Get Acquainted at the Chef’s Table at these Christchurch Spots

People dining at the bar at Londo.

Dine up close and personal.

Words by: Kelly Tapper

Photography by: Neat Places and Supplied

Dining at the Chef’s Table is inherently special. There’s an immediacy, a sort of unspoken closeness, a secret being shared. On those coveted ring side seats, you can engage in the business of hospitality from the cusp of the inner sanctum. Whether you want to have some banter with the barman or brush up on some knife skills, here are our top places to dine up close and personal in Ōtautahi.

5th Street

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5 Elgin Street, Sydenham, Christchurch

5th Street is a genuine delight but sitting up at the bar brings another dimension to this well-loved restaurant. High stools located in front of the kitchen get you right into the fold, and from this viewing angle you’re likely to find a new appreciation for the level of care that goes into a memorable meal. Sharing plates will be the ideal companion for dining at the bar, so order a few and revel in the action.

Inati

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48 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Inati is unlike any other restaurant in Christchurch. Book yourself a slot at the chef’s table and be in the front row to see the masters at work. The sights, smells and sounds blend together in perfect harmony, and the beautiful leather-armchairs and brass topped counter just add to the complete elegance of dining here. Owners Simon and Lisa Levy deliver par excellence *chef’s kiss*.

View through the window to chef's working at the bar at Londo.

Londo

Unit 6/2 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch

Located on Papanui Road, Londo, is a restaurant making hearts skip a beat. There are many reasons for this, but being able to sit up at the tactile wooden bar is definitely one of them. Modest in size, the space is beholden to the seats framing the bar (and we love the vibe that creates). Incredible dishes created by chef Robert Fairs only enhance the overall picture. When the food and wine is this good, you won’t notice the passing of time.

Tomi Japanese Restaurant

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Edgeware Mall, 76 Edgeware Road, Saint Albans, Christchurch

There’s much to love about Tomi. In fact it has become something of an institution for those seeking out Japanese cuisine in the city. Tomi pride themselves on sourcing the freshest fish from the market daily and so when you take a seat at the bar here, you can watch the fish be prepared by the talented chefs. The skill is palpable, there’s a spellbinding quality to the precision and process they take to get the sashimi out to the diners. Quite something to witness first hand. 

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Grizzly Baked Goods

A woman orders at the Grizzly Baked Goods window in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Effortlessly cool with a friendly and inviting vibe, Grizzly Baked Goods will have you feeling like you’ve woken up in another city.

The Tack Rooms

Inside the Tack Rooms.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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The Tack Rooms by Hotel Montreal is one of Christchurch's most innovative and unique accommodation options that doubles as an equally spectacular event space.

The National

Someone looking at unique jewellery pieces on display.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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The National has been at the forefront of the contemporary art scene in Christchurch for over a decade.

Shelf Home + Gifts

The outside of the store photographed from across the street.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury

Anyone looking for a gift in Christchurch should head to Shelf Home + Gifts on the Cashmere Hills.