Most people do a day trip to Kaikoura, a small town 2.5 hours north of Christchurch, to see the abundant marine life. Not us. We're HUGE fans of dolphins, and will take any opportunity to swim with these amazing creatures in the wild. Tbh, if I wasn't asked to do law by another mg-gal, I would have opted to do marine biology. *Flipper ftw!!!!*
So we spent 4 whole days in Kaikoura, and ate at many of their amazing restaurants. Ironically, most of the food we ate was seafood. heh
New Zealand places a strong emphasis on fresh produce, and eat off the land (or sea, as the case may be). Kaikoura, being a seaside town, is famous for, amongst other seafood, crayfish and mussels. If you thought Kaikoura's crayfish was the sad-little-bastard-cousin-twice-removed-of-lobster-variety that we get in Singapore, you'd be woefully mistaken. These were giant fleshy beautiful little brothers of lobsters. Only slightly smaller, sans those distinguishing pincers, but sweeter, more tender, and less prone to rubbery textures.
Consistently ranked as one of the top restaurants in Kaikoura, the Green Dolphin Restaurant is a Kaikoura institution. Best make reservations in advance as they are booked solid through the week, with walk-ins frequently (but regretfully) turned away. Get a table by the window facing the beach, it's hella romantic to savour the setting sun while nursing a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
A must-try appetizer, the Calamari (NZ$18) was pan-fried with chilli, lemon zest, sea salt, for a spicy-salty-sour countenance, and finished with a coating of citrus mayonnaise. A simple dish that highlighted the great execution and sparkling fresh ingredients.
Another must-try was the Char Grilled Local Crayfish (NZ$86) burnished with lime horseradish butter and sided by grilled root vegetables and a bowl of the biggest mesclun salad leaves ever. The searing fragrance of the grill was a great complement to the sweet delicate flesh of the crayfish.
The Char-Grilled Aged Canterbury Ribeye (NZ$35) with smoked mushrooms, belly bacon, roasted vegetables, was slathered in a full-bodied cabernet jus. Commendable but paled in light of the fantastic seafood.
The restaurant facade. There's ample parking to the left, or on the street.
Green Dolphin Restaurant + Bar