8 May 2022 | Written by Bachcare Holiday Homes

Where to Eat in Nelson

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Our guide to Nelson restaurants!

When traveling, it can be difficult to know where to eat, especially in other countries where the local cuisine might be wholly unfamiliar. However, worry not. If you are ever planning on visiting New Zealand, try stopping by Nelson

We have curated a list of the best places to eat, drink, and dine while out in Nelson, New Zealand, where you can enjoy art galleries, rivers, high tea, and ocean views while enjoying the delicious food they have to offer.

Along with a fabulous art scene, Nelson, New Zealand has a thriving culinary community full of a variety of cuisines one can choose from, including if you are vegetarian or vegan, so fear not about dietary restrictions. 

But, when in Nelson, you are not just limited to food at all because Nelson, known as the beer capital, has more breweries per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand, making it the perfect spot to drink while you dine.

See our top places to eat in Nelson…

Urban Oyster Bar and Eatery ($$)

where to eat in nelson

Once you go to Urban Eatery, you’ll always be wanting to come back. A favourite amongst locals and tourists alike, Urban provides both fabulous food and atmosphere. Fan favourites include their sticky Korean lamb shoulder, kung pao popcorn chicken and oysters (obviously).

  • Cuisine: Gastropub and Winebar
  • Price: $6-$23
  • Opening times: Mon-Sat 11:00AM-4:00PM
  • Address: 278 Hardy Street
  • Contact: 03 546 7861

Harbour Light Bistro ($$)

For our recommendation, try to visit Harbour Light Bistro for a refreshing day out in the sun, where you can request a seat on the second floor by the window for a beautiful view over the water. Their menu options are limited in terms of vegetarian options, but if you are looking to book a function with three-course meals, then Harbour Light Bistro is your first stop.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Thu 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Fri-Sat 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: $8 – $31
  • Address: 341 Wakefield Quay, Stepneyville, Nelson
  • Contact: 03 546 6685

Little India ($$)

If you are looking for some delicious Indian food, especially Punjab, while in Nelson, then try and stop by Little India, where they use delicious recipes from their Grandmother Premjit Kaur Gill. If you cannot visit in person, they also feature a cookbook on their website so you can create their delicious meals at home. However, do not knock their lovely indoor eating experience.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Sat 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM
  • Price: $8 – $50
  • Address: 269 Hardy Street, Nelson New Zealand
  • Contact: 03 539 1155

Hopgoods ($$$)

best food in nelson

Every holiday deserves a splurge! Hopgoods is on the pricier side, but well worth the indulgence. They are well known for their 5-course degustation menu but their solo dish options are also equally as delicious. They also have full vegan and vegetarian menus and it’s clear that each dish was designed with food lovers in mind.

  • Cuisine: European
  • Price: $15-$45
  • Opening times: Mon-Sat: 5:30PM-9:30PM
  • Address: 284 Trafalgar Street
  • Contact: 03 545 7191

Nicola’s Cantina ($$)

Were you looking for some mouth-watering Mexican cuisine instead? Then try visiting Nicola’s Cantina, where you can enjoy a quick burrito or quesadilla.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Sat 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Price: $7 – $20
  • Address: 2-6 Church Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
  • Contact: 03 548 8761

Viva La Vaca ($)

Viva La Vaca - nelson eatery

If you’re looking for cheap eats in Nelson, head over to Viva La Vaca. It’s clear the owners of Viva La Vaca love food. They are so passionate about their fare, that if you aren’t satisfied with your meal they will happily refund you your money. Operating under the motto “love at first bite”, their hero dish is the choripan – which is chorizo in a bun with coleslaw, mayo, secret gravy recipe and a whole lot of deliciousness! Grab enough to feed the whole family and enjoy from the comfort of your Nelson holiday home.

  • Cuisine: Argentinian BBQ
  • Price: $8-$18
  • Opening times: Fri-Sat: 11:00AM-4:00PM
  • Address:105 Bridge Street Kirby Lane
  • Contact: 021 155 6948

Lombardi’s ($$)

There are not many places to enjoy pizza in Nelson, but if you are truly hankering for one then we suggest visiting Lombardi’s, an Italian restaurant where you can find the best pizza in Nelson. They combine authentic Italian cuisine and local Kiwi flavors, “giving you the best of both worlds.”

  • Opening Times: Sun-Fri 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM, Sat 4:30PM to 9:30 PM
  • Price: $9 – $40
  • Address: 281 Trafalgar Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
  • Contact: 03 548 8295

Burger Culture ($$$)

Looking for a good burger with the added quality of freshly made ingredients prepared every day? Then look no further than Burger Culture, where you can enjoy delicious fresh burgers and even homemade donuts if you still have room after your meal for dessert. Enjoy your meal alongside their pun-filled menu for a few laughs along the way.

  • Opening Times: Tue-Fri 12 PM to 8:30 PM, Sat-Sun 12 PM to 8:30 PM
  • Price: $5 – $47
  • Address: 281 Trafalgar Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
  • Contact: 03 546 9020

Arden ($$)

Arden is a restaurant with plenty of vegetarian options. And although it does not say so on the menu, these can also be adapted to be vegan as well. Other than its array of vegetarian options, it has a rotating seasonal menu, so be sure to check back when you can for something new.

  • Opening Times: Wed-Sat 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM, Sun 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Price: $3 – $35
  • Address: 216 Hardy St Nelson
  • Contact: 03 539 0394

Boat Shed Café ($$)

boat shed cafe in nelson

If you’re looking for great food, lively atmosphere and ocean-front views – then the Boat Shed Café is the perfect place for you. It’s also a really lovely family friendly restaurant in Nelson, so even the young ones can dine in style! Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner you can’t go wrong. We recommend their banana waffles for breakfast and fried oysters for lunch or dinner.

  • Cuisine: Seafood and European
  • Price: $10-$28
  • Opening times: 9:30AM-9:00PM
  • Address: 351 Wakefield Quay
  • Contact: 03 546 9783

Headquarters Café & Bar ($$)

cafe & bar in nelson

If you’re after a low-key dining experience but high-quality food then Headquarters Café & Bar is for you! Serving breakfast and lunch, they do all the classic café meals really well. But they have quite the reputation for their extreme milkshakes, which the kids are sure to go crazy about! Book a bach in Nelson so that the kids can burn off all that extra energy running around a private backyard!

  • Cuisine: Café
  • Price: $4-$22
  • Opening times: 8:30AM-4PM
  • Address: 38 Ellis Street Brightwater
  • Contact: 03 542 3850

Harry’s Hawker House and Bar ($$)

We also recommend Harry’s Hawker House and Bar, whose menu also features an array of vegetarian options, with a dedicated “Vege” section on their menu. Harry’s Hawker House’s menu is “inspired by [the] vibrancy of Asian street food & hawker markets” and features locally grown ingredients. Be sure to note that they do not serve rice or noodles.

  • Opening Times: Tue 3:00 PM to 12:00 AM, Wed-Sat 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Price: $12 – $28
  • Address: 296 Trafalgar Street, Nelson 7010
  • Contact: 03 539 0905

East St Takeaway and Deli ($$)

The East St Takeaway and Deli is the only wholly vegan restaurant in Nelson. They are one hundred percent plant-based and even sell kombucha on tap. They also host weekly live music events, so if you want to discover new music while enjoying your vegan meal, stop by here.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Sat 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Price: Not Specified
  • Address: Church Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
  • Contact: 03 970 0575

The Free House ($$)

With thirteen different beers on tap, The Free House is the perfect place to grab a drink while enjoying its array of Mexican options, including quesadillas, nachos, and tacos. They offer beers, wine, and ciders, and they also have options for vegetarians.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Fri 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM, Sat-Sun 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Price: Not Specified
  • Address: 95 Collingwood Street, Nelson, 7010
  • Contact: 03 548 9391

McCashins ($$)

McCashins is a restaurant and brewery where you can enjoy, in the coming year, some new offerings. As these offerings are not yet available, you are currently limited to their brewery, but what a way to spend the day sharing “unique beers,” “mouthwatering ciders,” as well as a “distinctive range of non-alcoholic beverages.”

  • Opening Times: Sun-Tue 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Wed-Sat 7:00 AM to 9:30 PM
  • Price: $7 – $30
  • Address: 660 Main Rd, Stoke, Nelson, 7011
  • Contact: 03 547 5357

Melrose Cafe ($)

If you are looking for a chance to experience high tea, then look no further. From decadent and delicious cakes to hearty roasts, your next stop should be to Melrose Cafe where you can enjoy food served on tiered platters and antique china, while also celebrating with them their local suppliers and produce with their seasonal menu.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Sun 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Price: $5 – $24
  • Address: 26 Brougham Street, Nelson South, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
  • Contact: 03 548 9179

Suter Cafe ($)

If you are feeling caged in by indoor eateries, then the outdoor Suter Cafe is the place for you. Located within The Suter Art Gallery, explore their wondrous art collection before you stop by and enjoy their Havana Coffee and gourmet food, topped with vegetarian and vegan options, so no one is left out.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Sun 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Price: Not Specified
  • Address: 208 Bridge Street, Nelson 7010
  • Contact: 03 928 0698

Little Dove Cafe ($)

Settled next to a river where everything is made in-house, try visiting the lovely Little Dove Cafe, a coffee shop featuring “handmade soul food inspired by the kitchens of the eastern Mediterranean and Levant” with selections such as their delectable Greek salad.

  • Opening Times: Mon-Fri, 7:00 AM – 2:30 PM
  • Price: Not Specified
  • Address: 36 Collingwood Street, Nelson 7010
  • Contact: 20 436 5159


Already daydreaming about all the foodie experiences you’ll have in Nelson? Check out our Nelson holiday homes now and start planning your next trip!

Traveling can be tricky, especially when you do not know where to eat. Trying new food can be frightening when you do not know what to expect, but hopefully, we have curated the perfect list of places to dine on your next trip to Nelson, New Zealand. 

A place where there is no shortage of delicious and unique places to dine and share new experiences with your friends and loved ones, or even alone.

If you ever get the chance, make sure to visit Nelson and try out any and all of these wonderful options and create some memories along the way. Be sure to take plenty of pictures, as all of these restaurants, breweries, and cafes have just as much to offer in terms of views and art as they do in food.

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