Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. Blighted by the 2011 earthquake, it has repaired both structural and emotional wounds to return to a region of gastronomical delight. Here we explore New Zealand’s foodie scene, spanning everything from organic pastries to microbrews, in 10 unmissable Christchurch restaurants.
Strawberry Fare pride themselves on serving the very freshest and predominantly organic ingredients, cooked to perfection and adjusted to the exact taste of the individual consumer. With a range of menus served in the chic, monochrome interior, choose a sumptuous breakfast treat such as corn and capsicum fritters with feta and tomato jam. If searching for sustenance a little later in the day, the restaurant comes into its own with the lunch and dinner menu, offering classics such as Caesar salad and spring pea risotto followed by slow-cooked beef rib or chicken with caramelized, balsamic onions.
Bar, Restaurant, European, Contemporary, Beer, Wine, $$$
Tucked into the heart of Halswell, sits the stunning 1898 villa housing The Old Vicarage Bar and Restaurant. It boasts numerous beautiful rooms for private dining, a large restaurant and an alfresco garden courtyard. Enjoy smoked fish and mussel chowder or pork belly with sea salt crackling before progressing to the bourbon glazed, South Island high country venison with smoked parsnip, or shitake, oyster and Swiss brown mushroom risotto with herbed crème fraiche. Pop into their well-stocked and stylish bar pre or post dinner to enjoy your favorites on tap, a boutique beer or a glass of something from their extensive wine list.
A haven for wine lovers, Gustav’s Kitchen and Wine Bar offers one of the largest wine lists in New Zealand, featuring native tipples and selected international wines. Relax in the wine bar with a sharing platter or wind down after a delicious meal, taking in the relaxed atmosphere and lilting jazz. Over in the restaurant half of Gustav’s, enjoy familiar favorites shaken up in a fresh and unique way, displaying the best of New Zealand’s culinary prowess. Begin with mackerel escabeche with capsicum and jalapeno salsa followed by grilled quinoa and halloumi with fig elderflower relish, watermelon and rocket.
Set in an 1860’s villa with eccentric interior décor, Cook N’ With Gas is a unique dining experience. The award-winning restaurant is a venue of two halves. You can relax with delicious local cuisine and a chilled beverage in the causal Astro Lounge, complete with large movie screen, outdoor barbeque, plush outdoor furniture and live music weekends, or head straight to the restaurant to enjoy an extensive range of succulent grills or a feast of delicate roast salmon tail.
Restaurant, European, North American, Greek, Wine, Beer, $$$
With every dish personally checked by the head chef before it reaches the tables, it is clear that exceptionally high quality, flavorsome cuisine is the order of the day at Costas Taverna. Begin with the spectacular, flaming saganaki, comprising imported kefalograviera cheese seared on a grill and flambéed at the table in Metaxa brandy, served simply with a wedge of lemon and flakes of oregano. From this bold start, progress to rings of succulent calamari or a souvlaki platter piled high with grilled Canterbury lamb, pita, hummus, capsicum mayonnaise and creamy tzatziki.
Serving melt-in-the-mouth, traditional Bengali cuisine, Nobanno is a gastronomic treat due to its deliciously exotic flavors and unusual, fresh ingredients. Particular specialties include seafood Bhaja – succulent prawns smothered in specially prepared chickpea batter and gently deep-fried – and Kathi Murghi kebabs, chunky chicken strips marinated with coconut, yogurt, herbs and accompanied by Nobanno aromatic sauce. In addition to this, Nobanno offers a range of Tandoori dishes and exotic curries, the latter flavored with ingredients such as aniseed, cottage cheese or banana pieces.
The intimate, effortlessly stylish ambiance of one of Christchurch’s foremost Japanese restaurants, Kinji, is rivaled only by the quality of their cuisine. Using delicious, fresh ingredients with which to create their authentic dishes, Kinji offer everything from classics such as wasabi octopus and sesame seaweed presented in a tapas style menu, to expertly created sushi and sashimi. For something a little more unusual, try the marbled beef Carpaccio (grain fed for 130 days) with salad or Japanese sake steamed mussels, all followed by a green tea tiramisu.
As the name suggests, St Germain are inspired by French cuisine. Using locally sourced, fresh ingredients, St Germain promise all-round enjoyment with scallops and duck breast a l’orange alongside the more acquired taste of snails accented with aromatic, creamy, blue cheese gratin. The restaurant itself is a beautiful mix of monochrome furniture, exposed beams and sensitive lighting, making St Germain the ideal spot to escape to the romantic capital of Europe for the evening.
The Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant is a breath of fresh air: prioritizing clean and conscious living, they strive daily to promote the healthy, vegetarian way of life. The menu offers dishes such as masala dosa – a south Indian lentil and rice dosa crepe filled with potato masala and served with chutney and daal. You’ll also find superfood smoothies created with fresh greens and colorful fruits as well as silky, Indian chai.
Situated within a gorgeous, turn of the century Villa once home to the Station Master for the Riccarton Railway, Dux Dine has a surprisingly upbeat, contemporary feel. The interior of this award winning venue merges the modern restaurant with its historical façade. Dux has strong relationships with local suppliers, artisan producers and growers so their ingredients are fresh, seasonal and lovingly produced and prepared. Start with light prawn and crab dumplings followed by crispy, tofu red curry with jasmine rice, pizza, seasonal salads or Akaroa salmon with fried caper berries, parsnips and carrot confit.