Where there’s good wine, there’s always good food, and Marlborough is no exception. While Sauvignon Blanc may have put this New Zealand region on the map, Marlborough restaurants are a force to be reckoned with.
Between fertile soil and the proximity to the sea, Marlborough has world-class ingredients at its fingertips.
In general, New Zealand is a pretty spectacular place for food. Not only does it produce award-winning wines, it also produces incredible produce. Chefs in New Zealand love showcasing these amazing ingredients in a variety of ways.
Blenheim is the largest town in the Marlborough region. It’s also the most convenient base for exploring the food and wine scene.
Being a relatively new wine region, Marlborough is still fairly rural. While there is a center of town in Blenheim with shops and restaurants, you’ll definitely need a car or bike to get around.
To make the most of your dining in Marlborough, here are 4 restaurants not to miss.
This award-winning restaurant is set among the beautiful landscape of rural Marlborough vineyards.
Ask any local and they’ll tell you that Arbour is the place to eat in the region. But keep in mind, reservations are required.
Keeping true to the region’s ethos, local and fresh ingredients are the star. The menu changes daily based on what produce looks good and what’s available. They also have an extensive wine list featuring local producers.
Arbour offers a “Just Feed Me” experience where you choose the number of courses (3, 4 or 7) and they’ll select the dishes.
It’s a fine-dining experience in a relaxed setting. Despite making modern, high-end dishes, Arbour is far from stuffy. Expect friendly service and a welcoming environment.
Giesen Cellar Door
If you plan on spending a day wine tasting while in Marlborough, paying a visit to Giesen is a must. Not only does Giesen produce some great wines, they also make gourmet platters featuring local ingredients.
The menu at Giesen is quite simple – either the Vintage Platter that serves two people or a cheese plate that serves one. And if you find yourself at Giesen, I recommend you get the Vintage Platter.
What comes on the Vintage Platter will change depending on what’s fresh. They usually include some combination of meats, cheeses, seafood, chutneys, fruits, and bread.
All of the ingredients are sourced locally and are picked to showcase the regional cuisine. The platters are big, delicious and the perfect thing to munch on while enjoying a glass of wine – like their Brothers Pinot Noir.
During the summer, Giesen opens up their courtyard to enjoy meals in the sunshine. When it’s cooler, they have a nice fireplace inside making for a cozy and comfortable setting.
When arriving at the Cellar Door, let them know you’ll be dining as well. This way, they’ll prepare your Vintage Platter as you do a tasting of their wines. By the time you’ve finished your tasting, you can order a glass of your favorite and your platter will be ready for you to enjoy.
Rock Ferry Cellar Door & Cafe
As a member of MANA (Marlborough Natural Winemakers), Rock Ferry is committed to organic and biodynamic farming. Their strong appreciation for nature and the land of Marlborough is made very apparent in both their wines and their food.
The cafe is undeniably homey, as it’s literally in the owner’s old home. Open for lunch daily, Rock Ferry offers a menu that is focused on seasonal ingredients that come from the local region.
Dishes aren’t overly fussy or complex, but just the right combination of solid ingredients executed really well. The comforting and delicious dishes complement the Rock Ferry wines beautifully, making for a meal that perfectly highlights Marlborough.
Scotch Wine Bar
If you’re looking for something in Blenheim town center, it doesn’t get better than Scotch Wine Bar. The menu changes weekly and is focused on fresh and seasonal ingredients put together in interesting ways.
Dishes are made to share, so it’s a great place to go and sample local Marlborough ingredients. To accompany the artfully prepared small plates, Scotch also has an impressive wine list that features over 500 wines.
The list is thoughtfully curated and constantly changing as they source new wines daily. They also focus on wineries that farm, grow, and make their own wines to ensure top quality wines that best reflect the vintages and regions.