21 Best Restaurants in Christchurch and Canterbury, New Zealand

Dux Central

$$$ Fodor's choice

This restaurant's laneway setting and beautifully restored two-level building gives it a London pub feel. With food and drinks to suit all tastes, it's a popular hangout for locals day and night. Plush dining rooms and a wide covered veranda lead to a manicured garden that is also a year-round source of produce for this busy kitchen. The pizzas are hard to skip (try the salmon), and the lime-and-coriander-crusted fish is a treat. Staff go out of their way to make you feel at home for brunch, lunch, dinner, or a drink anytime. The emphasis here is on seafood, vegetarian, and vegan dishes. The Dux also brews its own acclaimed beers.

King of Snake

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Don't be fooled by the unassuming alleyway outside: this chic restaurant and bar delivers fine Asian fusion cuisine on all levels. It's hard to recommend particular dishes because they are all exquisitely prepared and taste so good, served in a striking, seductive setting. Try the spinach leaf with roasted coconut, peanuts, garlic, chili, and lime for a stunning starter or the light, crunchy texture of moong dal and mixed seed salad with fresh lime and avocado. The sticky beef wontons are popular but save room for the equally delicious main courses to follow. There's a good selection of wine and, of course, fabulous cocktails. The restaurant is offset from the road, so keep your eyes peeled to find it.

If you can't get a table at this popular spot, head to the bar and check out the snack menu so you don't miss out altogether.

145 Victoria St., Christchurch, 8013, New Zealand
Known For
  • signature King of Snake cocktail with potent kick of chili and ginger
  • delicious snack menu at the bar
  • exotic dishes designed to share
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch weekends


$$$$ Fodor's choice
It's well worth making the journey to this award-winning haven for honest food, made from scratch by passionate people, using local organic and biodynamic ingredients. The philosophy here is all about bringing high-quality produce to the table, from the owners' garden, preserve cellar, and foraged nature. The degustation menu from the open kitchen includes seasonal specialties like blackfoot paua (abalone), Muscovy duck, wagyu beef, long-line caught fish, and guinea fowl.
8 London St., Lyttelton, 8082, New Zealand
Known For
  • <PRO>eight-course degustation menu of seasonal and local products that changes every three months</PRO>
  • <PRO>wonderful wine pairings</PRO>
  • <PRO>open-kitchen setting</PRO>
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Recommended Fodor's Video

Twenty Seven Steps

$$$$ Fodor's choice

It's worth the climb 27 steps to this stylish European bistro, consistently rated one of New Zealand's best and situated on New Regent Street's heritage row. The welcoming staff delivers stand-out dishes (including several excellent vegan options) made with a wide variety of fresh local produce, including Canterbury beef, lamb, Te Tapu venison, and Akaroa salmon. A generous wine cellar, with an emphasis on Waipara locals, is tucked into the snug cocktail bar.

16 New Regent St., Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand
Known For
  • contemporary bistro style in a beautiful heritage space
  • stellar service from the owners and staff, who really know their food
  • top local wines and beers in a cute little bar
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch



Set in the heart of Christchuch's dining haven, The Terrace, this rain-forest-inspired restaurant combines delicious food with friendly service. Behind the busy bar is an opulent dining area with an open kitchen where you can watch the talented chefs create Mediterranean-style dishes.

126 Oxford Terr., Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand
Known For
  • wood-fired grill
  • impressive interior design
  • chefs willing to cook to order if you have special requirements

Blue Pub


tk review. 

Bully Hayes Restaurant & Bar


Named after a notorious American pirate, this modern restaurant occupies a great site overlooking the yachts moored in the harbor. New Zealand cuisine is highlighted, and there are light and full-size main courses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all year round.

Cafe Primo e Secundo


Set in a retro-vintage shop on MacMillan Street, you'll find treasures herealong with their legendary bacon-and-egg sandwiches and excellent coffee. Grab a granola breakfast here and a muffin for later.

Civil and Naval


This cozy haunt is packed with locals who come for the tasty tapas-style food, produced in a tiny kitchen, and the excellent cocktails. There's an eclectic selection of international and New Zealand wines, spirits, and craft beers.

16 London St., Lyttelton, 8082, New Zealand
Known For
  • green courtyard on sunny days and cozy log fires in winter
  • inventive cocktails created by a master barman
  • beautifully executed and affordable food

Curator's House


Here you can dine in a 1920s Tudor-style house, looking out on the Botanic Gardens and the Peacock Fountain, or take a garden table and be part of it. The menu has tapas selections and a good variety of seafood, with owner–chef Javier Garcia producing authentic Spanish cuisine evoking an old-world atmosphere. Try the Cordero Asado (slow roasted alpine lamb shoulder) or something a bit lighter like the Spanish Paella served in its pan. The kitchen garden supplies herbs, berries, and vegetables to the restaurant, and they have a strong environmental policy to keep things green.

7 Rolleston Ave., Christchurch, 8013, New Zealand
Known For
  • excellent paella
  • impressive kitchen garden supplying herbs and vegetables all year-round
  • alfresco dining in summer, and cozy fireside dining in winter

Ilex Cafe


One of the city's most beautiful pieces of architecture also houses one its most popular cafés. Christchurch Botanic Gardens's rare plants and nurseries sit alongside a busy dining room in this modern take on a glass conservatory. With their own vegetables and herbs just outside, the ilex chefs are no doubt inspired by the 52 acres surrounding them. Line up with the locals for well-priced and inventive seasonal soups, pies, and salads washed down with organic soda or a glass of wine. The clever cakes and desserts-in-a jar taste as good as they look. On a fine day grab a picnic blanket from the friendly staff and spread out on the impressive lawn.

Little Vintage Espresso


Tucked away down a side street off the main road, this cute little café with a red door is packed with country locals and is fast becoming a popular visitor stop, too. Besides the great coffee, there's also an excellent selection of well-priced baked goods, including delicious muffins, and a tasty brunch menu to suit all appetites.

20 Markham St., Amberley, 7410, New Zealand
Known For
  • cinnamon scrolls
  • delicious gluten-free cakes and slices
  • power-packed salads
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Lyttelton Coffee Company

Well-known for its excellent coffee available in many Christchurch cafés, this is the home of the legendary roastery and plenty of hearty fare to match. Great service and an arty atmosphere mean this heritage building is buzzing from early morning until late afternoon every day.
29 London St., Lyttelton, 8082, New Zealand
No phone
Known For
  • some of the best coffee in the region
  • outdoor deck with fabulous views over the harbor
  • freshly baked muffins big enough for two
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner

No. 31 Restaurant & Bar


In a renovated villa on the main road into Hanmer, No. 31 serves exceptional food. Its well-established local chef specializes in modern New Zealand cuisine, using the best local produce, offered with a selection of wines from the Waipara–Hanmer area. Candlelit, moody, and romantic inside, you can also dine alfresco in summer.

31 Amuri Ave., Hanmer Springs, 7334, New Zealand
Known For
  • award-winning beef, lamb, and venison dishes
  • great craft beer selection
  • romantic atmosphere
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and 2 wks in winter (dates vary)



This predominantly seafood restaurant is renowned for its creative, conceptual New Zealand cuisine. From the moment you set foot into the white space-age foyer at the George Hotel, taste buds are tantalized with local, seasonally influenced and sustainably sourced ingredients. Choose from the à la carte or degustation menu and enjoy some unusual pairings (think celery sorbet with chocolate). There's an extensive wine list to accompany the interesting food.

50 Park Terr., Christchurch, 8013, New Zealand
Known For
  • <PRO>artfully prepared degustation menus matched with an extensive wine list</PRO>
  • <PRO>superb service and attention to detail</PRO>
  • <PRO>great views over Hagley Park</PRO>
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch, Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Powerhouse Cafe and Restaurant


Now a popular café for locals, the Powerhouse building used to contain a small hydroelectric generator that supplied power to the old Queen Mary Hospital and a few streetlights. Today, it opens at 8 am offering a great brunch menu to suit all tastes with local and free-range ingredients used in dishes that are all house-made.

8 Jacks Pass Rd., Hanmer Springs, 7334, New Zealand
Known For
  • hearty high-country breakfasts
  • lots of gluten-free options
  • wonderful fresh salads for lunch
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Sun.–Fri.

South Town Club


A great place to get a coffee fix, this hip café is styled with a utilitarian look based on a distinctive red-and-white grid pattern. Careful attention to detail is evident on the food side, too, with simple house-made, organic, and locally sourced breakfast and lunch dishes. Countertop goodies are served with excellent coffee, sodas, shakes, and smoothies. Sit at the communal bar or smart wooden tables.

10 Welles St., Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand
Known For
  • trendy ex-garage location on Christchurch's coolest street
  • great coffee and can't-miss milkshakes
  • jack's eggs omelet for breakfast, miso-glazed mushroom dish for lunch
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner



This eatery's clever take on Asian fusion has won rave reviews from locals thanks to its selection of carefully crafted dishes that are perfect for sharing. It's set in the beautiful Old Royal Hotel Building on the waterfront, and the atmosphere is stylish and relaxed.

5 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton, 8082, New Zealand
Known For
  • tasty okonomiyaka (Japanese pancakes with a twist)
  • locally sourced, organic produce with lots of vegan options
  • intriguing desserts

The Trading Rooms Restaurant & Bar


European spins on local produce, meat, and seafood, along with a seaside location, make for sought-after reservations here. Dark wooden floors, white tablecloths, and leather chairs lend a seaside chic quality, and, on a nice day, you can sit outside. Seafood is the highlight, with Akaroa salmon and local grouper featuring, along with Banks Peninsula lamb and a duo of beef. Lunch is all about the sea with a salmon tasting plate, a seafood platter for two, and mussels marinière.

71 Beach Rd., Akaroa, 7520, New Zealand
Known For
  • excellent seafood, particularly Akaroa salmon and grouper
  • boutique Banks Peninsula wines
  • signature dish of Canterbury lamb
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed every June but may vary; check website

Welles Street


This inner-city pub anchors the emerging South Town neighborhood of the Central Business District, and this big indoor–outdoor space has plenty of atmosphere. Menu items range from contemporary pub food to Mediterranean cuisine, all made using local produce. You cant beat the souvlaki served with Greek donuts. They often have live music, and there's a pool table in the back.