Even for a culinary food journey, you came to the right place in Wanaka, New Zealand! The town is only small but there are lots of excellent restaurants to try out serving up all kinds of food, usually prepared with fresh, locally-sourced produce. Yum! Then, there are the local vineyards around Wanaka where high-quality pinot noir wines are made to compliment your fine-dining experience in the centre of town. When it comes down to food and drinks, we got your covered. Check out our favourite Wanaka restaurants below!
1. Relishes Cafe
Let’s start with the most important meal of the day: Breakfast. The best place to go for breakfast in Relishes Cafe (brunch or lunch will also do if you prefer to have breakfast at your Wanaka Holiday Home!). Everyone raves about this charming lunch spot in town, serving modern cuisine all year round. Relishes Cafe even has a fireplace for the cold and cosy winter months of the year so you can come down here before and after spending time on the ski fields around Wanaka. The coffee is excellent, brewed with locally-sourced organic coffee beans and the food is mouthwatering, following their motto: ‘Local produce and global flavours’. Relishes Cafe smokes their own Aoraki Salmon. Lamb and goat dishes are massively yummy and of the highest quality like you only get in places like New Zealand. There is a kids’ menu available, too, for families with children and there are gluten-free bread options, as well.
Must-try dishes: Housemade fruit bread, the steak sandwich and the Dutch cheese pancake with prosciutto ham.
Address: 1/99 Ardmore Street, Wanaka, 9305
Contact: +64 3 443 9018
Opening hours: every day from 7.30 am – 10.30 pm
2. Kai Whakapai
Another must-try breakfast/brunch/lunch spot in Wanaka is Kai Whakapai, translating to ‘food made good’. This cafe turns into a bar at night so you can come back for drinks after a day of exploring the countryside. Kai Whakapai overlooks Wanaka Lake and it features indoor and outdoor tables. Kai Whakapai has got a relaxed vibe going on and it is a great place to meet local people and travellers, enjoying the lake views and munching on delicious food from morning till evening.
Must-try dishes: Eggs Benny & Rostis with poached eggs
Address: 121 Ardmore St, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3 443 7795
Opening hours: every day from 7 am – 11 pm
3. Francesca’s Kitchen
For your fix of authentic Italian food made with fresh local produce and high-quality imported Italian products, make your way to Francesca’s Kitchen in the centre of Wanaka. Apart from the tasty, delicate ingredients, a great bunch of love and passion that went into the making of these traditional Italian dishes at Francesca’s Kitchen. Pair up with a delicious glass of wine from Italy or New Zealand and you are in for a wonderful evening. Not into wine? There are some delicious crafts beers on the menu, as well. Keep some space for dessert ( it’s an absolute must!) and enjoy your dessert together with a good cup of Allpress coffee – everything is brought to perfection at this Italian restaurant!
Francesca’s also has a mobile trailer in a remote area of town and it goes by the name of Francesca’s pizzas. There is no better place to get delicious wood-fired pizzas, totally casual and lovable.
Address: 3 Ardmore St, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3 443 5599
Opening hours: every day from 12 pm to 3 pm & 5 pm to 9 pm
Related: 12 things to do in Wanaka: Make the most out of your New Zealand trip
A Sister company of Franceska’s Kitchen and already one of the most famous award-winning restaurants in town, Kika is all about tapas to share with friends and family. Kika is a unique find in the dining scene of New Zealand and the small but rich menu is a little paradise of its own for any food lover. The ‘just feed me’ option is a 4-course surprise menu where you will leave it to the chef to decide what’s going to be on your plate. Tip of the day: make a reservation – this place is smoking hot!
Must-try tapas: Wairiri buffalo milk mozzarella, fried chicken with tomato sumo, lamb shoulder with lemon, rosemary and chilli and do not leave without munching on the desserts! (we know, you may have to eat here more than once to try it all).
Address: 2 Dunmore Street, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3 443 6536
Opening hours: every day from 5.30 pm – 9.30 pm
5. Big Fig
‘Slow food served fast’ is the motto of Big Fig Restaurant in Wanaka. This family-owned restaurant was inspired by the family’s Lebanese heritage, their obsession with food and the fig tree growing in the garden of their Taranaki home in New Zealand. All the food is prepared with seasonal, local ingredients and free-range eggs and meat. Big Fig is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And on the menu, you will find classic middle-eastern dishes with a modern twist. Slow-cooked meat, salads, pita bread from the in-house bakery and much more. Big Fig offers different plate-sizes for big and small bellies, and they promote a sustainable, no-waste practice, too. There won’t be any straws or plastic bags of any kind at this popular dining venue and the small and big plates prevent food-waste. Totally awesome!
Must-try dishes: Turkish gozlemeor ricotta buckwheat pancakes for breakfast, cranberry-infused meatballs for lunch & lamb shawarm for dinner. Not that hungry but ready to much? Homemade dips with pita bread will do!
Address: 105 Ardmore St, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3 443 5023
Opening hours: every day from 8 am – 9 pm
Related: Wanaka with kids: How to keep your kids happy in Wanaka
6. Red Star Burger Bar
At some point on your Wanaka Holiday, you got to get our hand on a handmade New Zealand beef hamburger and there is no better place to get it than at Red Star Burgers Bar in Wanaka, crafting burgers since 2004. Oh yes, these gourmet burgers will keep you coming back for more! With over 25 hamburgers to choose from, this burger bar is one-of-a-kind. The burgers are made with organic local produce and you can choose between beef, chicken, lamb fish, veggie (lentils or falafel) or kids burgers. There is something for everyone, boys and girls!
Must-try dishes: Mofo Beef burger!!! (so traditional to have your beef burger with egg and beetroot – gotta try it!). The Mofo Beef Burger comes closest to the famous Queenstown Fergburger.
Red Star Burgers Bar
Address: 26 Ardmore St, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand
Contact: +64 (03) 443 9322
Opening hours: 11.30 am – 9 pm