Wine and food experiences in and around Christchurch proudly celebrate this region’s abundant ingredients and natural bounty.
The Christchurch city centre is teeming with innovative bars and restaurants. On High Street, near C-1 which was the first café to reopen in the city post-earthquakes, there’s a colourful and quirky bar and burger restaurant called Smash Palace named after a classic Kiwi film. And just across the river, the Victoria Street precinct is the city’s newest 'eat street' with multiple bars and restaurants. Stranges Lane is another popular new dining destination in Christchurch where several restaurants share an open courtyard in a heritage laneway development. The George (a five-star hotel in the city) serves award-winning food from its restaurants, including the uber-cool Pescatore, which is renowned for is fine dining. For a truly unique experience, hop on board the Christchurch Tram and enjoy Canterbury’s fine cuisine in the Tramway Restaurant.
Christchurch’s cuisine experience is not limited to the central city. Its suburbs are also bursting with a range of eateries and bars, from casual neighbourhood restaurants to fine dining establishments. A short 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre, Addington is home to a bunch of popular cafes and pubs, including Addington Coffee Co-op and the quirky Pedal Pusher’s. A short distance from Hagley Park, the pretty suburb of Merivale boasts some of the city’s busiest hospitality establishments while the suburb of Fendalton offers visitors the opportunity to experience several types of cuisines and dining experiences side-by-side.
If you’re after a well-crafted cold brew, a visit to one of Christchurch’s many brewing companies and specialist bars won’t disappoint. The city has several micro-breweries offering tours and a chance to sample some of the region’s award-winning beers. These include Harrington’s, Three Boys Brewery and Wigram. Top spots to taste local brews include The Brewery and The Twisted Hop in Woolston, located a short 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre. Dux Central, Pomeroy’s, The Volstead and Darkroom Bar are other spots around the city that are a hit with hopheads.
For a fresh and authentic Canterbury culinary experience, visit one of many Christchurch markets. Featuring artisan food, homemade treats and fresh produce, markets are also a great spot to meet the people behind these gastronomic treats. Christchurch Farmers’ Market and Riccarton Market are popular in the city. A little further away Lyttleton Farmers’ Market and Akaroa Markets are also a must-visit.
Banks Peninsula and Akaroa ooze French charm. The haboruside town of Lyttleton (only 20 minutes from the city centre) has a collection of funky cafes and restaurants that offer a truly grand Canterbury cuisine experience. Among these is the award-winning Roots restaurant where the menu is boldly created from food they have grown, foraged or sourced locally from artisan and sustainable producers. The resulting experience at this tiny restaurant is exemplary. Fresh local salmon and deepwater groper are regional specialties.
Within a couple of hours’ drive from Christchurch city, Kaikoura is another foodie haven. The seaside town is the home of crayfish (lobster). You can buy it freshly cooked from a roadside stall and eat it on the rocks beside the sea. Wine lovers must visit Waipara Valley north of the city. Mud House Wine Company, Pegasus Bay, Greystone Wines and Muddy Water are among the celebrated wineries here.