The Criterion Hotel

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Monday5:00 – 8:30 pm.


Wednesday11:30 am – 8:30 pm.

Thursday11:30 am – 8:30 pm.

Friday11:30 am – 8:30 pm.

Saturday11:30 am – 8:30 pm.

Sunday11:30 am – 8:30 pm.

3 Tyne Street, South Hill, Oamaru

03 434 0401

First established in 1877, the Criterion Hotel Bar and Eatery is the jewel in the crown in the historic Victorian precinct in Ōamaru. Come for a drink or a meal, and let this Ōamaru gem transport you to a different time altogether.

The space itself has undergone extensive refurbishment and restoration over the years, living many different lives. This landmark building most recently re-opened in September 2022 with new owners Katrina and Brenda at the helm, starting a new chapter in the Criterion’s story. 

Before entering, take a moment to marvel at the historic façade and the preservation of this almost 150-year-old building. Inside is just as impressive, with three separate dining rooms and an intimate bar. Elegant furnishings are all around, and make sure you take a moment to appreciate the William Morris wallpaper in the bar area. The vibe is welcoming and warm, with nods and reminders all around of the history and time gone by.  

Katrina and Brenda have brought their tapas restaurant background to the Criterion, and the menu reflects this with plenty of sharing plate options. As Katrina says, you have a greater dining experience when you share a meal with the people you love. 

Local suppliers and producers are highlighted across the menu offering, and no matter how small or big your appetite, there are delicious options to choose from. For the carnivores among you, the 21-day aged whole Merino Lamb Oyster shoulder is *chef’s kiss*, while the specialty Alps to Ocean Platter is your chance to sample a bit of everything. And you can’t leave the Cri without trying a glass of the “Criterion Black Doris Plum Cider”, an exclusive collaboration with local brewers Scotts Brewing Co.

The Criterion is a true treasure and institution in Ōamaru, so whether you live locally or are only visiting for a day or two, make sure to visit this grand old building and enjoy the dining experience Katrina and Brenda have created.

Words by Julia Rutherford & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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3 Tyne Street, South Hill, Oamaru

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