The 10 Best Bars and Restaurants in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Green Dolphin Restaurant and Bar, Kaikoura
Green Dolphin Restaurant and Bar, Kaikoura | © Bevis Chin/Flickr
Thalita Alves

As far as dining is concerned, Kaikoura is a haven for seafood lovers. The New Zealand town is known for being a great spot to catch (and eat) crayfish, among various other fish and seafood. But even if you don’t like this type of cuisine, you’ll easily find the ideal place to eat, drink and be merry. Here are 10 bars and restaurants guaranteed to satisfy all travellers.

The Whaler Bar and Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, Pub Grub

The Whaler is the place to down a range of tap beers, eat a generously sized meal and listen to some cool jukebox tunes while you’re revelling in the fun pub atmosphere. The porterhouse steak special is its most famous meal offering — not just because of its accessible price, but also because of its hearty portions. This is also a good place to try some traditional New Zealand fish and chips as well as other delicacies like seafood chowder.

The Pier Hotel Restaurant & Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, Pub Grub, European

Locals and visitors alike love to pop into The Pier Hotel’s restaurant for a casual meal and drinks. Seafood is where the restaurant thrives — if you want to try some of Kaikoura’s famous crayfish, this would be the place to do it. To top it all off, local wines are always on the drinks menu and the venue’s friendly, country-style ambiance is enhanced by the historical photographs dotted around the bar area.

Green Dolphin Restaurant and Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, European, Seafood

Green Dolphin Restaurant and Bar, Kaikoura
© Bevis Chin/Flickr

The family-owned Green Dolphin Restaurant and Bar prides itself in using freshly caught fish, wild game and locally sourced produce to create an authentically Kaikoura cuisine experience. The dining room offers incredible panoramas of the bay and the Seaward Kaikoura Range, which greatly complement the restaurant’s stunning seasonal menu as well as its boutique beer and wine selection.

Koura Bay Lodge

Golf Hotel, Hotel

Glasses and cutlery
© James Harris/Unsplash
Koura Bay Lodge’s restaurant is an absolute treat for those who relish the fine dining experience. À la carte menu offerings change on a daily basis, in full accordance with what produce, seafood and wild game is available at the time. Even the sauces, pasta and breads that they use are made in-house. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner by reservation only.

Lobster Inn Tavern

Bar, European, Contemporary, Seafood, Pub Grub

© ivan Torres/Unsplash

The Lobster Inn Tavern offers everything you could possibly need on a casual night out: a large screen where you can watch the latest live sports match, private gaming rooms with 16 slot machines, as well as generously apportioned meals and a classic drinks menu to keep all tastes content. Crayfish (i.e. lobster) is the obvious choice for diners, though there are various other options to try too, including a wide assortment of pizzas and seafood mains.


Restaurant, Contemporary, Oceanian, European

Wine glass
© Thomas Martinsen/Unsplash
Zephyr is a stylish restaurant that takes pride in its contemporary New Zealand flavours. If you want to splurge on a shared meal, the full-size crayfish will be right up your alley. A flatbread main caters to vegetarian tastes, while an assortment of lamb, chicken and seafood dishes pleases all other palates. The wine list puts New Zealand viticulture at the forefront, and there’s a good selection of local and international craft beers and ciders to try too.

Black Rabbit Pizza

Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, Vegetarian

With a mix of unique creations and flavours we all know and love, Black Rabbit is a pizza lover’s dream. Lunch or dinner are on offer every day, and the restaurant has plenty of takeaway options too. Interesting toppings on the menu include seafood, rabbit, wild game, chicken with wild nuts as well as lots of vegetable combinations for non-meat eaters.


Restaurant, Cafe, Contemporary, European

© Anton Porsche/Unsplash
SlamClub is an unassuming venue that prides itself in creating simple meals out of the freshest ingredients. Sandwiches and salads are the main thoroughfares here, though the establishment is well-liked for its beer selection too. Live music and regular quiz nights are some of the things that typically draw the crowds to SlamClub during the evening.

Donegal House

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, European, Irish, Contemporary, Oceanian, Vegetarian

Donegal House is an Irish hotel, pub and restaurant known for its homely meals, interesting historic setting and all-round friendly vibes. Roast meals with a choice of lamb, pork or chicken is where Donegal thrives; vegetarian meals and hearty seafood delicacies are always on the menu too. An expansive outdoor seating area makes this the ideal place to chill out with a glass of Marlborough wine as you bask in the amazing sea views.

Caves Restaurant

Cafe, Restaurant, Contemporary

Head to Caves Restaurant for an unpretentious seaside lunch that celebrates the good-old New Zealand fares. With an array of cabinet treats, burgers, plus a rich offering of seafood, beef, lamb and chicken mains this is a place that aptly caters to all appetites and food preferences. You can wash it all down with a nice cup of coffee, smoothie or even a milkshake if you want to satisfy your sweet-tooth inclinations.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article