10 Christchurch Restaurants to Try When You Feel Like Travelling

Globe at Sherpa Kai x The Commoners

Sure, the plane ride to a new place may be a while away, but we invite you to explore Christchurch with tourist eyes. You just may surprise yourself with what you find.

Words by: Ashlyn Oswalt

Photography by: Nancy Zhou

If you’re dying for a change of scenery, look no further than your own backyard. Christchurch is buzzing with little eateries and bars that will transport you to another place, all without airfare. So pack your...purse, because you’ve got some exploring to do!

Paris: J’aime Les Macarons

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Merivale Mall, Shop 6C/189 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

This little slice of heaven tucked into Merivale Mall offers a quick reprieve from the mundane tasks of life. Offering bite-size luxury, J’aime Les Macarons will leave you wanting more. From classic flavours like vanilla and pistachio to salted butter caramel and sticky toffee ginger, you’ll find your French fix, right where you least expect it. Order at their Parisian-chic counter and close your eyes while you take a bite - France is right there.

Nepal: Sherpa Kai x The Commoners

Cosy on up with a big bowl of Nepalese specialities at Sherpa Kai x The Commoners found in Lyttelton. Located in what was once the British Hotel, chef Thendup Sherpa dishes up warming meals inspired by his hometown of Darjeeling and his travels through South America and Asia. Enjoy warming bowls of goodness at the cosy space and relish in its warmth - both in the food and its people.

Interior view of Sherpa Kai x The Commoners.

LA: Pink Lady

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Level 7/159 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Between Christchurch’s epic sunsets, rolling hills, and cabbage trees dotted around the streets (they look like palm trees!), you could be forgiven for thinking you’re enjoying a balmy California evening. With poolside vibes, pink galore, and opulence at every turn, you’ll marvel at the new perspective of our Southern Hemisphere city from the 360˚ views. Even with winter frost creeping in, you’ll want to consider the extensive cocktail list and their whole page dedicated to rosés. Pink Lady doesn't stop with the drinks, though, their food menu is light and fresh, making this the perfect place to while away an afternoon. 

UK: Pomeroy’s

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292 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Walk through the heavy wooden doors of Pomeroy’s red brick building and immediately transport yourself to an old English pub. Low ceilings, loud carpet, and varnished wooden bar stools create a warm and inviting atmosphere, and that’s before you’ve even reached the bar. An overhead, colour-coded chalkboard helps beer aficionados and newbies alike choose from their extensive tap list, or take a punt and ask the bartender for their favourite. If you’re lucky enough to pop in on a night with live music, settle in and enjoy, you’ll be here a while.

Southern USA: Boo Radley's Food and Liquor

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level 1/98 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

When a restaurant’s name takes a shine to a classic American novel, take note that their menu will, too. Boo Radley’s little doorfront on Victoria Street acts as a portal to another place and time, bringing you to a Southern speakeasy. You’ll want to order a bourbon based drink, to set the mood of course, and contemplate between the fried chickens, enchiladas, and Louisiana jambalaya - all excellent choices. The cosy yet refined space lends itself to lingering, and who wouldn’t want to stay for a boozy milkshake?

Japan: Tomi Japanese

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Edgeware Mall, 76 Edgeware Road, Saint Albans, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Tucked away in the Edgeware Village, Tomi Japanese is as authentic as it gets. Opened by a seasoned chef with his wife and her father, Tomi emphasises family values and weaves them into their passionate, authentic Japanese dishes. With sashimi, sushi, and homemade flavoured ice creams stealing the show, you’ll find indulgence at every turn. Set in a quiet, authentic-style space, you’ll experience Japanese hospitality to its highest quality - and just wait until you try the sake.

China: Miss Peppercorn

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32 Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Refreshingly different, Sumner’s Miss Peppercorn is all the things you want in a Chinese restaurant, with none of the cliches. Sure, the menu isn’t 100 items long, but we’re certain you’ll find an old (or new!) favourite on her refined menu. The airy, bright space invites you to linger and enjoy the spice-rice Sichuan dishes while appreciating the intricacies of Chinese food.

Italy: Francesca's Italian Kitchen

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Riverside Market, 96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City

Italian food often dances between fine dining and comfort food, and we think Francesca’s Italian Kitchen has nailed that mixture perfectly. Located next to Isaac Theatre Royal, this bustling little place features plenty of candles, intimate table settings, and a wood-fired pizza oven to set the mood. Come hungry, as you’ll want to experience everything on the menu, from the bruschetta with pan-fried mushroom, pear and gorgonzola salad, and margherita pizza to the housemade potato gnocchi, merino lamb shoulder ragu, and tiramisu. Even better, this spot is happy to accommodate dietary restrictions, so everyone can enjoy true Italian hospitality.  

Indonesia: Indo Tempeh House

Originating in Indonesia, tempeh is a fermented soy product that can replace meat proteins in just about any dish. Set in Riverside Market, the team at Indo Tempeh House are excited to show you how. Whether you want to drop by the stall to pick up some tempeh to cook on your own, or prefer to try some of their classic Indonesian dishes prepared in house, the choice is yours. 

Owners of Indo Tempeh House.

Argentina: El Quincho

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96 Oxford Terrace, CBD, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

The name El Quincho comes from the term Argentinians use to describe the outdoor corner of every home where Argentinians come together to come together, cook asado, and share it with those they love. While we’re miles away from South America, the team behind El Quincho brings the spirit to Riverside Market. Dishing up feasts such as the ​Quincho Parrillada, empanadas, and even burgers, you can watch the masters on the grill as you wait. 

Sure, the plane ride to a new place may be a while away, but we invite you to explore Christchurch with tourist eyes. You just may surprise yourself with what you find.

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Native Café

Two women having coffee at the counter outside Native Cafe in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Next time you find yourself Sydenham side of Christchurch town, stop at Native Café for a cup of top-notch coffee and an honest bite to eat.

Little High Lanes

View of a laneway with buildings on both sides.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Little High Lanes is an eclectic blend of food, fashion and industry.

Tramway Restaurant

Tramway Restaurant exterior.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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The Tramway Restaurant is somewhat of a moving Christchurch institution. Most of us have seen it roll past us lit up with warm lighting, filled with happy diners waving at passers by.

Sweet Soul Patisserie

Fine patisserie on a white plate.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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This light-filled corner shop is the first fine patisserie shop in Christchurch.