Prepare for some serious eating and drinking in Christchurch. The surrounding natural environment produces incredible fresh produce from both land and sea and its people make fine wines, microbrews, dairy products and other delicacies.
Re:START, the amazing shipping container hub of daytime fun, is full of great canteens or you can peruse the street food vans at the Commons in the city, while on dedicated eat strip Victoria Street you’ll find Sala Sala, sophisticated Saggio di Vino with some fine wine offerings, and buzzy, ever-popular Tequila Mockingbird for tasting plates and a Cuban vibe.
New Regent Street has its share of awesome eats and drinks, including The Last Word, New Zealand’s best whisky bar, housed in a beautiful Spanish Mission-style building. But if you have only one drink in Christchurch, make it at Smash Palace, a labyrinthine cocktail garden on a corner block where drinks are served out of an old bus. It’s a local favourite.
And ah, the coffee … Christchurch knows a thing or two about what makes espresso great. C1 Espresso is the leader of the pack, but don’t miss Black Betty, Passengers & Co and Under the Red Verandah, a Christchurch institution.
Our top picks
50 Park Terrace
Recognised as having one of the world’s most outstanding wine lists, long-established Pescatore puts the fine in fine dining. On level three of the George Hotel with views over Hagley Park, you’re in for the full experience, from stunning decor to the extraordinary techniques and on-plate artistry that goes into delivering each dish. This consistent award winner is true destination dining and a real treat for foodies.
King of Snake
145 Victoria Street
Slick, hip and above all, delicious – King of Snake is all class. This is a place where attention to detail ensures a consistently impressive experience. The winning formula starts with stunning interiors and professional, attentive staff who keep things relaxed. Then the modern Thai menu takes over, walking the line between spicy and accessible, classic and surprising. It’s open very late, too.
Eat like a local
Christchurch Farmers' Market
16 Kahu Road, Riccarton
Riccarton House and Bush is a much-loved heritage site that is everything wonderful about Christchurch in one package; classic historic buildings, ornate gardens on the River Avon and native bush forest featuring ancient kahikatea trees, all less than four kilometres from the city centre. On Saturdays, it hosts the farmers’ market, where locals shop for meats, cheeses, fruit and vegetables. Join them for a paper-bag brunch and great coffee.
15 Bealey Avenue
Strawberry Fare is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but for locals, it’s the place everyone goes later in the evening for dessert. Housed in the restaurant area of a motel on a roundabout, you mightn’t realise it’s there. But follow the crowds: this is one hugely popular institution. There’s nothing scrimpy about the sweet delights – ask for two spoons when you order the likes of the warm chocolate and English toffee pudding, a pile of chocolate brioche and soft English toffee, creme anglaise and vanilla ice-cream.
359 Lincoln Road, Addington
Cargo Bar was the city’s first container bar post earthquake. It’s a fun, surprisingly cosy space created out of shipping containers full of couches, big wooden tables, industrial lighting and a warming open fire. Locals love the covered and heated courtyard, the craft beers, amazing cocktails and fabulous pizzas. It’s just down the road from the Court Theatre, so very handy for drinks before a show.