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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.
Whether you’re here to hit the slopes, take some stunning photographs of some iconic landmarks, or are simply passing through, sooner or later, you’ll be looking for a bite to eat. I’m happy to tell you that there’s a lot of choice in this small township!
When I first started looking around for the best places to eat here, I had a hard time finding reliable information online, which is why I’ve put together this list, full of the best restaurants, cafés, and takeaway joints! I wanted to take out all the guesswork for you so you can visit the spots that jump out to you the most.
So get prepared… Your mouth is about to start watering! Let’s tuck into 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.
1. TLV Restaurant and Bar
- Location: 7 Motuariki Lane
- Prices: Lunch starts at $18 NZD, dinner from $39 NZD
- Go here for: The service and setting
- Opening hours: Daily from 12 pm to 9 pm
TLV Restaurant and Bar is one of the newest restaurants to open in Lake Tekapo which has a bit more elevated dishes and a stylish dining room featuring blue velvet booths. There is also a patio looking right at the lake and mountains, imagine that view with one of their world-class tasting Espresso Martinis.
They serve lunch and dinner and roll out special menus for holidays. They do a really great job at giving their suggestions for picky eaters and will try to accommodate any dietary restrictions.
The lunch has staples like burgers and fries to more unique choices like squid or gnocchi. I love that the dinner menu offers many different cuisines too, the more variety, the better! Notably, there are a few different Greek dishes, such as the Mediterranean Vege Stack, and they serve a lot of seafood and red meats.
2. Blue Lake Eatery and Bar
- Location: Main Road, State Highway 8
- Prices: From $19 NZD to $99 NZD, depending on dish size.
- Go here for: Kiwi classics
- Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 4 pm
This family-friendly restaurant is located on the SH-8 and is in Lake Tekapo Village! Blue Lake Eatery and Bar serves up Kiwi classics as well as pizza. There’s also 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.
If possible, bookings are recommended, and you can make your booking over on their website.
Related Read: If you want to try another delicious lamb dish, head to Pedro’s in Queenstown – one of the best restaurants in Queenstown.
3. Dark Sky Diner
- Location: 1 Neil Anderson Way
- Prices: From $28 NZD for a main dish
- Go here for: The views!
- Opening hours: Thursday to Monday from 3 pm – 8:30 pm (dinner service begins at 4:30 pm).
Enjoying spectacular views all year round at Dark Sky Diner, 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 fish and chips, fajitas, and the antipasto and cheese platter being 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 in advance.
4. MacKenzies Cafe Bar and Restaurant
- Location: State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo
- Prices: From $25 NZD for a stone grilled dish
- Go here for: The hot stone meals
- Opening hours: Daily from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm
Have you ever had a meal that’s cooked on a hot stone in front of you? Well, this is one of the main reasons why MacKenzies Café Bar and Restaurant is a real winner in Lake Tekapo. They use great quality meat and watching them cook in front of you is tons of fun, especially if you have kids with you! They cater to dietary requirements here too – the vegetable risotto is an especially good 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. That said, they can get busy in the evenings (even on weekdays!), so try to make a booking with them in advance if you can.
Best Cafés in Lake Tekapo
Of course, I couldn’t let sit-down restaurants have all the fun – there are plenty of awesome light bite cafés in town too! Paired with delicious coffee, many cafés in Lake Tekapo offer delicious menus including baked goods, breakfast menus, and munch menus. Let’s take a look at some of the best:
5. Jack Rabbit
- Location: Neil Anderson Way (on the corner of Motuariki Lane)
- Prices: From $15 NZD for breakfast
- Go here for: A great menu for those with dietary restrictions + Fairtrade coffee
- Opening hours: Daily from 7:30 am to 4 pm
Jack Rabbit Café at the Godley Hotel on Neil Anderson Way 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 to 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 café, it is easily one of the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo when it comes to breakfast and brunch food.
6. Doughboys Bakery and Café
- Location: Tekapo-Twizel Road
- Prices: From $4 NZD for a sausage roll
- Go here for: Baked goods
- Opening hours: Every day from 7:30 am – 8 pm
Doughboys Bakery and Café is a great little bakery with a fantastic selection of food to eat there or take with you. They also 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. It’s right next to The Greedy Cow Café (coming up soon!) is one of the most reasonably priced cafés in Lake Tekapo and a great place to stop for a bite to eat. If you fancy stopping by The Greedy Cow, but the line outside is long, this would be my go-to alternative.
7. Astro Cafe
- Location: Godley Peaks Road, Lake Tekapo
- Prices: From $4.50 NZD for a coffee
- Go here for: Coffee with views of Mount Cook
- Opening hours: Daily from 9 am to 2 pm (last orders at 1:30 pm)
The mountain-top Astro Café easily has the best views in Tekapo (or even the South Island) of any restaurant on this list.
This unique café is located on the summit of Mount John, you can drive up to the café 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 daily from 9 am to 4 pm. An $8 NZD per vehicle user fee applies.
8. The Greedy Cow Cafe
- Location: 16 Rapuwai Lane
- Prices: $4.50 NZD for a flat white coffee, starting at $13.50 NZD for a food dish
- Go here for: Excellent coffee
- Opening hours: 7:30 am – 4 pm (kitchen closes at 2:30 pm)
This is one of my favorite cafés in Lake Tekapo, and I’ve visited several times over the years! It’s also one of the most popular cafés in town, so depending on the time of day, you might be in for a little wait.
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. The last time I was here, I had their eggs benny with pan-fried salmon, which was pretty good if you ask me (and I’m known to try an eggs benny here and there!).
9. Altitude 720 Café
- Location: 6 Lakeside Drive
- Prices: Main dishes starting from $23 NZD
- Go here for: A refuel after a day at the hot pools
- Opening hours: Open every day, hours change seasonally
This café 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 Café 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 – pretty cool, right?
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 start from $18 NZD
- Go here for: The ramen noodle dishes
- Opening hours: Friday to Monday 12 pm – 2 pm and 5:45 pm – 8:30 pm. Open Tuesday only in the evening and closed on Wednesdays.
Specializing in Ramen, as well as other Japanese and Thai food, the aptly named Ramen Tekapo 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.
11. Kohan Restaurant
- Location: 6 Rapuwai Lane
- Prices: from $16 NZD for an 8-piece sushi roll set
- Go here for: the best sushi on the South Island
- Opening hours: Daily from 11:30 am to 2 pm, then 6 pm to 8:30 pm.
Kohan Restaurant is both a popular sit-down restaurant and a 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! Their hours can vary depending on the season and holidays, so for the latest updates, I always make sure to check their Facebook page.
Related Read: Heading to Wanaka? Check out my blog about the best restaurants in Wanaka before you go.
Where to Stay in Lake Tekapo
When it comes to picking a place to stay in Lake Tekapo you really are spoiled for choice – if you book in advance that is. 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!
Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Lake Tekapo:
Lakes Edge Lodge – $
One place I always love to stay is the Lakes Edge Lodge. It’s perfect for budget travelers, and it’s also conveniently located just a 3-minute drive from the town center. If you’re feeling hungry, they also have BBQ facilities – honestly, whipping up some tasty meals is one of the best ways to make new friends if you ask me!
There are also shared laundry services, perfect for if you’re combining multiple New Zealand South Island road trips. A bed in a dorm here starts at around $48 NZD per night. You can browse availability and reserve your bed here on Booking.com.
Mantra Lake Tekapo – $$
If you have a higher budget, then consider staying at the Mantra Lake Tekapo. The great reviews here really do speak for themselves – and these apartments also enjoy outdoor pool and hot tub access! With one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments available, this is a great option no matter the size of your group.
Apartments here start at around $284 NZD in the low season, but this does rise come high season! You can check which apartments are available and book your room online here.
The Mackenzie Suites – $$$
Just 600 meters (1,969 feet) from Lake Tekapo, The Mackenzie Suites offers luxurious accommodation options with stunning lakeside views. If you’re looking to splash out a little, or simply can’t get enough of those views, then these suites are well worth considering. Every luxury suite features a kitchenette, with many also offering balcony access as well as a fireplace to keep you warm and toasty in the winter.
Accommodation at the Mackenzie Suites starts at around $400 NZD per night in the low season, however this is a super popular place to stay, often booking out months in advance. For the best deals and dates, I recommend checking online and reserving your room early.
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.
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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!
For more info, check out some of my other blogs about the South Island, food and drink in NZ, or even more blogs specifically about Lake Tekapo – I have so much info to share! I’ve left a few of my favorite blogs that may interest you here: