Cookai combines Japanese and Kiwi cuisine, with an emphasis on high quality seafood. Sample some of their zensai items, which are served tapas-style on small plates and packed with flavor and complex textures. Standouts include beer battered soft-shell crab with oyster sauce, white fish carpaccio with ponzu jelly and fish roe, and tempura burgers. Big eaters can go for the large selection of grill and teppanyaki sets.
The decor in this popular pizzeria on Papanui Road borders on kitsch, but the cooking is no-nonsense and firmly authentic. Some rare treats like Sicilian arancini (breaded and fried risotto balls) are available, as well as New Zealand twists on classics like the smoked salmon and ‘New Zealand Favourite’ pizzas. Also at hand are expert mixologists and a very decent wine selection.
Tutto Bene, 192 Papanui Road, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 3355 4744