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 plates on a table at Ronas Akaroa restaurant, New Zealand.

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.

Sharing plates on a counter at Inati restaurant Christchurch, New Zealand.

Inati

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.

A table of shared plates at Civil and Naval bar and restaurant Lyttelton, Christchurch.

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.

A table of shared plates on a table at Super Lyttelton restaurant, Christchurch, New Zealand.

SUPER

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.

A table of sharing plates at Craft Embassy bar Christchurch, New Zealand.

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.

A waiter carrying three sharing dishes inside 5th Street restaurant.

5th Street

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.

A table of sharing plates inside Earl restaurant.

Earl

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.

Chef pouring sauce on a plated dish.

The Monday Room

161 High Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Features