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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. Tititea Steak House

t bone steak with shrimp on top
Tititea is the place to go for a fancy dinner! Photo credit: Tititea
  • Location: 123 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $34 NZD for a main
  • Come here for: The lamb shoulder
  • Takes reservations: Yes

Tititea Steak House which was formerly known as Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen boasts a prime location right on the lakefront and is one of the best places to dine if you care about quality local ingredients and cuts of steak.

Take in the scenic views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountain ranges from your table. This place is famous for its slow-roasted Te Mana lamb shoulder. It’s a must-try and costs $65 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 the 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.

Tititea Steak House is open Tuesday – Sunday from 6 pm to 9:30 pm.

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: $21 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 are 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 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 Winter Warmer and Bacon Butty are two lighter but great options. And from the lunch menu, I loved the braised pork shoulder roti but the Lamb kofta flatbread also sounds incredible.

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 from 7 am – 9:30 pm on Wednesday to Saturday and closes early at 3 pm Sunday to Tuesday. *Reopened for dinner June of 2022.

4. Bombay Palace

curry at the Spice Room in Wanaka
I love curry! Photo credit: Federal Diner
  • Location: Level-1/145 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $22 NZD
  • Come here for: The lamb korma
  • Takes reservations: Yes

One of the only Indian restaurants in Wanaka. The focus of their food is being a fusion of different Indian cooking styles which is what Bombay means, referring to the gateway of India.

The Bombay Palace has lots of vegetarian options such as the Dal Makhani and Matar Paneer. Many of the curries are also vegetarian and 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 prices are a bit on the higher side for casual dining but the portions are large so you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Just be sure to visit with an empty stomach!

The interior of the restaurant is cozy and inviting plus there’s a deck for outdoor seating that has a clearer view of the lake than from inside.

Bombay Palace is open 7 days from 12:30 – 2:30 pm for lunch and 5 – 9:30 pm. On Friday and Saturday they stay open a bit later until 10 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 $38 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 $170 NZD per person. You can get it without the wine for $120 NZD.

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 – Saturday from 5 pm to late.

*Temporarily closed as of July 2022.

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 $40 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 are 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 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on Sunday to Thursday and stays open until 9 pm on Friday and Saturday.

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 Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 12-3 pm for lunch and from 5-9 pm for dinner. On Thursday they are only open for dinner and are closed on Tuesdays.

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 $10 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 – 6 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 8 am-9 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 Monday to Saturday from 8 am – 3 pm.

Related 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 Tuesday 4 – 9:30 and Wednesday – Sunday from 4 pm-10 pm.

12. Lake View Seafood Restaurant

lake view seafood restaurant
Photo credit: Lake View Seafood Restaurant
  • Location: Level 1/155 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $28 NZD for a main
  • Come here for: Kina fried rice
  • Takes reservations: Yes

Another restaurant right on the Wanaka Lakefront from the top floor of the building. Lake View Seafood Restaurant serves authentic Chinese food. The interior of the space is very elegant and the prices are expensive but not as over-the-top as some of the other high-end restaurants in Wanaka.

One of their top dishes is their Signature Kina Fried Rice. Kina is the type of sea urchin that is found in New Zealand and they also serve it by itself too. If that’s a bit outside of your comfort zone the roast pork and duck and crispy pork are also top contenders!

Lake View Seafood Restaurant is open every day from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm and again from 5 – 10 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.

Note: Burrito Craft at Ground Up Brewery is temporarily closed as of July 2022.

Related Read: Visiting Wanaka during the winter in NZ? Check all the best places to ski in Wanaka!

14. Red Star Burger Bar

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 Bar 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 Monday to Friday from 7 am – 1:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8 am – 2 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!

Other Things to do in Wanaka

The view from Mt Iron in Wanaka
The views from Mt Iron!
  • Cardrona Valley Mountain Quad Zip up into the mountains on a quad bike! This tour makes sightseeing a little bit more thrilling as you’ll follow your guide through winding dirt tracks past lush farmland. Look to spot sheep and cattle and learn from your local guide about the area! You’ll stop to take in the panoramic views of the snow-capped mountains of the Cardrona Valley. It’s only a 2-hour tour so you will still have a lot of time for other activities.
  • Wine and Maori Culture Tour – You’ll get to taste wine right from the land of the indigenous Maori people in Wanaka. This tour is a half-day experience that includes round-trip transport so you don’t have to worry about driving! Just focus on the wine and beautiful landscapes as you visit the different wineries and enjoy the provided cheese platter.
  • Horse Riding Trek – This is the perfect leisurely sightseeing activity that takes you up into the countryside and past historical gold-mining locals for some fabulous views and information from your local guide about this area’s past. You’ll navigate through cattle farms and across a river and end the day with a free beer from the Cardrona Pub on the way back to base.
  • Jet Boat, Hike, and Raft AdventureThis tour is for thrill seekers! It’s a full day of activities including a jet boat and rafting ride on the Matukituki River and a nature trek to take in the beautiful landscapes of Mount Aspiring National Park where you’ll stop for lunch at the base of a glacier! It costs $349 NZD but it is most cost-effective than booking these activities separately.

Where to Stay in Wanaka

A view of the town of Wanaka, New Zealand
The beautiful town of Wanaka

There are tons of places to stay in Wanaka. Seriously, you’ll have so many options that it can be overwhelming. Luckily, I’ve stayed in Wanaka countless times and can recommend the below accommodation options:

Hawea Hotel – This is the perfect budget option for anybody looking to save a few dollars. Although really comfortable, clean, and offering incredible views, Hawea Hotel is super affordable with budget dorms rooms as well as double rooms and family rooms. It is likely the best value for money hotel in Wanaka!

Manuka Crescent Motel – When I travel, I often like to stay in apartment-style hotels so that I can cook my own meals. Manuka Crescent Motel offers studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments, as well as two-bedroom apartments for really reasonable prices. These are great for families or people traveling in groups (I stayed here last time I traveled with friends.) The motel is located a only short drive from town in a peaceful area.

Club Wyndham Wanaka – If you’re visiting Wanaka to relax and spoil yourself, then there’s no question that you should stay at Club Wyndham! This hotel is located right in town only minutes from Lake Wanaka and features an outdoor heat pool, waterslide, hot tub, sauna, and an onsite bar and cafe! All rooms come with a kitchenette or full kitchen, and many offer lake views!

You can also choose from a huge selection of Airbnbs and bach holiday home rentals in Wanaka. These are typically better for groups or a family traveling together. Or, simply anybody who wants to have their own kitchen!

For more detailed information, check out my blog all about where to stay in Wanaka! It includes different areas to stay in and the best hotels for all budgets!

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

A motorhome by the beach
Me and my trusty campervan!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It is what most budget backpackers get for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping! You can easily compare campervans, prices, and book on the website Motorhome Republic. We also have a 5% discount code (DTRAVEL5) with Mad Campers, which you can use at checkout.
  • Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one, you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. Motorhome Republic is my suggested website for booking a motorhome in New Zealand simply because they are a reliable company and the website is super easy to use! We are also partnered with Kiwi Motorhomes, which is well known as the top motorhome rental company in New Zealand. You can get 5% off using the code Queen5. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!

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. Or enjoy some of my more popular posts below!

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