In heartland Merivale, located just behind the mall on Aikmans Road, you’ll find a fistful of swanky eateries rubbing shoulders in a sunny, shared courtyard filled with grassy patches, potted trees, and grape vines. It becomes quite a party on a warm summer’s day.
Coriander’s Indian Restaurant, Shop 13, 76 Edgeware Rd., Edgeware (tel. 03/366-7223; www.corianders.co.nz), is located near St Albans and Merivale and is a crowd favorite. Starting platters are a terrific introduction to a wide range of flavorsome, aromatic dishes; they include onion bhaji, mutton seekh kebab, and tandoori chicken. Lamb kadai and chicken do payaza are popular choices, and their succulent tandoori kebabs are winners. Open daily from 11:30am until late.
Market Fare -- If you’re in the Riccarton area on a Saturday morning, hunt out the Christchurch Farmers’ Market (tel. 03/348-6190; www.christchurchmarket.co.nz), which is held every Saturday from 9am to noon, at Riccarton House, 16 Kahu Rd. There are edible treats galore here, as local producers gather under the giant oak trees to sell their wares. Look for handmade chocolates, boutique cheeses, handcrafted breads, Dutch pastries, coffee, and a ton of fresh produce you can buy if you’re cooking while traveling. Historic Riccarton House (tel. 03/341-1018; www.riccartonhouse.co.nz) and the surrounding Deans Bush are attractions in their own right. The house and its fine restaurant, Taste at Riccarton House, are open to the public. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch (11am-3pm) and dinner (starting at 6pm). You can also explore walking tracks through Deans Bush, where you can see kahikatea trees up to 600 years old.
A trip to Sumner wouldn't be complete without a visit to Coffee Culture Ltd., 28 Mariner St. (tel. 03/326-5900). Desserts and coffee are their specialty. The Cornershop Bistro, 32 Nayland St. (tel. 03/326-6720), is an excellent neighborhood restaurant that's casual and competent, presenting everything from racks of lamb to fresh grouper filets. By the time this goes to press, there will be further dining options in a new commercial development, due for completion late 2009, in the center of Sumner.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.