Dinner and a Show? Here are our Picks on Where to Dine and be Entertained in Christchurch
Make a night out in Christchurch Ōtautahi with our roundup of the best places to enjoy dinner and a show.
Words by: Julia Rutherford
Photos by: Nancy Zhou
Christchurch has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, with talented performers calling Ōtautahi home or choosing to visit and showcase their creativity. Most nights of the week, you will be able to find a theatre, big or small, with some performance on, whether a large-scale production or a niche and intimate show. There are also a number of independent and boutique cinemas dotted around the city, so if your dose of the arts comes from the big screen, there are plenty of choices.
One of the best things about the city’s entertainment and cinema venues is their proximity to top-notch restaurants and bars. Whatever your ‘show’ may be, why not make an evening of it and treat yourself to a dinner out pre or post the performance or screening? We’ve done all the hard thinking for you, so all you need to do is book those tickets and make your dinner reservations.
Arthouse film at Lumière Cinemas followed by a wine tasting and a meal at Cellar Door
26 Rolleston Avenue (Lumiére Cinemas)
Located in one of the most historical settings in the city, Lumière Cinemas in Christchurch’s Arts Centre is well-known for its thoughtfully curated film programme. Arthouse, independent and film festival favourites are often the name of the game at Lumière. We recommend booking a screening time for the late afternoon, as this gives you time to wander the shops and boutiques of The Arts Centre beforehand.
You are perfectly positioned to hit up Cellar Door when the film has finished. Wine is what they do well, and their wine flights have quickly become legendary. Soak up the cozy ambience whilst enjoying your flight and order a mix of small and larger plates to share, the perfect way to round out your Arts Centre cinema and dining experience.
Enjoy dinner at the luxe Odeon before a show at Isaac Theatre Royal
145 Gloucester Street (Isaac Theatre Royal)
Christchurch's biggest and best theatre shows are often performed at the Isaac Theatre Royal. From musicals and ballets to rockstars and comedians, all have graced the stage at this opulent Edwardian-style theatre. If you’re attending a show at the Isaac Theatre Royal, make a glamorous night of it, starting with dinner a few doors down at the very luxe Odeon.
Helmed by chef Shafeeq Ismail, the cuisine is inspired by the Andalusian region of Spain, and the team in the kitchen is constantly experimenting with new flavours and dishes. The menu is designed to share, and it is well worth going outside your comfort zone with your wine order, with the list featuring organic and biodynamic labels from Mediterranean climates. Your meal at Odeon will leave you feeling full, happy and ready for an evening at the theatre.
Book an early dinner at Earl before seeing a movie at Alice Cinema
128 Lichfield Street (Earl)
Alice has been a stalwart on the Christchurch entertainment scene for many years, beginning life as a video shop (it still has a thriving rental business!) and evolving to include the two movie theatres it has today. The atmosphere here is fun and lively, with themed events being a regular occurrence, and they always do a cheap Tuesday night too. Also embracing a special on a Tuesday night is the beautiful bistro Earl. Handily just around the corner from Alice, they do a $25 pasta night, which every week sees two new pasta dishes to choose from plus a glass of wine - sounds like a brilliant and budget-mindful night out to us.
Have a delicious meal at Afghan Restaurant before seeing a show at Christchurch institution The Court Theatre
36 Clarence Street South, Addington (The Court Theatre)
Since the 1970s, The Court Theatre has been a champion of the performing arts in Christchurch and averages 15 productions a year. There’s something for everyone at the Court, from larger-scale musicals to the weekly improv show Scared Scriptless that will leave you in stitches from laughing so hard. Fuel up before your chosen performance at Afghan Restaurant, just down the road from the Court Theatre’s Addington location. The food is incredible, but the opening hours can be elusive, so if it’s closed, head to the theatre early and order some Base Pizza, an excellent backup choice that won’t disappoint.
Watch an original performance piece at Lyttelton Arts Factory and grab some pizza after at Arbour Woodfired Pizza
17 Oxford Street (Arbour)
The port town of Lyttelton is known for being a community full of creativity, and the Lyttelton Arts Factory is a place where this all comes together. LAF, as it is fondly called, is a black box theatre that provides a blank space for performers to create and for performing arts to be taught.
They have an ever-changing programme of performances as well as cabaret and quiz nights, so if you are heading along to one, it’s highly recommended you visit Arbour Woodfired Pizza for dinner. With an impressive woodfire oven as the centrepiece of the eatery, the pizzas coming out of it are drool-worthy indeed. A focus on local, high-quality ingredients is clear to see in the final product, and we suggest getting a few different ones to share amongst your group. The focus on local and New Zealand-made doesn’t stop at the pizza ingredients, with the bar being well stocked with gems like Cassels Beer, Little Biddy Gin and Whistling Buoy Wines. You’ve got the recipe here for a great Lyttelton night out.
Have dinner at Nikkei then pop down the Terrace to discover the next biggest star at Little Andromeda
Upstairs at Riverside Market (NIkkei)
Little Andromeda is found right in and amongst Ōtautahi's buzziest nightlife along The Terrace. This indie theatre that seats 100 people is known to have up to three performances a night. Whether this is an intimate play, a raucous improv show or the latest comedy act, it’s always plenty of fun at Little Andromeda. The shows are scheduled at various times throughout the evening, and given its location, you are perfectly placed to grab dinner either before or after whatever you are seeing.
We recommend checking out Nikkei on the upper level of Riverside Market, where Peruvian and Japanese cuisines come together and prove to be a match made in heaven. The colourful atmosphere and friendly service add to the fun vibes of your night and leave you already looking forward to the next time you visit Little A and Nikkei.
Pizzas at The Brewery Bar & Restaurant followed by the latest movie at Deluxe Cinemas
3 Garlands Road (The Brewery)
Deluxe Cinema at The Tannery proves that the suburbs can bring just as much entertainment value in Christchurch. Start your movie outing with pizzas and Cassels beers at The Brewery Bar & Restaurant. The names of the pizzas pay homage to the suburbs of the city, with some creative combinations for the more adventurous and the classics for the pizza purists among you. Once you’ve polished off your plates, head on down to Deluxe Cinemas, where they have perfected the art of the movie-going experience. And even though you’ve just eaten, it’s hard to turn down the cinema snacks on offer - their icecreams are particularly tempting.
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