New Places to Eat and Drink in Christchurch!

  • Sun Dog Diner Carlton Court
  • Gatherings Restaurant Christchurch

Seems we always like to try new places to eat and drink and in a city that is moving into the next phase of rebuild and renovation - lots of buildings now completed or close to complete in the CBD in particular, the options are rapidly growing. In fact, it would be safe to say there are more new places to eat/drink opening in Christchurch at present than anywhere else in New Zealand.

So, we have lots of them in our famous Brunch post, and quite a number more in our Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian blog post, but we thought we would focus on two locations where a bunch of new eateries have sprung up (or are about to).

The first is Carlton Corner, at the top of Bealey Ave and on the Papanui Road corner. This is an older group of shops that was closed for renovations post quake and has now re-opened with a whole new batch of tenants. Exciting!

Carlton Courts, Merivale/CBD

Maison de Crepes

Christchurch finally has a genuine French creperie - Maison de Crepes. Lovers of the perfectly formed french version of the pancake can choose from a range of sweet crepes and savoury galettes, made with buckwheat flour.

All the galettes are gluten free and the sweet crepes can also be made gluten free, egg free and vegan on request. The cafe is small but offers a takeaway option as well as dine in,  and the menu also includes gelato, sorbet and other dessert options. Coffee is the perfect accompaniment to a plate of sweet crepes, and the house brand is Supreme.

Fillings and toppings for the crepes include: classic lemon and sugar, strawberry jam, nutella, pic's peanut butter (various combos), french caramel, chocolate (Whittakers of course), and orange intense (dark chocolate, fresh oranges, sliced almonds and orange sauce). 

Savoury galette options include: ham and cheese, cheese and egg, ham, cheese and egg, Ze Breakfast, Ze French Toast Crepe, Ze Eggs Benedict Crepe w Bacon, 

Sun Dog Diner

Formerly the proprietor of popular Mexican food truck Mamacita's, owner Jess Lynch has now set up a more permanent home in the new Sun Dog Diner. If you have a picture in your mind of the classic movie style american diner, this is probably the closest you will find in the city of Christchurch. 

The offering includes classic diner style fare - burgers, fries, hash, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, bacon and egg English muffins, sodas using Six Barrel Soda Co syrups, drip coffee with free refills, and an all day breakfast menu (till 10pm at night!). Check out the menu for more info right here. And of course this is a licensed premises, so you can also sup on your choice of craft beers and cider.

The whole place has a funky retro vibe to it, with booth seating, striking floor tiles and bright red corrugated iron wall panels. Check it out for yourself. Bookings only required for groups of more than five. Open from Tuesday to Sunday each week, from 8am till late. 

Gatherings Living Wine Bar and Restaurant

Perhaps following in the footsteps of award winning restaurant Roots in Lyttelton, Gatherings is defintely something special for Christchurch foodies to discover. Owned by chef and innovator Alex Davies (who also created and cooked at the tiny Shop Eight in New Regent Street), Gatherings specialises in sustainable, locally sourced and seasonable foods, beautifully prepared for guests in this tiny space. 

Bookings are completely essential because of the size of the space and the need for Alex to ensure he has sufficient food each day (he aims to minimise food wastage as part of his Gatherings philosophy).

Opening hours are Lunch 12-2, Happy hour 4-6 and Restaurant dining 6pm - 11pm, Wednesday to Saturday. Make your reservation by emailing info@gatherings.co.nz  The bar is open from 4pm with a special selection of snacks.

Dinner is a set daily menu of 5 vegetarian courses for $60 per person. Lunch is simpler with no dish being more than $20. 

Little High Eatery, Tuam and High Street (parking on St Asaph St side)

This part of the city is now beginning to really bustle with life, featuring the famous C1 Espresso, Brick Farm, Dux de Luxe and now, the newly opened restaurants and cafes in the former McKenzie and Willis complex (right across the street from C1) and known as Little High Eatery. Follow all the restaurants on their own Facebook pages or follow the Little High page. You could call this an upmarket food court, but its one of the most buzzing food locations in the CBD right now - warm, relaxed vibe, diverse food and drinks to pick from, and the chance to sit anywhere you like while  your food is prepared for you. Walking in here and spending an hour or two, you could be in any busy city, anywhere in the world.

Noodle Monk

All the Thai faves from Pad Thai Paradise and Money Bags to Tom Yum soup, Noodle Monk provides you with fast, fresh and delicious Thai dishes. Check out their current menu offerings here.

El Fogon Grill

Straight from Venezuela, if you are a meat lover or looking for a low carb dinner out, El Fogon is the perfect spot. Choose from char grilled steaks, chicken, chorizo and more, plus fresh salads - and El Fogon is licensed too, so you can enjoy a bevvy or two with your meal. 

A Mouse Called Bean

Known for their great coffee and their spot in the ReStart Mall, A Mouse Called Bean has made Little High their new home, serving caffeine, alcohol and a range of sweet goodness in the cabinet. They even have a glass of mulled wine waiting for you to warm up when its chilly outdoors.

Base Woodfired Pizza

Woodfired pizza is the way to go, and with the oven in clear view you can watch your pizza being cooked before your very eyes. Delicious, fresh and topped with locally sourced ingredients, Base brings you pizza the way it's meant to be. Click on their name above for the current menu.

Caribe Latin Kitchen

Bumping shoulders with el Fogon, you can keep that South American vibe going with a range of cocktails, beers and of course Latin American influenced eats - tapas and tacos to delish churros with chocolate sauce. Check out the wall of South American history - from Columbian drug lords to former Presidents and beyond. 

Sushi Soldier

Donburi, Sashimi, Ramen, Yakitori - all the good things you expect from a Japanese restaurant in the heart of the city. If you have a craving for something Japanese - and you're looking for the buzz that Little High has to offer, Sushi Soldier is definitely right up there.

Eightgrains

Sister to Sushi Soldier, Eightgrains offers some fresh new takes on one of the world's oldest cuisines. Check out the Eightgrains Pork, Bao Garden buns, sweet Velvet Dumplings - and of course the spectacular desserts - featuring Matcha Green Tea ice cream.

Bacon Brothers' Burger Bar

The brand new Bacon Brothers burger bar featuring its range of free range bacon burgers, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options and beers on tap is due to open now in Little High, open 7am-late, seven days a week.

Check out their range of delish burgers, including a highly recommended vegan option alongside the classic bacon and other meaty morsels.

Madam Woo - neighbouring building, shared car parking

Michelin starred chef Josh Emett and restauranteur Fleur Carlton continues to expand their nationwide food empire with the opening of a Christchurch Madam Woo restaurant.

Hugely popular in Queenstown and Takapuna, this Malaysian street food inspired restaurant opened recently in the rebuilt McKenzie and Willis building in Tuam Street, in the heart of the Innovation Precinct.

The inspiration is street hawker food and favourites on the menu include Hawker Rolls, Dumplings, Wontons, Nasi Lemak (Malaysia's national dish), 

There are also two banquet menu options - one for lunch ($35 per person) and one for dinner ($55 per person). Madam Woo's is fully licensed with options including cocktails, a small selection of wines and beer, plus the famous Vietnamese style drip coffee with condensed milk. The flavours are authentic and the experience worthwhile!

Takeaway is an option and you can order through their app or website. Book via email christchurch@madamwoo.co.nz  Open for lunch daily from 12 midday, and dinner from 5.30pn - 10pm.

St Germain - above Madame Woo

Known for its classical French cuisine, St Germain has moved twice since the earthquakes and now has a permanent home back in the heart of the city.

The perfect place for a special birthday, anniversary or romantic night out, St Germain's menu will transport you to Paris - you even have the option of the special 6 course "tour of France" menu. Make sure you book ahead and enjoy browsing the mouthwatering dishes on their menu right here.