Step into the enchanting realm of Dunedin, a crown jewel of New Zealand, where a mesmerizing tapestry of cultural and gastronomic delights awaits!
In the heart of this captivating city lies a vibrant culinary scene, teeming with spots offering a delightful mélange of the authentic and the contemporary, echoing the unique spirit of Otago.
Among its alluring canvas of art galleries, pristine beaches like the beloved Saint Clair, and architectural masterpieces reminiscent of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the best places to eat in Dunedin are waiting to be discovered.
While the city’s natural allure, with the magnificent Otago Peninsula as its beacon, woos every nature aficionado, the best places to eat in Dunedin serve as gastronomic havens, beckoning with irresistible aromas and flavors. The Octagon, a famed landmark, not only brims with historical grandeur but is also a bustling nexus of exquisite dining venues, with each corner unfolding a new flavor, a novel culinary adventure. The best places to eat in Dunedin are dotted around this iconic spot, making it the epicenter of a culinary expedition worth embarking upon.
You’ll find an intoxicating mix of timeless tradition and modern flair on your plate, mirroring Dunedin’s diverse heritage and innovative spirit. Each establishment among the best places to eat in Dunedin offers a symphony of taste, expertly crafted to seduce your palate with the essence of Otago. From indulgent, historic eateries to chic, avant-garde cafes, the city’s food tableau is as rich and varied as its beautiful landscapes that have graced the silver screen, capturing hearts globally.
While you bask in the charm and convenience offered by Dunedin’s finest hotels nestled near the Octagon, let your taste buds embark on a spellbinding journey through the best places to eat in Dunedin. It’s here, at the intersection of tradition and innovation, that you’ll savor the true flavor of Otago, served with a side of unforgettable memories. Your table, amidst the art, culture, and the tantalizing aroma of the best food in town, is reserved.
Breakfast/Lunch In Dunedin
Visitors to downtown Dunedin (and locals as well for that matter) will be spoiled for choice when it comes to delightful lunch and breakfast options that are close at hand when exploring downtown Dunedin.
Buster Greens — Cafe is located on Dunedin’s main drag George Street, just a short walk from the Octagon, and bills itself as a “bright and modern” café.” It has an extensive menu that features many Kiwi classics as well as a variety of other fare, with most selections being available all day.
Which is something breakfast lovers will appreciate; you could even have the Red Chilli Scrambled Eggs or the Buster’s Breakfast (sausage, pork belly, poached eggs, mushrooms with hollandaise, sourdough bread) for dinner if you so well please.
Buster Greens is a great place to have lunch as well, with such menu selections as Pork Belly Benedict and (for something lighter) Mediterranean Grilled Vege.
Being a café, Buster Greens does indeed have quite a selection of beverages. These range from the brewed sort, including an array of latte’s (some of them experimental, like the hot lemon, ginger, turmeric and honey latte) to sodas, and juices – the Orange Tonic is especially popular and includes orange, carrot, turmeric and lemon.
The café even serves kombucha, which is a fermented mushroom tea with many healthy properties. There are also many craft beers, ciders, wine, and cocktails at hand if you like to liven up your lunch with a drink.
With its classy yet laid-back ambience, fine menu of exciting and well-prepared dishes, and outdoor seating, Buster Greens makes for an excellent place to pop into for a quick breakfast or lunch during your explorations of downtown Dunedin.
This coffee house is a favorite among the locals in Dunedin. Its coffee has been called ridiculously good, but you’re just as likely to stop in to say hello to John, the adorable Shar-pei that is the café’s mascot.
As you might be guessing by now, The Morning Magpie Cafe has loads of personality, and that in combination with its great location on Stuart Street just to the east of the Octagon, it isn’t hard to see why it has become a fixture of downtown Dunedin.
What it also has is an excellent menu, both in the beverage and food departments. Its coffee beans are supplied by New Zealand-based Vanguard Coffee Company, so you know you are in for one hell of a cup when you stop in at the Morning Magpie.
You are also in for some splendid breakfast or lunch, with a breakfast menu that includes such fare as free-range Otago eggs on house-made pumpernickel and eggs benedict with organic sourdough. Pan-fried toasties come in Rueben, ham off the bone, and miso mushroom varieties, and each are loaded with toppings. A smorgasbord of house-made bagels is on offer too.
And of course, a full beverage list is on hand so you can be sure to get you cup just exactly the way you like it. To finish off, it wouldn’t be any kind of a proper café without some sweets to go with that cup, and The Morning Magpie doesn’t disappoint with its cinnamon pinwheel, pistachio and thyme carrot cake, and many other delicious baked goods.
This café, bar and restaurant enjoys a great location right on Dunedin’s Beach Saint Clair beachfront. Suffice it to say, you really can’t beat the atmosphere here, especially when you choose to have your drink or bite outside with the plentiful outdoor seating and soak in the sights and sounds of the beach.
Not to be upstaged by the esplanade, the Starfish Cafe On The Esplanade menu is reason enough to stop by. Brewed drinks include coffee, hot chocolate, lattes, and specialty milks (soy, coconut, almond, oat), as well as tea. Cold drinks range from sodas and juices to sparkling water and ginger beer.
For something with a bit more kick the Starfish offers beer and cider, and also wine and spirits. Specialty drinks are very creative and feature such choices as white island delight smoothies, ginger ninja juice, and iced chocolate in addition to a variety of milkshakes.
The food menu is just as exciting, with so many intriguing and appetizing selections it is almost overwhelming. The starfish stack is one of the highlights of the menu; it is made from ciabatta, tomato, BBQ sauce, poached eggs and bacon, hash browns and hollandaise sauce.
Other dishes include sticky pork with fresh Asian salad, brisket tacos, eggs any way you want on ciabatta, fried chicken waffles, and the feelgood trio which includes poached eggs with kale pesto on toast, with freshly squeezed juice and chia pudding.
As you can tell by that short menu sampling, the Starfish is an excellent place to stob by for breakfast or lunch, and there are many other fine menu options as well as a kid’s menu.
The Vogel St Kitchen is located in the city’s trendy warehouse precinct. A gorgeous establishment with exposed brick interior, steel beam rafters and vintage furniture, this café has a ton of character and is known for its fabulous breakfast as well as for its wood-fired pizza. It can seat up to 120 guests and is open for business seven days a week.
The Vogel St Kitchen boasts a menu a large as it is delectable, and it’s proud of the fact that it only uses free range ingredients. Its all-day menu features such intriguing dishes as creamy seafood chowder (with salmon, mussels and calamari), and pulled beef brisket, among several other culinary delights.
It also offers a range of woodfired sandwiches such as spicy pulled pork, smoked salmon, and Korean BBQ. These are available in gluten-free options as well.The Vogel St Kitchen’s drinks list is also impressive, with a long list of shakes, smoothies, fresh juices, iced coffees and mochas, as well as an array of wines and beers and ciders.
With its acclaimed service the café is a great breakfast or lunch stop in Dunedin’s downtown area. Guests love the rustic vibe, and there is something about an establishment’s sense of authenticity – its sense of belonging in its community – that makes the dining experience so much more. Not all eateries manage to pull that off, but the Vogel St Kitchen is one that does.
This boutique bakery in central Dunedin believes in baking from the heart and giving everyone a slice of the sweet life. The bakery prides itself on using local ingredients to create the best baked goods possible. The selection of cakes, tarts, and other sweets is quite extensive, and the bakehouse’s creations are just as much works of art as they are delicious treats.
The bakery’s menu includes (but is not limited to) doughnuts, cupcakes and cookies, baby berry pies, tarts, cake slices, brownies, macarons and so much more. You can also get sweet boxes, which are available in variety from éclair boxes to macaron boxes and more. The whole thing started with one man – chef and Dunedin native Matt Cross – and a dream.
That dream was to return home to Dunedin after years abroad plying his culinary craft.The bakery began life as a mere table at the Farmer’s Market, then over time progressed to a food caravan at the market, which eventually gave way to the bakery’s present location in the warehouse district.
The Tart Tin Boutique now even has its own cookbook, which is available to the public, and you can even get a copy signed by The Tart Man himself, Matt. The bakery also sells gift vouchers, and what a lovely present these would make to give someone you care about.
The Adjo is a Nordic-themed café on Bank Steer, next to the town’s green belt on Dunedin’s north side. As such, it features Nordic style cuisine. The menu features many kinds of grod, or porridge, which is a Denmark staple, from the oat and butter variety to rice and berry and stewed apple porridges.
There is also a wide selection of open face sandwiches, called smorrebrod in Danish. This is the quintessential traditional Nordic food, and the Adjo serves an array of them – choose from smorrebrod with mayo, chives, and roasted cashews and peanuts; or try the egg salad smorrebrod, or the Danish Meatball variety, or one of several other choices.
The drinks list includes coffee, both hot and iced, hot chocolate made with dark chocolate and vanilla, hot lemon ginger, club sodas, iced tea, craft beer, cider, wine, an array of brewed teas and a variety of cocktails such as the drunken iced tea and the espresso martini.
The snacks list includes mini smorrebrod that can be filled with such toppings as sardines, pickled eggs, or potatoes. The café also hosts a number of events, including live music and performances, as well as art shows featuring local Dunedin artists.
The Adjo is certainly one of the more distinct establishments in the city, and is a great place to stop by when you find yourself in the mood for something a little different. And don’t be surprised if it becomes your new favorite.
The Ebb-Cafe is situated within the gorgeous EBB Hotel – one of the finest in Dunedin, which is really saying a lot in this city. The hotel and café are located right in the city center, with all of downtown Dunedin’s many attractions and points of interest within easy striking distance.
Like the hotel itself, the café exudes an air of sophistication. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, the latter puts guests in a garden setting for a sensational dining experience. And the menu is something to write home about, with such selections as pine-smoked salmon with friend crispy egg, and beef brisket croquettes winter slaw, just to name a few.
The Turkish eggs, with whipped yogurt and hot chilli butter, are also worthy of mention.Being a café, the EBB’s drinks selection is not to be outdone. There are a range of coffees available along with iced mochas and cholates, as well as a selection of smoothies, teas ranging from Japanese sencha to English breakfast tea.
Other drinks include beer and an array of wines featuring chardonnays and pinots gris and noir. You really can beat the EBB Café for an excellent lunch or breakfast right in the middle of everything you want to see and do in Dunedin.
Dunedin’s Ocho Chocolate Factory is the place where “ethical bean to bar crafting reigns.” This crowdfunded company came to life after the Dunedin Cadbury Factory’s closing and has since become a part of the downtown Dunedin community, not just a business.
The Ocho Chocolate Factory is built upon the ideas of fair trade, and only operates on the principles of fair pay for suppliers and fair working conditions for workers.
The factory allows walk-in tours, and tasting sessions are available with 15 minutes notice. Private tours for groups of up to 10 can be booked. The factory also hosts events and offers quite a unique and memorable venue for a group outing or field trip. It also hosts corporate events.
A tour of the factory makes for a fun and educational experience, and is a great way to get to know a little piece of the city.
Dinner In Dunedin
For a nice evening out on the Edinburgh of the South, you’ll be pleased to know that the late dining options in Dunedin are just as excellent as the breakfast and lunch offerings. Here are some of the best dinner experiences the city has in store.
The Moiety Otago, located in the historic warehouse district, offers a nothing less than a complete dinner experience with its five-course menu. The restaurant was a finalist in the 2021-2022 New Zealand Cuisine Good Food Awards, so you know they have a handle on delivering fine dining that guests won’t soon forget.
Snacks and appetizers start out the experience, with oysters being a popular item (and if you happen to be out for a romantic evening with your significant other…well, you know what they say about oysters being an aphrodisiac). These are topped and accented with seaweed butter, lemon, parsley, spring onion and ume vinegar in addition to other ingredients.
Entrée selections include the wagyu brisket and wild venison, just to name a couple. These dishes are edible works of art, and the experience is just as much a visual one as a gastronomic.
The Moiety offers vouchers that make excellent gifts; there is also a “click and collect” online shop where visitors can buy such fare as duck liver pate and kimchi powder. You can even hire a personal chef from the establishment for a personalized chef at home experience. Now how many restaurants offer this?
If you are looking for a classy, upscale dining experience, or you want to take your significant other out somewhere especially nice, there is no better choice in Dunedin than the Moiety.
To begin, this walk-in only restaurant on Vogel Street isn’t your run of the mill fast food joint. The burgers here are gourmet quality fare, and this premium burger establishment is home to what has been named among the 10 best burgers in Dunedin.
The burgers areserved on a toasted brioche bun, and come in beef, chicken, and vegetarian options. The latter is made of teriyaki pulled jackfruit and is topped with American cheddar, along with other toppings. An array of sides is available and include truffle tots and hot buffalo chicken. Extras include jalapenos, candied bacon, and the like.
Many of the choices are gluten free. The Good Good Burgers is a bar in addition to a burger joint. On the tap are pint selections such as Parrotdog Lager and Peckhams Cider. Canned beers include Corona, Heineken, and Pals. The wine list features a good and varied choice of white, red and sparkling.
Non-alcoholic choices are sodas, bottled water, oj, or “make it a spider” with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to your favorite soda. If you have a sweet tooth treat it to one of a variety of milkshake flavors or a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s.
All in all, the Good Good is your classic burger joint, yet not in the sense that it offers a more refined vibe and premium food. There’s no more enjoyable spot for a nice dinner in all of Dunedin.
As you might be able to guess from the establishment’s name. this eatery is a meat lover’s paradise. Its specialty is southern-style barbecue. All cuts are expertly cured and aged in the meat lockers, and are paired with fresh, locally grown produce to bring patrons the best possible dinner experience.
And the best part is that this is all located right in the Octagon, so visitors to Dunedin will have little excuse to miss out on this one-of-a-kind fine dining experience.
True to its name, the Prohibition Smokehouse invokes the roaring 20s with its elegant décor. It also pays homage to that same spirit in its drinks menu. Cocktails abound with such intriguing items as the Princess Sara with gin, lychee and rose martini, and the Good Bootlegger, a rye whiskey-based drink. Classic cocktails are also available, just ask the bartender.
The wine list is extensive and features whites, reds and sparkling all in a good variety. There are also many beers and ciders as well as a selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Whisky, rum and gin are also on hand. Guaranteed, you will not go thirsty here.
The food menu is equally impressive. Small plates are such as crab remoulade, smoked salmon wings, charred chicken thigh, and the list goes on. Main plates examples are as follows, with ribeye in fermented wholegrain mustard butter, porterhouse streaks, and beef short ribs served with cauliflower and salsa verde.
Extras include to name a few charred broccolini, brassica salad, butter mash, triple cooked chips, and so on. And the menu is rounded out with a selection of delicious sweets to cap off an excellent meal, with tarts, rice pudding, dark chocolate parfait and berry sorbet available.
Our final fine dining entry takes us to Maori hill on the north side of Dunedin. The restaurant promises “wood-fired goodness” and you’d be hard-pressed to say it doesn’t deliver.
While the No. 7 Balmac‘s dinner menu is its real forte, an impressive all-day menu is highlighted by such fare as Turkish eggs, Mediterranean breakfast including feta, marinated olives, ciabatta, and pickled vegetables, and the Balmac Burger with wood-fired beef and onion topped with cheddar, lettuce, mustard mayo and served on a brioche bun.
The dinner options are quite extensive with a long list of small plates, main dishes, and sides. Among the most recommended dishes are the stuffed eggplant and mozzarella, the Otago venison saltimbocca, and the barbequed tandoori spiced lamb rump.
Cocktails, beer and wine are on offer and there is a dessert menu to make your mouth water such savory treats as black forest bombe Alaska with stewed blackberries, and many other choices.
As for the restaurant itself, it manages to blend kitchen and small-but-refined atmospheres into one, and offers a nice, classy ambience to go with all that fine food. A great dinner spot in the north of Dunedin.