The Picton Food Guide
What better introduction to a gastronomical journey around the South Island (or conclusion, if you’re leaving the South Island) than Picton? In between the mussel and salmon farming town of Havelock and the wine region of Marlborough, Picton makes an ideal base for experiencing the food that the region is renowned for. And with honest Kiwi restaurants, bakeries and takeaways gracing the town’s waterfront, you’ll find it easy to find authentic New Zealand cuisine here.
So plan your food tours, restaurants and even accommodation with this complete foodie guide to Picton.
Things to Do in Picton for Foodies
- Tour Marlborough’s wineries
- Go on a seafood cruise
- Experience Marlborough’s craft beer at Dodson Street
- Indulge in high tea at Escape to Picton
- Visit the Makana Confections chocolate factory
- Check out the local markets
- Eat out at Picton’s restaurants.
For more information and locations of each experience, see the 7 Things to Do in Picton for Foodies.
Food Tours and Experiences
In the centre of New Zealand’s largest wine region, as well as near salmon and green-lipped mussel farms, Picton is an excellent base for Marlborough wine and seafood tours.
Don’t worry about finding a designated driver for your wine tasting experiences in Marlborough, as small-group winery-hopping tours are available with Sounds Connection (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Marlborough Wine Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor) from Picton. They’ll pick you up from your accommodation and take you to the vineyards and cellar doors where you’ll learn about New Zealand’s prolific wine industry and taste a multitude of varietals. Private bespoke wine tours are also an option with Hop n Grape Wine Tours Marlborough (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or make things more affordable and flexible with Hop on Hop off Wine Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Another aspect of Picton’s foodie scene can be experienced on a seafood cruise with the Marlborough Tour Company. Travel by luxury catamaran to a salmon and mussel farm to indulge in fresh samples of seafood paired with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The cruise is also a scenic journey through the sheltered waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound, as well as a chance to see seals, dolphins and penguins. Learn more about this seafood cruise on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Although not strictly in Picton, our next recommendation is a short drive to the neighbouring town of Blenheim where you’ll find some local foodie markets. The Marlborough Farmers’ Market happens every Sunday morning (Corner of Alabama Road and Maxwell Road, Blenheim) where you can try and purchase cheese, bread, produce and more straight from the producers. You can also find interesting local food products, like wine, nuts, etc. at the Marlborough Artisan Market (Wynen Street Carpark, Blenheim) on Saturday mornings.
For more food tours, like a wine cruise and breakfast in the Sounds, check out the 7 Things to Do in Picton for Foodies.
The Best Restaurants in Picton
Where should you dine out in Picton? Picton offers a range of relaxed restaurants, cafes and takeaways, many with stellar views of the Picton Harbour.
For a takeaway breakfast or lunch, don’t miss the Picton Village Bakkerij (46 Auckland Street), which specialised in European-style bread and sandwiches, as well as Kiwi savoury pies, cakes and more.
A wonderful sit-down breakfast or lunch can be experienced at Gusto (33 High Street) for all sorts of naughty treats like French toast with bacon, banana and maple syrup and other cafe crowd-pleasers like muesli, eggs benedict, cakes, pies, pasta and, of course, coffee!
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, DA’s The Barn (48 High Street) is a good honest Kiwi-style restaurant with good honest portions. It’s a local favourite featuring the likes of Lamb Backstrap, Prime Angus Ribeye Steak, Pork Spare Ribs and, something more closer to local, Marlborough Mussels.
Fancy fish and chips to eat on the Picton Foreshore? Pick some up from Shai Shai’s Takeaways (83A High Street), who also do burgers with fresh ingredients and crispy battered fish.
Finally, for the closest thing to fine dining in Picton town, choose Escape to Picton‘s Restaurant (33 Wellington Street). They offer a superbly-presented selection of French and New Zealand-style cuisine made with fresh local ingredients. It’s a place to indulge on surf and turf dishes, as well as taste New Zealand’s famous pavlova desserts.
Alternative Things to Do in Picton
While it might be hard to believe, there’s more to do in Picton than take a wine tour and eat at the restaurants. There’s amazing scenery, water activities and wildlife encounters to be had, so complete your itinerary with some of the following things to do in Picton.
- Hike the Queen Charlotte Track
- Do a cruise of the Marlborough Sounds
- Hit the mountain biking trails around Picton
- Swim with dolphins
- Check out the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum
- And the Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum
- See the birds on Motuara Island Sanctuary