Sharing is caring. The best places for shared plates
Whoever first coined the phrase “sharing is caring” was clearly a good person to head out to dinner with.
Sharing food goes beyond just being a cheaper option or a handy way of avoiding the dreaded food envy (although these are big positives, too), sharing food is a way of further connecting with your fellow eaters and with the items on your plates, which often work even better together than on their own. We’ve shared the sharing love by putting together some of our favourite spots for shared plates.
48 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch
Inati’s innovative offering of small and larger sharing plates includes wonders such as Boeuf-nuts – a salty-sweet doughnut filled with braised beef cheek sitting in a rich pool of beef liquor and Donkey Carrot – a beautiful slow cooked carrot served with pear, taleggio cheese and hazelnut praline. These two dishes sit alongside a raft of other delicious plates created by chef Simon Levy all designed for sharing, whether you’re in degustation-mode or just wanting to share a snack with a glass of wine. And speaking of wine, Inati’s offering is sourced only from vineyards and viticulturists known to the restaurant and sit perfectly alongside Inati’s memorable fare.
Civil and Naval
16 London Street, Lyttelton
Much-loved Lyttelton institution Civil and Naval knows a thing or two about simple, delicious food. Offering a very well thought-out sharing menu dotted with memorable plates such as polenta crusted calamari, miso butter coated edamame beans, hand cut chips and bottomless aioli (genius) and delectable deep fried cauliflower with maple and chipotle, it’s well worth visiting this cool spot for a drink and a few plates on any or every night of the week.
5 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton
Designed for sharing, the menu at Super hosts a range of Asian-fusion style dishes perfect for devouring with a group of friends. The Sang Choi Bao – Chinese lettuce cups filled with your choice of sticky beef or lemon grass mushrooms – as well as wontons, tofu in kombu broth, a range of toothsome bao and many more morsels are the ultimate crowd pleasers and work perfectly alongside an enticing drinks menu involving sake, Japanese plum wine, cocktails, beer and wine. Much like the food, Super’s fit out is cool, casual and stylish without trying too hard to be any of those things.
The Craft Embassy
Level 1/126 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central
The view and the beer selection alone make The Craft Embassy an extremely appealing spot to visit but once you’ve set eyes and taste buds on their sharing menu, the deal will be well and truly sealed. Offering a range of delicious sharing options from fried chicken to crispy falafel to pork belly, The Craft Embassy knows how to do favourites and do them well. Pair them with a tasty brew and you know you’re on to a winner.
5 Elgin Street, Sydenham, Christchurch
Sharing at 5th Street is strongly encouraged. In fact, we challenge anyone to get through their char-grilled tomahawk with crispy tobacco onions and chimichurri on their own. Seriously, good luck.
5th Street's sharing plates come in three sizes: small, medium and large, and there's a really impressive range of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options to please everyone. If you're a bit overwhelmed by the choice, the helpful staff (some say 5th Street offers the best service in the biz), will provide recommendations for dishes based on the size of your party.
128 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch
Earl brings a breath of European bistro culture to Christchurch. The sharing menu at this central city gem reflects Earl’s playful approach to cuisine. Expect interesting twists on unpretencious dishes like Chicken Wings (with green tomato salsa), Meatballs (with tomato sugo and herb pesto) and Antipasti (with cured meat, cheese, pickles, smoked yoghurt (!), house made bread & crackers.
And if sharing isn’t your thinking (because let’s be honest, sometimes we just want our dinner all to ourselves), then you’re in luck - they have an extensive bistro menu for traditional dining.
The Monday Room
161 High Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch
It's all about social eating at The Monday Room, which means only one thing: shared plates.
The menu at this High Street restaurant is designed to be banquet style, which means plates are placed at the centre of long tables for people to dig into whatever they choose, whether it be vegan (think Spiced Baked Tofu and Sweet Potato Gnocchi), gluten free (Parmesan Crusted Eggplant or Smoked Fish), or a meat lover's dream of 12hr Braised Lamb Shoulder and Beef Wellington. Find it too hard to choose? Put yourselves in the hands of The Monday Room's head chef with 'Trust the Chef', which offers diners a low stakes opportunity to try dishes they might not normally take a chance on.
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