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“Excellent cooking with well balanced flavours”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of River Restaurant and Vineyard - CLOSED

River Restaurant and Vineyard
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: European, New Zealand, Contemporary, Healthy
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Families with children, Special occasions, Large groups, Romantic, Local cuisine
Dining options: Brunch, Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: River Restaurant & Vineyard is a boutique family-owned Vineyard and Restaurant situated in a unique location of exceptional natural beauty on the edge of New Zealand’s oldest National Park and World Heritage area the Tongariro National Park. The Tongariro National Park is recognized for it’s important Maori cultural association’s as well as its outstanding Volcanic features. Tongariro is one of only a handful of sites worldwide to be given dual World Heritage status. Situated a short walk to the Tongariro River and some of the best fly-fishing in New Zealand if not the world makes Tongariro River Estate unique, indeed the much loved River Wine Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes are grown on the stony flats of the old Tongariro river bed and capture the essence of this truly beautiful area.
Chicago
Level Contributor
138 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 201 helpful votes
“Excellent cooking with well balanced flavours”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2014

It was easy to find the restaurant, with a clear sign on the main road and opposite the subsequent turning. There is a dedicated car park and clear signs to the entrance.

I was greeted immediately on entering and shown to a table. The dining room has several large windows and the tables are set with white cloths. However, the service is informal and friendly. Three tables were occupied early on a Wednesday night.

The food menu is short with a page of starters, mains and deserts. The problem for me was that all of them were tempting and promised interesting combinations and flavours. There was a short but interesting wine menu – one of those occasions when I would love to try the wine – but I don’t drink.

I settled on green-lipped muscles in garlic and butter, and a main of roast pork belly, with salad and a puree of roasted pumpkin. I thought I had chosen lighter options – but I was very full at the end.
The cooking was excellent: good flavours, well balanced. The garlic and butter had a wonderful bitter undertow. It was well herbed and dressed. The pork belly was beautifully cooked with white meat inside and a well roasted exterior. The pumpkin puree had plenty of flavour and the salad had variety and an interesting dressing. The salad mainly used green sprouts – with no lettuce. Before I tasted the dish I wondered how salad would work with hot food but it was a success. (If I was dressing the salad I would have used more lemon to balance the fattiness of the pork – but this cooking was much more subtle than my cooking). Again, a beautifully presented dish.

The bill including a soft drink (and complementary water) came to under NZ $50 – very good value for cooking of this standard.

With a pleasant and efficient waitress this restaurant was a hit with me. I am sorry a tight schedule means that I can’t go back to sample more of the menu.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Joe_33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

177 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    117
    44
    11
    4
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
142 reviews
84 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Hidden gem, worth seeking out. Great food, wine and service.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2014

Finished a perfect day here - Tongariro Crossing in the morning, afternoon recovery at Tokaanu Hot Springs, then used Trip Advisor to find this gem. Rocked up in casual gear, greeted at the door, sunny outside table no problem. The chilli mussels were great, broccoli & roasted garlic soup truly magnificent. Mains were salmon for her, Moroccan chicken & bacon linguini for him .... both simply stunning flavours & presentation. Tried their own 09 Pinot Noir and was not disappointed - so much so that we took another bottle with us for the road. One of the best meals we've had for ages. Make a point of searching this out and try it for yourself.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank 23KSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“nice spot”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

enjoyed our meal there - was too cold to sit outside, but would have been nice if we could. Enjoyed the wines from the winery.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank travelgirlfromboston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
96 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Beautiful spot”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 21, 2014

We ate outside on a beautiful summer day and really enjoyed the food, the wine and the location. Friendly and personal service, and plenty of toys and room to roam for the 2 year old with us.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank kdtotara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turangi, New Zealand
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“great family meal”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2014

We arrived on a wet Sunday for lunch as a large family of four generations. And everyone ate well. A lovely Varity to choose from. And highly recommend.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Maree w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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