Dining and Entertainment in Christchurch
The February 2011 earthquake caused wholesale damage in Christchurch's CBD, and the focus for dining and entertainment has since shifted to various suburban neighbourhoods in the city. Some popular venues have re-opened in new locations.
Restaurants and cafes in Christchurch
At the fringe of the Christchurch CBD, several excellent restaurants are open. In Worcester Boulevard, right opposite the Arts Centre, is the very popular and cheerful bistro-style Cook'n With Gas - they also have a great range of beers. The Coffee House is a popular cafe-style venue, serving anything from a sweet snack to a full meal. Pescatore (yes, they specialise in fish dishes) is fine dining in the George Hotel - dine while looking out over Hagley Park. Tiffanys is a long-standing Christchurch fine-dining establishment in an attractive mansion by the Avon River.
Several good restaurants and cafes have opened in the Christchurch Polytechnic / St Asaph St area. Topkapi is popular for Turkish cuisine, while the Lotus Heart is one of Christchurch's best vegetarian restaurants (open daytime every day except Monday; evening dining on Fri/Sat only).
In Merivale, Tutto Bene is a popular Italian restaurant. For bistro-style, try the Leinster Road Bistro; or for French cuisine, St Germain back down Papanui Rd towards the city centre. The Brewer's Arms is a congenial pub with good food. There are several good cafes in this area.
In the Riccarton shopping area, there is excellent European/NZ dining at Rotherhams. There is plenty of Asian cuisine in this area - for Japanese cuisine, try Cookai. The Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple on Riccarton Rd serves great vegetarian food during day time hours only.
Beyond Riccarton, at Church Corner, there is a good range of Asian restaurants.
Further out in the suburbs, The Bodhi Tree, serving Burmese food, has re-opened in Ilam, and is as popular as ever.
Pubs, Bars and Music
With the closure of much of the CBD, venues tend to be scattered around Christchurch, although there are concentrations in areas such as Addington and Riccarton.
Near the CBD, the Pegasus Arms on Oxford Tce is a congenial pub serving good value food in one of Christchurch's oldest wooden buildings. Pomeroys on Kilmore St, also near the CBD, are in a heritage brewery building, brew their own beer and serve delicious food. Cassels have a popular bar in a surviving heritage building in Madras St near the CBD; they also have a bar and brewery in Woolston, where they brew their own beer and serve up wood-fired pizzas and music most nights.
In Addington, the former Dux de Lux in the Arts Centre has been reincarnated as Dux Live, with live gigs several nights a week.
Christchurch's professional theatre, the Court Theatre, has moved to spacious new premises in Addington.
Wine in Canterbury
Canterbury is not one of New Zealand’s major wine-growing areas; yet vineyards and wineries are dotted around Christchurch, and some are rather good. The region’s most successful varietals are riesling, pinot noir and chardonnay. The best area to visit, in terms of number and quality of wineries, is around Waipara, a 45 minute drive north of central Christchurch. A number of wineries provide tastings, and several, such as Pegasus Bay, are lovely places for lunch.
Several tour companies run scheduled wine tours of Canterbury's wineries. Alternatively, you can arrange a private custom wine tour to Canterbury's wineries and other attractions with The Inside Story.
In central Christchurch, the Vino Fino wine shop in Durham St usually has wine tastings on Tuesday evenings at 6.00pm, for $15 (recommended to book in advance). You’ll have the opportunity to taste some Canterbury wines among the range of new releases of New Zealand and international wines.