Upper South Island and the West Coast Restaurants

In Marlborough visit a winery restaurant—there's no better way to ensure that your meal suits what you're drinking. Cloudy Bay clams are harvested here, salmon and Greenshell mussels are farmed in the Marlborough Sounds, and local crops—besides grapes—include cherries and garlic. In Kaikoura try crayfish. The region is named aft
In Marlborough visit a winery restaurant—there's no better way to ensure that your meal suits what you're drinking. Cloudy Bay clams are harvested here, salmon and Greenshell mussels are farmed in the Marlborough Sounds, and local crops—besides grapes—include cherries a
In Marlborough visit a winery restaurant—there's no better way to ensure that your meal suits what you're drinking. Clou

In Marlborough visit a winery restaurant—there's no better way to ensure that your meal suits what you're drinking. Cloudy Bay clams are harvested here, salmon and Greenshell mussels are farmed in the Marlborough Sounds, and local crops—besides grapes—include cherries and garlic. In Kaikoura try crayfish. The region is named after this delicacy (In Māori, kai means "food" and koura means "lobster"). Nelson is also famous for seafood, in particular scallops, and for fresh produce and, yes, for wine. On the West Coast, try the local delicacy whitebait fritters—a sort of omelet filled with the whitebait—tiny, young eel-like fish netted at river mouths as they migrate upstream in late spring.

Some restaurants in more remote tourist regions close in winter (June through August); others may curtail their hours. In summer, all doors are open and it's best to make reservations. If a restaurant is open on a major holiday, it may add a surcharge to your bill.

Year-round, the restaurants and cafés around the glaciers and other remote spots can be quick to close their doors at night. Arrive by 8:30 (it's sometimes even earlier in winter) or you might go hungry. Some of the smallest towns, including Punakaiki, settlements in the Marlborough Sounds, and parts of Golden Bay, have few cafés and no general stores, so bring your own supplies.

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  • 1. Denniston Dog

    $$$ | Café

    This old bank building, complete with a vault, is loaded with local character in its new guise as a cheerful pub and gathering spot. If the...Read More

  • 2. Jester House Cafe

    $$ | Café

    This funky place is as much fun as the name suggests, and is a great spot to bring the kids. The café is built in an eco-friendly style, echoing...Read More

  • 3. Mussel Inn

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Swing by for a quintessential slice of Golden Bay life, music, and craft beer. Locals come for the live music (usually several evenings a week...Read More

  • 4. Red Barn Café

    $$ | Café

    About 10 km (6 miles) north of Murchison this rustic, rural café also has a small farm park with sheep, goats, donkeys, and emus. As cafés go...Read More

  • 5. Riverside Café

    $$$ | Eclectic

    You can chill in this rambling 150-year-old colonial cottage, along the Great Taste Trail cycle path and part of a community for Christian...Read More

  • 6. The Mussel Pot

    $$$ | Seafood

    Outside, giant, green fiberglass mussels play on the roof; inside, the real things are steamed for three minutes in the whole shell or grilled...Read More

  • 7. Riverview Café

    $ | Café

    For the best environment, try this little spot on the northern edge of town. It fronts the river below the Riverview Motor Camp and is a nice...Read More

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