Where to eat in Te Anau? The village is not big and the choices in terms of gastronomy are limited. Pizzerias, Asian restaurants, a few New Zealand breweries and bars. And the Kepler restaurant. This is probably the best restaurant in town and it is the one where I have been working since the beginning of November. Before working at Kepler I was not a big fan of fish, octopus or ribs. But Edu’s cuisine turns it all into wonderfully tasty dishes. Kepler Restaurant, whose name pays homage to one of the local Great Walks, has existed in Te Anau for quite some time but has recently changed owners. For the past ten months, it has been run by Eduardo, a Chilean who has been living in New Zealand for ten years. Edu, as its employees call him, decided to create a menu offering Fiordland specialties with a South American touch. He and his kitchen team (Ingrid, Marek, Pablo and Yanette, a mix of Chileans and Argentines) are true artists of the kitchen. Each dish is a mixture of extraordinary flavors with a magnificent presentation that always impresses customers. Seafood platter, Crayfish, lamb chops, milcao, various fish fillets, soups, papas rellenas, ceviche, bread & dips, pasta, chupe, vegetables, pieces of beef and venison, cheesecake, picarones mix in a delightful dish.

For meat lovers, the Lamb Rack is not to be missed. The Ribeye (piece of beef) or the Venison Medallion are also very good, but my heart is in favor of the lamb because of its magnificent presentation and the tenderness of the meat. Eight chops are served with a side dish of vegetables and mash. One of the most tender meat I have ever tasted. As for fish, the specialties of the day such as Crayfish, Seafood Platter, Duo of Fish and Homemade Seafood Pasta are musts. But my number 1 remains the Taste of Earth and Sea for its mixture of fish soup (Hoki fillet) with tomato broth and pork ribs to die for. These are so tender that the bone is almost edible. Everything comes with sautéed vegetables for an absolutely perfect mixture.

The restaurant is not large and only has two rooms but is filled every evening. Superb photographs of Patagonia are hung on the wall, one very similar to Fiordland, most of the customers are trapped. Very pretty blackboards drawn in chalk and made by Dana illustrate the specialties. The music is a velvet glove for the ears, a mixture of jazz, South American music and the great classics of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

The service is performed by Katie (the manager, from the Philippines), Dana (from Argentina), Radek (from the Czech Republic), Thiaré (from Chile) and then me during my few months in Te Anau. A multi-cultural team that works well, full of smiles and good will. During my period of work at the restaurant, I greatly appreciated the pleasant atmosphere that emanates from the place as well as the opportunity to chat with customers to discuss our respective trips. The restaurant is also open in the morning and offers a breakfast mixing again New Zealand specialties (bacon & eggs, toasties) and a South American touch with facturas (croissants) not to be missed. A restaurant waiting for you in Te Anau.

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