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There are lots of awesome restaurants in Lake Tekapo that you really need to check out. In fact, going out for a bite to eat is one of the best things to do in Lake Tekapo!
It’s likely you’re visiting Lake Tekapo for a short time only, and finding a place to eat can be overwhelming especially since there are lots of great restaurants in Lake Tekapo. Luckily for you, in this blog I list the absolute best restaurants in Lake Tekapo. I’ve even broken down the list into restaurants, cafes, and takeaway joints to make your search even easier. This way, you can take the guesswork out of finding the best places to eat in Lake Tekapo!
Get prepared…your mouth is about to start watering – here are the 11 best restaurants in Lake Tekapo.
Best Restaurants in Lake Tekapo
If you’re looking for a traditional dining experience, then these next couple of restaurants in Lake Tekapo will be right up your alley. They all have large dining rooms and offer a range of highly-rated dishes. These restaurants are perfect if you’re looking to sit back, relax, and enjoy a wonderful meal.
- Location: 5 Motuariki Lane
- Prices: from $15 NZD for a burger
- Go here for: the burgers
- Opening hours: Monday-Thurday from 2pm to 9pm, Friday-sunday 12pm-9pm
Excellent burgers are the centerpiece of the menu at Our Dog Friday. I personally loved the ‘Rebellious burger’ which comes with cheddar cheese, grilled pineapple, capsicum (bell peppers), jalapeno, and a tangy house sauce on top of a 150g premium beef pattie. The burgers are so flavorsome that I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
They also serve chicken burgers and vegetarian options too like the ‘Acquitted burger’ which is a black bean and corn falafel patty deep fried served with guacamole, tomato, and salsa on top.
At Our Dog Friday you’ll also find delicious poutine fries as well as hot chicken wings, onion rings, and more. If you’re a beer fan then you’re in luck, they serve a varied range of craft beers too.
Our Dog Friday is located right next to Lake Tekapo. Although the tables don’t look out to the lake, the space inside is cozy and there are several tables outside on their patio.
P.S. while you’re there make sure to ask about the legend of James Mackenzie and his faithful dog Friday (whom the restaurant is named after).
- Location: Main Road, State Highway 8
- Prices: from $24 NZD for a main dish
- Go here for: Kiwi classics and dinner with a view
- Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 4pm
This family-friendly restaurant is located on the SH-8 and is in Lake Tekapo Village. It serves up Kiwi classics as well as pizza and there’s a separate bar where you can relax with a local craft beer or a cocktail. In the winter, the fire is on and the atmosphere cozy, and in the summer it’s light, bright, and airy.
The menu offers hearty locally inspired dishes like Mount Cook Salmon, Canterbury Lamb Shank, and Canter Valley Duck Leg. If you’re after a truly “Kiwi classic” dish then this is probably the best restaurant in Lake Tekapo for you.
There’s also an extensive pizza menu. For vegetarians, there’s the Italian Style Salad and the Mediterranean pizza. Worth noting is they also cater to other dietary requirements like dairy-free and gluten-free.
Related Read: If you want to try another delicious lamb dish, head to Pedro’s in Queenstown – one of the best restaurants in Queenstown.
- Location: 1 Neil Anderson Way
- Prices: from $15 NZD for a main dish
- Go here for: the views!
- Opening hours: Thursday from 4pm, Friday/Saturday/Sunday from 12pm
Enjoying spectacular views all year round as it’s located on Lake Tekapo and the floor-to-ceiling windows means the views can be enjoyed from every table. The menu is bar-style with the fish and chips, fajitas, and the antipasto and cheese platter some of my favorite main dishes.
The Dark Sky Diner is located at the famed Dark Sky Project, one of the best places in New Zealand to go stargazing (one of the best things to do in New Zealand if you ask me.)
Worth knowing – A three-course set menu is available for groups of 10 or more people if pre-ordered when booking.
- Location: State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo
- Prices: from $25 NZD for a stonegrilled dish
- Go here for: the hot stone meals
- Opening hours: 11am – 8pm daily. Closed on Wednesday.
The hot stone meals (they cook the meat on a hot stone in front of you) is one of the main reasons this restaurant is a winner in Lake Tekapo. They use great quality meat and are a fun thing to watch especially if you have kids with you! They cater to dietary requirements here too and the vegetable risotto is a great choice for vegetarians.
The restaurant itself is nice and spacious and the view outside is stunning. If the weather allows, try to grab a table on their large patio.
Best Cafes in Lake Tekapo
Sometimes the best places to eat are actually cafes. Paired with delicious coffee, many cafes in Lake Tekapo offer delicious menus including baked goods, breakfast menus, and munch menus. In Lake Tekapo, some of the very best places to eat are actually cafes. These next couple of cafes that you’re about to read about are sure to impress!
5. Jack Rabbit
- Location: Neil Anderson Way (on the corner of Motuariki Lane)
- Prices: from $11 for breakfast
- Go here for: great menu for those with diatary restrictions and fairtrade coffee
- Opening hours: every day from 7:30am to 2pm
Jack Rabbit Cafe has recently opened at the Godley Hotel on Neil Anderson Way, and it boasts some of the best views in town. Enjoy delicious breakfast and lunch as well as fairtrade coffee! There’s also a varied selection of cabinet food if you’re just after a light snack.
The menu caters for everyone with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. I loved the big breakfast. It was huge (!!) and comes with sausages, bacon, hash browns, baked beans, two eggs of your choice, and toast. For lunch, there’s a selection of burgers and yummy loaded wedges.
Although Jack Rabbit is technically a cafe, it is easily one of the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo when it comes to breakfast and lunch food.
6. Doughboys Bakery and Cafe
- Location: Tekapo-Twizel Road
- Prices: from $3 NZD for a sausage roll
- Go here for: baked goods
- Opening hours: everyday from 6am
Doughboys Bakery and Cafe is a great little bakery with a fantastic selection of food to eat there or take with you. They offer a good selection of hot and cold food and delicious cakes.
The bacon and egg butties are just $6 NZD each and are delicious. This is one of the most reasonably priced cafes in Lake Tekapo and a great place to stop for a bite to eat.
7. Astro Cafe
- Location: Godley Peaks Road, Lake Tekapo
- Prices: from $4.50 for a coffee
- Go here for: views of Mount Cook
- Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday from 10am-3pm. Closed Monday & Tuesday.
The mountain-top Astro Cafe easily has the best views in Tekapo (or even the South Island) of any restaurant on this list.
This unique cafe is located on the summit of Mount John, you can drive up to the cafe or walk 90 minutes from town. The path starts from the small car park next to the ice rink in Tekapo. The panoramic views from here include Mount Cook (one of the best places to visit on the South Island) and the other stunning scenery of the Mackenzie region.
Astro Café offers a wide selection of drinks and barista-made coffee. To eat, there’s a range of savory and sweet options to suit everyone. Their Saturn-themed cappuccino and carrot cake are always a favorite of mine, although nothing compares to the views on offer.
*Please note – the access road to the cafe is open from 9.45 am – 2.30 pm Thursday – Sunday. An $8 NZD per vehicle user fee applies.
- Location: 16 Rapuwai Lane
- Prices: $4.50 NZD for a flat white coffee
- Go here for: excellent coffee
- Opening hours: 7:3 0am – 2:30pm
This is one of my favorite cafes in Lake Tekapo and I’ve visited several times over the years!
The Greedy Cow has a huge and varied selection of cabinet food and pastries are made fresh daily making it one of the best places to eat in Lake Tekapo too. Their coffee is delicious and strong and there are numerous options available including iced coffees (using the award-winning Hawthorne coffee). They also offer a wide selection of teas, soft drinks, hot chocolate and more.
- Location: 6 Lakeside Drive
- Prices: dishes starting from $12 NZD
- Go here for: a refuel after a day at the hot pools
- Opening hours: open every day, hours change with the season
This cafe is located at the popular Tekapo Springs hot pools, which I highly recommend visiting if you have time – they are one of the best things to do in Lake Tekapo after all!
Altitude 720 Cafe has beautiful lake and mountain views and on warmer days you can dine alfresco on the spacious balcony. In winter, get cozy by the open fire. My top tip is to try the eggs benedict from the breakfast menu and the battered fish and chips from the lunch menu. They also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options as well as cabinet food, ice-cream, and cakes.
Definitely try the coffee here too. They brew their own coffee blend, called 720 coffee blend and it’s the highest-altitude roasted beans in New Zealand!
Best Takeaway Restaurants in Lake Tekapo
On the go? I get it. Busy days are a real thing and that’s when grabbing a meal to-go as takeaway comes in handy. Some of the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo are in fact places that are most popular for takeaway. So whether you’re grabbing something on the run or prefer to eat dinner snuggled up in bed at your hotel, any of these next takeaway restaurants in Lake Tekapo are a perfect choice.
10. Ramen Tekapo
- Location: 120 Main Road
- Prices: main dishes starting from $16
- Go here for: the ramen noodle dishes
- Opening hours: Monday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-4pm & 5-8pm. Tuesday 5-8pm only. Closed on Wednesdays.
Specializing in Ramen, Japanese, and Thai food this is one of the most popular takeaway restaurants in Tekapo. You can dine-in here too if you wish.
On the menu the homemade ramen noodle dishes feature heavily but there are also dumplings, salmon sashimi, and popular Thai dishes such as pad thai, thai green curry, and tom yum.
My top tip is to head down near the Church of the Good Shepherd to enjoy this yummy Asian takeaway with a stunning view! Visiting this iconic church is one of the best things to do on the South Island and enjoying the view with a delicious meal in hand is even better.
- Location: 6 Rapuwai Lane
- Prices: from $10 NZD for an 8-piece sushi roll
- Go here for: the best sushi on the South Island
- Opening hours: 11:30 – 2pm and 5:30 – 8pm daily
Kohan Restaurant is both a popular sit-down restaurant and takeaway restaurant in Lake Tekapo. The basic decor inside leads to stunning views of the lake outside. Personally, I love getting a takeaway bento box from here and heading down to the lakefront to enjoy the views, especially on a warm summer evening.
Kohan boasts some of the best sushi on the South Island and the Classic Bento Box is a firm favorite with locals and tourists. The Avocado Salmon Roll and Teriyaki Chicken Roll are also delicious. As well as sushi rolls and bento boxes you can also get donburi, miso soup, teriyaki chicken, and more to take away.
It is easily a top choice when it comes to restaurants in Lake Tekapo and often, you’ll find this place completely packed!
Related Read: Heading to Wanaka? Check out my blog about the best restaurants in Wanaka before you go.
Where to Stay in Lake Tekapo
In Tekapo town, there are lots of great hotels to choose from. For budget travels I recommend the YHA Lake Tekapo – these hostels are just that good, and for how little you spend, you get a lot. They have a range of rooms from dorms to privates and although you’d think it’s for a younger crowd this hostel actually attracts a mix of age groups.
If you want something a little more upmarket the Peppers Bluewater Resort is my favorite. the hotel has magnificent views, beautiful rooms and the best part is it isn’t actually that expensive! On top of the hotels, there are also lots of small B&Bs around town that you can browse on Booking.com.
Holiday home rentals are also popular in Lake Tekapo and there are many you can choose from. Holiday homes are perfect for groups or families who all want to stay together.
When it comes to picking a place to stay in Lake Tekapo you really are spoilt for choice – if you book in advance that is. Unfortunately, Lake Tekapo is another place in NZ where accommodation is hot property, especially in summer. For that reason try to book as far in advance as you can.
Thanks for reading!
As you can see from the list of restaurants above, you’re spoiled for choice in Lake Tekapo. There are so many amazing places to eat in Lake Tekapo, which I found surprising for such a small town. I truly hope you enjoy the restaurants in Lake Tekapo that you pick off this list!