Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Wanaka’s Outdoor Dining Scene


Location: Wānaka’s award-winning restaurant Kika (2022 New Zealand Cuisine Good Food Awards /Cuisine Top 100 List) is centrally located in Dunmore Street and features a trellised outdoor area.

Food Style: The stylishly appointed dining room is legendary for its cool relaxed vibe and impeccable modern, clean cuisine. From the sharing piccolo menu to larger dishes such as lamb shoulder or market fish there is a focus on regional food and wine using the best seasonally produce available.

Outdoors: The terraced balcony deck overlooks Bullock Creek surrounded by native plantings. The deck is fully enclosed with trellis and an excellent spot for pre -dinner drinks, cocktails and snacks. “It’s a non-booking area so diners can relax, while waiting for their inside table, with a glass of prosecco and a sharing plate of Kika fried chicken or our chicken liver parfait eclairs,” says owner James Stapley


Location: Within walking distance of Lake Wānaka, Arc is in Ardmore Street and the ideal place to gather for a weekend brunch or evening tapas. 

Food Style:  Open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9.00am until 2.00pm and every evening from 5.00 pm for global style tapas, cocktails, and drinks. Arc is known for its flavoursome small plates with fresh twists like Ora King salmon with shiitake XO, horopito mayo and fennel. The crayfish benedict is a brunch menu favourite.

Outdoors:  Behind the restaurant there is a fully enclosed “secret garden” courtyard featuring 20-year-old native trees. “There is space for around 20 people and it’s a really cool space with a completely different vibe – you don’t feel like you’re in Wānaka,” says co-owner James Stapley. “We have just re-landscaped adding beautiful wooden bench seating, tables and umbrellas. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a selection of tapas and a glass of bubbles from our extensive list of Central Otago, New Zealand and international varieties as the sun goes down.


Location: Wānaka’s newest Mexican style restaurant at the end of The Precinct’s laneway in Helwick Street is a beacon for fresh, flavoursome dishes, South American inspired cocktails and craft beers.

Food Style:  The response to Paloma has been overwhelming since it opened mid-winter, according to owner James Stapley, with the restaurant fully booked every night. “Our focus on fresh tortillas made from scratch using New Zealand corn in our own press is one of the attractions. Seeing people’s reaction to eating fresh soft tacos is very cool because most have never experienced them.”

Paloma stocks over 80 different tequila labels alongside bottled and canned craft beers and the restaurant is launching its own branded Paloma beer this summer produced by Canyon Brewing.

Outdoors:  The appeal of Paloma’s outdoor courtyard is its extensive bi-fold doors that provide the restaurant with an indoor-outdoor flow. External lighting and music add to the ambience. “It’s very sheltered with a definite Melbourne laneway vibe. It’s definitely not like anything else in Wānaka, “says James.


Location: Boutique café Kamino, formerly Wee Tart, is tucked down the laneway at The Precinct.

Food Style:  The café has recently re-styled its daytime menu with a full time French pastry chef creating delicious fresh pastries daily. Appealing to everyone from school kids and families to retirees the café serves excellent coffee, milkshakes and soft serves alongside breakfast muffins, poke bowls, fried chicken, fresh salads and baked treats.

Outdoors:  “Kamino is the perfect stop in for coffee, lunch or maybe even a drink in the afternoon,” says owner James Stapley. “The outdoor courtyard and upstairs rooftop deck are stylishly expansive and this summer we are excited to be opening a boutique little bar upstairs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.”