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Cool change for Queenstown

Après-ski in New Zealand's adventure capital just got tastier.

A recent flurry of restaurant openings in Queenstown has given the ski hub some of the best meals in the South Island. The highest profile of these newcomers is Josh Emett's Rata (43 Ballarat St, Queenstown, +64 3442 9393), a modern dining room and bar tucked behind the Citizens Advice Bureau. "We wanted to create something that represented New Zealand but in a contemporary rather than blatant, tiki-shop sort of way," Emett says. The crisp duck tongues with grilled persimmon are a must, on a menu that features produce from the Otago and Southland regions, teamed with a rollcall of blockbuster drops in the cellar.

At ambitious Sasso (14/16 Church St, Queenstown, +64 3409 0994), an historic stone-clad cottage makes an apt setting for Sal Grant's satisfying Italian food menus to shine. Work up an appetite on the slopes, then get stuck into the likes of beef carpaccio and hearty venison osso buco.

Meats of impeccable provenance are the star attraction at Jervois Steak House (Lower steps, Brecon St, Queenstown, +64 3 442 6263), an outpost of Simon Gault's Auckland meat emporium. Quality cocktails and an expansive wine list add to the upmarket casual vibe.


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