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Here are my top recommendations for the best Wellington restaurants and cafes.
Guys, I spent a lot of money on food in Auckland and Wellington. Both cities just had too many excellent restaurants and cute cafes – I couldn’t help myself. In Wellington, the city centre is overflowing with bars, pubs, takeaway stores and restaurants. Keep reading and get ready to bookmark the best Wellington restaurants and cafes.
Before we dive in, I also have to mention a website called Neat Places. I picked up their pocket guide in Wellington, which features some of the city’s most unique restaurants, cafes and shops. They also have an app that’s available offline – perfect for travellers.
Where to eat in Wellington
Chow is super popular with Wellington locals. It offers modern Asian cuisine and has weekly specials. This includes two-for-one meals on Mondays, #ChowVeganTuesdays, and cocktail specials on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Speaking of Asian food, I visited Little Penang for an early dinner one evening. It was busy even before 6pm, which makes me think it’s one of the more popular Wellington restaurants as well. It specialises in Malaysian cuisine and it has good-sized portions (my favourite).
Little Beer Quarter
Little Beer Quarter calls itself Wellington’s beer geek heaven. It has 14 rotating taps and over 100 beers in the fridge. Step inside for great New Zealand craft beers, international beer and local wines. There’s also weekly specials, in case you were wondering.
KC Cafe Wellington
KC Cafe & Takeaway is another Asian food option. I got takeaway from here another night and it was just as bustling as Little Penang. Their menu is massive (like over 100 meal options massive) and their portions are huge too. Highly recommend if you want a quick bite to eat.
Press Hall is like the cool kids’ food court. There’s Bao Boys for steamed Asian buns, pastries from Cake Society, Vietnamese street food at NAM D and pizzas from Tommy Millions.
Goldie Milk Bar & Eatery
Firstly, Goldie Milk Bar & Eatery is very Instagrammable. From the golden seats to the fun and colourful murals, it was love at first sight. They serve bubble tea, soft serve and gelato, hot dogs, and bubble waffles. I enjoyed the cookies and cream bubble waffle creation, with cookie crumbs, fudge sauce and Pocky. If you’ve been following since my Vancouver days, you may know I have a soft spot for both bubble waffle and Pocky. I highly recommend enjoying a sweet treat from Goldie while exploring Wellington.
The Library is a book-filled lounge bar with live music. The food menu includes tapas and a lot of delicious-looking sweet treats. I mean, boozy trifle and a Stoner’s Sundae, anyone 😂? There are also hard shakes and two-for-one cocktails on Wednesdays.
Leeds St Bakery
I was told I needed to try a salted caramel cookie in Wellington, which is a Leeds Street Bakery original. As I always do what I’m told, I beelined for the bakery and snapped up a cookie to enjoy by the waterfront. My verdict: it was delicious.
HUSK is a triple threat: a brewery, coffee roastery and eatery. I perused their weekend brunch menu and oh my goodness, I want it ALL. Please enjoy for me.
One of my dorm mates at YHA Wellington City told me about Pandoro Panetteria, which was around the corner from our hostel. It was a convenient place to enjoy lunch on a rainy Wellington day. The racks and cabinets are filled with savoury bites, sweet treats and loaves of bread as well. They have several locations across Wellington and Auckland.
The Little Waffle Shop
I walked past The Little Waffle Shop on more than one occasion. If I hadn’t indulged with a waffle from Goldie, I would have totally gone here instead. An actual hole-in-the-wall, The Little Waffle Shop is the perfect place to pick up dessert on Courtenay Place.
Maranui Cafe is located at the historic Maranui Surf Lifesaving Club in Lyall Bay, which equals perfect waterfront views. When researching where to eat in Wellington, Maranui Cafe popped up again and again. I wish Lyall Bay was closer to the city, as I would have visited immediately. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch, so head here on a sunny Wellington day.
Logan Brown is one of the premier fine dining establishments in Wellington. I’ve never been a fine dining girl, but if this is more your style, Logan Brown serves the best New Zealand produce. The team cares deeply about the environment, so all produce is sustainable and sourced locally.
Fidel’s is a Wellington institution, so I knew I needed to check it out during my visit. I had my first breakfast here and this breakfast butty was as good as it looks. Fidel’s is open from breakfast until dinner every night of the week. They also have a ridiculously-delicious pastry cabinet, which is a common theme in Wellington restaurants and cafes. Don’t worry, I’m not complaining one bit.
Another Wellington restaurant to check off your list, Loretta is open from breakfast until dinner. I love this description of Loretta by WellingtonNZ.com: “Scandinavian-style design meets Californian-style menu meets Wellington’s Cuba Street.” With rave reviews and an extensive menu, expect wholesome and delicious meals at Loretta.
Sweet Mother’s Kitchen
What a cool place. I popped into Sweet Mother’s Kitchen for a quick lunch on my final afternoon in Wellington. The menu is influenced by New Orleans and Mexican cuisine. There’s definitely a Big Easy vibe inside the small cafe, which you can glimpse below. Beignets are on the menu, as are po boys, tacos, jambalaya and cornbread (I’ve heard it’s a must-order dish). With friendly staff to boot, definitely stop by Sweet Mother’s Kitchen.
Mac’s Brew Bar
Located on the waterfront, Mac’s Brew Bar seemed like the place to be for happy hour. But it isn’t all about the booze here. Mac’s also serves food from breakfast until dinner.
Another breakfast stop brimming with people was Midnight Espresso. Located on Cuba Street, I indulged in a filled croissant from the overflowing pastry cabinet one morning (I told you, it’s a NZ epidemic). But the cafe is known for its late night offerings, hence the name. I mean, who wouldn’t want some nachos at 1am in the morning? No matter when you go, make a pitstop at Midnight Espresso.
Chocolate Fish Cafe
This is another popular Wellington restaurant located out of the city centre. Chocolate Fish Cafe has ample indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a menu overflowing with seafood dishes. The sandwiches look SO good: rolled pork belly, mussel and lemon fritter, bacon and black pudding, and even New Zealand scallop.
There you go – 19 of the best Wellington restaurants and cafes. If you have any others that need to be added to this list, please leave them in the comments below. I seriously need to return and embark on an epic food tour. Anyone want to join me?