What to Eat in Dunedin
Otago is spoiled for choice when it comes to food.
Words by: Olivia Sisson
Photos by: Nancy Zhou
Dunedin's lush green landscape is home to countless farms and foraging opportunities, while the coastline hosts diverse flora, fauna and bountiful fisheries. The cities and towns, meanwhile, are brimming with cafes and restaurants that showcase the best of it all. The following dishes are not only delicious but also represent some of the region’s finest when it comes to farmers, fishers, growers, bakers, cheesemongers, butchers, chocolate makers, chefs and all the rest.
250 Forbury Road, Saint Clair
Pizza by the beach is a winning combination and no one does it better than The Esplanade.
Their Alsiccia pizza features Havoc pork and fennel sausage, mushroom, truffle oil and mozzarella. A white base pizza, this is one decadent, creamy and totally delicious pie. The fresh oyster mushrooms on top, not only present beautifully but hold a mountain of savoury flavour. The truffle oil adds an aromatic element and fresh basil leaves punch it all up even further.
Dig in and watch the waves from the comfort of The Esplanade - their cosy fit out is a local favourite rain or shine.
42 Queens Gardens, Dunedin Central
With a Cuisine Good Food Award hat under their belts after just two years of operation, Moiety is certainly doing something right. And that something lies in their approach.
Chef Sam designs the five course dinner menu with the best of Otago’s produce, game and seafood, and the front of house team explains each dish as it comes out, with care and detail. Flavourful, colorful, delicious representations of the region and the stories that accompany them, go out with every plate.
While the menu changes often to match the seasons, dishes like beetroot with mandarin, curd, walnut and onion or popcorn with parsnip and honey, are experimental, supremely tasty and downright special.
Beam Me Up Bagels
104 Great King Street North, CBD
What started as a stall at the Otago Farmers Market, quickly became something of a carb cult here in Ōtepoti Dunedin.
Beam Me Up Bagels now trade at Central City and North Road locations and still sling some of the best bagels in the South. Each bagel starts with a slow fermentation process before being hand rolled and boiled in house. Choose your bagel flavour, they range from jalapeno cheese to blueberry, and top it with any of the delicious spreads, or opt for a more substantial sandwich option.
The Men in Black sandwich features Cajun chicken, pickles, red onion, pesto, aioli and lettuce - it’s got zingy flavour, a crispy bite and protein to fuel you for hours. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with the Obi Wan bagel which is constructed with Bay Road peanut butter, chia, fair-trade bananas and real maple syrup.
24 Esplanade, Saint Clair
Head to tītī for a dining experience that showcases all that Otago has to offer in the way of produce, game and seafood.
Situated on the St. Clair waterfront, the spacious dining room has sweeping views of the Pacific and dishes made with ingredients sourced almost exclusively from within the region. All you have to do is decide on a three or five course meal and select a protein or vegetable focused menu, then sit back and prepare to be wowed by curious flavour combinations, unusual ingredients and a ‘Trust the Chef’ experience that nails both taste and value.
Dishes have included the likes of Otago octopus and fish with paprika, fennel and meyer lemon, as well as Havoc pork served with agria potatoes, brussel sprouts, raisins and Jerusalem artichokes.
Desserts such as the beetroot sorbet with chocolate, passionfruit and Voatsiperiferi are done expertly here as well. The menu changes weekly to offer diners authentic flavours of Otago year round.
22 Vogel Street, Dunedin Central
Good Good is a burger food truck unlike all others. Housed within a Vogel Street warehouse, Good Good is complete with a bar, ample seating and frequent live music gigs.
Opt for any of their juicy, generously portioned burgers for a feed you’re not likely to forget anytime soon. Constructed with grass fed beef patties, American cheddar, iceberg lettuce, red onion, pickle, ketchup and mustard, these burgers are simple but bursting with flavour and deliver on value every time. Add shoestring fries, truffle tots or buttermilk chicken bites and a tipple or two and you'll be well on your way to a top notch meal.
Jizo Japanese Café and Bar
56 Princes Street, Dunedin Central
Jizo's salmon platter wows from the ground up with uber fresh slices of fish, a smoky centerpiece, pops of floral colour and hand crafted garnishes.
With eight pieces of sashimi, six nigiri pieces, salmon maki roll and smoked salmon, this is a feast fit for a king or rather anyone who appreciates high quality sushi. Enough to fill at least 2 very hungry bellies, Jizo's salmon platter is a dish that will transport you from NZ to Japan in just a few bites - we’re still dreaming about it. If you’re extra ravenous or have a larger group, don’t miss the Karaage chicken which features a light, golden fry, Kewpie and chilli mayo.
Whatever you choose, enjoy it in Jizo’s dimly lit, cosy space and experience all of the goodness that has kept this spot around since 1995.
New New New
218 Crawford Street, Dunedin Central
Yum Cat Diner lives within NEW NEW NEW Corporation on Crawford Street and offers a fun mash up of Asian fusion and American diner eats.
They’ve got a classic smash burger that rivals LA’s best, with a double patty, soft pillowy bun and run-run-down-your-arms kind of juice. The tofu burger, meanwhile, is perfectly fried with cabbage whisps, pickled veggies, magic tofu sauce, sesame seeds and sriracha mayo. It’s not simply a vegetarian option but a burger that’s delicious in its own right.
The San Choy Bau also can’t be overlooked - Chinese lettuce cups are filled with pork and prawn mince, daikon, carrot, a tamari based sauce, peanut, spring onion and chilli for maximum flavour and crunch.. Whatever you go for, you’re in for a mean feed that’ll go great with a NEW NEW NEW pint or two.