The Unique Taste of Ōamaru: Food and Drink Heroes of the Waitaki Region

Bevan Smith from Riverstone Kitchen wearing a blue t-shirt and apron smiling to camera in amongst green trees.
With a focus on sustainable and ethical production, Ōamaru's food and drink heroes are passionate about producing exceptional artisan products by harnessing the unique richness of their geographical location.

Del Mar

Looking across the indoor dining area and out to the water and beach at Del Mar.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
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Perfectly positioned by the sea, Del Mar Eatery and Beach Bar in Ōamaru takes full advantage of its waterside views.

Victoria Lounge and Eatery

Plush blue seating set against a dark green wall filled with portraits of queens
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
Bars key icon.

Victoria Lounge and Eatery in the heart of Ōamaru is a welcome addition to the burgeoning hospitality scene in this small town brimming with charm and character.

The Criterion Hotel

Exterior view of The Criterion Hotel in Ōamaru.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
Bars key icon.

First established in 1877, the Criterion Hotel Bar and Eatery is the jewel in the crown in the historic Victorian precinct in Ōamaru.

Casa Nova House & Restaurant 1861

The entrance to Casa Nova B&B.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
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Casa Nova House is a perfect example of Ōamaru’s historic architecture turning a new page in its storied history.

Bangkok Recipe

A close up of a plate of Thai food on a table at Bangkok Recipe Oamaru.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
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On the hunt for authentic and traditional Thai food in the heart of Ōamaru, then look no further than Bangkok Recipe.

Cucina

Looking over the shoulder of a person eating a meal with a knife and fork.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki Editor's Pick
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Argentinian, Italian and Spanish flavours meet Kiwi hospitality at Cucina. Owners Yanina and Pablo, moved their family to Ōamaru in 2008, and celebrate the cuisine they grew up with through Waitaki's best ingredients.

Whitestone Cheese Co.

Whitestone Cheese tasting platter in Ōamaru.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
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Whitestone Cheese opened its doors in 1987 in an old Ōamaru mechanic shop with one part-time cheesemaker. All these years on and the business produces 25 different kinds of cheese with a team of 75 strong.

The FishWife

Wooden board with three cooked lobster on top at the FishWife in Moeraki.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
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Owned by a fourth-generation Moeraki fisherman, this dockside restaurant is the real deal. Snag a crayfish with chips for a meal that’s simple but supremely delicious, or go for the pāua patty which will have you renouncing beef burgers altogether. Whatever you go for, it’s all caught right here.

Tees St

The interior of the Tees St cafe with plants hanging from shelves and the celling.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki Editor's Pick
Cafes key icon.

Cucina’s day time counterpart with colourful, tasty brunch plates. The huevos rancheros have been winning ‘big brekkie’ traditionalists over since 2016 and the bombolino doughnuts are the mid-day treat you deserve.

River-T Estate Wines

A brids eye view image of a cheese and crackers board with people eating it.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
Bars key icon.

River-T Estate vineyard and tasting room has the ‘largest selection of Waitaki wine in the world’. Sit inside or amongst the rows, sip a glass and get stuck into any of their locally sourced platters.

The Fort Enfield

Local patron raising a drink at The Fort Enfield in Waitaki.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
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A classic Kiwi pub reimagined — Speights and craft pours plus simple and delicious kai — pub fare as it should be. Drive or bike the 12km from Ōamaru and reward yourself with the best steak and chips around.

Craftwork Brewery

A brown suede couch in front of an old fire place decorated with books and plants.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki Editor's Pick
Bars key icon.

Ōamaru’s Heritage Precinct is an ode to tradition. In this way it only makes sense that it’s home to Craftwork - an award winning, small scale, Belgian brewery run by brewing couple, Lee-Ann Scotti and Michael O’Brien.

Cure Weekend Brunching with the Best Cafés in Ōamaru

Birdseye view of brunch from Tees Street.
If you catch yourself in Ōamaru in some form of the morning, here are the spots to hit up for your brunch needs.

Badger & Mackerel

The interior view looking down the whole of the Badger & Mackerel cafe with green hanging plants.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki
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Badger & Mackerel Messhall is an Ōamaru hub for great food, excellent service and a refreshing mix of big brekkie classics and modern brunch plates.

Riverstone Kitchen

A white plate with potato salad, salmon and a green salad on the side.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki Editor's Pick
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Riverstone Kitchen has been working with Waitaki producers and growing their own ingredients since day one. Their simple, seasonal approach has earned a huge following and heaps of awards, so wander the veggie gardens, enjoy a meal and stay awhile.