Wanaka Food & Nightlife

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There are 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 the Spice Room in Helwick Street which has modern décor with a vibrant ambience and sensational food.

Wanaka has counterparts to a couple of Queenstown restaurants. The Botswana Butchery offers fine dining with an interesting menu, particularly for big meat eaters. Like the Queenstown restaurant, the food is impeccable and subsequently it’s very popular.

Adjacent to the Botswana Butchery and also tucked into Post Office Lane is 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.

The Landing 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.

The Hub 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?!

The Lone Star (50 Cardrona Valley Rd) is the place to go if you are really hungry. Located next to the Oakridge Wanaka and Clip N Climb, this restaurant and bar is really popular. The Lone Star serves up a big meat feast and dishes come in two sizes – huge and massive! They provide doggy bags and unless you’ve really ripped it up on the slopes to develop an appetite, you’ll probably need one!

Wanaka Cafes A café culture is ever-present 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.

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. Barluga 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 a small tapas list, 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 from 5pm whilst sitting on the balcony and absorbing the lake views. They too have lots of cocktails at reasonable prices, so knock yourself out!

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.

For après the HQ is the place to be, and on sunny afternoons happy skiers sit outside to watch the passers-by. The party atmosphere continues on well into the evening. The crowd is somewhat grungy and suited to backpackers, but everyone will fit into the happy crowd.

Opium is a great drinking spot for late into the evening. It can sometimes be dead at 11pm and then fire up after that.
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