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Wanaka’s latest eatery Bistro Gentil is testament to the multi-cultural vibrancy of Lake Wanaka. More than a tourist town, it is a place where locals come from every corner of the globe, drawn by the breathtaking landscape and incredible outdoors lifestyle on offer.
Located across the golf club with magnificent views over the lake, Bistro Gentil marries European refinement with Kiwis’ preference for a relaxed atmosphere. Chef Phil Watkin’s modern French cuisine is unfussy, yet innovative enough to excite the palate of sophisticated, well-travelled diners.
“Although many guests refer to our food as fine dining, our ambitions are more modest, bistro-style. It is about letting the ingredients shine through without over-complicating flavours. We aim to serve delicious food that is memorable but unpretentious.” says owner Luc Bohyn.
Bistro Gentil features the best of Central Otago ingredients with menus changing according to seasonal arrivals including vegetables, herbs and edible flowers from the restaurant’s own kitchen garden. Cardrona lamb or goat from the Southern Alps is cooked using techniques and flavour combinations that have made French cuisine renowned the world over.
The restaurant has fast developed a strong reputation for its desserts, whether from the cabinet or à la carte. The treats created by chocolatier Mike Dulin and the Bistro's kitchen are prepared from scratch and as beautiful to look at as they are to eat.
Bistro Gentil is also the first restaurant in the South Island equipped with Enomatic wine machines and the wine card system lets you help yourself to twenty four wines by the glass, half glass and taster: a fantastic way to taste Central Otago gems and French finds.
BG award winning Grand cru olive oils from Provence and fruit balsamic vinegars are also sampled freely from the machines, served with house baked breads as part of the welcome ritual at dinner time.
Bistro Gentil is a must-visit for art lovers travelling to the Southern Lakes with a permanent collection showcasing leading New Zealand artists – paintings by Shane Cotton, Māori carvings by Rangi Kipa and sculptures by Paul Dibble, as well as world class artists with installations by Zhu Wei, Zadok Ben David, John Pule and Jerry Swaffield.
A meal or a drink at Bistro Gentil is a wonderful experience that combines food, art, wine and spectacular views… With a petanque French bowls field overlooking the lake, it is also a fantastic place to spend an indulgent afternoon French style in the company of locals.
Every last Sunday of the month, Bistro Gentil holds a spit roast event where a whole Cardronal lamb is cooked and carved by the chefs straight onto your plate, with live music from local singer songwriters.