Where to Dine as a Big Group in Christchurch
Planning a birthday celebration, special occasion or just a big catchup with friends or family? Inevitably one of the first thoughts that pops into your head is where to go and will there be enough space for a larger group. Luckily in Christchurch, we’ve got some pretty neat spots that have you covered when it comes to booking a big table or will happily rearrange things to make it work for your numbers.
So let us take the pressure off trying to find a location, all you need to do is peruse our best-of list, make a booking and you are all sorted to enjoy whatever celebration or occasion you are organising.
Words by: Julia Rutherford
Photography by: Neat Places
It can be hard to find a place to grab a bite when you're going out as a big group. Don’t despair! We’ve rounded up some of the neatest places to hit when your numbers are looking more like a football team than an intimate table for two.
If you're feeling the pressure as the organiser of the next group get-together, we understand the struggle. While it can be a logistical nightmare to find a restaurant that everyone will enjoy, all hope is not lost. We've put together a list of places that make group dining easy, so now you can relax knowing your next big dining occasion with friends and family will be a hit!
Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn
292 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
If you want to feel like you’ve invited all your mates to your place for dinner, Pomeroy's is the perfect place for you. There’s something homely about having a big table in the restaurant area, whether it's the top-level pub grub, cosy hygge, or the fact you can kick on for a few extra crafties afterwards. The Poms team are happy to accommodate big bookings in their restaurant area and the bustling atmosphere will only be added to by your group’s presence. If you’re there during a lovely summer’s day, after your meal, try your luck in the courtyard and enjoy some bevvies in the sun. The best part? No dishes. Win-win.
5 Elgin Street, Sydenham, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
5th Street is consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in the city, so it pays to book well in advance - especially for a larger group size. Found in Sydenham on the outskirts of the city centre, there’s always a buzz in the air at 5th Street and this vibe makes it perfect for a special occasion. Not to mention their incredible menu, which always features a range of smaller and larger plates that will have you salivating and leave you feeling incredibly content at the end of your evening. They can also host functions, so if your group size is getting up there in numbers, it’s worth giving them a call and discussing your options. Take your next group outing here to earn some serious brownie points with your friends.
Twenty Seven Steps
Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Twenty Seven Steps will be a hit for those looking for a sophisticated bistro for their big night out. Excellent service coupled with food and drink worthy of fine dining status - you can expect to see happy smiles all the way down your long table! The team at this Christchurch institution is more than happy to accomodate a big group, just be sure to call ahead as they're regularly booked out.
Level 8/159 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
For an uber-chic spot to take your crowd, Pink Lady, is your go-to. With unadulterated views of the city out to the Port Hills, this place is guaranteed to wow. The plates at Pink Lady are fresh, punchy and easy to share. From the rooftop guac, to Kokoda fish, and taco kits for the table - Pink Lady has all the treats that a world-class rooftop requires. Oh, and plenty of quaffable cocktails.
17 West Belt, Lincoln
If you’re heading out with a bunch of old school mates, The Laboratory, located outside the city centre in Linconln, may be the spot for you.
Built in 2015 but with the bold brick gravitas of a building that has been there for decades, The Laboratory is cosy and welcoming, with plenty of space across two levels to fit you and your friends. You can hire “The Classroom” for functions, or there’s an upstairs loft area set aside for larger groups. A nostalgia trip is almost guaranteed.
With woodfired pizzas and snacks on the menu, it’s just the type of food that’s perfect for sharing. Not to mention excellent drinks from their brewery and there’s even a boutique cinema with 15 seats you can book out.
Francesca's Italian Kitchen Christchurch
149 Gloucester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Italian food is always a crowd-pleaser and Francesca’s Italian Kitchen, right beside the Isaac Theatre Royal, does some of the best in the whole city. You’d struggle to find someone who doesn’t like pizza, pasta, or tiramisu, so Francesca’s is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for any group setting. Big ol’ slices of wood fired pizza were made for sharing, so order a bunch of those delicious chewy, crusty, perfectly charred pies for all your friends to enjoy.
They are very accommodating for large groups and if you have something extra special to celebrate and have over 30 people coming, you can even book out the entire restaurant. So keep that thought up your sleeve for the next time you are planning an event - even better if you’re off to a show next door.
5 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton, Christchurch & Canterbury
SUPER by name, SUPER by nature. This local fave in Lyttelton knows a thing or two when it comes to delivering on ambience, delicious food and a great time for all. They are very flexible when it comes to group sizes and happy to join tables together to make sure you have everything you need to enjoy yourself. Their menu of Asian-fusion dishes is spot on for sharing - we’re talking kimchi fries, gyoza, fried chicken; there’s plenty of yummy Asian-fusion dishes for you to begrudgingly share. (Let’s face it—you want to eat it all yourself.) The drinks and ambience are on point too.
Wanting to have a super time with all your mates? Quite simply head to SUPER in Lyttelton, it’s all in the name.
165 Gloucester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
If a luxe interior, interesting and creative dishes, and a killer wine list are at the top of your criteria for your next group dinner, then look no further than Odeon. With different zones and spaces in the restaurant, there’s a larger table that can seat up to 10 people. For groups with six people or more, you will be served the ‘let us feed you’ menu and what a gastronomic treat this is! You’ll get to try a range of dishes on the menu and some chef specialities of the day, pair this with a wine recommendation from the expert staff and you’ve got yourself a grand ol’ time.
The Monday Room
161 High Street, Christchurch
The Monday Room can accommodate a crowd at their large table downstairs, so you can sit back and relax knowing the highly-regarded Trust the Chef menu will have something for everyone. After all, it was designed for sharing, and includes enough flavours to keep your whole group satisfied.
Corner of Worcester Boulevard &, Montreal Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Fiddlesticks has plenty of space for you and your gang - and once you start ordering rounds of The F.F.C (Fiddlesticks Fried Chicken) everyone will be thanking you! With its unbeatable central city location, Fiddlesticks will be a great option for those coming from all over the city. Hot tip: it can also be hired for events.
The Old Vicarage
335 Halswell Road, Halswell, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
What was once home to local ministers and their families, The Old Vicarage now serves a new purpose: a café that brings groups of people together in a relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere. There are nooks and crannies galore to hide away in, or if you're dining in a large group, there are vast indoor and outdoor spaces, too. Whether it's a work function or you're celebrating a special occasion, The Old Vicarage is a verastile place that an accomodate both large and intimate gatherings.
28 Riccarton Road, Riccarton, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Dux Dine suits many an occasion and gathering, it’s an oasis off the busy Riccarton Road and on a nice sunny day, their Gin Garden is hard to beat. Whether you’re after a bubbly brunch on the weekend, a weekday lunch that takes up most of the afternoon or more of a tapas and drinks vibe in the evening, it can all be catered to at Dux Dine.
52 Main Road, Governors Bay, Christchurch & Canterbury
No matter what the weather is doing, it is well worth the 20 minute drive from the city centre to Governor’s Bay to dine at Ōtoromiro Hotel. Make sure to organise some drivers amongst your group (or book some transport) and head over the Port Hills, taking in the stunning views along the way. Ōtoromiro Hotel has plenty of seating options to suit your needs, on a beautiful day, bask in the sunshine on their deck or in the garden. And even if the weather isn’t playing ball, the cosy pub interiors will make you feel right at home. Add to all of this a food menu that’s on point and a drinks list to match, you’ll earn brownie points amongst your group for choosing Ōtoromiro Hotel.
Castro's Tapas & Bar
Riverside Market, 100 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City
Castro’s on the upper level of Riverside Market is dedicated to bringing a part of Spain to Christchurch. With a generous dining space, this restaurant is used to welcoming large groups and they specialise in hosting functions for all sorts of celebrations. Their authentic Spanish tapas and paellas are the ultimate sharing food, throw in some jugs of sangria or your drink of choice and it’s a party.
219 High Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Tucked down Strangers Lane, there’s a moody, chic ambience that strikes you as soon as you walk through the front doors at Soul Quarter. This is the spot to head to when you want a sophisticated gathering complete with excellent food, drinks and service. The cuisine here draws influences from Louisiana, France and South America and they have an incredible lineup of cocktails, alongside a range of beer and wine. Something to suit every palate in your group and is guaranteed to be a great night out.
314 Cashel Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Wanting something with a relaxed and chilled vibe but still delivering 10/10 on the food front, then Smokey T’s on the fringe of the city centre is where it’s at. The brainchild of chef Tristin (‘T’) Anderson, celebrates all that is delicious and finger-licking good about slow-cooked meat and barbeque. With a large upper floor with plenty of big tables and views out to the Port Hills, this is just the spot if your group is keen for somewhere casual. Order up some platters or all do your own thing, get some bevvies and enjoy!
Westend Stories Café & Eatery
93C Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Westend Stories is a bustling central city destination that is passionate about hosting - from office workers with regular coffee orders to large groups dining in, the people behind the counter at Westend thrive on connecting with their guests and creating a memorable experience every time. The main space is large and airy, there are sunny seats in the courtyard and the light-filled meeting room can be hired, or you can book out the entire space for a private event. With a unique menu that changes with the seasons and fantastic coffee, gather your group and head west of the river, where you know you’ll be well looked after.
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