Wellington restaurants have it all. Our favourites are comfortable, somewhat casual, and always serving great food. The city offers traditional, international, and eclectic options.
Wellington may be a city known for its coffee but take a look at some of the food we tried at several Wellington restaurants and see if you agree it is also a city for eating.
Our recent road trip to New Zealand’s capital city allowed enough time to visit a few old favourites and discover a few new Wellington restaurants too.
Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
Be inspired . . .
This site contains affiliate links to products and/or services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.
Our Favourites – the best Wellington Restaurants
The best restaurants in Wellington NZ is a bold and subjective statement. These are our personal favourites, the Wellington restaurants we go to, again and again, every time we visit the capital city.
Left Bank, 210C Left Bank, Te Aro
I have been talking about this Mexican taco shop since we discovered it over a year ago. I had eaten here on a mummy/daughter trip with each of my girls. Finally, hubby got to discover what we have been raving about all this time.
Authentic flavours, plates full of food, and a friendly atmosphere, no wonder Viva Mexico is my favourite of the Wellington restaurants. It’s located down an alley off Cuba Street (and now there is a second location in Petone).
I apologise to the people of Wellington if I am sharing a local’s secret with the world.
2 Taranaki Street Odlins Square Taranaki Wharf
04 916 8369
An iconic waterfront location, huge bean bags, and table seating both indoors and out make Karaka Cafe a great place to relax. If that’s not enough, one bite of your food and you will know how this cafe made our list of the best Wellington restaurants.
It features New Zealand flavours surrounded by traditional Maori decor.
Egmont Street Eatery
Egmont Street, Te Aro
Egmont Street Eatery is another alleyway eatery. This Wellington restaurant is located in a former car park – although you would never know it when you were there.
Modern and delicious, the portions are made for sharing, and we just kept on ordering. It wasn’t all salads; we had a bit of everything, but this salad made the best photo.
Picnic Cafe in the Botanic Gardens
Begonia House, Rose Garden 101 Glenmore Street, Thorndon
We were not planning on eating here, but rather just to enjoy the colourful Wellington Botanic Gardens. Then I saw this salmon salad served to someone else. I was hooked.
29 Courtenay Place, Te Aro
146 Cuba St, Te Aro
49/77 Jervois Quay, Wellington Central
You know a dessert spot had to make my list of the best restaurants in Wellington! What could be better than a place specialising in boutique coffee and gourmet gelato?
We believe Kaffee Eis serves the best ice cream in Wellington – and they make a great cup of coffee.
The last time we remembered to take a photo was years ago. We sat at the counter on that day. Hubby had the best of all worlds – an affogato (coffee and gelato in one cup).
Our former favourite dessert place that has since closed was Strawberry Fare.
3 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon
The Thistle Inn is New Zealand’s oldest surviving tavern and restaurant operating from its original site. And it holds the country’s second-oldest liquor license.
It’s not only a great place to eat, but it’s also quite popular as an after-work gathering place for friends.
Be sure to look through the area of the glass floor to view the original 1840 cellar.
Unwind with a wine or craft beer at one of the Wellington restaurants
Locals know there are plenty of options for unwinding after a long day. Here are a few unique options, in addition to the Thistle Inn just above:
- Hashigo Zake: They call themselves a cult beer bar. Where else can you drink in a former police station’s cells?
- The Backbencher Gastropub: This is where you might spot Members of Parliament, either eating or their likeness as large puppets hanging from the walls. It’s a great place for a glass of wine, craft beer, or a meal.
- The Garage Project: a popular Wellington microbrewery.
Relax at a Wellington Coffee House
Wellington is a city known for coffee, and to date, we have not had a bad cup anywhere. Our favourite coffee spots are:
- Mojo – while the coolest Mojo is probably the one located in the old St. James Theatre, we also enjoy sitting outside at the one across from Shed 13 on Customhouse Quay. We even enjoyed a self-guided tour and watched Mojo roasting coffee.
- Photo Espresso – delicious coffee and an enclosed counter filled with old cameras. Although, we were a bit surprised to see the camera model I recently passed down to Sarah in the case.
- Arabica – friendly staff and a great cup of coffee. Popular with locals, so you know it’s great.
Are you wondering what else to do in Wellington?
⇓⇓ Check out these ⇓⇓
37 Things to do in Wellington New Zealand
Save for later
If you enjoyed this list of Wellington restaurants, please share it on social media and pin it:
Booking tips for New Zealand travel planning
We often have affiliate partnerships with companies that we trust and recommend. We receive a small compensation if you make a purchase using these links. In some cases, the links can save you up to 70%.
First-time visitors start here: New Zealand travel guide or with our favourite New Zealand road trips.
Flights: We use Skyscanner to find all the available flight options at the best prices.
Rental Vehicles: For cars, we always use RentalCars.com, a rental car search engine with no hidden costs. For campervans (and larger cars), note that Spaceships Rentals NZ offers free one-way drop-off between Auckland and Christchurch.
**Albom Adventures readers can check for discounts off Spaceships campervans.**
Accommodations: We use Tripadvisor to find ratings and reserve accommodations in most NZ cities.
Activity Discounts: We use Bookme.co.nz to find discounts on entry tickets and tours in New Zealand.
Travel Insurance: We purchase insurance that covers medical and travel emergencies when we head overseas. We start with World Nomads.
Packing Tips: Get a free copy of our New Zealand packing list when you sign up for our mailing list.
**Find more money-saving resources on our Travel Resources page.
Did we visit your favourite Wellington restaurants?
More on New Zealand you might enjoy: