Louies Café & Tapas Bar


Tuesday5:30 pm – 1:00 am.

Wednesday5:30 pm – 1:00 am.

Thursday5:30 pm – 1:00 am.

Friday5:30 pm – 1:00 am.

Saturday5:30 pm – 1:00 am.


142 Dee Street, Invercargill

03-214 2913

Louie’s is an Invercargill institution. Open for dinner only, it’s easy to miss. The windows are shaded and the signposting is unassuming. When you step off Invercargill’s busy main street and into this dimly lit enclave, you’ll understand pretty quickly why locals and visitors both make a point to eat here.

Housed in the historical Swan Hotel Building, Louie’s feels secluded in the same way that many of central London’s best eateries are tucked away yet bursting with personality. The wraparound bar sits underneath the stairs, a small fireplace emits warmth and light in winter, antiques from the old hotel add personality without overwhelming the space and a magical courtyard offers a nice venue for drinks on warm evenings.

Louie’s was founded by Mana Davis in 1997 after he’d successfully ran health food stores and restaurants in Invercargill and Queenstown respectively. If you happen to dine here on a night when he’s around, you’re in for a treat. He’s a classic kiwi bloke with a jolly laugh and more than a few good yarns up his sleeve. But when it comes to cooking Mana doesn't settle for anything even remotely similar to run-of-the-mill Kiwi kai. He’s a skilled hunter-gatherer as a result of a childhood spent outside in Southland learning about his Māori roots and the culinary traditions that came with them.

If Mana isn't around, the food can surely speak for itself. The menu is small and simple yet vast when it comes to the number of carefully curated flavours, foraged garnishes, locally sourced ingredients and artful presentations that each dish incorporates. Louie’s offers a multi-dimensional dining experience at every turn.

Blue cod is on almost every menu in Southland but at Louie’s it comes in a light, perfectly salted pinot gris, caper and lemon cream sauce on a bed of roast potatoes and spinach. Pickled ginger, fresh coriander and micro greens add colour and an interesting bite. Stewart Island salmon comes atop beetroot quinoa with spring greens, edamame, fennel, radish, orange, toasted almonds and citrus vinaigrette. The tapas menu offers smaller portions for a shared dining experience or lighter meal.

In terms of tipples, Louie’s extensive wine collection lives at the bar under the stairs. There’s a drop for every diner’s palate with bottles sourced from near and far.

Mana says his favourite evenings at Louie’s are when he sees three generations of long time regulars come in for dinner. After years of pushing the boundaries of Southland’s culinary scene, Mana and his family have created a restaurant worthy of a journey to its doorstep.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou

Information not correct? Report an error


142 Dee Street, Invercargill

Nearby Places

Amigo's Mexican Grill

Stacks of sombreros.
Place Southland

The cheerful, upcycled decor and friendly staff will welcome you with open arms at this Mexican food establishment, and a margarita won’t be far behind.


Toasted sign.
Place Southland

Serving up New York Style bagels that are made with hand-picked ingredients, this casual breakfast and lunch stop is a tried-and-true favourite amongst students and local office workers.

He Waka Tuia

He Waka Tuia sign.
Place Southland

In the heart of Invercargill you’ll find art and museum space He Waka Tuia, a joint initiative between the Invercargill Public Art Gallery and the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.

The Auction House

The Auction House outdoor seating area with lots of people.
Place Southland

Open for breakfast through to dinner, expect tasty tapas, a wide range of mains, funky cocktails, an expansive NZ wine list and frequent live music events in the spacious, modern courtyard that often play into the night.

Similar Places

Tumu Toka CurioScape

A woman listening to an exhibit.
Place Southland

One of the Catlins most intriguing aspects is the petrified forest at Curio Bay. But how does a forest become perfectly preserved in stone?

The Pantry

The refill bins.
Place Southland

Invercargill's non-profit health foods store, café and community hub.

Beachhouse Restaurant

Close up of fish chowder on a table.
Place Southland

The Beachhouse feels like your mate’s bach and keeps visitors coming back with some of the best seafood chowder down south.


Close up of sweet treats in the cabinet at Industry..
Place Southland

At the only café in Invercargill’s northwest corner, expect to nd delicious baked goods all made in house, hearty breakfast and lunch dishes and plenty of options for dietary restrictions.