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“Best Steak Burger EVER!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Wairau River Wines Restaurant

Wairau River Wines Restaurant
11 Rapaura Road, Blenheim 7273, New Zealand
+64 3-572 9800
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Ranked #6 of 87 Restaurants in Blenheim
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $10 - $25
Cuisines: Coffee Shop
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Description: The menu at Wairau River Wines is built around the fresh produce that is readily available in the Marlborough district.Enjoy matching our superb wines at cellar door prices with lunch in a relaxed informal environment either outside on the sun drenched lawns and verandahs or inside beside the large open fire in winter.The Rose family are pioneer grape growers in Marlborough, today their five children all take an active role in the business.
Chorley, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Best Steak Burger EVER!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

We arrived on a sunny day and were able to sit outside to enjoy our lunch. I honestly believe this was the best steak burger I have ever had. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for anybody looking for great food.

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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183 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
kuala lumpur
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Great food but the wines....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

This is a great place for lunch, having great food and great ambience. The mussel chowder and the blue cheese soufflé were outstanding but the wines let us down. We ended up buying bottles from nearby Bladen Estate and Forrest.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Excellent place for lunch!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

I had a tasting at this winery in April of 2012, but didn't have time to stop for a bite. This time we took a family member there for lunch so there were 3 adults and one child. The food was delicious, the service excellent (and prompt for our son, which is always important for us parents) and the wine outstanding.
Very glad we made the time to come in during this visit and wouldn't hesitate to come back.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo, NY
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Not the Napa Upscale Atmosphere--But Food As Good as Napa's Best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

We had been traveling the south island of New Zealand for about three weeks and were now coming into Marlborough wine country and Blenheim. The night before we made this trip, I reviewed restaurants on TripAdvisor, and booked a reservation at Wairau River Wines Restaurant strictly on the basis of its number one rating. After driving the east [Pacific] coast of NZ out of Kaikoura for many miles, we swung northwest a scooch, turning about 30 miles from the coast into the Marlborough area, NZ's Napa & Sonoma County all in one. Here the hills were large, covered in brown grasses, and beautiful. As we came into wine country and drew closer to Blenheim and Renwick—two towns in the center of NZ's wine production area (akin to Napa & Yountville)—those hills occasionally were planted with grapevines. But, just like Napa, as you came to the floor of the valley near Blenheim--where everything was flat and easier to tend, every available acre was a vineyard.
We stopped in Blenheim thinking we'd see fancy shops; nope, just an ordinary downtown one might see in any small city. We then drove on to the Wairau River Winery near Renwick. Wairau is pronounced why rau (rau rhyming with cow).
I booked a reservation the night before after reading TripAdvisor, it rated the Wairau River Winery restaurant the #1 restaurant in the Blenheim-Renwick area. That is, in the heart of wine country, this was the best. So I was expecting a place such as Napa's French Laundry, The Rutherford Grill or The Farm. After all, this was rated #1. I even wore long pants and a collared shirt. Big surprise.
We arrived a few minutes early and a waiter in a tee-shirt and denim shorts led us outside to seat us at an old, well used, very clean & very sturdy—picnic table. It's hot outside, but our table is well protected from the sun. We order a bottle of Gewürztraminer, which is delicious. But as we taste it, our waiter points out that the back label is printed in Thai, as it had been intended for export to Thailand. He said all their bottles have the same front label, but the winery prints dozens of different back labels specific to the country of export and that they often serve at the restaurant those bottles not exported. We'd call that remainders or leftovers--but the wine was so good we bought 3 additional bottles to take with us.
Service is friendly & helpful, but not efficient--just like every other NZ restaurant, especially the better ones. Laid back is a better term, perhaps, but a vast understatement. It's not a problem, just takes some getting used to—in fact, it makes me wonder why I'm in such a hurry.
For lunch we split a mussel chowder and—ready for this—a blue cheese soufflé. Both delicious, nay, outstanding.
Before I make a generalization here, let me go on. Needing some nibbles for our late afternoon snacks, we asked a waitress about a grocery store. She said go into Renwick because Havelock would not have one (big clue about Havelock). As we get in our Toyota Corolla, I say to my wife, "Ah, this will be the fancy, upscale wine country town." Nope! Not at all, the town could have been in West Texas.
Now my generalization. We ate at the best-rated restaurant in wine country; eating to be sure world class food presented beautifully, but at picnic tables with silverware wrapped in cheap paper napkins served by wait staff in jeans, tee-shirts & sneakers. And when we were in NZ's two major wine center cities, one is like a larger Batavia, NY and the other like the town in The Last Picture Show. Growing grapes is simply agriculture here, as it is in much of Italy and most of France. Napa is the one not in sync—we have not read, seen or heard of winemaking superstars on NZ as we have in the US, such as Robert Mondavi, Jess Jackson, John Daniels, or Warren Winarski or already superstars such as Fess Parker, Dick Smothers, or Francis Ford Coppola trying to be wine making superstars (Fess Parker did).
These towns and this winery restaurant remind me of the towns we saw and the restaurants we ate in driving up the Rhone through the heart of the Rhone wine district and bicycling through Bordeaux wine country in 2001 (though there are exceptions, and the city of Bordeaux is certainly upscale).
So eating at the Wairau River Wines Restaurant was an amazing mind game for me, but also a dining adventure. Every bite of our food was outstanding. The food was simply outstanding—and worthy of its TripAdvisor #1 Restaurant rating. My blue cheese soufflé was amazing, and my wife’s mussel chowder was the best chowder either of us had ever tasted. This food was astounding! I’ve eaten at the French Laundry and it is a great restaurant—but the food at Wairau River Wines Restaurant was as good, even if it lacked linens and starched-shirt wait staff. I enjoyed both restaurants, and both deserve their high TripAdvisor ratings. They differ in atmosphere, they are the same in the quality and distinctiveness of the food they serve. And Wairau River Wines Restaurant is able to serve its own wines to boot

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arrowtown, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“THE BEST Mushroom and Asparagus Bruschetta!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

EXCELLENT MEAL! Came back through Blenheim on my last rode trip just to have lunch here. Excellent wine, food and atmosphere!

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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