Guide To Christchurch Restaurants

The cuisine of Christchurch and New Zealand as a whole is difficult to pin down. The tastes and flavours combine the traditional traits of British cusine with Pacific Rim and Mediterranean influences. The dish that’s claimed locally is the sweet Pavlova meringue.

Like so many things in Christchurch, the restaurant scene has changed dramatically since the 2011 earthquake, with a new brand of fine-dining eateries now adding a dash of modern class to the once super-traditional vibe. That said, there are still plenty of classic New Zealand options on the table and you won’t have to venture far to find something to suit your palate. 

Downtown Christchurch

Downtown Christchurch is home to a real mix of places to eat. The 2011 earthquake damaged many of the old restaurants here, but there are still a lot of the big names that locals love. For example, the classic-looking Tiffany’s is set in a pleasant green area on the banks of the river and serves a seasonal menu of local meat dishes and Mediterranean fusion food. Fiddlesticks is one of the new breed, a modern and stylish restaurant with a fine-dining menu. It’s set amidst the arty district of downtown and boasts a large outdoor area with an open fire. For a taste of the east, the Lotus Heart offers a fantastic vegetarian menu with a mix of oriental and Indian cuisine. 

Riccarton Road

In many ways the beating heart of Christchurch’s culinary scene, the long avenue of Riccarton Road stretches right the way from the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to the district of Sockburn in the west. There’s an abundance of choice when it comes to eating too, with everything from Vietnamese (check out the local favourite Saigon Star) and Indian (try the casual and well-known Arjee Bhajee), to Italian and French. While this used to be a centre for high-end dining, many of the top bistros have moved further out from the city centre, leaving Riccarton to thrive as a more laid-back and affordable food spot. 

Addington and Cashmere

Coffee shops and cafés dominate the scene in Addington and Cashmere districts to the south of Hagley Park. The former has a little more of a city vibe, and is home to the famous Addington Coffee Co-op, selling fair trade cuppa’s and a range of in-house clothing. Cashmere is more remote and many of the places here enjoy fantastic views over the city. Check out The Cup, a great café-come-bistro serving some super-fresh seafood dishes, a range of coffees and some creatively made salads. 

Lyttlelton

Seafood really is the bulk of the menu here, and for good reason. Many of the restaurants in Lyttlelton are close to the quayside, giving them access to fresh fish daily. At the high-end Roots restaurant there isn’t even a menu, just the catch of the day. Other favourites include Fishermans Wharf, a rustic looking eatery with a great seafood selection, and the Porthole Bar, where classic pub grub goes hand in hand with local entertainment.