Reviews

Feeling the rush

Crowd brings a buzz to Chinwag Eathai

REVIEW: If you could somehow tap the energy bouncing around the walls inside Chinwag Eathai, you could light the city with it.

Leisurely lunch in the gardens

REVIEW: Lush green surrounds and perfect portion sizes make Ilex Cafe a top spot for lunch.

Review: Jagz of Styx Mill

It's not fine dining, but it was hearty, casual dining with good flavours, some nice touches and good service.

Review: Madam Kwong's

The menu at Madam Kwong's is almost an overload of good taste.

Ups and downs of dining

Queues and tight time slots among the bugbears

Tequila Mockingbird

Our reviewers have trawled their notebooks, recalling some "wow" moments as well as the not-so-good.

Who makes the best sandwich?

We see what three cafes serve up between slices

Serious Sandwich, The Colombo

Back in the old days a sandwich was Marmite and lettuce (tossed aside), but thanks to bakers producing better bread than ever, good sandwiches are being built.

Review: Chinwag Eathai

Chinwag

The pre-quake Victoria and High streets favourite is back. Grab a park where Victoria meets Salisbury St, then follow the garlic, galangal and lemongrass aromas.

Review: Shop Eight

Shop Eight

OPINION: Never before have I heard diners ask for more plates of the cabbage - a testament to the chef's quality.

Review: Pescatore

Reon Hobson

Dishes feel like they come from a chef who has had time to research and labour over them.

Review: A Pocket Full of Spices

Generic spices

The dishes at this affordable Rangiora spot have a lovely blend of spices, each nicely complementing the others.

Review: The Institution

The Institution

This cute wee bar, tucked away in New Regent St, excels with its service and drinks and food offerings.

Review: Riccarton House Bistro

Bistro

Featuring an atmospheric venue and local products, this place has plenty of potential.

Review: Joe's Garage

Joe's Garage

OPINION: If asked to sum up this place in a word I'd say "generous". The vibe is good and the menu matches the mood.

Review: Nobanno

Nobanno

There may be no chilli in Nobanno's cuisine but the dishes hum with flavour.

Review: The Beach Bar

The Beach Bar, Sumner

The menu is definitely extensive but the cafe is so busy it is possible to see the kitchen really does produce the many options.

Review: The Monday Room

The Monday Room

The Japanese fried chicken is by far the best dish of the night - cooked in crispy spicy batter, it is moist and flavoursome.

Fancy a sushi burger?

Hachi Hachi

The sushi burger offers two flat cylinders of rice instead of bread around a beef pattie and teriyaki sauce.

Review: Costas Taverna

Costas Taverna Greek Restaurant

The overwhelming impression from entrance to departure is the excellence of the service.

Belgian Beer Cafe proves classy

Belgian Beer Cafe Torenhof

From the outside, it is not much to look at, but inside the feel is classy and the service fantastic.

Review: Pomeroy's

Pomeroy's pulled pork

I don't use the word exquisite lightly, but what I expected to be a pub meal was fine dining at a pub price.

Review: The Old Vicarage

The Old Vicarage

The Old Vicarage gives its diners what they want, and that must be why they arrive in waves from noon on.

REVIEW: Lemontree Cafe

lemon tree cafe

Almost six months into central city residency, the cafe owners could definitely branch out into more exciting territory.

Review: Sema's Thai

Sema's Thai Cuisine

I can't confirm the authenticity of Sema's Thai food, but it certainly hits all the right spots for two hungry Kiwis.

Review: Harlequin Public House

Harlequin Public House

It's not every day you see a timed 10 minutes with a big cookie jar as a dessert option.

Review: O'Sheas

O'Sheas Public House

Apleasant spot where, once you get the nod of approval from the veterans, you feel comfortable.

It's all about trust

Passengers and Co

Dinner at Passengers and Co is all about trust. Even the waitstaff don't know what's coming as there's no menu.

Tofu dish the highlight

Sala Sala

REVIEW: Sala Sala offers an unhurried atmosphere away from the Papanui rush hour.

Cafe of the month: Pure Cafe Co

Pure Cafe

Offering protein smoothies and paleo-approved foods, Pure Cafe Co strikes us as a health-conscious cafe we'd expect to find in a trendy New York City neighbourhood. Imagine our surprise when we stumbled upon it in Birmingham Dr.

Bar review: The Bog is back

The Bog

Every day is St Patrick's Day at the new Irish pub in Victoria St.

Review: Cortado

Cortado Restaurant Bar Cafe

The tapas selection ranges far and it would be a fussy woman who didn't find a plate or three she wanted.

Review: Civil and Naval

Civil and Naval

Civil and Naval is a tapas bar; this makes deciding easy - a little of what you fancy.

Review: Waipara Hills Cafe

Waipara Hills winery

Great winery restaurants work hard to present their wines in the best possible light - Waipara Hills ticks this box.

Review: Savoire Cafe, Bishopdale

savoire

They say first impressions last but not so at Savoire Cafe and Wine Bar.

Review: The Station

The Station restaurant

The Station doesn't grandstand, and delivered the best service we've had for some time.

Review: The Headless Mexican

The Headless Mexican

Seated on long benches at our table near the open kitchen, we could see the chef cooking up a storm

Review: Purple Weka

purple weka

In a former life, Purple Weka was a bland little cafe but it's had a fantastic makeover.

Review: Sakimoto

Sakimoto

You are looking at a tapas-style evening with everyone sharing at this new restaurant.

Review: The Square

Christchurch Novotel

Looking around the quiet gentility of The Square in the Novotel, it seems a lifetime since the The Press moved in after the September 2010 quake.

Review: Browsers

browsers

The first word that springs to mind as you wander into Browsers Garden Cafe is oasis.

Review: The Carlton

The Carlton

A masculine setting with a menu specialising in steak - two pages are devoted to various cuts, breeds and weights.

Punakaiki's Jacobs Grill

Jacobs Grill Punakaiki

Choices range from Thai green curry to beef fillet and pan seared turbot.

Review: Hummingbird

hummingbird

Hummingbird's container cafe has a surprisingly large capacity and makes a top breakfast.

Review: Sumner's Bamboozle

Bamboozle

Doing business in the seaside suburb post-quake is not easy, but this place is buzzing.

Review: The Trading Rooms

The Trading Rooms

The old wooden building has been decorated to capture the feel of the past yet it's open and inviting.

Vespa Bar is back

Vespa

An old Poplar Lanes favourite has reopened in High St and gets top marks for ambience.

Steakhouse food fit for a queen

Bloody Mary's

Bloody Mary's is not a cocktail bar per se although hearsay has it they mix a mean cocktail of the same name.

Review: Mainline Station Cafe

Mainline Station Cafe

We sit outside amid miniature roses and archwayswith the lawn the perfect play area for little ones.

Review: Mexicano's

Mexicano's

A street-style Mexican eatery/bar, Mexicano's has the essentials down pat: atmosphere, service, innovative menu.

Review: Gustav's Kitchen

Gustav's Kitchen

Exemplary service, good food and chic decor are all good reasons why Gustav's has pulled customers early and kept them.

Hinton's disappoints

Hinton's Vineyard

REVIEW: Hinton's Vineyard had generous portions and good service, but the fish was dry and the brulee wasn't good.

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