Mackenzie's Bar and Grill: Not a place for steak
My boyfriend and I had dinner at Mackenzie's Bar and Grill, I ordered steak which would be a safe choice in any place but not this time - the pepper sauce is tasteless, asked for medium but cooked medium rare. No formal apologies from duty manager but a "Oh, I'm sorry." from the waitress.
But the lamb shank is ok though.
Take your own risk if you want to try this restaurant.
- Family Travel
Pepe's Pizza & Pasta Restaurant, Lake Tekapo: A rustic place with hearty Italian food
This restaurant with its rustic and warm interior feels a little bit like a wooden hut in Switzerland. It is very comfortable to have dinner at the tables or a drink at the bar. The service has always been good, and the food as well.
The menu is not enormously exciting but all the pizzas and pasta we have tried were very delicious, and whenever we are at Lake Tekapo in the evening this restaurant is our first choice.
As I do not want to write another restaurant review about the places at Lake Tekapo just let me note here that the Chinese place (Jade Palace) is not exciting but ok, the Reflections restaurant is quite good, the Observatory Café is horrible (see extra review), and if you just want coffee and a cake the Astro Café on Mt. John is a must. We have not eaten at the other places of the township.
Favorite Dish: The spicy pasta with chilli - just different.
- Road Trip
Astro Café, Lake Tekapo: Coffee with a view second to none
First of all: Do not go to the wrong place!!! The Observatory Café at Lake Tekapo is NOT at the observatory from where you probably have the best view in the whole country. The Observatory Café is right on HW8 and - although it has a nice view over the lake - is infamous for probably the worst service you can imagine. We do not go there anymore.
The café at the observatory on the summit of Mt. John is called Astro Café (because the Observatory Café had already "stolen" the name) and is the latest addition to the not very many places at Lake Tekapo where you can get a decent coffee. It really is close to the sky, and the view is so fantastic that you would not want to leave.
Until some time ago you were not allowed to walk on the property of the University of Canterbury which operates the Observatory, and you could only tramp up the hill. Now also people who are not able to walk uphill so far can enjoy this view second to none. The wind can be rather strong up there but who cares when sitting high above the turquoise blue lake on one side and Lake Alexandrina to the other side, with the chain of the Southern Alps and the bare dry land of the Mackenzie Country, the water of Lake Tekapo and the lupins so typical for this area the only colour dots splashed around. It is just magic.
The café is not a big place but has tables inside and out, and the building is tribute to not interrupt those incredible views. It is more or less a sturdy glass box.
There are just coffees, cakes and toast on offer, so it is no place for a hearty lunch or fine dinner. But all is delicious, and the prices are moderate. We paid NZ$ 4 for a large cappuccino and latte, a big slice of carrot cake cost 3.50.
You can also make very expensive day and night tours of the observatory and watch the sky through huge telescopes. Day tours (NZ$20pp) take one hours and are available 11am-3pm, night tours (NZ$48pp) take two hous and start at 8pm in winter, 10pm in summer. (Prices as Jan. 2007)
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
Observatory Café, Lake Tekapo: Uninteresting food and bad service
Just the other day I read a damning review about the horrible food and the bad service at the Observatory Café at Lake Tekapo on www.dineout.co.nz which reminded me not to forget to publish my opinion about this place.
As we live near Christchurch and often drive to Lake Tekapo just for the day we have had drinks and eaten at this restaurant several times since 2000 as there are not a real lot of options at lunchtime, and it really has a very nice view over the lake. Our opinion has not changed, and we do not go there anymore. Everybody we talk to about it agrees.
It is hard to remember another place in the whole country where the waiting staff are so desinterested in their clients, they were mostly young girls, probably seasonal staff. No idea why they chose to do this job if they do not want to smile nor walk. When you ordered a hot meal at the counter they yelled through the restaurant when it was ready to be picked up at the counter, and the tone was as if they just did not dare to add words like "you bloody idiot". You nearly expected they would throw the food or at least the cutlery at you.
We did not chose food that had to be heated like pre-cooked pasta and would have been bland and "muddy". The safe options like fish & chips were ok. But do not let me close this chapter without citing some lines of the review on www.dineout.co.nz: "Partner ordered the roast just to be told that they had just run out... Venison was served on veges very obviously a watties frozen mix.... Steak some bits raw, some bits well-done.... was served with lumped congealed cheese sauce instead of mushroom sauce without notice.... Aunt Bettys microwave dessert served with icecream..."
To me it is just incredible how you can allow waiting staff to run down a place in such a lovely location. But as it is an ongoing problem I fear the owners know it, and do not intend a change because there is so little competition at Lake Tekapo, and they do not depend on locals, and the unsuspecting tourists pass there once and pay.
Favorite Dish: Nothing. Really nothing. The chips are the safest bet.
- Road Trip
Kahun Japanese Restaurant: If Japanese tourists flock to this place...
I made another visit to this place a few days after the first one. Apparently overwhelmed with our busload, it took almost one full hour before we were served our meal.
Favorite Dish: Tempura Udon, $15, no pickles, not with miso soup. The batter was thin and crispy, fatty, but not greasy...just right.
Kahun Japanese Restaurant I: If it was featured on Japanese TV...
Tucked away, but still easily spotted if you walk through the souvenir store, with a great view over Lake Tekapo. Frequented by Japanese tourists and supposed highly recommeded in Japanese guidebooks, or so my Japanese friends with whom I ate here, told me.
Favorite Dish: Bento Lunch Box, $18, miso soup, pickles and green tea included.