An Insider’s Guide: Where to Eat in Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington is a place where innovative and delicious food thrives. Believe it or not, Wellington has more restaurants per capita than New York City, with just about every cuisine in the world represented. With such a dense concentration of eateries, there are plenty of exciting places to eat in Wellington, with something to suit every taste and every budget.
Here’s the lowdown on Wellington restaurants, to give you the best idea of what to eat in Wellington.
Cheap eats and street food
Food trucks and stalls
Wellington is home to a thriving food truck scene that serves up every kind of food imaginable. For roti wraps, mussel fritters, fresh wood-fired pizza, and more, head along to the Harbourside Market on Sunday mornings. It’s handily located to New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, making for a dreamy day out. Many of these food trucks can be found on Friday and Saturday nights on Cuba Street as part of the Wellington Night Markets.
Tommy Millions, which has three locations in the central business district, is a local favorite. Selling hot New York-style pizza by the slice, it’s perfect for lunch on the go or a late-night snack.
To satisfy those burger cravings, Boom Burger on Courtenay Place and Burger Liquor on Willis Street are both great options. For fried chicken sandwiches, look to Lucky Chicken on Courtenay Place and Soul Shack Hot Chicken on Leeds Street.
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For a delicious full meal on the cheap, you can’t go past Wellington’s many Malaysian restaurants. According to some locals, Wellington has the best Malaysian food in the world outside of Malaysia.
We recommend KK Malaysia on Ghuznee Street – so does local Wellington politician Grant Robertson. Try the roti Chennai, the curry laksa, and the beef rendang. All are bursting with flavor, without bursting your budget.
Classical fine dining
For those after a taste of luxury, there are many fine-dining restaurants in Wellington offering classic dishes at their best. Logan Brown on Cuba Street is practically synonymous with fine dining in Wellington. Situated in an old bank, the setting is as grand as the food is delicious.
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Just down the road is Floraditas. This too is a Wellington fine-dining institution, with a slightly more casual atmosphere and – of course – incredible food. Undoubtedly, these are the top restaurants Wellington for celebrating a special occasion.
Hiakai, from rising star Monique Fiso, is a truly unique restaurant. It is receiving wide acclaim on the national and international restaurant circuit. To experience this exciting food, book a few months in advance to ensure you secure seating.
The set menu provides a way to engage with the deep roots and rich, living culture of New Zealand’s Indigenous Māori people. Try to learn a few Māori phrases during your time in Wellington. Whether visiting Hiakai or Wellington’s many other restaurants, it’s a fun way to pay respect to New Zealand’s indigenous culture.
Wondering where to eat in Wellington when you’re after a hearty brunch? You’re in luck. Wellington’s café culture is well-refined, with delicious coffee and food found wherever you go in the mid-morning.
Café L’affare is definitely worth a visit. The well-known roastery almost single-handedly launched Wellington’s modern café and brunch scene. Since 1990, they have been freshly roasting coffee and serving classic brunch fare at their flagship café on College Street.
Prefab on Jessie Street is also excellent. Beautiful pastries and fresh bread complement a rotating and varied breakfast menu. It’s popular, so be prepared to wait for a table – the food is worth it.
Vegetarian and vegan
For those who can’t or don’t eat animal products, Wellington is an easy place to find delicious food. Most menus feature ample options for your dietary needs.
There are also great restaurants dedicated to plant-based eating. Aunty Mena’s on Cuba Street is a cheap and cheerful noodle house that has been around for decades. Their menu boasts an impressive array of excellent vegetarian and vegan food.
If vegan tacos sound like your thing, head along to Boquita on Kent Terrace. This small, intimate eatery is operated by the owners of the (also excellent) Mexican restaurant La Boca Loca, found in Miramar. In 2016, they decided to experiment with a fully vegan taco spot. The results are fantastic – even if you aren’t vegan, Boquita is not to be missed.
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Fish and chips
Fish and chips are a classic Kiwi comfort food you won’t want to miss. They are best enjoyed hot and fresh with friends on the beach. There is no shortage of great fish and chip shops in Wellington. Which are most worth your time?
Thorndon Chippery and Mount Vic Chippery
The Mount Vic Chippery opened at the bottom of Marjoribanks Street in 2013. It was followed by its sister location, the Thorndon Chippery on Murphy Street, two years later. For many discerning Wellingtonians, this is the best this staple takeaway meal gets. They have taken the humble ingredients of classic fish and chips and refined them to an art.
For a more classic fish and chip experience, check out Seaview Takeaways in Lyall Bay. Situated right on the beach, it’s the perfect place for a bite to eat after a swim in the ocean. Don’t expect anything fancy – it has the rough-and-ready charm characteristic of most fish and chip shops across New Zealand. The food does the talking here. Their thick, hand-cut chips are easily among the best in the city, and the fish is always fresh and delicious.
Wellington is a food lover’s dream. Whatever you are craving, there are more than enough exciting places to eat in Wellington. Whether you’re settling in for a long stay or just passing through, you can look forward to food which fills your belly and nourishes your soul.
About the Author
Johanna Cider is a Wellington-based freelance writer who has written articles on a wide array of topics for numerous blogs and local shipping sites. To read more of her published works, you can follow her on Twitter (@CiderJohanna) and Tumblr.