Christchurch: an hour by hour beginners guide where to eat and drink

By Thecoupleinrow51 | Feb 6, 2020
Oceania > New Zealand > South Island > Canterbury > Christchurch

Little High Eatery Christchurch

Little High Eatery Christchurch

We have been living in Christchurch for almost 3 months and time is really flying by fast. We are lucky enough to be located right in the city centre. Often enough, we go for a nice big stroll around the city and find new spots to go for a drink or a bite to eat. We didn’t want to write this article any earlier because we felt that we probably didn’t discover enough yet to give a true and honest opinion about it. First, we had to try it all ourselves. So... we did! We ate, we drank and we covered all of it. Now it’s time to share our hour by hour beginners guide on where to eat and drink in Christchurch.

1. Breakfast (09:00 - 12:00)

Bunsen

2 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch Central City (website)

What’s it in one sentence?
A beautiful breakfast place located in a historic building.

Why it’s awesome?
Location is key as some say, and Bunsen got lucky. Housed in an amazing restored 1877 Gothic Revival style building within the Christchurch Arts Centre. The space used to be part of the Canterbury University and was used for chemistry classes. They have both a front and back patio but also offer plenty of seating inside.

Speciality?
Bunsen is known for their amazing coffee blend called Dark Horse, that was specially roasted by Switch Espresso (Bunsen’s parent company). They do really nice walnut & banana french toast and spice pea & tofu burger.

Bunsen Christchurch

Bunsen Christchurch

The Caffeine Laboratory

1 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

What’s it in one sentence?
All day breakfast and delicious coffee at a small but nice spot.

Why it’s awesome?
The caffeine laboratory is located on New Regent Street. New Regent Street is a street full of character and known for the colourful eclectic houses and amazing cafes, restaurants and shops. It luckily survived the earthquake of 2011 and today the street is thriving on the big number of tourists passing there everyday. The caffeine laboratory prides itself with their great coffee and menu, which has both plenty of savoury and sweet options.

Speciality?
Definitely all their coffee and the inhouse smoked salmon, which is served with some delicious poached eggs.

Black & White Coffee Cartel

83 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

Black and White Coffee Cartel Christchurch

Black and White Coffee Cartel Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
New Zealand’s first micro-roasting coffee franchise.

Why it’s awesome?
One of our favourite things about New Zealand is that you can hardly find any big chains like Starbucks here. New Zealanders love their own coffee (and so we do we) and want smaller business owners or local franchises to flourish. Black & White Coffee Cartel is one of those franchises that you can find around Christchurch and also in Queenstown. Each cafe has an onsite coffee roaster, brewing the beans in small batches keeping it super fresh. And you can definitely taste that.

Speciality?
Flat whites, flat whites and flat whites.

2. Lunch (12:00 - 15:00)

The Nook Eatery

24 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

What’s it in one sentence?
Yummy and affordable authentic Thai food.

Why it’s awesome?
The Nook Eatery is one of those places in Christchurch that serves true and authentic Thai food. It’s run by a very welcoming Thai family that prepares the best curry, pad thai and various soups. The Nook is located in a small eclectic house on New Regent Street but offers enough seating. Otherwise there is always take-away.

Speciality?
The pad thai, green curry but also their chicken soup. They also do daily specials for both lunch and dinner. It’s all fresh and mouth-watering good.

Riverside Market

96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City (website)

Riverside market Christchurch

Riverside market Christchurch

Riverside market Christchurch

Riverside market Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
A buzzing food market filled with stalls for every taste.

Why it’s awesome?
The recently opened Riverside market (opened in September 2019) is buzzing. Whether you are after good ramen, Argentinian bbq, Italian produce or a delicious Greek souvlaki. The Riverside market has it all. Downstairs is the more food centered area and upstairs you will find several bars and even a brewery with an outdoor patio.

Speciality?
Basically anything you are after you will find here. We do love the Kaiser Brew garden upstairs, especially on a nice sunny afternoon.

C1 Espresso

Old Post & Telegraph, Office Building 185 High Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

C1 Espresso Christchurch

C1 Espresso Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
Fabulous food and coffee set in a retro interior located in the old post office building.

Why it’s awesome?
C1 Espresso is a must when visiting Christchurch. This awesome cafe doesn’t just serve coffee, they do a lot of great things in terms of sustainability. They grow ingredients for their meals themselves and have a great planting programme in Samoa. Plus, they serve your delicious food down a chute that goes as fast as 140km per hour! A cool fact is that the counter is made of 14.000 lego bricks.

Speciality?
Their own coffee blends. Some are even made with turmeric, beetroot or ginger. We also really love their carrot cake which uses caramel in the icing.

3. Happy Hour, Afternoon Drinks (15:00 - 18:00)

The Terrace

126 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City (website)

The Terrace Christchurch

The Terrace Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
A trendy, hip and happening location filled with bars.

Why it’s awesome?
The Terrace is the heart of Christchurch’s nightlife where you go for happy hour but you can stay up late on the banks of the Avon River and park. You will find many great bars and also small clubs and venues to go dance off all the food you’ve been having. Whether you are into cocktails or craft beers, it’s all there.

Speciality?
Start at the Original Sin for dinner followed by the Craft Embassy for drinks and end up jazzing it up at Fat Eddie’s.

Little High Eatery

255 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

What’s it in one sentence?
This is the good kind of sensory overload; at Little High Eatery you will find eight different family-run and local businesses all within one marketplace.

Why it’s awesome?
Because this food collective is local, family-run and divers. Little High Eatery has been open for over 2.5 years and offers coffee, sushi, beer, wood-oven pizzas, dumplings but also Malaysian street food. If you don’t know what to get, just get it all! Try to go early as it might get busy and enjoy that happy hour.

Speciality?
We can’t name one speciality in this case. You should just go and try it all although you might get tempted by the fresh wood-oven pizzas made by Base pizza! ;-)

Smash Palace

172 High Street, Christchurch Central City (Website)

Smash Palace Christchurch

Smash Palace Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
Burgers and beer served from a school bus, in between shipping containers.

Why it’s awesome?
The family-run Smash Palace used to be named Goodbye Blue Monday but sadly got destroyed by the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. After a few years on Victoria Street Smash Palace found a new home on High Street. This cool bar and burger joint that has become an important meeting place for the local community of Christchurch. You will find an eclectic, amazing mix of people. At Smash Palace you can try many of the locally brewed beers and enjoy one of their delicious burgers with that.

Speciality?
Definitely the Bodgie beer which is their own brew and house speciality. We think their Hot Burger with beef, harissa, cheese, mayo and chipotle peppers is pretty awesome.

4. Dinner (18:00 - 21:00)

Orleans

89 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City (Website)

Orleans Christchurch

Orleans Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
A restaurant celebrating the culture and soul food of New Orleans by serving house beer, crispy fried chicken, waffles and curly fries.

Why it’s awesome?
Dive into an alley off High Street and you will find hidden gem Orleans. The restaurant is fitted out with recycled timber and stained glass windows from the earthquake. The restaurant has big tables encouraging people to dine next to each other.

Speciality?
For sure the Orleans fried chicken waffle together with the beautiful roasted pumpkin & feta salad.

The Lotus-Heart

363 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

What’s it in one sentence?
Conscious, vegetarian food offering a spiritual journey on your plate.

Why it’s awesome?
The Lotus-Heart is dedicated to healthy eating and offers a natural, tasty and global cuisine. All their products used in the kitchen are locally grown, organic and they only use natural ingredients such as raw honey, free-range eggs and organic natural salt. Entering the restaurant almost feels like entering a sacred temple and it’s a really nice and zen place to have a meal. You can also find a small health store inside the restaurant.

Speciality?
So many things to choose from, but the winners are the polenta fries with cashew aioli and the well-spiced curry dosa.

Casa Republica

180 Armagh Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

What’s it in one sentence?
Delicious South American food and amazing cocktails in a buzzing restaurant where every night feels like it’s Friday.

Why it’s awesome?
Casa Republica is all about South American food and hospitality. The food is super tasty and presented very well. Because they specialize in rum (they offer over 160 different rums to choose from) it’s best just to sit down and enjoy the ride. The bartenders can walk you through them all and create a fabulous drink for you. On Thursday evenings they do salsa nights, offering a great place for you to step in and learn how to dance like a true Latino.

Speciality?
The casa traditional guacamole (the cashews in it make it awesome), the fish tacos and their rum.

5. Bars (21:00 - Late)

The Last Word

31 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

The Last Word Christchurch

The Last Word Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
A ‘feel like you are at home’ speakeasy bar that specializes in whiskeys from all around the globe.

Why it’s awesome?
This lovely lounge bar located on New Regent Street is the perfect place to sit down at the end of your day exploring Christchurch. Upstairs you will find comfortable chairs, couches and even board games to play. Grab yourself a nice game, order a good whiskey and you will find yourself 5 hours later wondering where the time went.

Speciality?
Their single malt Scotch whiskies for sure. Although the Japanese whiskey is also very tasty and easy to drink.

Gin Gin

92 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

What’s it in one sentence?
A little garden bar that feels like a sanctuary where gin enthusiasts will go nuts.

Why it’s awesome?
Gin gin. Is a beautiful quaint little bar nestled into Victoria Street. The perfect place to have a drink after dinner. The super friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to help you out getting your perfect drink. They have an extensive list of cocktails but also serve beer and wine.

Speciality?
The name might tip you off ;-), but it’s all about the different brands of Gin.

Strange & Co

89 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City (website)

Strange & Co Christchurch

What’s it in one sentence?
Strange & Co is a hip, wicked bar paying homage to the past, present and future of Christchurch Stranger’s lane.

Why it’s awesome?
Strange & Co, together with Orleans and the Lower 9th Diner, forms the trinity of the new hip and buzzing Stranger’s lane. A great place to hang out at night, especially when there is live music. The friendly bartenders serve great cocktails and there is a nice food menu too including pork gyoza.

Speciality?
The so-called Strange Creation cocktails, such as ‘Stroll through the forest’ and ‘Tennessee Tea’.

Food Bar Drinks Restaurant Breakfast

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Written by Thecoupleinrow51
We are Steven and Simone, two young and adventurous Dutch human beings who happened to fall in love with each other. Together we wander our planet with our camera, exploring new countries and meeting amazing people from different places and cultures. All to create everlasting memories. But while doing so we are much aware that it comes at an unfortunate cost for our environment. We both have been travelling a lot over the past ten years and we have seen many wonderful and exciting things. And we surely plan on seeing much more. That’s why we decided to change our course and travel as slow and green as possible from this moment on. Sharin... Read more

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