Feast for the Senses - gorgeous New Zealand designer eateries

These three New Zealand eateries boast surroundings that are more than a match for the fabulous food.

These three New Zealand eateries boast surroundings that are more than a match for the fabulous food. 

For a country of fewer than five million people, New Zealand cooks up a storm when it comes to food culture. These three eateries have the added appeal of architecture and interiors that look straight out of a design magazine. Visual feasts, indeed.

Heart of Glass

The Glass House Kitchen at Brick Bay Wines, near Snells Beach, seemingly floats above the winery’s still lake. The cantilevered structure is what the name suggests: even the roof is crafted from glass, meaning the entire building shimmers. But don’t worry, the adjustable ceiling blinds ensure that diners don’t get too dazzled by the summer sun. The food shines here, too. From 10am to 5pm, graze on creative offerings such as vodka-cured salmon with fennel salad or the hard-to-pass-up Brick Bay honey and saffron panna cotta with caramelised peaches.

Travel Tips

Snells Beach is a one-hour drive north of Auckland. Summer brings day-trippers aplenty, so be prepared for crowds if you visit between December and February. Consider coming in autumn or winter instead; it’s quieter and The Glass House becomes a cosy spot for sampling some of the winery’s best bottles.

Brick Bay Vines

City Slicker

With pared-back stone walls, exposed wood beams, subtle lighting and mid-century-style seating, Amano is minimalism at its best. The restaurant, in Auckland’s hip Britomart precinct, is renowned for handmade Italian fare perfectly arranged on simple stoneware. Sustainable and local are the keywords here, reflected in such produce as line-caught trevally from Aldermen Islands, Katikati farm Suffolk lamb and Wairarapa coast crayfish.

Travel Tips

Britomart is smack bang in the heart of Auckland – right next to the Britomart transport hub and train station. It’s easily accessible from almost anywhere in Auckland via bus or train, and is just steps from the city’s main ferry terminal.

Amano Restaurant

Top of the World

Knoll Ridge Café is the most elevated eatery in New Zealand, perched 2020m above sea level. Located on Mount Ruapehu, one of the country’s most popular ski destinations, the café was designed by New Zealand architecture firm Harris Butt to reference the site’s original chalet, which was destroyed in a 2009 fire. Featuring a glass wall on the east side and copious timber throughout, it’s one of the best places for a coffee with a volcanic view.

Travel Tips

Mount Ruapehu is in the centre of the North Island, about a two-hour drive from Taupo Airport. It’s home to two of the country’s premier ski areas, Whakapapa and Turoa. The cafe is open from 9am to 4pm year-round.

Knoll Ridge Cafe

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