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“Don't Miss the Ribs!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Speight's Alehouse

Speight's Alehouse
200 Rattray Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
(03) 471 9050
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Ranked #12 of 214 Restaurants in Dunedin
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Large groups, Doing business, Special occasions, Entertaining clients, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
“Don't Miss the Ribs!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2012

Well, friends, I have bad news. Terrible news, in fact, especially for those of us who love barbecue pork ribs.

Hands down, the world's very best barbecued ribs -- so fat! so succulent! so perfectly sauced! -- are hidden waaaaay down here in Dunedin ("doo-NEE-din"), New Zealand, at Speight's Ale House.

I'm distraught, because from this point forward, every time I indulge in barbecue ribs, I'm going to be sighing and saying, "These are good, but they're not like those ribs at Speight's Ale House." And, worse, once I'm back in Atlanta, every time I get a hankering for Speight's Ale House ribs, there's this little matter of a 22-hour flight to New Zealand I'll have to deal with.

But -- and it kills me to say this -- they're worth it.

After taking the Speight's Brewery Tour ($20 a head if you've taken the Cadbury Chocolate Factory Tour, and you don't really have to ask if I've taken the Cadbury Chocolate Factory tour, do you?), we found ourselves on the streets at lunch time with nothing more than questionable Chinese take-away in sight. So I whipped out my Trip Advisor app, which pinpointed me on the map and quickly identified the highest-rate restaurant within walking distance: Speight's Ale House.

Now, having just come off the tour, I almost nixed this suggestion. The tour was fine -- not too long, not too technical, with a very liberal tasting policy. I felt a little guilty, you know, not getting out and seeing a bit more of what Dunedin has to offer. But the space was big and bright and inviting, with soaring white walls and a gorgeous wooden bar in the center ... and so we decided to trust Trip Advisor and settle in.

We started with a half-loaf of Speight's homemade bread, featuring grains used in the brewery. The load arrived piping hot and slathered with New Zealand butter and minced garlic. Do I have to tell you that it was soft as a pillow? That it was as succulent as a loaf of bread can be? That I ate half of the half-loaf in seconds, and would have eaten the other half of the half loaf if my better half hadn't warded me off with a sharp thwack of a wound-up linen napkin?

When the bread's that good, I normally begin to worry that the best of the meal's behind me. But then, out marched our server with a platter of enormous ribs. These were hefty ribs: thick with meat, with just enough bone exposed to make a convenient handle. Each had been dredged in Speight's signature sauce, which combines tomatoes, sugar, dark ale, onion, and spices in whatever proportions are needed to create the kind of sauce the Buddha might make if he ran a barbecue pit.

And the meat -- so tender! Cooked so perfectly -- just to the point that the pork is *willing* to let go of the bone, but then resists just enough to make you do that thing where you lunge at the rib, teeth bared, smacking and slurping and rocking back and forth in your chair while grunting loudly with contentment. (What? You don't do that? Well, there's a reason: you haven't had these ribs.)

I know, I know. I tend toward a bit of exaggeration when telling food stories. But that said: yes. Yes, it's just the ugly truth. Speight's Ale House (in! Dunedin! NEW ZEALAND!) has the best ribs on the planet. Nothing in U.S. -- nope, not even in Memphis -- compares.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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264 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Addis Ababa
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Generous sized, hearty meals”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

Since it's an ale house, you would expect to have a hearty feed - and that's exactly what you get. They're usually pretty busy and it can be noisy. The food is good, it's quite highly priced from memory, but if you go with a group and enjoy a few brews you'll be sure to have a good time.

Visited October 2011
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Bracknell UK
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Good Beer and Food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2012

Having enjoyed an excellent meal at Speights in Napier were keen to try the one in Dunedin. The place was packed out and we wre unable to get a table in the restaurant so ate in the bar. Foood was good, as was the beer. Prices reasonable. The barman who served us must have been new to the job as his knowledge of the drinks available was poor, however he was very friendly and did his best. Overall satisfactory but not quite as good as the one in Napier

Visited February 2012
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Dunedin, New Zealand
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“slow service, uneven meals”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2012

Visiting with a party of seven, including two children, and early in a weekend evening, we were ignored by staff who simply stood around downstairs. When service did arrive, meals were served quickly, but the difference in size and quality of servings (all adult) left one of the party - our host for the evening - starving. We are increasingly dissatisfied with the service and food in a restaurant we have always enjoyed.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012

Fantastic building/atmosphere and great drinks but the food was very disappointing. We had high expectations as the friends we were with had been before and raved about it. The bread starter was great but the main courses were well below average. Very overcooked vegetables for everyone and the lamb shanks that I had were awful. I couldn't eat them - far too chewy! They kindly offered free desserts but we turned them down as we had been totally put by then and that is a first for me to turn down dessert

Visited January 2012
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