Monday I went to Caribe Latin Kitchen in the pedestrian mall which I’d spotted last week and thought looked interesting. A great mix of Mexican, Brazilian and other South American foods. They have a bunch of vegetarian and gluten free options. I went for the Vegetarian Burrito. This was around $14 and was huge! This would have been great to share. It was delicious. I’d definitely go back here again. It rates #2 on Tripadvisor with good reason.
I got it to dine in but a lot of people were getting takeaways – on a nice day, grab something and aim for the lake, find a spot to sit and enjoy the sunshine and scenery.
Dinner was a bit of a struggle I confess on Monday, after my massive burrito pig out, I wasn’t especially hungry. So I went for a walk and checked a few menus. Finally deciding that Chinese takeaways might do the trick. I checked the menu at Lakeside Palace, a slightly seedy looking Chinese restaurant where I was the only non-Chinese customer. I asked about vegetarian options and the girl serving helpfully pointed out a number of things they could easily make vegetarian for me. I went with the Bean Curd with Mushrooms and steamed rice. This came to about $17.
I popped into the convenience store, grabbed a drink and sat along near the grassy area by the waterfront on a park bench. Very nice scenery and atmosphere. Food was ok – not bad, not great, but I tend to find that with the majority of Chinese food from the average restaurant.
Tuesday I went to Hikari Japanese Restaurant, the sit down one on Beach St (not the quick service sushi one in the pedestrian mall). They have lunchtime specials, like many restaurants in Queenstown and for around $15 you can get a substantial bento box meal, or some cheaper options around the $10-$12 range. For the Bentos, they have around 4 options avaialble including a vegetarian one. So not suprisigly I got the Yasai Bento (vegetarian bento).
A customer at another table asked about vegetarian options and they produced a separate menu, so worth checking possibly if you don’t immediately see something you like the look of. I wish places would just stick vegetarian options on the main menu, you shouldn’t have to ask! They also do gluten free upon request.
For Tuesday’s dinner I planned on having Thai but the place I was going to go was closed with no explanation. So a sudden change of plans found me at O’Connell’s Shopping Centre, in the foodcourt. I’ve been through here a number of times and while I usually like foodcourts, for some reason, this one doesn’t grab me.
I decided to try the Everest Cafe which serves Nepali style food. I think its run by the people serving the Indian food in the next stand over, as it seems like its the same staff. But the menu is different and is made upon request, instead of being served out of the bain-maries at the Indian one.
I got the Vegetarian Thali – the naan or roti was one of the best I’ve ever had. I got it all mild spiced and it was all delicious. From left to right the 3 dishes were a potato and pea curry in a thin gravy, a vegetable korma type dish and a thin yellow dhal. This was wonderful and much better than I expected. It was $13.
Wednesday for lunch, I quickly grabbed a takeaway Haloumi roll from Vudu Cafe & Larder. They have a great vegetarian and gluten-free selection in their cabinet. The only issue I have with this location is nothing seems to be clearly priced. This roll was $10 – which seemed very expensive to me, it was very nice but I could have got a cooked meal elsewhere for not much more.
Wednesday night, a friend and I went to Arrowtown and had dinner at Mantra, a fine dining Indian restaurant. Completely forgot to photograph my Khadai Paneer, Onion Paratha and Mango Lassi. It was excellent. They were keen on the up sell though – did we want bottled still or sparkling water (at a cost) …or tap? Then after we placed our ordered, did we want starters while we waited. I’ve been to McDonald’s I know how this works and I am not falling for that bullshit – if I wanted it, I would have ordered it. This wasn’t a cheap meal. It was about around $70 for the two of us. The vegetarian curries were $20 and meat curries were significantly more expensive. A good selection through and the service was good.
Final lunch in Queenstown was at Tham Nak Thai, the observant will remember I dined here last week but they have updated their menu. So the vegetarian box this week had a different selection in it. $14.90 and it was a substantial feed with lots of different things to try – Stirfried Vegetables, Sweet Sour Tofu, Spring Roll & Vegetable Tempura, Thai Tofu Slada, Peanut Tofu, Jasmine Rice and a clear Thai Soup. I would definitely go back here again too, but I think I prefered the curry in the box from last week over the Sweet Sour Tofu.