Kaikōura Food Guide

With an abundance of seafood at their fingertips, it's no surprise Kaikōura has a bunch of culinary delights across town.

Cooked crayfish on a plate.

Words by: Petra Nyman

Photography by: Nancy Zhou

It’s no surprise that the food offerings in Kaikōura are heavily seafood-based, and let’s face it: a visit to this seaside town is hardly complete without a taste of its namesake crustacean. But, there are also other foods worth trying in this town, too. In this guide, we’ve gathered a few of the best spots in town where you can taste all that Kaikōura is about.

A chef making ravioli by hand at Zephyr.

Zephyr Crayfish Ravioli

40 West End, Kaikōura

The chef at Zephyr created a crayfish ravioli as part of a challenge, and it turned out to be so popular it’s stayed on the menu ever since. Made from scratch in the kitchen, the ravioli is prepared on the day, filled with crayfish meat and turned into delicate parcels. The secret behind this flavourful morsel may just be the crayfish oil created from the shells of this crustacean, which tops this dish off oh so nicely.

Fish and chips on a plate from Coopers Catch.

Coopers Catch Fish n’ Chips

9 West End

This premium fish n’ chip shop is exactly that – premium. Try the local favourite, Blue Cod and chips, find a seat in the sun and enjoy fish n’ chips the way they should be done. You can also bring your self-caught fish here to be cooked to perfection, for a small fee.

Whole Flounder and chips on a plate from Strawberry Tree.

Flounder at Strawberry Tree

21 West End

Ever had a whole fish on a plate in front of you? If the answer is no, then the flounder dish at The Strawberry Tree is a must-try. Served on a bed of crisply fried chips and accompanied by a salad, the fish is perfectly cooked, making the meat fall off easily, and deliciously flavoursome. This dish could easily feed two or fill one very hungry puku to the brim.

Toasted sandwich on a plate at Slam Club.

Wild Venison Sandwich at Slam Club

10 West End

Slam Club takes toasted sandwiches to another level. Take, for example, their Wild Venison Sandwich. Filled with slow-cooked wild venison hunted from the nearby hills, fresh greens, caramelised onion, relish and aioli and served with duck fat roasted potatoes, this is a real treat.

Close up of slice of cake from Flo & Co.

Flo & Co. cakes

13a West End

The only place in town to dig a fork into a single slice of the locally famous Cake by Addy & Lou, Flo & Co. is where to go for these luscious layered cakes. Expect to choose from flavours such as Chocolate & Raspberry, Banoffee or Chocolate Caramel. And if you fancy more than a slice, the good people behind the counter will help you sort out an order. Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Someone eating crayfish dish from Nin's Bin with knife and fork.

Nins Bin Crayfish

Jul-20 NZ, State Highway 1, 6

An iconic spot for crayfish, Nins Bins catches its own crays fresh every day and serves them cooked simply with garlic butter and slices of lemon – the best way to have this delicacy. Add to that, a next-to-the-ocean location, a seal colony right upfront and friendly service, it’s a whole experience right here.

Sime’s Kitchen Cornbread, fried eggs and bacon.

Sime’s Kitchen Cornbread, fried eggs and bacon

33 Beach Road

The house-made cornbread at Sime’s Kitchen is a homage to southern-style fare. Served with thick-cut bacon that is specifically made for Sime’s btw), fried eggs, chipotle mayo and jalapeno relish, it will satisfy both your hunger and those taste buds. This dish is naturally gluten free and can be turned into a vegetarian feast by substituting bacon with avocado.