The best cafes in Christchurch – Don’t miss them!

Join us as we uncover the best cafes in Christchurch. Each one is totally different but should be top of your coffee-loving wish list.

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or coffee – whatever reason you have for hitting up your local cafe – these are the best cafes in Christchurch!

There are so many amazing cafes in the Garden City

Some many, in fact, that it can be hard to know where to start.

From quirky roasters to family-friendly cafes with playgrounds, spots that encourage you to bring your dogs inside to those that are so popular you have to book ahead, these are some of the most memorable cafes in town.

We hope we inspire you to venture out and try some new spots in Christchurch…

Some businesses are experiencing staffing challenges post-COVID. If you want to guarantee a space at a restaurant or attraction, we suggest pre-booking.

Clinking two cups of Cappuccino and an iced coffee.

Your Guide to the Best Cafes in Christchurch

Unknown Chapter – A Central Stunner

Unknown Chapter, located in the heart of Christchurch, is known for producing consistently incredible food and coffee.

It’s really no surprise that this cafe is known by the locals for its great brew as not only do they roast their own beans but each roast can be tracked back to the specific farmer.

They offer a fully cooked kitchen menu alongside fantastic cabinet offerings. The food is seasonal so menus change depending on what is fresh – we’re sure you’ll agree, that’s the best way to do it.

It’s also worth mentioning that they cook an incredible eggs benedict!

This cafe has plenty of indoor seating plus some outdoor seating which is perfect on a fine day.

Inside it’s warm and cosy and the plants that line the roof really add to the feel of the place. The atmosphere is great; it’s always busy and vibrant with a mix of people. If you’re looking for a cafe with plenty of buzz and energy, this is the spot for you.

Overall, this is a vibrant cafe, conveniently located in the city centre. They offer amazing food and great coffee with an atmosphere that can’t be matched.

If you are in the city centre make sure you check this out Unknown Chapter!

254 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8011

Delicious food on a bowl that can only be found in Unknown Chapter.
Photo: Unknown Chapter Coffee Roasters.

Kidds Cakes and Bakery – Family-Friendly Treats

Kidd’s Cakes and Bakery been a favourite amongst those in the know since 1986. This cafe is my favourite toddler-friendly spot, serving up hearty food and delicious baked goods (from their own onsite bakery).

This cafe is particularly child-friendly thanks to its small outdoor playground (suitable for preschoolers) and toy chest (with a great mixture of toys). They also have an outside seating area nearby, so you can watch those little ones whilst you relax. To entertain slightly older children, there are also lots of colouring in sheets on offer.

The onsite bakery features award-winning pies, freshly baked breads and also a large range of cakes.

Though everything at Kidds is fantastic, we think you can’t go past their incredible pies and cupcakes.

This is a lovely family-friendly cafe with reliable food and plenty of incredible desserts. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and is a great excuse for some freshly baked bread and sweet treats too.

Not that we need an excuse!

254 Cranford Street, St Albans, Christchurch 8052

Under the Red Verandah – Best in the Burbs

As you’d expect, Under The Red Verandah has delicious food and coffee! This cafe has made the list because it’s our favourite cafe in the suburbs, and it’s dog friendly too.

Located in the humble suburb of Linwood, this old house was converted into a cafe – one with a red verandah, funnily enough. There are plenty of seating options (some indoor, some conservatory and lots of outdoor options) making this cafe an awesome option year-round. It has a super cosy and homely vibe which we just love.

Inside Under the Red Verandah, you’ll find a great collection of unique artwork on the walls and some beautiful stained-glass windows too. It really is a feast for the eyes.

Offering table service, they’re fast, friendly and efficient (especially considering how busy they are).

Most importantly though, the coffee is great – bold and smooth and definitely worth the trip to the burbs.

Their breakfast scramble is one of our favourite dishes but it really is hard to go wrong. The menu is seasonal so it is always changing, providing opportunities to try a new delight all the time.

In addition, they offer plenty of vegan-friendly options (including incredible cakes).

This is a great cafe. It is super popular especially on weekends so it does pay to book, however they will always try their best to fit you in. Food and coffee are both top-notch and the outdoor area is amazing in summertime!

29 Tancred Street, Linwood, Christchurch 8011

A delicious cake with one of its slice taken out.

Leeves at Portstone – The Best Place to Meet Mates

Leeves at Portstone is an excellent cafe located in Woolston. Adjoined to a beautiful garden centre (with a great selection of indoor and outdoor plants), this is our favourite spot to catch up with friends.

Without a doubt, the highlight is the lovely outdoor seating area situated in the garden centre where you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous plants and water features. It is a nice, quiet cafe and the plants give it a peaceful vibe.

It’s the perfect spot for a coffee and then some sneaky plant shopping – and of course, the food is fabulous too!

Having recently been refurbished, Leeves at Portstone looks fresh and that is reflected in the food too.

Offering cabinet food, they have a good selection of both savoury and sweet foods. The salads are always a great option and are reasonably priced and of decent size.

Overall, this is a fantastic little cafe! It has a lovely vibe, offering plenty good seating options both inside and out. It really is a great choice if you’re looking for a quiet catch-up with friends or whānau or after doing some of the best adventures in Christchurch.

465 Ferry Road, Woolston

Pastries and food on a glass display of Red Eight Cafe.
Photo: Red Eight Cafe

North Beach Coffee Shed – The Coolest Coffee Cart

This coffee shed is perfectly located right on New Brighton Beach. The coffee is delicious and it’s dog friendly… though what else would you expect from a coffee cart on the beach?

Generally serving takeaway cafe, there are a few seats and tables you can sit on. We recommend heading up onto the sand dunes where you’ll find some picnic tables with beautiful views of the sea.

Of course, the location next to the beach is amazing!

The service there is always great – it’s fast, friendly and efficient. The coffee really good – hot and strong (but not bitter), served with smooth, creamy milk. They also offer a couple of sweet food options to choose.

The North Beach Coffee Shed look out for canine buddies too. They have a couple of dog bowls set up outside the cart, plus they’ll even give your pooch a complimentary treat!

It’s a great place to grab a coffee and then head out for a walk along the gorgeous New Brighton Beach – whether you have a dog or not.

This is a really good coffee cart with what might just be the best location in all of Christchurch. It is a must if you are in the area.

80 Marine Parade, North New Brighton, Christchurch 8083

A woman stands in the window of her shop that is close to the beach.

Beat Street – Quintessentially Quirky

Our favourite quirky cafe in Christchurch, Beat Street is well worth checking out.

From the outside this cafe (which was once a residential home) looks quite small but looks can be deceiving – it actually seats quite a number of people inside.

With its non-pretentious, laidback vibe, this memorable cafe is equal amounts quirky and retro.

The furniture at Beat Street is mismatched, old and has seen better days, but it has a heck of a lot of character and we love that. There is also a lot of outdoor seating available, plus a heated conservatory which is perfect for the chillier seasons.

This funky cafe caters to everyone – from those with dogs to families.

They have a great children’s room and a bunch of toys and ride-on bikes for toddlers. There’s even a safe space for the kids to run around in whilst you relax.

And of course, the food is fabulous and varied!

Laid back and old school, this is one of our favourite relaxed cafes in Christchurch.

324 Barbadoes Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8011

Cappuccino with designs on its froth, served on a saucer with a teaspoon.

In our opinion, these are the best cafes in Christchurch.

Quirky to upmarket (and everything in between), they are all worth visiting whilst in the Garden City.

By Samantha Lawrence

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