Wanaka Food & Nightlife

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Wanaka Food & Nightlife

There is a great range of Wanaka restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and budgets, some of which overlook Lake Wanaka.

Wanaka Restaurants

Wanaka has fine dining establishments, cafes, casual dining, pubs and also lots of fast food joints. Many Wanaka restaurants use local produce and wines, but there is also international cuisine available including Thai and Mexican. There are lots of Indian restaurants in Wanaka, and our pick of the bunch is Bombay Palace which offers gorgeous lakes views from the balcony or inside.

Kota is an upscale restaurant located upstairs on the corner of Ardmore St and Lakeside Street and overlooking Lake Wanaka. The views during daylight hours are gorgeous, whilst on winter evenings the chic waitress uniforms and the upscale retro décor are the main eye candy. The white leather bench seats and the nice fireplace add to the great food to make an overall quality dining experience.

Jacob’s Grill at the Oakridge Resort has a fantastic formal restaurant. The service is impeccable, the ambience perfect, and the food is to die for. Are you getting the idea that we are impressed with this place?!

For good pizza, head to Post Office Lane to The Cow. This is a copy of the famous pizza and pasta restaurant in Queenstown. The menu is the same and the stonework and wooden booths are very similar, except that it’s much newer (The Cow in Queenstown was an old dairy). It’s popular but it doesn’t tend to attract the same volume of crowds as The Cow in Queenstown.

Wanaka Cafes

The café culture is growing in Wanaka, and many of the caffe latte set can be seen sitting on the sunny sidewalks in the morning and after skiing. Some of the establishments have indoor and outdoor fires, further adding to the ambience.

Kai Whaka Pai Café Bar and Restaurant (corner of Ardmore Street & Helwick Street) has indoor and outdoor seating and is popular any time of the day. Head there for a wholesome breakfast, enjoy lunch whilst using the wireless internet, or thrive on the evening offerings.

Relishes Café (99 Ardmore St) next to the Harris Mountains Heliski office is also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sit outside and watch the world pass by or sit in front of the cosy fireplace inside.

Federal Diner (47 Helwick St, down an alley) is way trendy with the locals and it draws the crowds for its coffee and brunch options.

For lunch, you must try Big Fig, with its Moroccan meats and salads and other yummies. The aroma will probably lure you in.

Bars & Wanaka Nightlife

Post Office Lane (33 Ardmore St) is a little precinct of cool Wanaka nightlife spots. It generally appeals more to a sophisticated crowd than the young party crowd that hangs out on the main Wanaka strip.

Rove is the ultimate in chic, yet this upmarket bar is still surprisingly low key. Sit indoors in one of the comfortable armchairs or sit outside near the huge roaring fireplace. They have a super extensive menu of wines, martinis and cocktails and the latter in particular are very inexpensive. If you’re hungry they have meals, or of course you can head across to The Cow. Post Office Lane also features Woody’s, an informal sports bar that has television screens and pool tables.

Lala Land (Level 1 99 Ardmore St, enter from the back) is a funky bar with a great vibe, and really comfortable couches. This is nice spot for après whilst sitting on the balcony and absorbing the lake views. They too have lots of cocktails at reasonable prices, so knock yourself out!

Gin and Raspberry Boutique Bar (Level 1, 155 Ardmore St) also offers great views, but don’t expect anything “boutique” about it because it’s generally a great party scene rather than being a spot for a quiet drink.

Many of the Wanaka bars and pubs serve meals. The Ale House is a large establishment for drinks and pub style meals that is suitable for all ages including families. It is very popular, so sometimes it’s hard to get a table.

The Trout Bar and Restaurant (101 Ardmore St) has a young crowd. The meals are overpriced for what you get which is nothing special, and this is certainly not the place to go for a quiet dinner. The vibe is good and the staff friendly, so it’s at least worth going there for a drink. They have a double-sided fireplace so it’s lovely to sit outside.