Eat in or eat out?

Lake Wanaka Township is a serene destination, but don’t let the small town vibe fool you. It’s an amazing place, with a myriad of things to do all year round! In the middle of all the business is a culture of friendly locals, who love their town, and where to eat, as much as you will. The locals are the soul of the town and are what help make Wanaka stand out from other destinations.

But if you are coming to Wanaka and thinking of spending time here, we know what you will be thinking: does it have good coffee? If you weren’t, you almost certainly will be thinking it now. Luckily, Wanaka spoils you for choice with its many different coffee shops, restaurants and cafes – all with their unique spin on coffee and cuisine so you will always know where to eat in Wanaka. We have talked to local coffee lovers and have asked their opinion and thoughts on where they love to unwind and indulge.


Coffee Shack

The coffee shack is proof that a cafe doesn’t need to be big to be bold. It serves up some of the best coffee in town. The cafe, a converted garage, has kept its original rustic looks. They support recycling and offer a discount for people who bring their own cups. This shack has “local” written all over it; even dogs are allowed, with treats for lucky pups with the puppy face. You can even order online via an app, so if you are running up a mountain or need to be somewhere, it can be ready when you rock up. But if you want to stay, there are bean bags outside to lounge and relax.


Alchemy is a larger but comfy licensed cafe positioned on the lakefront and commanding stunning vistas of the lake and mountains. This cafe is great for small or large groups alike. They have live music every Sunday and happy hour is from 5 to 6. It is such a perfect coffee destination with organic, fresh baking and fairtrade coffee. It has almost everything an ideal coffee shop should provide; it also has a website to have a browse on.

Urban Grind

Urban Grind sits on the main commercial street of Wanaka. It’s a modern building with a rustic and unique fit out. It has a delicious meal menu and offers killer coffees and hot chocolates. The exposed brick walls are decorated with artwork and sculpture, making it an interesting place to hang out. The staff there are efficient and helpful and you get a whole Whittakers chocolate finger on top of a hot chocolate or ice chocolate! It’s super family friendly and is ideal for having here or takeaway coffee.


Big fig

The Big fig is relatively new to town and is such a hot spot right now! They offer hot cabinet food and plates that are priced according to size. They do amazing baking and smoothies to eat in or to go. The food has Middle Eastern flavours and spices to tingle your taste buds. Their motto is “slow food served fast”. A great idea is to take Big Fig’s exquisite food away and eat it on the lakefront.

Federal Diner

The federal diner is tucked away in a quiet, central location in town. It’s a stylish cafe and its hideaway location makes it a firm favourite for the locals. FD is the place for good food and coffee. Next to the Federal Diner is the Fedeli, which has awesome salads and salads and food to take away. The Fedeli is the ideal place to pop in and grab a light salad or a beef bourguignon to take home to the family.

Kai Whaka Pai

Kai Whaka Pai literally means food made good in Maori. This is Wanaka’s iconic lakefront licensed cafe-bar. The vibe is friendly and relaxed and it has sensibly priced a la carte and cabinet food. The bar is super well known in Wanaka and has outside seating fit for an al fresco time. There’s also upstairs seating with expansive lake views from quiet booth seats.



The Edgewater is literally what the name suggests, right on the edge of the water. It ’s a 15-20 minute walk along the lakefront to get to this absolute stunning waterfront hotel and restaurant property. If you are staying in town and looking for a fine dining experience, then Edgewater would be a supreme choice. The Edgewater also offers comfortable accommodation, so if you’re staying at a guest, there’s the bonus of a great restaurant in the building. Edgewater is also a great place for coffee after a lakeside walk.


Kika is a quirky, tapas style restaurant situated next to a Bullock Creek It’s a superb choice for a unique dining experience.  The food based on Italian sharing plates and Kika generates a tasteful but fun atmosphere that will leave you feeling fulfilled. Kika is fun and original, a definite go-to in Wanaka.


Francesca’s is a bustling Italian Kitchen using fresh to produce high-quality food. They are particularly known for their delicious pizzas and pasta. Francesca’s is right in town, on Bullock creek and with outdoor seating with fires. It’s a busy restaurant in a peaceful setting and is invariably a great night out. Francesca’s offer three-course meals, including amazing desserts.

For a small township, Wanaka has an amazing coffee and cuisine culture. Hopefully, these notes will help you choose a place to meet over coffee or to dine out or take away.   

We would love to get in touch with you to organise your Wanaka wedding, contact us so we can help you. x