It's only been in recent years that Invercargill has come up to snuff on the dining scene. Restaurants are still few and far between given the size of the town, but there are some good eateries. HMS Kings Restaurant, 80 Tay St. (tel. 03/218-3433), is consistently favored by locals for its seafood, although service can be erratic; and 148 on Elles, 148 Elles St. (tel. 03/216-1000), is recommended. Soprano's Pizzeria, 33 Tay St. (tel. 03/218-3464), has a lively atmosphere and tasty pizzas if you just feel like a quick bite. Of all the eateries here though, the one I'm most inclined to is Rocks Café, Courtville Place, 101 Dee St. (tel. 03/218-7597), which is tucked away off the main beat and is the most likely to deliver a reliable, tasty meal. The always zany Zookeepers Café (look for the large elephant on the roof), 50 Tay St. (tel. 03/218-3373), is one of the most popular places in town. Crumbed Stewart Island blue cod with Kumara fries, minced lamb kabobs, rib-eye steak, pastas, and salads are typical options. Come here for the mood more than the food. Open daily 10am to late.

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