The 10 Best Restaurants in Wanaka, New Zealand

Fine dining
Fine dining | © Jay Wennington/Unsplash
Thalita Alves

Wanaka boasts a great selection of restaurants with something for everyone. It may be that you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, a pleasant sit-down meal or a budget-friendly dining option — whatever your craving is, this New Zealand town will serve it. In fact, here are 10 establishments that prove it.

1. Kika

Restaurant, European, Oceanian, Contemporary, Gluten-free, Vegetarian

Kika was brought to life by the same people behind Wanaka’s iconic Francesca’s Kitchen. Generously apportioned, tapas style meals have made this restaurant quite popular with locals and visitors alike. The roast lamb, the beautifully plated desserts and the special ‘just feed me’ set menus are among Kika’s top highlights. Make sure to come in early as this place gets quite busy.

2. Kai Whakapai

Bar, Cafe, Pub Grub, Contemporary, European, Vegetarian

Man drinking beer
© Robert Mathews/Unsplash

With a name that means ‘food made good’, this lakefront cafe and bar is known for offering quite a well-rounded experience. Whether you’re popping in for a quick lunch during the day or a low-key dinner at night, Kai Whakapai has got all tastes covered. Expect to be spoiled for choice when it comes to locally produced craft beers, a great selection of vegetarian dishes, cafe cabinet treats and all sorts of decently priced meals.

3. The Spice Room

Restaurant, Indian

© Taken/Pixabay

If you have an affinity for Indian cuisine, a visit to The Spice Room is an absolute must. Deliciously authentic dishes are the main draw card here, and the venue even offers wine matches with its meals to add a local flavour into the mix. If you’re keen to dine in, it is recommended that you book a table as this is quite a popular establishment.

5. Relishes Cafe

Cafe, Restaurant, Contemporary, European, Oceanian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free

Relishes Cafe is one of Wanaka’s oldest eateries — and it’s fair to say it has become a local institution in its own right, thanks to its wonderful lakefront vistas and contemporary cuisine. The venue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has plenty of tasty options available for vegetarians, seafood lovers and meat eaters alike. In the winter months, a roaring fireplace makes this the ideal place to warm up after a day playing in the snow.

6. Cardrona Hotel

Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Contemporary, European, Wine, Beer, Fast Food

Cardrona Hotel
© edwin.11/Flickr

There’s more to the Cardrona Hotel than a rustic countryside charm: its cozy bar and restaurant is a favourite among guests, Wanaka locals and travellers who have popped in for a lunch while out on the road or dinner after a day of exploring. Traditional pub thoroughfares, using the area’s freshest seasonal produce, are always a given. Craft beers and celebrated wines from the Central Otago region are also available for those wanting to sip something local.

7. Urban Grind

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Contemporary, European, Asian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free

Urban Grind is just as great of a place for a casual brunch as it is for a low-key dinner. During the day you’ll find a balanced mix of traditional breakfast favourites (think eggs bene or a bacon and egg butty), a wide range of gourmet pizzas and interesting dishes like Thai and Japanese pancakes on the menu. At night, your coffee and smoothies are replaced with a changing selection of beers, an extensive wine list and a small selection of cocktails.

8. Ode Conscious Dining

Restaurant, European, Oceanian, Contemporary

Fine dining
© Jay Wennington/Unsplash
Ode Conscious brings a wholesome fine dining flair to Wanaka’s restaurant scene. Meals are centred around the freshest local produce available and dishes are known to change to a whim. Naturally, set menus are the norm here: you can select from the three-course ‘trust the chef’ experience, the eight-course flagship menu (which changes weekly), and a 13-course degustation. All of these come with the option of wine pairing, and can be adapted to suit any dietary requirement provided you give the chefs plenty of advance warning.

9. Lake Bar

Bar, Gastropub, European, Pub Grub, Contemporary, Wine, Beer

The Lake Bar is a gastropub with beautiful views and a great menu to match. The venue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s even a kids’ menu available if you happen to be looking for a family-friendly place to unwind. All-day offerings like the seafood chowder and shared tasting platters are some of the restaurant’s top crowd pleasers.

10. Red Star Burger Bar

Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, North American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Wine, Beer

Burger on a plate
© Robin Stickel/Unsplash

Queenstown has the famous Fergburger; Wanaka has Red Star. This budget-friendly joint has been plating up gourmet hamburgers since 2004 and has gained quite a loyal following over the years. There are beef, lamb, chicken, fish, vegetarian and even breakfast burger options to sink your teeth into. Portions are always huge and ingredients are primarily sourced from local producers.

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