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15 Best Restaurants in Wanaka

15 Best Restaurants in Wanaka

With so many amazing things to do in Wanaka from hiking Roy’s Peak to wandering lavender fields, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to work up quite the apatite. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of incredible places to eat in Wanaka.

As one of the most popular tourist destinations on the South Island, it’s no surprise that Wanaka has loads of excellent restaurants. From quick takeaway joints like Fedeli to the more romantic dining experience of Bistro Gentil, there’s a huge selection of restaurants to choose from in Wanaka.

In fact, there are over 50 restaurants in Wanaka! That’s a lot of places to choose from when you’re looking to eat out.

This is why I’ve written this blog. I’ve narrowed it down to the absolute 15 best restaurants in Wanaka! These are my favorites after countless visits from my hometown of Queenstown. I hope you will find your new favorite restaurant in Wanaka on this list.

The Best Restaurants in Wanaka

1. Ode

A meat dish at Ode, Wanaka
Ode is the place to go for a fancy dinner! Photo credit: Ode
  • Location: Post Office Lane, 33 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $34 NZD for a main dish from the a la carte menu
  • Come here for: Fine dining with a difference
  • Takes reservations: Yes

A great fine dining option in Wanaka is the One Hat awarded Ode hidden away on Post Office Lane. In fact, in 2019, Ode was listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in New Zealand.

Ode pride themselves on an innovative menu with organic and local produce at the center of all their dishes. Venison, lamb, and goat sirloin are all interesting meat options. If you’re a seafood fan the fish of the day changes regularly and is dependant on what’s in season locally. For a true taste of the chef’s artistry, try the 8-course option. Called the ‘Ode Experience’ this option showcases the very best of what Wanaka has to offer. It is recommended you allow up to 3 hours for this and the price is $233 NZD per person.

If you don’t fancy the very indulgent 8-course menu you can choose from a la carte or a 3-course ‘trust the chef experience’ which is priced at a reasonable $89 per person.

Ode is open Tuesday – Saturday from 5:30 pm. Booking is essential!

Related read: Want to walk off all that food? Check out the best hikes in Wanaka.

2. Big Fig

Delicious food at the Big Fig in Wanaka
The food at Big Fig is full of life and color! Photo credit: Big Fig
  • Location: 105 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: $20 NZD for a medium plate (1 meat & 4 sides)
  • Come here for: The slow-cooked meats
  • Takes reservations: No

Best described as healthy comfort food, Big Fig has been serving Wanaka locals and tourists for several years.

The Lebanese-inspired breakfast menu serves up fantastic fresh options like the Middle Eastern Granola and Shakshuka. For lunch and dinner choose your plate size, the meat you want, and between 2-4 sides and salads (depending on what size plate you picked). The slow-cooked meats are the hero on the menu here and expect a varied selection like lamb shawarma, beef cheeks, and meatballs. There’s also heaps of vegetarian options like vegan tagines, stuffed vegetables, and vegetable stews.

If you want something lighter (the lunch and dinner option above is surprisingly filling!) there’s a large selection of counter goods. At the counter, you will find yummy freshly baked cakes, biscuits, and pitas. I highly recommend the Tahini chocolate brownie – if it’s not already sold out.

Big Fig is open 8 am – 8.30 pm every day.

3. Federal Diner

Eggs benedict at the Federal Diner in Wanaka
Starting the day right is important – especially before exploring Wanaka! Photo credit: Federal Diner
  • Location: 47 Helwick Street
  • Price range: From $11 NZD for a breakfast dish
  • Come here for: Great brunch options
  • Takes reservations: For dinner only

The locals like to call it their ‘little secret’ which is a fitting name seeing as Federal Diner is hidden down a laneway off Helwick Street. It’s particularly popular for lunch and brunch – so get here before the rush to nab yourself a table.

From the breakfast menu, the granola bowl and bacon butty are two lighter but great options. And from the lunch menu, I loved the lone ranger sandwich (roasted chicken on Turkish bread) and the braised pork shoulder roti.

In a hurry? Grab yourself a coffee, they serve the excellent Emporio coffee from Wellington and a cheese scone or almond croissant from the counter.

Federal Diner is open daily from 7 am – 3 pm. *From June 2021, it will be open for dinner service.

4. The Spice Room

curry at the Spice Room in Wanaka
I love curry! Photo credit: Federal Diner
  • Location: 43 Helwick Street
  • Price range: From $22 NZD for a curry
  • Come here for: The curry
  • Takes reservations: Yes

Fresh Indian food that comes highly recommended by Wanaka locals. The Spice Room focuses on home-style Indian cooking and the star dishes are the butter chicken, jalfrezi, and goat curry. There’s also a sister restaurant in Queenstown if you’re venturing that way.

The Spice Room has lots of vegetarian options such as the Tadka Dal and Muttar Paneer. Most of the curries are gluten-free too. Vegan, dairy-free, and nut-free options can be prepared too – just ask your server. A popular option is their Banquet Menu which is $50 per person and comes with popadums, a mixed Indian platter, three curries with naan bread, and a yummy hot chocolate naan to finish.

The portions here are big so be sure to visit with an empty stomach!

The interior of the restaurant is cozy and inviting plus there’s a big fire in the lounge area to warm you up on those cold Winter days.

The Spice Room is open 7 days from 5 – 9:30 pm.

Related read: Headed to Queenstown? Check out the best restaurants in Queenstown!

5. Bistro Gentil

A meal at Bistro Gentil, Wanaka
My go to place for a fancy dinner with my partner! Photo credit: Bistro Gentil
  • Location: 26a Golf Course Road
  • Price range: From $36 NZD for a main
  • Come here for: Date night
  • Takes reservations: Yes

Situated a few minutes drive from Wanaka, Bistro Gentil boasts the most spectacular view – and you may be dining surrounded by lavender depending on the season. It is truly a gorgeous location with views of both Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps making it one of the most romantic restaurants in Wanaka.

The focus here is on traditional French cuisine. For starters, there’s a varied selection from the must-try French onion soup with gruyere croutons or the Fromage board with imported cheese from France. The Te Mana Lamb, Confit Duck Leg, and Free Range Pork Belly are all excellent options from the main menu.

The five-course tasting menu offers varying menus each evening and with a wine pairing is priced at $150 NZD per person.

Bistro Gentil is open Tuesday – Saturday from 6 – 9 pm.

6. Kota Restaurant & Bar

Two meals at Kota Restaurant & Bar
Looking for a creative menu with an Asian twist? Photo Credit: Kota Restaurant and Bar
  • Location: Level 1, 80 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $27 NZD for a main dish
  • Come here for: Great views
  • Takes reservations: Yes

A casual restaurant with fantastic views over Lake Wanaka. The menu has an Asian twist with pad thai, pork belly, and duck in an orange and soy glaze as some of the most popular options on the menu. This restaurant is relatively new and it was formerly The Landing restaurant.

The dumplings with Asian slaw and kimchi dressing comes highly recommended. Dietary requirements can be catered for – just check with your server.

Kota Restaurant & Bar is open Tuesday – Sunday from 5 pm.

Related read: Be sure to check out the best stops between Wanaka and Queenstown before hitting the road.

7. Kika

Half roast black chicken dish at Kika, Wanaka
The half roast chicken is to die for! Photo credit: Kika
  • Location: 2 Dunmore Street
  • Price range: From $38 NZD for a large sharing dish
  • Come here for: Award-winning cuisine
  • Takes reservations: Yes

Kika is a tapas-style restaurant with multi-award-winning Head Chef James Stapley at the helm.

As mentioned, sharing style plates are the style here and all of the produce is seasonal. Smaller style sharing dishes like the seared tuna or beef tartare are excellent options whilst the larger plates like the Te Mana lamb shoulder or half roast chicken are again fantastic. For vegetarians, there’s Jerusalem artichokes, shiitake mushrooms, and more.

Be sure to save room for dessert – the crème fraiche cheesecake with plum sorbet is extravagant.

Kika is open every day from 5:30 pm.

8. Francesca’s Italian Kitchen

A pizza at Francescas Italian Kitchen
This is the best pizza in Wanaka! Photo credit: Francesca’s Italian Kitchen
  • Location: 93 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: Pizza from $24 NZD
  • Come here for: The woodfired pizza
  • Takes reservations: Yes

This place is very well-known in Otago for its authentic Italian food and as a result, is jam-packed every night. So, definitely book in advance. It has been open since 2012 and even has its own cookbook as well as two other locations (in Christchurch and Dunedin).

The pasta here is homemade and the homemade gnocchi with braised beef cheeks and the merino lamb shoulder ragu are some of my favorite dishes on the menu. Most people, however, come here for the traditional woodfired pizza.

Finish off your evening with traditional Italian desserts like the cannoli, tiramisu, and affogato.

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen is open every day from 12-3 pm for lunch and from 5 pm for dinner.

Related read: If you miss Francesca’s Italian Kitchen in Wanaka don’t worry, you can always visit after driving from Wanaka to Christchurch.

9. Charlie Brown Crepes

A crepe at Charlie Brown Crepes
Those with a sweet tooth will love these crepes! Photo credit: Charlie Brown Crepes
  • Location: 77 – 79 Brownston Street
  • Price range: From $7 NZD for a crepe
  • Come here for: Authentic French crepes
  • Takes reservations: No

This tiny mint green caravan is a must-visit whilst in Wanaka. Charlie Brown Crepes is famous for its sweet crepes and savory galettes which are made fresh throughout the day. Fill your homemade crepes with a choice of fillings from lemon curd to Nutella to caramelized apples. As for the savory galettes, choose from Kiwi Breakfast (bacon, cheese, egg, and tomatoes) or Summer (smashed avocado, tomatoes, and olives) and a few more interesting flavor combinations.

The galettes are made from gluten-free flour and so are suitable for gluten-intolerant and vegans, they too can be used for the sweet crepes.

There’s no seating available here but take your crepe or galette to the lake and eat it with a view – this is easily one of the best cheap things to do in Wanaka.

Charlie Brown Crepes is open 8 am – 3 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 8 am-6 pm on Friday and Saturday.

10. Fedeli

3 salads at Fedeli, Wanaka
The perfect food to fuel your adventures in Wanaka! Photo credit: Fedeli
  • Location: 47 Helwick Street
  • Price range: Sandwiches starting at $10 NZD
  • Come here for: The seasonal salads
  • Takes reservations: No

Fedeli is a deli with a difference and is nearly always busy so expect to queue. It’s from the same owners as The Federal Diner nearby, in fact, you will see that a lot of people who can’t get a seat at the diner will come here for a takeaway because the food is just as good. There’s no seating here so take your food to the lake or with you on one of the many awesome hikes in the Wanaka area.

You can choose from the fresh selection of sandwiches, seasonal salads, and sweet pastries. The coffee is of course excellent – you’re in New Zealand after all (home of great coffee).

Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan/vegetarian options are also available.

Fedeli is open every day from 8 am – 3 pm.

Relater read: After Wanaka, keep the adventure alive! Check out all the best stops between Wanaka and Franz Josef!

11. The Cow

Pizza at The Cow in Queenstown
Yes I like pineapple on pizza! Photo credit: The Cow
  • Location: 33 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $22.90 NZD for a pizza
  • Come here for: The spaghetti bolognese
  • Takes reservations: No

The Cow is a family-friendly restaurant with large portions that have been serving the Wanaka community since 2006. Its sister restaurant in nearby Queenstown has been operating since 1977! In fact, it’s the oldest, and one of the best, restaurants in Queenstown!

The spaghetti bolognese is a specialty here and the wide selection of pizzas are always popular. The interior is cozy and warm and is particularly popular with families – kids just love it here! Be warned, they don’t take reservations so aim to get here before 6 pm if you want to guarantee yourself a table, especially on the weekends.

The Cow is open from Tuesday – Sunday from 5 pm-10 pm.

12. Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen

Lamb shoulder at Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen
Check out that New Zealand lamb! Photo credit: Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen
  • Location: 123 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $26 NZD for a main
  • Come here for: The lamb shoulder
  • Takes reservations: Yes

Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen boasts a prime location right on the lakefront. Take in the scenic views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountain ranges from your table. This place is famous for their slow-roasted Te Mana lamb shoulder. It’s a must-try and costs $64 and is advisable to share with a friend/partner (unless you’re very hungry). The a la carte menu is filled with local selections like wild venison or wakanui eye fillet.

A popular option is the Stonegrill, where premium meat of your selection is presented on a 400°C stone and cooked at your table. Choose from eye fillet, venison, or lamb rump. For vegetarians, there’s a warm roasted vegetable salad.

Worth noting is that the menus are updated regularly to accommodate the season and so your favorite dish may not always be available.

Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen is open Tuesday – Sunday from 6 pm.

13. Burrito Craft

Buritos at Burrito Craft, Wanaka
The perfect on-the-go meal! Photo credit: Burrito Craft
  • Location: 42 Brownston Street
  • Price range: $14 NZD for a small burrito
  • Come here for: The burritos
  • Takes reservations: No

A taste of Mexico in Wanaka – this large food truck serves up tacos, burritos, and a variety of sides. Fillings like Yucatan pulled pork shoulder, smoky shredded beef brisket, and pulled chicken are available as both burritos or tacos, as well as vegetarian options like jackfruit and mixed vegetable. Gluten-free is available in any of the above you just have to choose the burrito bowl option. For kids, there’s a burrito or quesadilla.

Also at Burrito Craft on 42 Brownstown Street are a couple of other excellent food trucks including Firebird which serves up excellent southern fried chicken dishes. There’s a selection of picnic benches here to enjoy your food or you can walk a short distance to the lakefront and enjoy your food there with a view.

Burrito Craft is currently operating from two locations – the new food truck area at 42 Brownston Street and Ground Up Brewery on 4 Gordon Road.

Open at 42 Brownstown Street every day from 12 – 8:30 pm and at Ground Up Brewery on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 3 pm.

Related read: Visiting Wanaka this winter? Check all the best places to ski in Wanaka!

14. Red Star Burger

A burger at Red Star Burger
Yum! Photo credit: Red Star Burger
  • Location: 26 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $13 NZD for a beef burger
  • Come here for: The burgers
  • Takes reservations: No

I guess you could say this is the “Fergburger” of Wanaka and has been delighting locals and tourists since 2004. Serving up gourmet beef burgers like the Mofo with beef patty, swiss cheese, mushrooms, bacon, and egg you really can’t go wrong. Not into beef? No worries, they also have chicken, lamb, fish, and venison burgers. It’s a casual and family-friendly restaurant with a small number of indoor seats and an outdoor courtyard.

Red Star Burgers have weekly burger specials which are typically very creative like the pork gyoza burger with Asian slaw and wasabi mayo. This is easily the best place in Wanaka to get a burger!

Red Star Burger is open from 12 pm daily.

15. Double Black

The front counter food at Double Black Cafe, Wanaka
This café food is gourmet! Photo credit: Double Black
  • Location: 47 Kingfisher Crescent, Albert Town
  • Price range: From $14 NZD for a breakfast dish
  • Come here for: Breakfast and great coffee
  • Takes reservations: No

Under a 5 minute drive from the center of Wanaka is this newly opened cafe.

There’s a varied and fresh menu available at this Albert Town based cafe. Double Black serves up old-time classics like eggs benny or pancakes. But there are a few more unusual menu items that sound really interesting like the pulled pork benny with spiced apple chutney and the original hash which is a kumara patty on a bed of vegetables and halloumi.

They also have a snack menu if you want something lighter like polenta or sweet potato fries. Of course, their coffee is excellent too. This is easily one of the best restaurants in Wanaka, especially for your breakfast favorites!

Double Black is open every day from 7 am – 3:30 pm.

Related read: Still booking your holiday in Wanaka? Check out my blog about where to stay in Wanaka to ensure you choose the best accommodation!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary stands by the Wanaka Tree
At the Wanaka Tree! Thanks for reading!

There are so many amazing restaurants in Wanaka that deciding can be impossible. Luckily with this list, I’ve narrowed the search down for you and, depending on what you love there’s a restaurant for you.

Thanks so much for reading! I really hope you loved this blog and found it helpful! If so, be sure to check out more of my content. I’ve been busy writing about Wanaka, Queenstown, and New Zealand in general. Enjoy!