Don’t let the damage to the inner city faze you—you will still eat very well in Christchurch. The region is renowned for its lamb, seafood, produce, and world-class wines, and many excellent restaurants are tucked away in the suburbs. Please note that increasing numbers of cafes and restaurants will resume business within the central business district, as cordons are removed and the city continues to rebuild.
There’s a busy, creative vibe at Black Betty’s Café, 165 Madras St. (tel. 03/365-8522). Located just across the road from the Christchurch Polytechnic, it attracts a mixed crowd of students, lecturers, artists, and the like. Food and coffee are both worth stopping for, and hearty breakfasts are their specialty. It’s open Monday through Friday from 7am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 8am to 4:30pm. On Victoria Street, make sure you take a side step near the clock tower and veer over to Blax Espresso Bar, corner of Montreal and Victoria streets (tel. 03/366-8982). It’s all white and bright, and you need to arrive early to snare one of their delectable pain au chocolat, or their fought-over small cakes. Blax is open Monday through Saturday 7:30am to 4pm. Under the Red Verandah, 29 Tancred St., Linwood (tel. 03/381-1109; www.utrv.co.nz), is a suburban treasure that’s worth the hunt as the food here is truly divine. They do terrific weekend brunches and their cakes and savories are outstanding. They’re open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 4pm, weekends from 8:30am to 4pm.
For the best gourmet takeout meals in Christchurch, go to Traiteur of Merivale, at the corner of Papanui and Aikmans roads (tel. 03/355-7750; www.traiteur.co.nz). Its menu changes weekly with several starters, mains, and desserts, plus pasta and salad options, all well priced.
Berry, Berry Nice
Berry picking can be a fun excursion, especially with children. Here are two chances to pick fresh berries and then sit down in smart little on-farm cafes for a meal or coffee and berry-based treats. Take a drive through the pretty lanes of the Halswell area and find Otahuna Berries Raspberry Café, Rhodes Road, Tai Tapu (tel. 03/329-6687). It’s about a 20-minute drive out of town. Head out toward Tai Tapu on the main highway to Akaroa, and you’ll see it signposted down Rhodes Road on your left. Pig out on the most divine cakes when you get there. Berryfields’ Sweethearts Restaurant, 161 Gardiners Rd., Harewood (tel. 03/359-5630), is in the opposite direction, near the airport. It’s more of a restaurant experience and attracts a more mature crowd. Note that the cafes are open year-round, but the actual picking season is roughly December through March.
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.