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15 BEST Restaurants in Wanaka (Amazing Food and Better Views!)

15 BEST Restaurants in Wanaka (Amazing Food and Better Views!)

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Looking for somewhere to wind down and enjoy some incredible food after a busy day in Wanaka? With so many amazing activities to try and things to do, I’m sure you’ll be pretty hungry!

As a Queenstown gal, I’m always finding myself either exploring or passing through Wanaka, and can never pass up the opportunity to eat here whenever I can. From quick takeaway joints to romantic dining experiences, you can bet I’ve tried them all!

To help you pick the very best of the best, I’ve narrowed it down to the absolute 15 best restaurants in this blog. After reading this through, I’m sure 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 $35 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 easily one of the best places to dine if you care about quality local ingredients and cuts of steak.

I loved taking in the scenic views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountain ranges from our table! This place is famous for its slow-roasted Te Mana lamb shoulder. It’s a must-try, costing $70 NZD, and I’d suggest sharing this with a friend/partner (unless you’re very hungry). The à la carte menu is filled with local selections like wild venison or wakanui eye fillet.

I saw lots of people ordering the Stonegrill, where the premium meat of your selection is presented on a 400 °C (752 °F) stone and cooked at your table. You can choose from eye fillet, venison, or lamb rump. For vegetarians, there’s a beautiful roasted vegetable salad.

It’s worth noting that the menus are updated regularly to accommodate the season, so your favorite dish may not always be available.

Tititea Steak House is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

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

2. Big Fig

Meal at Big Fig in Wanaka
So yummy!
Bailey with a meal at Big Fig in Wanaka
I come here all the time!
  • Location: 105 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: $22 NZD for a medium plate (1 meat and 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 and 4 sides and salads (depending on what size plate you opt for).

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 to pick from. 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 from 8 am to 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 $13 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 to 9:30 pm on Wednesday to Saturday and closes early at 3 pm Sunday to Tuesday.

4. Bombay Palace

curry at the Spice Room in Wanaka
I love curry! Photo credit: Bombay Palace
  • Location: Level-1/145 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: Classic curries from $25 NZD
  • Come here for: The lamb korma
  • Takes reservations: Yes

One of the few Indian restaurants in Wanaka, The Bombay Palace offers 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 starts at $46 NZD per person for the vegetarian option and $48 NZD for the Bollywood Feast. These come with poppadoms, a starter of your choice, two curries of your choice with basmati rice, and garlic naan or tandoori roti depending on which menu you pick.

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 a week from 12:30 pm to 3 pm for lunch and 5 pm to 9:30 pm for dinner. On Friday and Saturday, they often stay open a bit later until 10 pm.

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 $41 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 Gruyère 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.

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

6. Cardrona Hotel

Bailey enjoys a glass of wine at the Cardrona Hotel
The beer garden at the Cardrona Hotel!
Food at the Cardrona Hotel, New Zealand
Yum!
  • Location: 2312 Cardrona Valley Road
  • Price range: From $34 NZD for a main dish
  • Come here for: Great food at an iconic spot
  • Takes reservations: Yes

The Cardrona Hotel serves traditional pub favorites with their own unique twist! It’s tucked away in the scenic valley between Wanaka and Queenstown and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can even spend the night here!

For breakfast, I’d highly recommend the toasted banana bread (yum!) or the classic cooked breakfast if you’re feeling a little extra hungry. Off their dinner menu, I had the beef Wellington, and it was superb – sooo juicy and tender. And if you’ve got enough room for dessert, then you really can’t go wrong with their local ice cream or sticky date pudding.

Probably my favorite part about this restaurant (apart from the amazing food!), is the gorgeous garden with plenty of seating. Even if the weather isn’t looking so hot, they have warm glass houses which you can cozy up inside! It’s the perfect spot to grab something to eat after your adventures.

If you’re planning a visit in the ski season (June to October), then reservations for the restaurant are required, which you can make by either emailing or calling them directly.

The Cardrona Hotel is open for breakfast from 8 am to 11 pm, with breakfast served until 10:30 am and dinner served from 6 pm.

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 $52 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 norm 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 plenty of options, including Jerusalem artichokes, shiitake mushrooms, and more.

Be sure to save room for dessert though, I tried the crème fraiche cheesecake with plum sorbet, and it completely blew me away!

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 $28 NZD
  • Come here for: The woodfired pizza
  • Takes reservations: Yes

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen 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’s 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 ragù are some of my favorite dishes on the menu. Most people, however, come here for the traditional woodfired pizza.

After polishing this off, I’d recommend finishing off your evening with a traditional Italian dessert, like the cannoli, tiramisu, and affogato – so good!

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen is open daily from 12 pm to 3 pm for lunch and from 5 pm until late for dinner. They do occasionally have planned closures for large functions, so make sure to double-check the website just in case!

banner asking people to click to join the Queenstown Diary Facebook Group

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 $7.50 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. It’s such a treat to fill your homemade crepe with a choice of tasty fillings, from lemon curd to Nutella to caramelized apples.

As for the savory galettes, you can choose between the Kiwi Breakfast (bacon, cheese, egg, and tomatoes) or Summer (smashed avocado, tomatoes, and olives), as well as a few more interesting flavor combinations.

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

There’s no seating available here, so I’d suggest taking your crepe or galette to the lake and eating it with a view.

Charlie Brown Crepes is open 8 am to 4 pm daily.

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 why not your food to the lake?

You can choose from their 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 to 2:30 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 $25.90 NZD for a pizza
  • Come here for: The spaghetti bolognese
  • Takes reservations: No

The Cow is a family-friendly restaurant with large portions that has been serving the Wanaka community since 2006. Its sister restaurant in nearby Queenstown has been operating since 1977!

The spaghetti bolognese is the specialty here (super good!) 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 daily from 5 pm to 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 $32 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, which really surprised me with just how full of flavor it was! Kina is the type of sea urchin that is found in New Zealand, and they also serve it by itself. If that’s a bit outside of your comfort zone, the roast pork and duck and crispy pork are also seriously good.

Lake View Seafood Restaurant is open every day from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and again from 5 pm to 10 pm.

13. Burrito Craft

Burrito and fries at Burrito Craft in Wanaka
The fries are also really good!
Burrito Craft food truck in Wanaka
The food truck!
  • Location: 42 Brownston Street
  • Price range: $16 NZD for a small burrito
  • Come here for: The burritos
  • Takes reservations: No

A taste of Mexico in Wanaka – Burrito Craft is a large food truck that serves up tacos, burritos, and a variety of sides. Fillings like the tasty Yucatán 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 vegetables.

Gluten-free is available in any of the above, you just have to choose the burrito bowl option. If you’re traveling with kids, you can’t go wrong with 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.

Open at 42 Brownstown Street every day from 12 pm to 8:30 pm.

Related Read: Visiting Wanaka during the winter? 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 $15 NZD for a beef burger
  • Come here for: The burgers
  • Takes reservations: No

I guess you could say that Red Star Burger Bar 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 Burger Bar has 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 to get a burger in Wanaka!

Red Star Burger Bar is open from 12 pm to 8 pm from Saturday until Thursday and closes 30 minutes later on Friday.

15. Relishes Cafe

Squid at Relishes Cafe in Wanaka
Photo credit: Relishes Cafe
Big breakfest at Relishes Cafe
Photo credit: Relishes Cafe
  • Location: 1/99 Ardmore Street
  • Price range: From $11 NZD for a breakfast dish
  • Come here for: Fantastic breakfast and coffee
  • Takes reservations: No

Located right in the center of Wanaka, you’ll find Relishes Café, which has been serving the Wanaka community for over 15 years!

There’s a varied and fresh menu available, with old-time classics like eggs benny or a full-cooked breakfast. But there are a few more unusual menu items that sound really interesting, like the Jalapeño cornbread with a free-range fried egg, whipped feta, and marinated tomatoes.

They also serve lunch if you fancy something a little later in the day. It’s really hard to pick a favorite, but their garlic bread would be my recommendation – it simply melts in your mouth!

Relishes Café is open from 7:30 am to 3 pm, with breakfast served until 2:30 pm and lunch from 11:30 am.

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 Cardrona atv tour
Photo credit: The Cardrona
  • 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 is one of the best tours in Wanaka 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 $226 NZD, but it is more cost-effective than booking these activities separately.

Where to Stay in Wanaka

Room at the Archway Motel
One of the single rooms at the Archway Motels & Chalets
Kitchen at the Manuka Crescent Motel in Wanaka
Our room at Archway Motels & Chalets had a full kitchen!

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 accommodation options below:

Hawea Hotel – $

The Hawea Hotel is the perfect budget option for anybody looking to save a few dollars. That said, the rooms are really comfortable, clean, and offer incredible lake views! It is likely the best value for money hotel in Wanaka, with all rooms including a flat-screen television, a private bathroom, and a balcony too.

A one-night stay here starts from around $180 NZD per night, with budget dorm rooms as well as double rooms and family rooms available. You can check your dates and reserve your room here on Booking.com.

Archway Motel & Chalets – $$

When I travel, I often like to stay in apartment-style hotels so that I can cook my own meals. The Archway Motels & Chalets offers studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments, as well as two and three 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 only a short drive from town in a peaceful area – talk about holiday bliss! Room rates start at around $200 NZD per night, averaging around $350 NZD in the high season. You can check availability and book your stay online on Booking.com here.

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 heated pool, waterslide, hot tub, sauna, and an onsite bar and café.

All rooms here come with a kitchenette or full kitchen, and many also offer lake views. You’ll also have access to their fitness center too if you fancy working up a sweat before hitting the sauna! Rooms here at Club Wyndham start at around $300 NZD and can be booked here on Booking.com.

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

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

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’s what most budget travelers use 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…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

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 between them can seem like an impossible task! With this list, I hope I’ve narrowed the search down for you, and, depending on what you love, you now know that 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 blogs. I’ve been busy writing about Wanaka, Queenstown, and New Zealand in general. Or enjoy some of my more popular posts below:

How to Get from Wanaka to Milford Sound + Best Stops

Guide to Renting a Motorhome in New Zealand +My Top Tips

50 BEST Hikes in New Zealand +My Personal Favorites

Mimi D

Wednesday 29th of November 2023

Do you recommend making a reservation for dinner in Wanaka? We will be going in January 2024. Thank you!

Bailey

Friday 1st of December 2023

Hey Mimi,

Reservations would be smart that time of year. It is one of the busiest times.

Thanks Bailey