Life’s a Feast: Invercargill food scene

Lamb backstrap, kumara whip & quince jus and baby spinach from Suzie Q

I recently spent several weeks on and off in Invercargill. It got me thinking of the numerous people who must visit the city for various reasons – visiting relatives and friends in hospital, sporting events, shopping excursions, etc. Therefore, I thought it appropriate to share some of the gems that shine in the country’s most southern city. Invercargill has some fantastic food options for locals and visitors alike. Below are three of my favourites.

Suzie Q – 16 Kelvin St

A must-visit. Think contemporary Spanish tapas fused with a little Kiwi. It is a pleasure to find a place that embraces modern-style dining with smaller dishes to share, in a town where often the mantra is bigger is better when it comes to portion sizes. Every tapa we ordered was full of punchy, authentic flavours, using beautifully-fresh New Zealand produce. The atmosphere is cosy and it has four different dining levels to choose from. A great place for any celebration or just a cosy tete-a-tete with a friend or loved one. Enjoy a taste of Spain without having to leave the country! Keep an eye out for nights featuring live performances.

Louies – 142 Dee St

A home away from home, Louies is a welcome oasis. From Tuesday to Saturday this place is humming with local diners and people having an after-work drink that are looking for a hip and convivial atmosphere. The place oozes comfort thanks to two crackling fires and it is split into a bar and area for dining. The maitre d’/waiter/host, Dave, works the floor with speed, style and class. Manna, who has owned the place for years and is a well-known local face, jumps behind the bar, welcoming old and new faces. The food is like the surroundings – contemporary, relaxed and makes you want to come back for more. Entree is tapas-style – to be shared – and mains are rich and delicious modern fusions. Highly recommended.

The Batch – 173 Spey St

Fresh Blue Cod from The Batch
Fresh Blue Cod from The Batch

This cafe buzzes and heaves with patrons all day and it’s worth the wait. The counter-food looks fresh and enticing and the menu reads well, with tasty and moreish plates changing daily. The coffee is great and they have two baristas working one machine to cope with the influx of customers. The atmosphere is light and bright and the space is large and airy. Great cheese scones, delicious hamhock eggs benedict, with homemade hollandaise and incredibly-fresh blue cod on crispy rosti were some highlights. A great lunch spot.


ThaiThai – If you are looking for authentic Thai flavours this is your place. Dine-in or takeaway.

Bombay Palace – Great curries with decent spice and flavour.

Short bites

The Seriously Good Chocolate Company – Great coffee and sweet nibbles

Zookeepers Cafe – Great coffee, breakfast and lunch

Copper Kettle in H&J – Great lunch spot

The Grille Restaurant in the Transport Museum – Good for breakfast or lunch

The Saucy Chef – Good lunch or dinner option

The Rocks Cafe – Good for lunch or dinner

Mama Lina’s – Good Italian fare

Fresh fish

Kings, Ythan St – The best fresh blue cod (they will fry it up for fish and chips also), new-caught whitebait, and whole frozen fish and other fresh varieties. Their seafood chowder is a must-try, and fresh out of the pot each day.

Southern Seafood, Clyde St – Another one-stop shop for seafood needs.