Guide To Christchurch Restaurants

The cuisine of Christchurch and New Zealand as a whole is difficult to pin down.  The tastes and flavours combine the traditional traits of British cusine with Pacific Rim and Mediterranean influences.  The dish that’s claimed locally is the sweet Pavlova meringue.

Like so many things in Christchurch, the restaurant scene has changed dramatically since the 2011 earthquake, with a new brand of fine-dining eateries now adding a dash of modern class to the once super-traditional vibe.  That said, there are still plenty of classic New Zealand options on the table and you won’t have to venture far to find something to suit your palate. 

The Terrace

The Terrace Area features many of the high end restaurants overlooking the Avon River.  This popular dining spot is the place for rooftop cocktails and dancing the night away.  The modern and spacious restaurants feature stylish interiors and include all types of cuisine.

Riverside Market

Located on the Corner of Lichfield St & Oxford Terrace, the Riverside Market overlooks the Avon River and has a fresh take on inner city life with a daily indoor market linking into a boutique network of retail, restaurants, cooking schools, cafes and bars.  

New Regent Street

New Regent Street was built in the early 1930's and is a colorful pedestrian street designed in a Spanish Mission architectural style.  The pretty street is full of some of the best bars, restaurants and cafes in Christchurch.  In the evenings it's the spot to enjoy a cocktail at a stylish bar and see a show at the Isaac Theatre.

Over at Little High Eatery on Asaph Street you can experience eight delightful local and family-run businesses inside a modern marketplace with plenty of shared seating.

Victoria Street is home to the Christchurch Casino and a good place for eating out with plenty of food options including America Diner, Pizza and Mexican restaurants.

Riccarton Road

In many ways the beating heart of Christchurch’s culinary scene, the long avenue of Riccarton Road stretches right the way from the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to the district of Sockburn in the west.  There’s an abundance of choice when it comes to eating too, with everything from Vietnamese (check out the local favourite Saigon Star) and Indian (try the casual and well-known Arjee Bhajee), to Italian and French.  While this used to be a centre for high-end dining, many of the top bistros have moved further out from the city centre, leaving Riccarton to thrive as a more laid-back and affordable food spot. 

Addington and Cashmere

Coffee shops and cafés dominate the scene in Addington and Cashmere districts to the south of Hagley Park.  The former has a little more of a city vibe, and is home to the famous Addington Coffee Co-op, selling fair trade cuppa’s and a range of in-house clothing. Cashmere is more remote and many of the places here enjoy fantastic views over the city.  Check out The Cup, a great café-come-bistro serving some super-fresh seafood dishes, a range of coffees and some creatively made salads. 


Seafood really is the bulk of the menu here, and for good reason.  Many of the restaurants in Lyttlelton are close to the quayside, giving them access to fresh fish daily.  At the high-end Roots restaurant there isn’t even a menu, just the catch of the day.  Other favourites include Fishermans Wharf, a rustic looking eatery with a great seafood selection, and the Porthole Bar, where classic pub grub goes hand in hand with local entertainment. 


Eight miles southeast of Christchurch is the popular coastal town of Sumner. The Esplanade is the main road lining the ocean and beach. It's a pleasant, tree-lined street, set back from the sea, with plenty of parking at both ends.  Populated mainly with holiday apartments and private houses, there are a few bars and shops at the far western end. At Cave Rock, you'll find beach cafes and bars which create a Mediterranean feel, so expect it to be heaving during peak season.