KAI-koura

Food Blog

Almost everyone who walks through our doors asks us where we would recommend to eat so we figured we should write about our favourite spots to enjoy the local cuisine!  Read below to find out our favorite places for Seafood, Pub grub, Lunch, Date nights and Vegetarian/Vegan dishes. 

Seafood

Nins Bin

Now of course, the Maori translation of Kaikoura means “eat crayfish” (Kai means eat/food and Koura means crayfish) so what better way to get amongst it than enjoying a crayfish from the legendary Nin’s Bin. Known worldwide for its moth watering seafood and tranquil, picturesque setting it is an absolute MUST if you are visiting Kaikoura.

Located 20 kilometres north of Kaikoura right on the banks of Half Moon Bay, it sets the perfect scene to enjoy some local cuisine. Caught and cooked all in the famous little blue caravan! 

The third generation food truck has been supplying both locals and tourists from all over the world with the freshest seafood since it opened for business in 1977. Since then they have continued to perfect the art of catching the crays on a daily basis and cooking them up right in front of you – you really can’t get much fresher than that! With the choice of “straight out of the copper” or heated with a dollop of melted garlic butter on top (I highly recommend!) you can choose to sit and take in the serenity of the ocean view or takeaway to enjoy later. 

Strict fishing quotas are in place in Kaikoura in order to protect local marine life and promote sustainable practices; because of this Nin’s Bin has seasonal operating hours so be sure to check up on their opening times before to avoid disappointment!e5y7s7

One of the most recent and incredible achievements for both Kaikoura and Nin’s Bin, is the recent review from Lonely Planet. Nin’s Bin was rewarded number 7 on the rankings out of 500 in their Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eat List!! Up against the likes of Tokyo, Texas and South Korea this is quite the achievement for the little blue caravan on the side of the road. 

Combining delicious crayfish, unique creatures and a stunning location, Nin’s Bin is the ultimate stop off if you’re in Kaikoura, come check it out for yourself!

The Pier Hotel

Now, if you want a killer view, head over to the pier hotel. It’s a historic building with the best view in the whole of Kaikoura. It’s located right out on the peninsula, overlooking the Kaikoura Ranges and is the ideal setting to enjoy the sunshine or watch the waves as they crash on to the rocks just across the road. We often grab a bowl of chips and a cider and sit in the sunshine.  With lots of outdoor seating and a playground to keep the kids entertained, it’s perfect for the whole family. Dinner bookings are definitely essential all year round but you can try your luck around lunchtime. The simple but effective menu consists of a wide variety of sea food. The Pier is one of the only restaurants in Kaikoura to have crayfish on the menu for most of the year. Mussels, seafood chowder, salt & pepper squid and fish of the day are also available but if it’s not seafood your after be sure to try the Kumara Rosti, hog roll, BBQ ribs or the steak. If you want to be really popular with the staff, bring in your plates as you leave if you’re sitting outside. The seagulls in this town are a little crazy and swoop at any opportunity causing mayhem.

Seafood BBQ

Now, if you want the nins bin experience but closer to town, we recommend the seafood bbq which is located right out on Kaikoura Peninsula. It’s the perfect stop for lunch on the way to or from the ever popular Seal Colony. Join the que, however long, and watch as the show begins. Seafood platters with mouth-watering whitebait fritters, fresh muscles, paua, juicy scallops and off course the Kaikoura local crayfish are all amongst some of the seafood that will be cooked right in front of you on the BBQ. 

Choose a crayfish from the bin, however big or small you like and watch as the team slice it in half and layer it with garlic butter, add a squeeze of fresh lemon and pop it on the BBQ – AMAZING! You can choose to have all their seafood served on a sandwich or with rice and salad and all can be done to takeaway to - but you will want to stay around for the view!

 The long wooden tables and benches are all located outside so be sure not to leave your food unattended for even a split second or the prying eyes of the seagulls will have it! Each table is equipped with a variety of dipping sauces to complement each dish. The view over Jimmy Armers beach, where you can watch as local fishermen and kayaker come and go, is the perfect, tranquil setting to enjoy the local cuisine.

Open daily (weather permitting) from 10am so be sure to pop by after you have worked up your appetite round the peninsula walk!

Fush’ n ‘Chups

There is a lot of debate about this topic as there are so many fish and chip joints in town and everyone has a personal favourite. Of course- ours is definitely the best. About 5 minutes’ drive north from us is a place called Top shop. It has the best burgers and  fish ‘n’chips in town. All the accommodation places tend to send guests to coopers catch which of course has great trip advisor reviews but we personally like the traditional kiwi shop down the road. 

Pubs

Strawberry tree

Our favorite pub has got to be The Strawberry tree. The Strawberry Tree is also located right in the heart of Kaikoura- a short 10 minute stroll from our park. Don’t be deceived by its small exterior-its surprisingly big inside. We think it looks like a cave.  With a smoldering fire greeting you at the front door, a spacious outdoor beer garden and the quirky Irish themed décor throughout the pub it’s the perfect atmosphere to kick back and relax whatever the weather outside. One of the reasons it’s our favorite pub is the fact that it is the main live music venue in our township. Every Friday and Saturday they have live music and often have bands come for intimate concerts. Jam Sessions every Friday night is the perfect opportunity to meet the locals and showcase any hidden talents you have if you’re willing to take to the stage! Ask Louise at reception, she loves to have a go singing or playing the tin whistle. Just a heads up- Happy Hour is every day from 5pm-6pm on a variety of beers, wine and spirits. The menu is comprised of a mix of fresh fish caught locally, steak, burgers and vegetarian options. The halloumi fries and chocolate torte are our favorites and yes- they have crayfish on the menu. 

The Groper Garage

Now, if you want a more lively night, head over to the Groper Garage. It was once an old garage for fuel and mechanical repairs and is situated on the main strip in Kaikoura. It’s your typical pub/ restaurant with generous portions- we love their pizzas and loaded wedges. It has two large fire places, pool tables and plenty of seating indoors or out so it’s great for larger groups. During the week it offers Happy Hour every Tuesday from 4:30pm-6pm, Housie on Wednesday’s or raffles on Thursday’s. By staying with us you will also receive a voucher for 10% of any main meal purchased here. Sometimes we have a local DJ play at the weeks which is always quite amusing so don’t miss out.  If this place is too crowded, head on over the street to their sister restaurant ‘the whaler’. 

Lunch

The Slam Club

We love the Slam club. It is a small locally run eatery with fantastic food at affordable prices. Phil is the colorful head chef- you’ll recognize him cooking up a storm in his iconic Hawaiian shirts and Noemi is the fiery Italian who works her magic on the coffee machine. The staff here are hilarious so the vibe is always good. The menu compromises around gourmet sandwiches and salads but trust us, they are far from boring. Take a walk on the wild side with their selection of free range meats cooked slowly or hot smoked. With all ingredients sourced locally is the perfect opportunity to not only support the local small business, but also all the farmers their ingredients come from. They have a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian food with toasted sandwiches or salads, homemade desserts and organic coffee. We personally recommend the jackfruit sandwich, strudels and cheesecake. You will walk out the door stuffed to the brim.  Don’t forget to check out the range of locally brewed craft beers and wines! You’ll be pleasantly surprised on what Kaikoura has to offer. There is a very popular quiz night on Thursday nights so make sure you book a table- its gold coin entry. They often have live music in the evenings at weekends too.

Sime’s Kitchen

Our new favorite addition to our dining options in town is Sime’s kitchen. We love to go for lunch and sit on the deck outside watching the world go by. We were absolutely blown away by the food here. Even the deserts are to die for…and the coffee of course.  We have gluten free and vegetarian members in our team and this a clear winner.  The menu here is diverse and always fresh. Give it a try!

 

Sicarios

Our New Mexican Restaurant in town- Sicarios is a hit with the locals and is a convenient 2 minute walk from our holiday park. Our favorites are definitely the enchiladas and potato tornados! We love how you can choose your spice level (a blessing to those of us who can’t handle the heat) and how the vegetarian option is jackfruit and not the bog standard beans! Look out for their specials and grab yourself a bargain. All takeaway food here is packaged in biodegradable packaging which we LOVE and if dining in, you get to enjoy views of the pool. We cannot recommend it enough!

 

 

Date night

Zephyr

Now, if you have a special occasion to celebrate we recommend Zephyr. It situated on the main street and is our absolute favourite for dinner and date nights. You will definitely have to reserve a table as it’s so popular but trust us, it’s incredible. Unlike the other restaurants which have typical pub style menus, Zephyr’s menu is always changing and offer something different, separating themselves from the rest. They have vegetarian/gluten free options too which aren’t just a second thought but are wonderful in themselves. 

Vegetarian/ Vegan

Although there isn’t a huge range of vegetarian/vegan dishes in town, we do have some recommendations!  The vegetarian/ vegan option on all the menus tend to be burgers or salads which can get very boring so we recommend grabbing some food at The Slam club for lunch or dinner. They are careful not to contaminate their food/surfaces with meat unlike a lot of restaurants.  If you’re after some breakfast or lunch, we would also suggest bean me up.  This is a coffee cart located in the center of town next to fish tank lodge. It has a fantastic range of cabinet food that is all vegetarian if not vegan. Sime's kitchen is of course our new favorite in town! The avocado toast is amazing! 

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NZ Free phone: 0800 692322
Ph: +64 3 319 6275
E: click here

NZ Free phone: 0800 692322
Ph: +64 3 319 6275
E: click here

Location

Address:
69 Beach Road
Kaikoura
New Zealand