A visit to fabulous Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island is a delicious journey of discovery. Plan your culinary ‘to-do’ list with these suggestions for places to eat…
Christchurch’s dining scene is going from strength to strength.
Old favourites continue to thrive, while the Rebuild has seen plenty of great new eateries and dining hubs open. Whether you want to enjoy shared plates with friends or sit down to a romantic dinner for two, Christchurch has plenty of options to tempt you.
Here are some ideas for great places to eat in Christchurch.
New Regent Street
New Regent Street, with its famous pastel-coloured Spanish Mission-style architecture, has been the ‘go to’ spot to eat out in Christchurch since the 1930s. In addition to the multi-award-winning Twenty Seven Steps (see below), there are generous South American themed meals at Casa Publica — where you can also sample a huge range of specialty rums. The Nook Eatery serves traditional Thai food that always impresses, and a delicious gelato or sorbet from Rollickin’ Gelato dessert bar is the perfect way to round off your meal.
New kids on the block
Little High Eatery
One of the best new food experiences in Christchurch is the vibrant Little High Eatery, where eight different eateries are co-located in one thriving and colourful hub. Little High Eatery is the perfect place to head if you’re with a group of people and you can’t quite settle on a style of cuisine everyone likes. The seating is shared by all the eateries, and everyone can choose what they like from a wide range of culinary styles on offer. There’s sushi, dumplings, hearty burgers and wood-fired pizzas. Caribe Latin Kitchen is a top option. It offers Latin American and Caribbean style food — along with a killer cocktail list.
Stranges Lane in the heart of the CBD is another new dining hub, that connects a number of eateries and bars. With its industrial-chic vibe, the purpose-built laneway is a great spot to relax with a beverage or casual bite to eat during the day. The party crowd moves in at night.
Award winning cuisine
Twenty Seven Steps
The pick of Christchurch’s fine dining options is Twenty Seven Steps. The European-inspired menu champions locally sourced New Zealand produce, including fish and Canterbury beef. Pair your meal with the best of New Zealand wines. Twenty Seven Steps cleaned up at the 2018 Christchurch Hospitality Awards, claiming a raft of prizes including the coveted Outstanding Restaurant of the Year gong for the second year running.
Gatherings was awarded the Cuisine Good Food award, Best New Metropolitan Restaurant in 2017, and made Cuisine’s list of top 100 New Zealand restaurants. The focus here is on sustainable, seasonal cuisine.
If you are heading out to explore the charming coastal port of Lyttleton, you might like to book a table for lunch at the acclaimed Roots Restaurant. It also took out a spot on Cuisine’s 2017 list of the top 100 New Zealand eateries. The menu utilises ingredients and produce both cultivated and foraged.
Don’t wear your best white blouse to Smoky T’s pop-up barbecue. The winner of the 2018 Christchurch Hospitality Awards for pop-up establishment of the year and breakthrough talent of the year dishes out finger-licking-good ribs that will have you struggling to stay clean.
Friday Street Food Market
If you’re in town on a Friday evening, don’t miss the Friday Street Food Market in Cathedral Square. A fleet of food trucks deliver a veritable world tour of street foods styles. Enjoy Indian curries, Japanese or Malaysian noodles, German bratwurst or Polish goulash. For a sweet treat, indulge in a sticky Egyptian puffed donut or some Transylvanian chimney cake. The market often features live music to entertain the crowd.
Flavours of Asia
Lovers of Asian fare are well catered for in Christchurch. Madam Woo, which opened in February 2017, is a must-try. Under the expert eye of Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett, Madam Woo dishes up flavour-packed Malaysian hawker-style fare. The delicious food comes with great service in a fun street-market themed décor.
Sister Kong Bao Bar
The Chinese-inspired bao buns at Sister Kong Bao Bar are truly delicious. The buns are filled burger-style with flavoursome meats such as the signature saffron chicken. The result is a bao-burger mash up that is mouth-wateringly moreish. Your bao experience can last all day long, with breakfast bao and dessert bao available.
Sun Dog Diner
American-style diner Sun Dog serves up comfort food that’s mind-blowingly (and waist-expandingly) yummy. There are thick fluffy hotcakes, southern fried chicken and carbo-loaded toasted sandwiches filled with macaroni cheese.
Fiddlesticks Restaurant & Bar
The intriguing décor at Fiddlesticks features recycled wood tables and indoor gardens that create a very cool yet calming atmosphere. Following something from its big list of starters, build your own main course from a range of quality proteins including Akaroa salmon, free range pork shoulder and beef cheek with your choice of sides.
The Tramway Restaurant — the only one of its kind in New Zealand — provides the opportunity to enjoy fine Kiwi cuisine while touring central Christchurch in a colonial-era tram car.
Need a place to stay?
Econo Lodge Canterbury Court offers great value accommodation just outside the Christchurch city centre. The hotel is located within easy reach of Horncastle Arena, AMI Stadium and Addington Raceway. There are 20 ground floor accommodation options in a garden setting.
Quality Hotel Elms is situated north of the CBD, and features stylish and contemporary accommodation. Perfect for business and leisure travellers, the hotel features a range of room types — including standard rooms, executive suites and a luxury apartment. Amenities include an onsite restaurant and bar, exercise room and sauna.
Located 10 minutes’ drive from Christchurch Airport, Comfort Inn Riccarton is a great option for guests looking to self-cater. The hotel’s one, two and three-bedroom apartments have fully equipped kitchenettes. There are also studio rooms and spa suites available. The hotel is an 8-minute walk from the University of Canterbury, and cafes, restaurants and cinemas are located nearby.
About the writer
Louise Reynolds is a Melbourne-based freelance travel writer and a regular contributor to The Big Bus tour and travel guide. Louise made up her mind at the age of about four that she would one day travel the world – and has so far visited around 30 countries spread across five continents. Her favourite way to explore the world is on foot and her boots have taken her walking on famous trails in Europe, South America and New Zealand.
Cover image: Roots Restaurant, Lyttelton. Image courtesy of ChristchurchNZ