If you only have time to dine at one place in downtown Queenstown, do yourself a favor and make it Rata. It came recommended by the knowledgeable Will at the front desk of Sherwood, who sold it by saying if we wanted to try something that utilizes New Zealand’s best ingredients, we should go there.
Unlike restaurants that need to follow a certain cuisine, Rata’s menu makes use of the best ingredients available in region. According to its website, it takes inspiration from everything that epitomizes New Zealand.
I adored the seared Wakanui sirloin, which was so soft and flavorful it almost reminded me of sashimi. Well-cooked, nicely balanced with the sauce and garnishes, and thoroughly delicious. The diamond clams were also quite good, especially if you enjoy garlic.
We had the slow cooked lamb collar, which was the most tender lamb I’ve ever had. I barely had to use my knife, it was like butter. You would think the star would be the lamb, but the silverbeet risotto was divine (and my favorite piece of the dish). Each garnish was in harmony with the overall dish, from the flavors to the amount served.
The moral of this story is everything at Rata is good. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the menu choices, from what I’ve seen.
Rata conveniently located across the downtown village green, which is a great place to take a walk before or after your meal.