Elevate Your Lunch in Christchurch's CBD

Bowl of fresh salad with a boiled egg on the table at Estelle Cafe in Christchurch

When it comes to meals throughout the day, breakfast is touted as the most important and dinner often gets all the glory, however, we say there is a serious case to be made for lunch being the best. In Christchurch’s city centre, there are plenty of options to satisfy your twelve o’clock hunger.

Words by: Julia Rutherford

Photos by: Nancy Zhou & Ashleigh Vermaak

Quite simply put, it is time to elevate your lunch, branch out from that standard sandwich or last night’s leftovers and make a date with a colleague or friend. Whether you’re feeling like Italian, Mexican, Peruvian meets Japanese or something else entirely, check out one of these neat spots to make the most out of your midday.

A plate of Japanese Peruvian fusion at Nikkei in Christchurch

Nikkei

100 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City

Grab your favourite foodie friend and branch out at Nikkei for lunch, where the cuisine is Japanese meets Peruvian. Located upstairs at Riverside Market, the two cultures collide in the best way possible with both reflected in the decor and seamlessly incorporated together on the menu. Sharing plates are the name of the game here, so we recommend ordering a few (take suggestions from the Nikkei team - they know best!). On a sunny day take advantage of the beautiful courtyard filled with plenty of plants and greenery and you’ll feel transported to another place entirely.

Kokomo

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24 Welles Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Work in the city but wish you were by the beach? Lunch at Kokomo is just what you need, from the coastal-inspired menu to the light and bright interior with a touch of kitsch and vintage thrown in for good measure. Calling The Welder home, Kokomo is the perfect lunch spot if you work in the South Town area of the city. The dishes at Kokomo are influenced by the coastlines of Aotearoa, the Pacific and Asia, are designed to share and are unique on the Christchurch dining scene. The space is generous so there are plenty of seating options, whether you are meeting a friend or bringing the whole team for a working lunch you’ll be sorted.

ROCA

Level 1 The Terrace, 134 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch & Canterbury

A relative newcomer to the Terrace scene is ROCA, brought to you by the same folks who operate the likes of King of Snake and Mexicanos – with that pedigree, you know it’s good. Inspired by the flavours of the Mediterranean, with the cooking elements of fire and smoke celebrated, the cuisine at ROCA is undeniably delicious. They also take elevating your lunch to a whole new level with their Sunday Long Lunch. We’re talking four courses, a glass of Veuve Clicquot to begin and the option to add wine pairings, oysters and caviar. Top it off with exquisite interiors and excellent service and you have your dream midday meal situation.

Estelle

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19 Southwark Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Another winning lunch spot in South Town is Estelle on Southwark Street, where the menu is predominantly items ‘On Toast’ - sounds simple but oh so delicious and worth celebrating. As the sibling to elite sandwich bar Tom’s (also on Southwark Street), Estelle gives you the chance to make a bit more out of your lunch. Relax and enjoy your chosen toast option and take your time perusing the daily specials for a sweet treat to tempt you at the end of your meal. They don’t do things by halves at Estelle and we have no doubt this will quickly be added to your list of favourites around the city.

The Little High Eatery

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255 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

If you’ve ever organised a team lunch for the office you know how hard it can be to take into account everyone’s dietary requirements and personal preferences. Couple that with finding somewhere that can accommodate your group size and it can often fill you with dread. Enter Little High Eatery to save the day! This dining hall meets marketplace has nine different outlets to choose from, covering a range of cuisines, meaning everyone in your group can order what they feel like. There are pizzas, burgers, tacos, sushi, noodles and more! With lots of seating both inside and out, it’s a no-brainer to head to Little High for your next team lunch.

Westend Stories Café & Eatery

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93C Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Walking into Westend Stories you are greeted by plentiful greenery hanging from the ceiling, creating an instant escape from the bustling city mere footsteps away. The service is warm and welcoming, it’s no wonder there are so many regulars popping in throughout the day! Westend Stories is the place to head to when you are leaning towards a more brunch-for-lunch situation, as their all day breakfast menu is on point with more than your average eggs on toast. There’s also a cabinet full of delicious treats, so make sure to grab something on your way out for a pick-me-up at your desk.

The Mediterranean Food Company

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322 Tuam Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Pizza, pasta, tiramisu… need we say more? The Italians know the art of good food and how to enjoy a long and leisurely lunch. Luckily for those of us in the 03, The Mediterranean Food Company on Tuam Street are masters of this cuisine and their cafe and pizzeria is the perfect haven to elevate your lunch. You can’t go wrong when ordering, but we are partial to their superior pizzas, made from a sourdough culture that’s over 18 years old. After you have finished your meal make sure you have some time to browse the grocery section and stock up on your favourite storecupboard essentials. You can even buy the pizza dough to take home and recreate your lunch for dinner!

Miro

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176 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch

We couldn’t talk about elevated lunch spots in the city centre and not include Miro in our recommendations. From the stunning terracotta exterior to the sophisticated and elegant interior to the service and most importantly the food, Miro does luxury daytime dining so very well. Locally sourced ingredients influence the dishes on the menu and if you are feeling brave (and have some time) opt for the Trust the Chef option. On a cooler day, cosy up at a table next to the fireplace and stretch that lunch hour to the very limit. If the sun is shining then nab a table outside for riverside views and a spot of people-watching.

Muy Muy

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44 Welles Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Sometimes you just need a margarita with lunch and when this desire strikes, make a beeline for Muy Muy. Located on Welles Street in a converted warehouse, the colourful interior is an instant mood booster and makes Muy Muy an excellent spot to break up your work day. Specialising in the aforementioned margarita, their drinks list is impressive, as are their food dishes inspired by both Mexican and Central American cuisines. Think tacos, quesadillas, empanadas and the all-important churros to finish off the meal. Muy Muy is also perfect for large groups, providing a variety of seating options both inside and out - so bring the whole office along and enjoy!

Doubles

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62 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

If you need a quick lunch but still want to up the ante and branch out from your usual then Doubles on Worcester Boulevard is for you. This tennis-themed cafe serves an ace when it comes to its food menu and cabinet lineup. They are famous around town for their ‘croffle’ - a waffle-pressed croissant dough served with both savoury and sweet options depending on your palate preference. When it’s time to head back to the office or on to the next appointment, take a trip back to the cabinet one last time and consider picking something up for the 3pm snack attack - you’ll be so glad you did!

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Rekindle

Entrance showing shop sign and doorway.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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This is a place for craft, for making things. Rekindle is focused on creating opportunities for resourcefulness – making what we need from what we have around us.

Mind Your Temper

A close up of colourful chocolates on display at Mind Your Temper Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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If you’re feeling grumpy or a little blue, a visit to Mind Your Temper is sure to lighten your mood.

Pizza Trap

Customers sitting at high tables.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury Editor's Pick
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Pizza Trap is a collaboration between the person behind Alligator Pizza and Space Academy, serving up neo-neapolitan pizzas with quality ingredients on hand-thrown, sourdough bases.

Odeon

A wide view of the inside of the Odeon restaurant in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Take one of Christchurch’s best chefs and his wealth of international experience, add his Andalusian-inspired dishes to an epic and interesting wine list, and top it all off with a sumptuous, luxe decor and you get Odeon.