A day of eating in Christchurch

Eat your way through the day in Christchurch’s central city, from breakfast to dinner time and drinks



Shared plates, good times

The bar stools are a hell of a way from the floor, but don’t let that put you off. Once seated, ask executive chef and co-owner Simon Levy and his charming wife Lisa, the host, to feed you – they’ll send just the right amount. This is contemporary, assured cooking with service to match.
48 Hereford St, central city


Mumbai fusion

Tangy, salty, hot – variations on classic Mumbai chaat are served with a modern bent here. The tiffin, with curry, rice and breads, is a tactile sharing experience, as is Kashmiri-style lamb rogan josh when scooped into the mouth aboard onion and coriander kulcha.120 Hereford St, central city


C1 Espresso

In the central city these days, being around since 2012 is a special kind of status. This comfy-chaired cafe has character that rewards return visits, with the menu doubling as an in-house zine, Harry Potter audio books playing on loop in the bathrooms (which you enter through that sliding bookcase), and the sliders and curly fries swooping to your table through pneumatic tubes. There are considered vegetarian and vegan menu options, and coffee is roasted on site, with up to five different takeaway blends or single-origin roasts available each day. 185 High St, central city

Unknown Chapter

An industrial fit-out, house-brewed coffee, and food that arrives on a wooden board – Unknown Chapter might remind you of Melbourne’s hip laneways. Sitting outside on the wooden trestle tables, sun shining on your face, with a steaming bowl of banana, honey and pistachio porridge, or a grilled chorizo, corn and cheese quesadilla is a great start to any morning. 254 St Asaph St, central city


Supreme Supreme

The only Coffee Supreme location in town, open daily for coffee, Noble and Savage teas, or a bite. The refurb – designed in collaboration with Jessica Barter of Bureaux architecture and design studio – honours past inhabitants with Land Rover-green paint licks and robust industrial furnishings alongside remnants of the former Hop Yick Asian Supermarket. 10 Welles St, central city

Engine Coffee Brewers

Offering – among other things – coffee tasting trays, where different foods are matched to different coffees, this is coffee geekery at its finest. Staff are meticulous about everything from water temperature to grind size and grinding equipment. An almost guaranteed good cup.  270 St Asaph St, central city



A battered sandwich board sign marks the entrance to this kinfolk-y restaurant, where you may recognise chef and co-owner Alex Davies from Shop 8 on New Regent Street. It was here that he established his reputation for innovative, sustainable and hyper-local cuisine before taking a break from the kitchen to work on a Swannanoa farm in North Canterbury. Gatherings, the one-hatted restaurant and natural wine bar he established alongside partner Bryony Matthews last year, celebrates the region’s rich abundance of produce through a daily-changing menu with natural wines from New Zealand and abroad. A rustic lunch is served four days a week, with the choice of toast and toppings, or soup with toasted bread – upgrade to their famous cheese toastie with gut-loving sauerkraut on days when you need an extra pick-me-up.
Unit 5/2 Papanui Rd, Merivale


Red Light District

No longer a secret, enter through a faux laundromat into this Chinese-inspired parlour where indie-pop bangers accompany the low hum of millennial chatter. Tell any of the bearded bartenders the kind of thing you like to drink and they’ll craft your perfect cocktail. 123 Victoria St, central city 

The Darkroom

A hot spot for live music with a great beer selection, and favourite student dive bar. Coming up: Darkroom’s Dark Disco on 15 Sep; Racing’s If Only album release party, 22 Sep; and punk rockers Master Blaster play on 23 Sep. 336 St Asaph St, central city 

Whisky Galore

While not a bar, pick up a bottle of something special here. Owner Michael Fraser Milne will keep you all day if you let him – his knowledge of local and international whisky knows no bounds. Ask him for a taste and you might be there all night. Clue: he’s the jovial-looking, bearded man. 834 Colombo St, central city


Eateries, stores and bars in the ‘burbs and further afield

Black Estate

Consistently recognised as one of New Zealand’s best vineyard restaurants, and situated among the icy, rolling hills of Waipara, Black Estate is truly spectacular. 614 Omihi Rd, Waipara Valley


Choose from the three, five or 12-course set menu at Giulio Sturla’s intimate, seasonally driven eatery where food changes regularly to reflect the colour, taste and texture of the season. 8 London St, Lyttelton

Harbour Co-op Organic and Wholefoods

From Adzuki beans to ayurvedic pitta tea and fill-your-own tahini or honey jars, this rustic, organic-focussed store is your one-stop shop for health foods. 12 London St, Lyttelton


A lamp made of dolls heads; porthole windows featuring dismembered Barbies, for peeping into the neighbouring supermarket; an eerily low red glow – is this the creepiest bar in Canterbury?
19 London St, Lyttelton

Spooky Boogie

Inspired by Japan’s cartoon-kitsch design aesthetic and third wave coffee roasters, Tessa Brodie and Oscar Guerrero (ex-Lyttelton Coffee Co) have created a gallery space, record store and coffee shop. Watch out for the fab eyeball-shaped cookies. 54 London St, Lyttelton

Hello Sunday

End your weekend in true basic-bitch style with a mimosa, and a matcha buckwheat pancake brunch. There can often be a wait for tables here. If there is, why not see what’s showing at the boutique Academy Gold Cinema round the corner while you wait. 6 Elgin St, Sydenham

Addington Coffee Co-op

At this ethical cafe, 70 percent of the profits are distributed between the Christchurch community and overseas farmers and producers, with the rest put back into the business. Coffee beans for their Jailbreaker roast are sourced with help from Trade Aid. They even sell environmentally sustainable gifts, and there’s space to do laundry for a small fee. Call it breakfast for the people. 297 Lincoln Rd, Addington

Foo San Yum Cha

Known for its steely service and less than glamorous surrounds, Foo San has been a student brunch fave since ages ago. Highly recommended are the crispy fried squid and purple taro buns. Dirt cheap and great for groups. 6 Rountree St, Riccarton

Christchurch Farmers Market

Snap outta the supermarket routine and get your fruit and vege from this low-waste market, on every Saturday, no matter the weather. Be sure to arrive hungry enough for chocolate waffles, cured meats, empanadas and the god of all market foods – the savoury pie. 16 Kahu Rd, Riccarton