I’ve tried and tested the best places to eat in Christchurch to bring you my top recommendations.
Keep an eye out for options with a star (⭐) next to them – these are not to be missed!
The dollar signs ($) next to each name indicate a rough pricing.
Best places to eat in Christchurch
⭐ Dimitris Greek Food $
110 Cashell St, 8011
Delicious. Filling. Cheap. What more could you want from a city-centre street food van?
Having eaten plenty of authentic Greek food in Greece, I can safely say that Dimitris food rivals the very best in Greece itself! Their simple menu consists of mainly souvlaki – a choice of meat, falafel or veggies served either wrapped in a pita or on a plate. Sounds simple but tastes amazing!
The meats on offer are chicken, beef (minced or steak), lamb and pork. Your choice of meat (or falafel/veggies) is then accompanied by lashings of tzatziki, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and Dimitris special tomato sauce. Optional extras of chilli sauce and hummus are free – make to ask when you order so they add them inside!
I went for a lamb souvlaki in a pita with double portion of meat, extra hummus and a dash of chilli sauce. The chunks of lamb were tender, juicy and full of flavour. The hummus complimented the meatiness and the chilli sauce gave a subtle kick. Even with my large appetite, the double portion filled me up.
Based on the large portions, I’d say Dimitris is pretty good value. Single servings of meat are NZ$13 (£6.7/US$8.5) and double servings are just NZ$15.5 (£8/US$10). Dimitris van in the city centre (110 Cashell St, 8011) is usually open from 11am-3pm, but these hours are extremely weather dependent; rain equals no shoppers and no business. Check their Facebook page here for the latest updates. Alternatively, visit their restaurant at 86 Riccarton Road.
Little High $$
255 St Asaph St, 8011
Little High is a bustling modern food court. Laid out in one large room are 8 different eateries representing cuisines from across the globe. Unlike some food courts, there is an air of prestige about Little High; its unique layout, exquisite decoration and intimate setting make for a very vibrant atmosphere. You’ve really got to come here to experience it!
With so much top-quality choice in one room, it can be tough to choose what to eat and drink. Examples include South American BBQ, woodfired pizza, Thai street food and Caribbean fare. With a wide choice of food comes a wide variety of prices – there’s something to suit everyone’s budget at Little High.
The beauty of the food court concept is that you can mix and match. You could get a happy hour drink from one place, a main meal from another place and a dessert from somewhere else. Now that’s what I call a win-win-win situation!
I can highly recommend the meat offerings from El Fogón. The servings are huge, the meat is tender and the marinades are delicious. My favourite side dish was the cassava fries with cream (might sound weird but trust me – amazing!). Also, the best value for money beer is a large cold glass of Tiger from Noodle Monk (Thai place). Ahhh, the beauty of mix’n’match…
North & South Gourmet $$
300 Lincoln Rd, 8024
North & South is a traditional Chinese restaurant offering yum cha (also called dim sum). For those who don’t know, yum cha is the experience of drinking Chinese tea and eating small plates of food – similar to Spanish tapas – within a group of friends or family. It’s definitely my favourite way to enjoy Chinese cuisine!
North & South have over 60 different yum cha choices, ranging from salty to savoury to sweet. At an average of NZ$4.5 (£2.3/US$2.9) per plate, yum cha at North & South is pretty good value. (Note that yum cha is only available at lunchtimes).
Aside from yum cha, North & South have a wide variety of appetisers, main dishes and classic hot pots. They also offer some set menus suitable for small groups.
Although located just outside of town, North & South is still easily reachable from the city centre. It’s a 3km walk or short bus ride on the orange route. Also note that, unlike many modern restaurants that are open all day, North & South only serve food between the following hours: 11am-2:30pm & 5-9:30pm (yum cha only at lunchtimes).
⭐ Amazonita $$
126 Oxford Terrace, 8011
Simply put, everything about Amazonita is amazing. It has a stylish dining area, welcoming staff, unique menu and most importantly great tasting food.
With its influence rooted in the Amazon and Mediterranean, Amazonita really is a foodie’s heaven. Their menu uses clever flavour combos and high quality ingredients to create some truly outstanding dishes.
I sampled the sumptuous pork belly rotisserie. Served with a black bean stew, caramelised pineapple and spicy sauce, it was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. Then, to top it all off, a classic and delicately flavoured tiramisu. Ahhhh, take me back!
With the average cost of main dishes hovering around NZ$30 (£15/US$19), Amazonita certainly isn’t the cheapest eatery in Christchurch. However, with the perfect portion sizes (none of those fancy Michelen-star portions that leave you going home hungry) and sublime flavours, it really is worth visiting if you enjoy eating good food.
Penelope’s Cakery Deli $
32 New Regent St, 8011
Situated along the picturesque New Regent Street, Penelope’s is ideally located as a stop-off for sightseers.
Penelope makes a whole variety of cafe treats such as pies, sandwiches, croissants and cakes. At NZ$6.9 her pies are among the cheapest (and tastiest) in town. Plus, there are plenty of delicious flavours to choose from, including chicken & mushroom and classic steak. My favourite was the Kumara pie – a filling of sweet potato and cashew.
Open from 10am-4:30pm, Penelope’s is ideal for coffee, brunch, lunch or simply a refuelling snack. Another recommendation of mine is the chicken-mayo and avocado filled croissant.