Tips Raising Your Glass

By far the most knowledgeable wine retailer in Queenstown is Johann Small-Smith of Wine Deli, 40 Shotover St. (® 03/442-4482; www.winedeli. com). The store has a full range of Central Otago wines along with many from throughout New Zealand, and Johann knows all the rules and regulations involved in getting your wine home to the other side of the world. Don't overlook the selection of chocolates, cheeses, and salamis. Open daily 10am to 10pm.

has a big following of 20- and 30-somethings and connects with Chico's nightclub upstairs.

The Mall. ® 03/442-8968. Main courses NZ$14-$25 (US$7.70-$14).AE, MC,V. Daily 9am-2am.

Inexpensive

Joe's Garage ($(S (Finds CAFE Although trendily hard to find, you must seek out Joe's because in my mind, it has ended Naff Caff's reign as the best coffee provider in QT. It's a case of American roadie-style cafe meeting Queenstown hip—and strangely, it works. It is little more than a garage, virtually unadorned but for the buzzy atmosphere and chatty locals. Sit up at the counter while you wait for a strong espresso, bacon and bun, panini, or burger. Camp St., beside the post office (the little brown building with a flag over the door). ® 03/442-5282. Most menu items under NZ$18 (US$9.90).AE, MC,V. Daily 7am-5pm.

Naff Caff (fXft CAFE Small with (generally) smiling service and scrumptious snacks, this is a local legend and hangout for lots of sporty types. On my latest visit, it was also overrun by young mothers with screeching toddlers, but the coffee is still excellent and the food worth waiting for.

66 Shotover St. (entrances on Shotover and Beach sts.). ® 03/442-8211. Menu items NZ$8-$18 (US$4.40-$9.90). No credit cards. Daily 7:30am-7:30pm.

Take Five Espresso and Juice Bar $ Finds ESPRESSO/JUICE BAR This place has some of the best coffee in town and one of the best sites overlooking Steamer Wharf. It's tiny and you may not always get a seat inside or out, but superb juices, gutsy coffee, and divine bagels and panini allow you to forgive the inconveniences.

Steamer Wharf. ® 03/442-5995. Menu items NZ$5-$15 (US$2.75-$8.25). No credit cards. Daily 8am-5pm.

Vesta (finds CAFE For a truly unique coffee experience mixed with his tory, contemporary design and quirky retail opportunity, head for Vesta. This tiny espresso bar (with snacks and light meals) is tucked into the back of Queen-stown's oldest house (1864) and modern art and design appear against a backdrop of the original, peeling 1800s floral wallpapers. Don't miss it and be prepared to loosen your wallet on goodies to take home.

Williams Cottage, Marine Parade, Queenstown. ® 03/442-5687. Menu items NZ$5-$20 (US$2.75-$11). AE,MC,V. Daily 9am-5pm.

IN NEARBY ARROWTOWN

Gibbston Valley Winery & Restaurant MODERN NEW ZEALAND You don't have to be a wine connoisseur to appreciate this wonderful indoor/outdoor dining experience. It's true romance in terms of its setting—tucked beneath rugged cliffs and surrounded by lush grapevines. As the most visited winery in Australasia, it's always busy, but there's seating for dozens. The harvest platters filled with all manner of breads, cold meats, cheeses, and pickles always appeal. For something more elegant, opt for crisp coated salmon served with a silverbeet and bulgur wheat torte, drizzled with lemon oil and natural yogurt.

SH6, Gibbston Valley. & 03/442-6910. Reservations required. Main courses NZ$20-$28 (US$11-$15). AE, DC, MC,V. Daily 10am-5pm (lunch only). Closed Good Friday and Dec 25. Located 20 min. from Queenstown and 10 min. from Arrowtown.

Pesto Value ITALIAN/PIZZA Baby sister to Saffron, Pesto offers a classy, copper-clad casual setting in which to bite into some of the most succulent pizzas in this part of the world. Pasta with anchovies, tomato, Italian sausage, spinach, and lemon chili oil will also tempt. All ages gather in the sunny courtyard and the super cool interior.

18 Buckingham St. & 03/442-0131. Reservations recommended. Pastas NZ$15-$18 (US$8.25-$9.90); pizzas NZ$15-$28 (US$8.25-$15). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily 5pm-late.

Saffron (Finds MODERN NEW ZEALAND When you're named in CondéNast Traveler's list of the 100 Best Tables in the World (2001), you've got a lot to live up to, but Saffron seems to be managing the stress rather well. It's currently considered one of the most serious fine-food places in the region. Book ahead, because people are coming from miles around to enjoy Bollinger by the fireside before meals such as Thai duck and lemongrass curry with two rices. 18 Buckingham St. & 03/442-0131. Reservations required. Main courses NZ$29-$40 (US$16-$22).AE, DC, MC,V. Daily 9am-late.

IN NEARBY GLENORCHY

Glenorchy is a bit lean on dining options, but you won't starve. Glenorchy Hotel (& 03/442-9902) has a terrace cafe and restaurant with a la carte, stone grill, and bistro dining; Glen-Roydon Lodge (& 03/442-9968) has good bar food and a la carte dining; and Glenorchy Café (& 03/442-9958) can fill the gaps with snacks and light meals in a casual atmosphere.

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