You’re hungry, you’re vegan and you’re in Christchurch. What are you going to eat? The good news is that vegan restaurants and cafés are a lot easier to find in the city now than they were a few years ago. Here are some of the top vegan dining options to try:
(322 Lincoln Road, 021 258 3525)
This vegan café quickly gained a loyal following after winning the regional People’s Choice award in the 2018 Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year awards. A lovely twist of irony given Meadow Fresh is a dairy company! Go for classic Kiwi café favourites like custard squares, sausage rolls and mac ‘n’ cheese – all made vegan.
(95 Westminster Street, 03 355 5939)
Contemporary, creative plant-based dishes match the modern, light-filled fit-out in this popular suburban café. Also known for exquisite desserts and cakes, and boutique coffee and tea brews (all the teas are 100% New Zealand grown and organic) – check out the Steam Punk brewing machine!
(335 Lincoln Road, 03 338 1150)
A smart, contemporary restaurant, Town Tonic is renowned for its innovative cuisine made from fresh, local produce, and includes a special menu just for vegans. The ‘Honest Menu’ features an exciting array of plant-based tasting plates that will thrill taste-buds and dispel any notions that vegan food can’t be interesting!
(363 St Asaph Street, 03 377 2727)
A vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurant operated by students of Sri Chinmoy, it’s part of a centre that also includes health, gift and world music shops, as well as being a venue for meditation workshops, so you can expect a peaceful atmosphere that exudes well-being. The food is prepared from locally grown and organic ingredients where possible, using plant-based cheese and milks, so there are plenty of vegan possibilities, as well as gluten-free and raw food options.
(Unit 5/ 2 Papanui Road, 021 0293 5641)
Award-winning vegetarian restaurant and ‘living wine’ bar taking the concept of ‘pop-up’ dining and putting it in a more permanent setting. A daily tasting menu is designed around regional and seasonal produce, with vegan options, and the restaurant is committed to sustainability including the use of ‘living wine’, made without chemicals and with minimal technological intervention.
(Shop 6, Carnaby Lane, New Brighton, 03 595 2126)
Antidote is a ‘juice bar’ that also serves salads, breakfasts, lunches and desserts. This vegan café is tucked away, but worth seeking out for its fresh and healthy cuisine (and amazing smoothies!). Dedicated to making the world a better place, Antidote serves mostly raw and organic foods, all in a relaxed setting.
The Shroom Room
(48 London Street, Lyttelton, 03 328 9459)
Iconic vegetarian café offering a laid-back, alternative atmosphere perfectly in keeping with its portside location. The outdoor terrace is ideal for enjoying the local vibe on fine days. Their menu is packed with plenty of vegan options. Generous portions and hearty fare are the order of the day – think burgers, pancakes and thick-shakes – served up alongside a funky soundtrack.
(73 Manchester Street, 03 365 3333)
This cool inner-city café is officially vegetarian but wins praise for its extensive vegan menu, including an option for vegan Eggs Benedict. Beautiful presentation and great coffee are sure to make this one a new favourite.
Dream Garden Vegetarian Café & Restaurant
(62 Kendal Avenue, 03 358 8485)
A suburban location and casual atmosphere makes visiting Dream Garden easy (it’s near the airport, if you’re wondering). The menu of Chinese cuisine is probably more vegan than vegetarian – and staff are happy to modify the vegetarian dishes for vegan diners. A wide range of meat substitute dishes is on offer here too.
Chanakya South Indian Cuisine
(Shop 5, Surfside Mall, 68 Hawke Street, New Brighton, 03 388 7049)
This hidden-away gem serves lots of vegan options, all of which are specified on the menu. Named for a renowned philosopher and economist of ancient India, this spot is a wise choice for high-quality cuisine. We at Green Dinner Table recommend the Masala Dosa and the Eggplant Salaan!
(151 Bealey Avenue, 021 139 4881)
(270 St Asaph Street, 021 842 429)
Thai Container is a hugely popular food truck on Bealey Ave. It now has a sister restaurant, Thai Box in more permanent digs. Go to either outlet for awesome, cheap takeaways. Or, dine in the cool surrounds of Thai Box. Pretty much anything on the menu is available in a vegan option and the super-friendly staff are very accommodating.
In addition to these vegan and vegan-friendly cafés and restaurants, more and more eateries around Christchurch are including vegan dishes on their menus. Plus, many or are willing to modify dishes to suit. If in doubt, call ahead and ask about vegan options. You might find that the chef is willing to create something special just for you!
Awesome food in your own kitchen
And if the decision gets too hard, cooking at home is always an easy option – especially if you’re a lucky Christchurch local getting your weekly menu delivered by Green Dinner Table!