The hospitality scene in Christchurch is now booming with new cafés, bars and restaurants dotted all over the city. From quirky cafes, garden based restaurants to world class fine dining - there is no shortage of choice.
The region boasts New Zealand Cuisine Restaurant of the Year, ‘Roots’ which is just over the hill from Christchurch city in Lyttelton. The restaurant also won an Innovation Award for the ethos behind their dining experience. Chef Giulio Sturla will only serve food he has grown, foraged or sourced locally from artisan producers and sustainable farms.
And there are plenty of other innovative restaurants and bars. On High Street, near C-1 which was the first café to reopen in the city post-earthquakes, there’s a colourful and quirky bar and burger restaurant called Smash Palace named after a classic Kiwi film. And just across the river, the Victoria Street precinct is the city’s newest 'eat street' with bars and restaurants including Latino/Mexican influenced Mexicanos and moody South East Asian King of Snake.
Stranges Lane is another popular new dining destination in Christchurch where several restaurants share an open courtyard in a heritage laneway development.
C-1 owner Sam Crofskey reckons “there are not enough hours in the day (or night) to go to the new places that are springing up - food markets, food trucks, new restaurant, bars, cafés and precincts.”
Pretty much a local secret until Cuisine magazine named them as the 2015 New Zealand Restaurant of the Year, Roots (in the port town of Lyttelton) is Christchurch’s new star. Aftershocks were still rattling when Giulio and Christy Sturla launched this bold new dining experience based on food they have grown, foraged or sourced locally from artisan and sustainable producers.
Roots is a hands-on experience from start to finish. The Sturlas rescued the quaint little shop on Lyttelton’s main street from ruins, rebuilding with recycled materials and creating a kitchen garden in the tiny backyard. There are only 10 tables at Roots and no menus as they take food sustainability to a whole new level with a degustation of five to 12 courses with wine matches based solely on available ingredients. Roots is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5.30pm (best to book) and lunch (by appointment only) on Friday and Saturday.
Roots Restaurant - 8 London Street, Lyttelton
Pescatore at The George
Pescatore – an award-wining fine dining experience in Christchurch’s 5-star The George Hotel – is one of New Zealand’s outstanding contemporary dining destinations. The uber-cool styling and pared back furnishings are just the entrée to a memorable dining experience that takes New Zealand specialities to a completely new level of creative culinary achievement. The minimalist approach to décor is reflected in the food. The a la carte and degustation menus cover an ever-evolving range of dishes featuring the best of local New Zealand land and sea produce, and an extensive wine list to match. Chef Darren Conole designs and delivers creative food with a passion and precision that never fails to surprise the senses.
Pescatore - The George Hotel, 50 Park Terrace, Christchurch
C-1 Espresso café
When the early-morning sun streams into Christchurch’s C-1 Espresso café, you’ll find a mixed crowd sipping cappuccinos or lattes, or biting into corn and coriander fritters and bacon and cream-cheese bagels. You may spot young mothers, academics, architects, businesspeople, tourists and quite possibly Christchurch’s former mayor Garry Moore at the quirky city café – just one of the many party faithful frequenting C-1.
The original C-1 was destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake and when it reopened in November 2012 it was the first café back in the central city. In 2014 C-1 was named New Zealand Café of the Year. Not only do they make a mean cup of coffee but you can also order excellent burgers that are served to your table via a pneumatic tube at 100 km/hr.
C-1 Espresso - 185 High St, Christchurch Central
Supreme coffee is a Wellington institution and Supreme Supreme is the Christchurch café serving up the capital’s finest. It took five years post-earthquakes for Supreme to return to Christchurch, but the wait has been worthwhile as, since opening its doors in early 2015, Supreme Supreme has become one of the most popular cafés in the city’s burgeoning new downtown.
The team at Supreme Supreme are committed to serving fresh local produce and free range meat. The café also stocks everything for making the perfect coffee at home. Pick up the latest gadget to brew the best and some freshly roasted beans then show off your Supreme coffee skills to your guests.
Supreme Supreme - 10 Welles St, Christchurch