36 Best Restaurants in Upper South Island and the West Coast, New Zealand

Stations Inn—Waterwheel Restaurant and Bar

$$$$

Experience quality, classic New Zealand fare in a setting with grand views of the Southern Alps and Tasman Sea. Whether it's meat, fish, shellfish, or vegetables, this place delivers, and also matches its food with the local West Coast brew, Monteith's. The restaurant sits on a river terrace a couple of miles out of Hokitika, alongside a small number of accommodation suites. On summer evenings you can sit outside; inside you can peruse photos of the Blue Spur Goldfields, located here in the 1860s.

Blue Spur Rd., Hokitika, 7882, New Zealand
03-755–5499
Known For
  • Special occasion dining
  • Stunning views
  • Excellent beef and lamb dishes
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch, Reservations essential

The Apple Shed Kitchen and Bar

$$$

The Māpua Wharf setting complements the food, and you can watch the boats go by while dining on quality produce (organic when possible) washed down with Nelson wines, ciders, and craft beers. All bread is baked in-house, the coffee is great, and the menu serves a mix of small and large plates. You can dine inside or outside. Once an apple packing shed, this restaurant utilizes its waterfront location perfectly. 

The Craypot

$$

Sustainably caught seafood is the star at this casual, friendly café, but other menu offerings are equally appealing. Meals range from eggs, pancakes, and toasties for breakfast and brunch to lunch steaks, soups, and salads. There’s also a range of the finest Kiwi craft beers and very good coffee served at this indoor/outdoor eatery.

70 West End Rd., Kaikoura, 7300, New Zealand
Known For
  • Seafood chowder
  • Kiwi craft beer menu
  • Board games to keep diners entertained
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner

Recommended Fodor's Video

The Mussel Pot

$$

The locally farmed mussels are the stars in this quirky café although the other meals like fish, burgers, pastas, and salads, all served with local wines and craft beers, are also good. As for the mussels, you can order them steamed or grilled with amazing flavors and toppings. On sunny days, head to the courtyard out back.

The Pier Hotel

$$$$

In a two-story Victorian waterfront hotel overlooking Ingles Bay, one of Kaikoura's most dependable eateries serves traditional (albeit updated) New Zealand pub fare. The bar serves cheaper lunches and pub snacks if you're just looking to graze. Courtesy coach to and from Town Centre by arrangement.

1 Avoca St., Kaikoura, 7300, New Zealand
03-319–5037
Known For
  • Vintage pub ambience
  • Focus on seafood like chowders, lobster, and line-caught fish
  • Mountain views
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Wholemeal Cafe

$$$

Set in the old Tākaka movie theater, this place is synonymous with the alternative feel that is Golden Bay. The breakfast and lunch menus are substantial and wholesome, or you can catch an early dinner on Friday and Saturday when they are open until 8 pm. There's plenty of room to find a table, even at the height of summer. Eat indoors or out, and you’ll be joined by all walks of the local community. 

60 Commercial St., Takaka, 7110, New Zealand
03-525–9426
Known For
  • Funky vibe
  • Amazing baked goods
  • Coffee sourced direct from high-altitude farmers in Timor Leste
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Sun.–Thurs.