While we still can’t travel below Alert Level 3, at least our taste buds can finally have an adventure.
If your efforts to recreate the world’s most beloved kitchens at home have failed over the past two weeks, the ability to order a meal at a real restaurant will be a relief.
And what better way to satisfy your urge to travel while in lockdown than by familiarizing yourself with the flavors and scents of another country?
We’ve spotted some of the best restaurants operating under level 3 that will allow you to travel via your take out – let us know what you’re going to order in the comments.
* Level 3 food: what is available in restaurants south of Bombay
* Hand-pulled noodles and pizza place in converted public restroom: Wellington’s best inexpensive food
* Travel bites: Dimitris souvlaki, the perfect marriage of meat and bread
China: Dragons, Wellington
Dragons is one of the must-see places in the capital. And while you might have to wait until Level 1 to experience all the glory of choosing from carts filled with dumplings and steaming buns, the restaurant gives diners a taste of the Cantonese tradition popular at home, thanks to to their Dragons Express online service.
Classic dim sum or steamed BBQ pork buns are always a winner – but if you really want to be transported to Hong Kong, try steamed chicken feet or beef tripe. You will definitely want to end up with custard buns too.
Syria: Damascus, Wellington
For authentic Middle Eastern flavors in Wellington, you can’t beat Damascus, which serves delicious dishes like falafel, chicken shawarma, and manakeesh (a kind of Middle Eastern pizza), as well as homemade hummus which will make it hard to go back to store bought stuff.
Damascus offers contactless pickup and delivery which can be ordered through their website. What could be better than sharing a plate of fresh dips, salad and shawarma with your bubbly companion?
Greece: Dimitris Greek Food, Christchurch
Everyone knows that for the best souvlaki on this side of Athens you have to go to Dimitris Greek Food in Christchurch, which has been launching their famous meat cones in various locations since 1985. Under level 3 you can order through their app for contactless pickup in their Riccarton and Riverside Market stores.
Sure, the souvlaki is the classic, and perfect for a quick bite to eat – but to enjoy a more leisurely spread at home, you can also get the platter, which features the same succulent meats and lip-smacking sauces. than the portable version.
United States: C&C Chicken and Cornbread, Christchurch
For a real taste of the USA, skip the fast food giants and head straight to this East Christchurch food truck, located at 615 Pages Road. Operated by American expat Bobby Wayne, the menu consists of chicken wings and ‘golden nuggets’ (cornbread), served with rice and gravy, and drizzled with Kool Aid.
The “Chicken Coop” offers pickup under level 3, so head there with your contactless payment to get your fix of fried chicken.
Vietnam: Banh Mi Caphe, Hamilton
Swap your sad locking sandwiches for the fresh flavors of an authentic banh mi, with Hamilton’s favorite, Banh Mi Caphe, offering their Vietnamese chopsticks, noodle soups and salads to take out and deliver via their website.
Their virtual restaurant menu features “bubble packs” with a bit of anything that can feed up to four people, or you can order items individually, from delicious rice paper rolls to fragrant curries.
Italy: Salva D’or, Tauranga
Salva D’or serves pizza, pasta and other traditional Italian dishes exactly as they would be prepared in Italy – and you can bring the trattoria experience to your living room, the restaurant offering contactless pickups below level 3. Just call or email your order.
You can’t ignore their excellent pizzas, with the folded calzone being a particularly popular option. Or for real comfort food, order the classic beef lasagna.
Denmark: Adjo, Dunedin
Adjo is a cool little cafe near Dunedin Botanic Gardens, specializing in Nordic inspired dishes. At level 3, they offer a limited take-out menu of their Danish porridge (or “grod”), as well as some pastries, available to order and pick up via the Regulr app or delivery via the Delivereasy app.
You didn’t have proper porridge until you had it Danish style, with several delicious toppings to choose from – think homemade caramel, stewed apples, and peanut butter. Once Adjo converts you, you’ll plan a post-pandemic trip to Copenhagen to visit the world’s first porridge bar.
Japan: Yatai Japanese Izakaya, Palmerston North
Yatai is a little piece of Japan in Manawatū that offers a wide range of dishes to share, just like in a real izakaya (Japanese pub). Below level 3, they offer contactless pickups for dinner, with orders to be called or emailed before 4pm.
Chicken teriyaki, karaage, and Japanese curry are always a crowd pleaser. But Yatai also makes exquisite sashimi and sushi, as well as street food classics like kushiage (fried skewers) and okonomiyaki (a savory pancake).
What international dishes will you order under Alert Level 3? Let us know in the comments.