Last Updated: September 14, 2023
Compiling a list of the best cafes in Christchurch is no easy feat due to the sheer number of options. The city is simply teeming with coffee shops packed with brunch-goers and people plugged into their laptops, all the while chowing down on eggs benny or sipping on large lattes.
Christchurch’s cafe scene has something for everyone, which is readily apparent in the list that follows. No matter what kind of vibe you’re after, Christchurch is the place to find it, caffeine and all.
In this entry of Budget Travel Plans, we’re taking a look at my 17 picks for the best cafes in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Good Habit is one of my favourite cafes in New Zealand and certainly one of the best in Christchurch. It finds its home in a historic convent surrounded by lush gardens through the wrought iron gate. Better yet, Good Habit is tucked away on a quiet street surrounded by heaps of free parking.
If the charming atmosphere isn’t enough, the food certainly is. Good Habit has a delectable selection of cabinet and menu food, along with strong coffee. Sweet lovers will flock to the blueberry pancakes, along with the cakes lining the front counter. At the same time, those looking for something more savoury will relish in the classic eggs benny.
Good Habit does lunch, too, and stays open until 3:30 pm daily. Lunch is a safe bet if you hope to skip the breakfast crowds.
The Caffeine Laboratory
You can’t get any closer to the CBD than with The Caffeine Laboratory. It sits regally on the corner of New Regent Street. Welcoming locals and visitors alike, the bright interior is a choice space to get some work done with a coffee or enjoy a full brunch with friends.
The menu sticks to classics with a few special offerings like a Breakfast Toastie, Chili Scramble, French Toast, and Goodness Bowl. They also have freshly squeezed juices. The Wagyu Cheeseburger is a must if you’re visiting later in the afternoon.
The coffee is strong and delicious, there’s outdoor seating, and the vibrant exterior will have you stopping to poke your head inside. It’s no wonder this place is a Christchurch institution!
From the Staff
Our menu changes seasonally in order to work with the best fresh produce, supporting small local businesses as well.
As per the food, we love our Chilli Scramble with homemade Chilli oil, Salmon Benedict is a must and we have the best Wagyu Beef burgers in town. We trade 7 days a week for breakfast, brunch and lunch.
As per drinks – Long Black and Flat white are the people’s choice for hot beverages (beans from Lyttelton Coffee Co) and our freshly Cold Pressed juices like orange juice, orange-carrot- ginger-turmeric juice, and kale-celery-pineapple-lemon juice.– Cinthya at The Caffeine Laboratory
Hello Sunday is housed in an 18th century Post Office and attracts masses of people each morning to kick back and enjoy cafe fare. Plants and chandeliers dangle from the ceiling indoors, while outdoor seating is also available. Specifically, there are a few sunny tables on the terrace and even more out back in the covered garden.
The cabinet carefully adorned with foreign currency, hosts muffins and a few salads for something light. Their menu also boasts creative spins on brunch favourites like beef cheek hash, brioche french toast, and Middle Eastern shakshuka.
Park Ranger is best known for organic food, fresh seasonal produce, and some of the best cabinet food and sweet treats in Christchurch. It sits quite close to Dean’s Bush in Riccarton, which is fitting considering the name and its equally outdoorsy interior.
Filled with bouquets and wreaths of dried flowers and a distinctly rustic feel, Park Ranger has bowls, butties, and benedicts. There’s also bruschetta, big breakies, and so much more. The coffee is smooth, the ambience is on point, and there’s no better place to spend a weekday morning.
From the Staff
Our most popular food has to be our Halloumi Bruschetta and Park Egg Benedic. And our café’s most popular drink is Oat Flat white. We also have lots of vegan, vegetarian, gluten free options available!– Virosha at Park Ranger
Addington Coffee Co-Op
House-roasted coffee and community come together at Addington Coffee Co-Op. Born out of a wish to preserve part of the pre-earthquake city, Addington Coffee Co-Op is in an old mechanic’s workshop. It welcomes people over a good meal and an even better cup of coffee. Their ethos surrounds fair business and exists for others, emphasising giving back to the community.
The brunch menu is positively banging with pancakes, french toast, toppings on toast, and a generous selection of bagels. Once you’ve eaten your fill, pop over to the small Addington Store. There, you can stock up on eco-friendly products, try on ethical apparel, and peruse a selection of the best books of the moment, hand-picked by the store manager.
Retro dreams come to life at C1 Espresso in Christchurch. This cafe is funky meets chic, with soaring ceilings, and modern light fixtures. Old post office tubes even send food whizzing to your table.
The menu is equally as unique as the place itself. Find favourites like the open breakfast burrito, miso caramel waffles, and fried tofu on toast. You’ll also find lots of seasonal food and drink specials (like colour-changing iced tea!).
The location is iconic, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating. The cafe has been under new management for about a year, getting rave reviews. Plus, they roast all of their beans and make a truly mean cup of coffee. Trust me when I say it’s worth the stop even if you’re in a hurry.
From the Staff
Our benedicts are definitely a classic fave of everybody! Waffles and Savoury Crumpets are a new addition to the menu this summer and are also proving a hit.– Nick at C1 Espresso
Sitting as close to the beach as possible, this cafe Christchurch is lucky enough to have is located in New Brighton and looks right out at sea. The trendy interior is perfectly Instagrammable, topped off by plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy the nice weather.
But of course, what keeps people coming back is the food, laden with sweet and savoury options, sure to tempt anyone into a decadent brunch. Whether you go for the smashed avo bagel, the tropical smoothie bowl, or the banoffee pie waffles, you’re sure to leave stuffed. But if you still have room, stick around for lunch to wolf down their signature fried chicken, loaded waffle fries, or all-day eggs.
Would you rather head straight to the beach? Stop off for a wrap, salad, or pretty pastry from the cabinet, with a coffee to go.
Ally & Sid
While we’re on the topic of Instagrammable interiors, Ally & Sid have gone above and beyond to provide a trendy yet timeless haven for the Christchurch cafe scene. We’re talking bright white walls with their signature sunshine mural, Bali style furnishings, neon lights, and plants galore.
Every corner is perfectly decorated, and the food is equally alluring. Choose from bowls, toasts, or bagels, paired with perfectly made coffee and fresh pastries from the cabinet. Caffeine aficionados will appreciate the signature cold brew and Ally & Sid’s signature blend, guaranteeing a smooth cuppa every time.
Suppose you’re hoping to break away from the same old cafe scene. In that case, Posh Porridge turns up the uniqueness with high-end breakfast bowls centred around local and seasonal produce. What once began as a simple farmers market stall has turned into a full-blown cafe, and Christchurch is undoubtedly better for it.
Their bowls feature organic steel-cut oats and creative and classic combinations like raspberry white chocolate, banana berry, and toffee.
If you’re after something slightly heartier, opt for a Bircher bowl – their take on overnight oats. Top the Bircher bowl off with decadent toppings like raspberry and rhubarb compote and lemon-lime curd, or keep it vegan with stewed apricots and coconut granola.
If you hope to visit Posh Porridge at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, be sure to check their Instagram for the weekly menu!
From the Staff
My favourite menu item would be our porridge bowl with roasted apples, salted caramel sauce and a coconut macadamia crumble with lashings of cream. Or, our poached stone fruit Bircher Bowl with vanilla bean custard and raspberry crumble.– Caroline at Posh Porridge
Mediterranean Food Company
Nobody makes coffee like Italians, so it’s only fitting that one of Christchurch’s best cafes is an Italian specialty store. Boasting authentic Mediterranean, visiting here is more of an experience than anything. The beautiful shop is brimming with pasta, sauces, biscuits and European wine. The cafe is just as tempting with a full breakfast menu and a generous portion of lunch mains.
It doesn’t get much better than the polenta topped with apple, pear, and yoghurt if you’re visiting in the morning. Come lunchtime, you won’t be able to resist one of the proper Italian pizzas or the house-made focaccia. Suppose you’re only after a quick snack and a coffee. In that case, nothing goes down quite as well as their tiramisu or fanciful cabinet offerings.
C4 is a specialist local coffee roaster and the place to go for one of the best cuppas around. The industrial-style cafe lets you enjoy C4’s signature products right on-site over a bagel or plate of eggs. It doesn’t get any fresher as the roastery is connected to the cafe.
Attached to the roastery is also a coffee store full of machines and all things caffeine equipment. It’s well worth a gander if you’re stopping by. The staff are friendly, the vibes are good, and most importantly, the coffee flows freely.
A Christchurch staple, Miro is a solid favourite for cafes in the city. While it’s certainly on the pricier side, the food is well worth it. The menu features classic dishes with a luxurious twist like the avocado and parmesan waffle, Miro benedict on potato and leek cakes, pea gnocchi with smoked salmon, and a breakfast board with a little bit of everything.
The interior is moody yet warm and merits a visit if only to sip a coffee by the fireplace or enjoy a signature breakfast cocktail.
Terra Viva Cafe
Terra Viva has been on the Christchurch cafe scene for more than 20 years, so it’s no wonder it’s amassed a loyal following. They serve up a little bit of everything—the food centres around fresh ingredients, easily enjoyed in the sprawling garden.
Sit outside with a coffee and a pastry, or make a full breakfast out of it with offerings like:
- Orange infused french toast
- Acai bowl
- Turkish eggs served with hummus, yoghurt, and hot chili butter
You’ll find an international menu for lunch with dishes like:
- Bang bang chicken
- Beef shawarma
- Famous chicken liver pate
But the real draw to this Christchurch cafe is the afternoon tea with small bites, tea or coffee for less than $25.
Lemon Tree Cafe
Bright, welcoming, and with an air of vintage, Lemon Tree Cafe is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon sipping away on a coffee or enjoying a lavish meal. It’s pretty centrally located, near Little High, and has a couple of outdoor tables that you have to be lucky to snag. The interior is full of antiques and quirky art. Everything is slightly mismatched but somehow comes together beautifully.
Lemon Tree serves just about anything you could wish for when it comes to breakfast, be it sweet or savoury. There are also a few fun offerings like chicken and waffles or berry pancakes topped with an ice cream cone. If you’re in a hurry, pop in to grab a coffee and a sandwich from the cabinet to go.
Underground Coffee Roasters
Tucked away in Sydenham at the Colombo Mall, Underground Coffee Roasters serves up a strong yet balanced cup of coffee crafted in their very own roastery. Underground Coffee Roasters knows what the people need and delivers hot mugs in winter and frothy iced coffees in summer.
The cafe is dripping with shaded light fixtures and greenery dangling from the ceiling, creating quite the atmosphere in which to enjoy your coffee and breakfast. If you’d instead grab and go, there’s an incredible selection of pastries and cabinet sandwiches. That said, you’ll be missing out on deliciousness from the menu like pancakes, free-range eggs and of course, a classic eggs benny.
Sweet Soul Patisserie
Sweet Soul Patisserie sits smack in the centre of the city and will have you drooling before even walking in the door. With lavish pastries lined artfully in the cabinet, Sweet Soul is a dessert lover’s mecca.
Choose from classics like lemon tart, chocolate cake, or eclairs. Or opt for a unique seasonal treat like a pina colada ball or passion honey cake made from bee pollen mousse, passionfruit cream and a cinnamon honey base.
Not only is the presentation second to none, but everything tastes as good as it looks. Ideal for an afternoon stop, Sweet Soul has a little something for everyone, even offering gluten-free and vegan goodies.
Little Merchants Coffee
This funky Christchurch cafe sits out in Addington and specialises in all things green. The biggest draw to the place is their overflowing greenhouse with all sorts of plants covering every surface, save the tables.
There are delectable seasonal salads in the cabinet, freshly made soup in the winter, and some of the best scones you’ll find in the city. I highly recommend sitting under the plants and having a relaxing breakfast if you have the time. The service is exceptional, with some of the friendliest staff around.
Since it’s a bit far out, Little Merchants is more of a local spot, but few would complain as it’s one of Christchurch’s best-kept cafe secrets.
For more cafes in New Zealand, check out our other articles including:
- 13 Best Arrowtown Cafes
- 18 Best Queenstown Cafes
- 12 Best Tauranga Cafes
- 15 Best Cafes in Rotorua
- 10 Best Spots to Watch the Sunset in Christchurch
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