(Melbourne) Top Paddock

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As a city renowned for its coffee and brunch scene, it’s tough picking favorites here. But if I were to choose, Top Paddock would be sitting somewhere on that list of ‘Favorite Cafes’ (or something). I loved where it’s situated, the food, the service, the decor, the ambiance – everything. While the food wasn’t perfect nor to-die-for, it’s holistically one of the better cafes out there that I would often recommend to others. However, take note that I haven’t had a chance to be back here for a while now, and it seems that certain changes have been made to the menu.

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(Melbourne) Three Bags Full

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There’s something serene and peaceful about cafes that lie on the outskirts, like Three Bags Full, which provided a quick departure from the hustle and bustle of the city that I was used to seeing most of the time. Food-wise, it offered the ‘standard’ breakfast and brunch menu that I have come to expect in Melbourne, and I thought it could do with experimenting with new dishes (though I wasn’t disappointed with the unconventional Japanese okonomiyaki pancake when they did). Trying to find breakfast and brunch where you don’t want to feel let down? Three Bags Full would be a pretty safe bet.

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(Lake Tekapo) Mackenzies

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Overall Rating: 68%

An accessible and convenient restaurant to get to in Lake Tekapo is Mackenzies, with great location (in the city center), long operating hours, and lots of parking space. The restaurant had an excellent view of the lake and mountain, a warm and comfortable interior, but I thought the food was average and prices were too expensive. Nevertheless, Mackenzies is a place you can go to for various occasions, be it for a date, drinks, a meal with a friends or family, or if you just want to find a clean and comfortable environment with decent food.

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(Christchurch) C1 Espresso

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Overall Rating: 73%

C1 Espresso is arguably one of the most famous cafes in Christchurch that’s located in the central city, and is open seven days a week with long operating hours. The cafe reopened in its current location at High Street after the original premise was destroyed in the Canterbury earthquake. C1 Espresso is also huge on sustainability, where you can read more about it on its website. I didn’t get the opportunity to try out the breakfast options, but from what I did, the food was decent, but not fantastic. The interior was creative though, featuring a ‘school’-like theme (crayon-like sugar packs!) and in overall, uniquely decorated with bizarre elements including the pneumatic tubes and a sewing machine water dispenser.

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(Kaikoura) Tutis Restaurant & Bar

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Tutis Restaurant & Bar was one of the most frequently mentioned restaurants I was recommended to go to by the locals at Kaikoura. Located near to the petrol stations and New World Supermarket, and just a few minutes’ drive from the city center, Tutis is hard to miss and is easily accessible by car. The restaurant was quite fancy and expensive, although it wasn’t exactly a fine-dining experience as well. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a picture of the restaurant’s exterior in the day, so I doubt you can tell how it looks like from the picture above.) Overall, even though most dishes were delicious, I thought some were too expensive in terms of value-for-money.

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(Wellington) The Flight Coffee Hangar

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The best coffee I had in New Zealand was probably here at The Hangar, where the cafe also offered decent brunch (which I didn’t think quite match up to its coffee, unfortunately). Located on the corner of Dixon and Willis Street, The Hangar is easily accessible and around 10 minutes’ walk from the famous Te Papa Museum. A friendly waitress greeted my family and I immediately after we entered the cafe, where it was crowded, lively, and bright. Customers can also purchase its merchandise on its website, including coffee, brewing equipment, and other gift ideas.

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(Wellington) The Crab Shack

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We had a family dinner at The Crab Shack in Wellington on our last night at the North Island, and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the coastline especially in the evening. Even though we thought arriving at 5.30pm was early enough to guarantee us a table (it usually is), the place was packed and many people had reserved a table beforehand. Nevertheless, we thought the wait was worth it as we enjoyed most of the dishes even though its signature dish fell short of expectations. Location-wise, The Crab Shack was easily accessible, and although it was one of the numerous restaurants located on the wharf, it was easily one of the most popular as well.

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