Christchurch is a vastly different city to what it was pre-earthquake. With a rebuilt landscape and modern architecture, quirky, chic restaurants are now popping up all over the show, like hidden gems being discovered and the food ain't too bad either! The city is showing how to put fresh, Canterbury produce to good use, tingling your senses whilst creating pieces of art. We give you the top 10.
1. Little high
Little High is an awesome little pocket of eateries to cater to everyone in your squad! Centrally located, Little High is home to Bacon Brothers, Eightgrains, and Little Social just to name a few. If you're a fan of burgers, you can't go past Bacon Brothers where you can live out your burger fantasy. Serving the most heavenly sandwiches, a breakfast burger and decent banter, I recommend, well, everything. If burgers aren't your thing, pop over to Eightgrains for the complete Asian-fusion experience. The chicken bao is to die for, as well as the braised pork belly on rice or the beef brisket dumplings. If you're after something sweet, the deep fried sweet bao with ice cream is a party in your mouth, a banger of a dish. Little High is home to eight local businesses so be sure to check it out!
2. c1 espresso
Perhaps one of the best cafes I've been to in a while! C1 Espresso has an industrial feel, with exposed pipes and pneumatic tubes that deliver your fries to your table! Yes, that's right folks, this cafe is famous for it's unique table service. A former post office, the cafe prides itself on being authentic, local, and unique. My picks from the menu include the scrumptious French toast with lemon curd, meringue, raspberry coulis & brulee banana, or nachos with pulled pork look epic too! Be sure to order a side of curly fries and see the pneumatic tubes in action yourself and watch them fly over your head!
3. King of snake
If you're a fan of Southeast Asian food like I am, then add this one to your list! The setting is very traditional and the food looks like works of art. Recommendations include the sticky beef wontons, prawn dumplings or fried rice balls with lime cream to start, and for main go for the Kung Pao chicken or crispy pressed half duck with caramelized mandarin sauce. The Wakanui sirloin, Penang curry and vegetarian Yellow curry are other sexy dishes to munchy on. To finish, or to have a 'happy ending' (as the restaurant puts it), you can't go past the chocolate fondant or deep fried organic banana ice cream with salted caramel sauce.
Calling all meat-lovers, Bessie provides the best cuts of poultry and likes to show it off too, using the finest ingredients from the surrounding Canterbury Region. Marlborough King Salmon, freshly shucked market oysters, free-range pork belly, open ravioli, a whole selection of succulent beef cuts, finishing with a buttermilk waffle or Malibu panna cotta for dessert. Sounds heavenly am I right? Of course I am. This place has a neat, rustic, butcher style theme and you'll be sure to leave with a happy tummy filled up to the brim.
5. unknown chapter coffee roasters
Not just a coffee roasters, Unknown Chapter serves up classic cafe food made with quality ingredients. Everything is baked fresh onsite using old family recipes and between the cabinet food and menu, you're spoiled for choice! The baked eggs with spicy chorizo and free range eggs is delish! There's also something about a warming bowl of porridge on a chilly Winter's morning - choose from their porridge with blueberry compote and almond crumble, or grilled banana, honey and pistachios. It would also be rude not to order a coffee while you're there as they roast it onsite so it doesn't get much better! Be sure to check out their website before visiting, as their menu changes seasonally.
6. TMR (The Monday Room)
TMR should be rated an attraction of the city due to how damn delish the food is. My oh my the décor of this place is off the scale impressive. A black and red colour-scheme and moody lighting, you know you're in for a treat as soon as you walk through the door, greeted warmly by the staff. Some of their dishes scream New Zealand like the scallop and white fish ceviche, or the creamy seafood chowder. To follow, try an Angus sirloin or lamb rump. They do light meals too if you're not feeling too peckish, like a Ragu parpadelle or Garden salad. If you have room left, go for a delicious dessert. Go on, you know you want to!
7. Sister Kong
After a good Bao? Sister Kong does Asian fusion well and they have a modern fit out showcasing the traditional Asian culture. Delicious, Truffle loaded fries, varying types of dumplings, or try the Pork and kimchi or satay wontons! They do Bao's galore and we all know how heavenly they are, go for the Five spice beef brisket, soft shell crab, tiger prawn or twice cooked pork belly. I'm drooling. Top it off with a deep-fried chocolate bao with ice cream or a 'hottie pineapple' - whatever that entails. One thing's compulsory here though, no leaving without trying a Bao, which I have no qualms about.
8. Welles street
Simply named after it's location, this inner-city pub boasts 18 beers on tap! Sit inside and admire the incredible street art on the walls, or bask in the afternoon sun in their courtyard. You're also spoiled for choice if that tummy of yours is rumbling! Their menu encourages you to share, and their snacks, mezze plates, salads, and rotisserie platters are awesome! If you're after somewhere that will cater to everyone that's not too far from the city, Welles Street is your one-stop-shop and is the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon session over the New Zealand Summer.
9. DIMITRI'S GREEK FOOD RESTAURANT
Big flavors, big portions and bang for your buck, Dimitri's has quite the following in Christchurch. Greek food can be quite hard to find in New Zealand and this place is a true gem. Located in a mobile shack, it can usually be found right smack bang in the heart of the city centre. The lamb especially has traditional Greek spices, herbs and sauces which makes the wraps taste bangin'. If you're on a budget whilst on your stay in Christchurch, be sure to come here, you might make it your go-to when in hunger-mode.
10. casa publica
If you're a fan of guacamole, you can't miss Casa Publica! With an extensive rum list and tacos to tickle your fancy as well as being centrally located, they tick all of the boxes. The guacamole bar is particularly noteworthy - choose from classic guacamole, smoked bacon and chicken guacamole, or my personal favourite is the roast field mushroom guac! They even bring it over to your table and assemble it in front of you using fresh ingredients, so you know exactly what you're eating. If guac's not your thing, go for something from the ceviche bar or fresh salsa with warm tortillas. As well as serving delicious food, make sure you have a rum or two when you pop in!