, manuka

The entrees began with their trevally dish. This dish was mind blowing. The fresh soft trevally sashimi melted in savouriness with the grated cured egg yolk and sprinkled bonito kicking up the notch in umami. The pickled daikon then comes in to round out the bite with some freshness and made this dish a home run. I can usually nitpick my food (not that I usually do, but sometimes it’s fun to especially at restaurants at this high level!) but there was not a single element I could fault.

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This was a 10/10 dish and I highly recommend anyone to order this dish.

3. Fish
Trevally, pickled daikon, bonito, cured egg yolk

I’ll be honest, the next few dishes were amazing as well – thoughtfully creative, balanced with a variety of textures and flavours, and most importantly, delicious – however I simply don’t remember them as well as the trevally dish! I hope my photos do the dishes justice as I also highly recommend each of these dishes.

To me, all of the subsequent dishes were between 8 or 9 out of 10 in taste so they all definitely hit the spot.

4. Lamb
Provenance lamb belly & loin, buttermilk, pomegranate molasses
5. Duck
Dry aged Canter Valley duck, kumara cheesecake, rhubarb, pistachio
6. Dessert
Crystallised ginger donut, coal roasted kiwi, matcha

Conclusion

Rata NZ was a gem that I wasn’t expecting to encounter in Queenstown, New Zealand. A flavour extravaganza, a culinary delight and majority of dishes were standout dishes in their own right. There aren’t many places in the world that can live up to the quality of food & service of this restaurant nestled in the small town of Queenstown in the south island of New Zealand.

If you’re in Queenstown looking for a memorable dining experience, or am simply looking for spectacular food, Rata would be the perfect restaurant that will remain on your mind every time you return back to New Zealand.

Rata’s website linked here.

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