Celebrities are often spotted dining out in New Zealand; follow the stars to dine in the places they’ve chosen.
With exceptional produce, innovative chefs and some stunning restaurant settings it’s no surprise that international celebrities love eating out in New Zealand. From pop star Taylor Swift to action man Jason Statham, check out the favourite haunts of visiting celebrities.
1. Waiheke Island
It’s not surprising that when US actress Eva Longoria and pop star Taylor Swift visited Auckland, they chose to have lunch at Mudbrick on Waiheke Island (mudbrick.co.nz). From the rustic gravel driveway to the romantic vine-covered restaurant, entering the vineyard is like stumbling on a Tuscan paradise. Set on an elevated site looking back towards the city across the Waitemata Harbour, it’s all too easy to while away the hours in Mudbrick’s sun- soaked, lavender-scented spot, whether you’re enjoying a wine-tasting in the cellar, or dining on exquisite food in the restaurant. After lunch, it’s worth taking a wander around Mudbrick’s potager garden and picturesque vines, where many newlyweds have had their photos taken.
Just a 10-minute stroll down the road is Cable Bay (cablebay.nz), the island’s sleekest vineyard, where you can sprawl out on the grass in a beanbag and enjoy fabulous, uninterrupted city views and stunning sculptural artworks. American singer Kendrick Lamar flew by chopper when he came to sample the vineyard’s many varietals, including Syrah, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
Getting to Waiheke by air was also Stephen Fry’s transport of choice, when he took a seaplane for lunch at The Oyster Inn (theoysterinn.co.nz), the luxury boutique hotel and restaurant located in the heart of Waiheke’s shopping and eating precinct, Oneroa. The next beach along is also home to stand-out vineyards, and Swift made sure to scope these out too, visiting Onetangi’s Casita Miro, (casitamiro.co.nz) a Spanish-inspired restaurant and vineyard set in a gorgeous art deco style pavilion.
Perhaps it’s the old-world charm and understated elegance, but whenever celebs are in town, they make a beeline for Parnell. Specifically, Cibo (cibo.co.nz), the award-winning restaurant where Mariah Carey, Mick Jagger, and models Tyra Banks and Elle MacPherson have all dined.
Not far from Cibo, housed in a lovely leafy building is Antoine’s (antoinesrestaurant.co.nz), the iconic fine-dining restaurant run by legendary New Zealand chef, Tony Astle. Antoine’s has hosted many international celebrities since it opened in 1972: from former US President Bill Clinton to entertainers Elton John, George Benson and Rod Stewart, all at one table. This formal dining establishment is the place to go to impress, or at least to experience dishes from a more refined era — its “nostalgia menu” features classics such as ox tongue simmered in Madeira sauce.
If it’s more casual fare you’re after, make like Jason Statham, the Hollywood actor who was spotted at El Sizzling Chorizo, (elsizzlingchorizo.co.nz), the Argentinian barbecue joint in Ponsonby Central, the food hub in the heart of Auckland’s coolest suburb. Think Argentinian classics: empanadas, lomitos (steak sandwiches), and delicious barbecued potatoes. All competing, of course, with the other tantalising smells wafting through Ponsonby Central.
To really get a feel for the capital’s famously vibrant culture, make like the cast of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and head to The Matterhorn (matterhorn.co.nz). Since 1963, this Wellington institution has attracted politicians, intellectuals and celebrities, keen to soak up the supper club’s laidback spirit over a cocktail or a meal in the restaurant. Others simply come for the live music — to say you’ve played the Matterhorn is an honour for many of New Zealand’s top musicians.
Perhaps it’s not surprising the LOTR stars have also been spotted at Fidels (fidelscafe.com) a few doors away on atmospheric Cuba Street. The ultimate place to shake off a hangover, this Cuban-style cafe is open all day, getting pulses going with their bright red walls and Cuban coffee.
The Kiwi director behind the Tolkien movies, Peter Jackson — along with Scarlett Johansson — is a regular at Coco at the Roxy in Miramar (cocoattheroxy.co.nz). The ultimate film- lover’s hangout, Coco offers everything from nibbles to cocktails to a three-course meal — and you can catch a film afterwards at the Roxy Cinema.
Contemporary art-lovers also make a point of visiting Wellington’s City Gallery, something French actress Juliette Binoche obviously heard about too. The star was spotted having lunch at the gallery’s adjoining Nikau café (nikaucafe.co.nz), presumably before perusing the local and international exhibitions on the large site. Meanwhile, her Ghost in the Shell cast mates were seen enjoying the seafood at Ortega Fish Shack (ortega.co.nz), Crabshack (crabshack.co.nz) and Dockside (docksidenz.com).
Prince Charles and Camilla travelled to Nelson to sample the region’s renowned food and wine when they visited New Zealand last year. The couple headed to Mahana Estate (mahana.nz), an organic vineyard and winery with spectacular views. The 25-hectare property also boasts luxury accommodation, its stunning mid-century modern villa built with sweeping perspectives over Tasman Bay, picturesque Mt Arthur and the snow-capped Southern Alps.
Nelson also hosted stars of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, who were spotted at the Boat Shed Café (boatshedcafe.co.nz), the popular Nelson restaurant with, hands-down, the best sea views in the area. The distinctive white building is set out over the water and serves food all day, including plenty of seafood. Think crumbed snapper sandwiches, seafood soup and salmon carpaccio.
Taylor Swift clearly likes to eat well. When she jetted into Queenstown, she dined on prime steak and roast butternut pumpkin risotto at Captains Restaurant (captains.co.nz). The fine- dining establishment also serves an abundance of the region’s famous seafood, including house-smoked Stewart Island salmon, New Zealand green-lipped mussels and Captains’ famous seafood chowder — and who can go past their truffled fries?
Photos courtesy of Tourism New Zealand