Where You'd Rather Be: The Best Mediterranean Restaurants in Christchurch

A glass of red wine next to a platter of cheese and cured meats at Salut Salut.

Pizza and paella, souvlakis and sangria, cannoli and croissants… There’s a reason we’re always pining over the Mediterranean way of life.

Add in the backdrop of crystal clear waters, rich history and culture, locals as warm as the weather and you’ve got all the makings of a dream destination – and it can all be yours for just one extortionate return flight ticket. Or maybe not… What if we told you, there’s a little piece of Mediterranean paradise lying behind the doors of restaurants all across Ōtautahi? Roll your eyes all you like, but soon enough you’ll be blissed out on an aperitif, mistaking Sydenham for Sorrento.


The home of tapas, long sandy white beaches and everyone’s favourite dancing emoji, it’s no wonder so many of us fantasise over a one-way ticket to Barcelona. While you wait to wine and dine next to the Spaniards, these Christchurch establishments are the next best thing.


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165 Gloucester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

A restaurant that would contend with even the best of Barcelona’s contemporary dining scene, Odeon is the most beautiful place to enjoy an elevated Andalusian-inspired feast. Head chef and owner Shafeeq Ismail draws on his experience in kitchens across the globe to create a seasonal menu that is hit after hit. Sip on a range of Spanish wines while you work away at a few delicious tapas or opt for the “Just Feed Me” to try a bit of everything.

A person holding a pan of paella.

Catro's Tapas & Bar

100 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central

When you’re craving all the Spanish classics, you’ll find a friend in Castro’s. Sitting on the top floor of Riverside Market, there’s always a lively buzz about the place to make for an atmospheric dining experience. Settle in for an evening of sangria, authentic paella, and endless tapas (obviously) to momentarily satisfy your wanderlust. Oh, and don’t mind the resident bull. He’s friendly.

Salut Salut!

5/20 Welles Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch & Canterbury

While the name suggests otherwise, there’s plenty to 'hola!' about at this tiny wine bar tucked into the back corner of The Welder. Opened by and for lovers of great wine and food, Salut Salut! is the place to come with friends, parents or a promising romance. Try a new drop from a near or faraway place and nibble on a selection of tapas. For a true Spanish excursion, grab a plate of hand-carved jamón ibérico (you can’t miss the leg perched dramatically on the bartop).


Okay, so we can’t promise Amalfi views or loud Italians yelling affectionately at each other across the plaza… However! Neapolitan style pizza? Authentic handmade pasta? That we can help with.


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128 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

When we think of Italian hospitality, we think warm and welcoming – with plenty of elegance on the side. So naturally, we’re big fans of escaping to Earl for a taste of the European lifestyle. While it’s always a great day to pop in, head along to Pasta Night Tuesdays to experience a weekly pasta special that’ll take you from Rome to Palermo. 

The Mediterranean Food Company

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322 Tuam Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Since 2001, Ōtautahi locals have been treated to their own little slice of Italy down Tuam Street. A specialty grocer and restaurant in one, The Mediterranean Food Company is home to an abundance of directly imported Italian ingredients, from every type of pasta to tinned tomatoes (they really do just taste better), cured meats, cheeses and more. Find something for your own pantry or stick around for lunchtime pizza and a spritz at the café.


13 London Street, Lyttelton, Christchurch & Canterbury

If you’ve been on a desperate hunt for proper pizza straight from the streets of Naples, you’ll be tickled by the arrival of Bomba in Lyttelton (we most certainly are). Each dough is handmade by owner Ed Monteschio, who lovingly tops them with San Marzano tomatoes and Fior di Latte before giving them a quick dip in the 450 degree oven. The result? A puffy crust and thin base that is perfect in flavour and texture. For the full Napoli experience, ordering the Marinara is non-negotiable.

Francesca's Italian Kitchen Christchurch

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149 Gloucester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Sharing the neighbourhood with Isaac Theatre Royal, it’s no surprise Francesca’s Italian Kitchen is a much-loved pre-theatre destination. Ticket holder or not, this restaurant puts on a show of classic Italian dishes that celebrate local ingredients. The menu is full of crowd pleasers, so pick up a slice of pizza, twirl your fork into a bowl of handmade pasta or enjoy a big scoop of tiramisu as your final act.


Uncomplicated, delicious and wallet-friendly. It’s easy to see the appeal of docking up in a charming Greek village and living off alleyway gyros for a couple of weeks. Luckily, there’s a strong pita culture in Christchurch to keep you going in the meantime.
Close up of a fresh souvlaki filled with chicken and fries


Fancy having your lunch break 18,000km away from the office? We don’t have a plane ticket for you, but we do recommend taking a flight (of stairs) up to Zeek’s. Inspired by the hidden takeaway bars of Greece, you’ll find satisfying souvlakis and fresh Mediterranean salads at wallet-friendly prices.


2/574 Colombo Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch & Canterbury

If you’re already privy to this family-run restaurant, you’ll know exactly why it’s got everyone talking. One of our favourite go-tos for a cheap and extra cheerful group dinner, Spartan recreates the warm experience of a traditional Greek taverna. Get your fix of pita, skordalia, moussaka, lamb souvlaki and everything else you’d expect to find next to whitewashed walls and blue domes.

Mashawe Mediterranean BBQ

1 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch & Canterbury

A recent addition to the New Regent Street family, Mashawe adds some serious punch to the pastel neighbourhood. With a name that literally translates to ‘barbecue’, you’ll find plenty of smokey meats, as well as fresh and delicious Greek souvlakis and Middle Eastern dishes. Great for a quick takeaway option, casual pre-show dinner or mezze meet-up with friends.


We all have that friend who went to France once and can no longer be tolerated when it comes to their obnoxious pronunciation of certain pastry items. But don’t let that take the joy out of devouring the best and butteriest of baked goods, especially when there’s an abundance to be discovered in Christchurch.
A cabinet full of pastries with three staff members in the background

Bread & pastries

This city is blessed to be home to a batch of bakers transforming flour and water into pure magic. There’s nothing that makes us feel more Euro chic than heading to the bakery on a Sunday morning, popping a baguette under our arm and unfurling a glossy pain aux raisins. GrizzlyBellbird and Bohemian Bakery are a few of our go-tos for great bread and pastries.

Someone holding a tray of French canelés and madeleines


Sometimes, an occasion calls for mirror glazes, mousse and meringue. Just like in the breathtaking shop windows of Paris, there are plenty of places to find almost-too-good-to-eat treats in Christchurch. Head to J’aime les Macarons for a luxurious box of macarons, BUTTER for intricate tarts and petit fours (don’t miss the caneles), and Sweet Soul Patisserie for desserts that belong in the Louvre.