My Top Food Picks for Wanaka

The Otago region of New Zealand is one of the most spectacular places to visit, with stunning views of snow-capped Southern Alps and incredible lakes, walks and outdoor adventure. In my blog about the South Island Roadies, I mention few great stops on the way from Christchurch to Otago.  Wanaka is a township within the Lakes District of Otago and a stunner of a place to stay. Whether your in Wanaka for the hiking, bike trails, extreme sports, watersports, gorgeous views, or a little r&r, you will in no doubt find yourself trying to decide where to go for a meal out. However, because these places are so delicious, try to book a table so you make sure you don’t miss out!

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen, Image Credit of Francesca’s

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen. Although it is set back from the main street, the vibe is cosy and relaxed, with a slight Italian flare. The lighting itself makes the space feel exclusive and warm. The wait staff are always amazing, and very knowledgeable about the menu. The food itself is absolutely amazing. I know people who go for the pizza every time, but I’m always torn between the beef cheek gnocchi and the vego gnocchi. Whatever you order, definitely start off with their famous polenta fries with truffle aioli, which are the best I’ve ever had…recommendation by my friend Lucy, but now I get them every time!

The Big Fig, image credit of Lost and Found Traveller


Big Fig. This gorgeous Mediterranean cafe prides itself on slow-cooked food served fast. You purchase a size plate or takeaway box and go down the line of delectable dishes and they pile on whatever you like. From slow-cooked lamb sharma to pomegranate beef cheeks, then down the line to Israeli couscous or chick-pea and tzatziki salads, you will not be disappointed. The fresh, modern interiors give the space a fun atmosphere and the food makes it a healthy eat-out option with a satisfying punch of flavours. Also, they have a great Instagram page with videos introducing the cafe!

BoaBao. If you’re looking for the perfect picnic by the lake takeaways, this is definitely the place to go if you’re wanting a decent feed. These giant, handmade, juicy burgers are insanely delicious, right on the main street, ready to be enjoyed on a park bench at the cusp of Lake Wanaka.

Kai Whaka Pai. This is truly a local hang-out, which means you know you can trust the quality. As well as being licensed and having a buzzing night vibe, the breakfast menu is serious business, including good vegan options. There are tables outside when the weather is playing nice, or an indoor upstairs dining room which has great views overlooking the lake.

Urban Grind
The Urban Grind indoor and view of outdoor patio, image credit of Urban Grind

The Urban Grind. My husband and I stumbled upon this ultra modern cafe and brilliant piece of architecture last time we visited Wanaka. It’s easy to miss, as it’s up the hill a bit from the main strip by the waterfront, but the food & coffee is at an international high standard and the architecture sums up their precise, ultramodern vibe. You can order online, enjoy seating within the restaurant or head out back for a dog-friendly courtyard.

Red Star Burger. This licensed burger place is great for a sit down with a beer and a burger. You can order online for dine-in or take-away, but I recommend dining in, to get the full experience.



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