Wellington seems made for gastronomes—it’s a city famous for legendary coffee, a great craft beer scene, and classic New Zealand food. It seems there’s always a new eatery that’s just opened up with plenty on offer to whet your appetite. Here are some of the best places to get a great meal.
Egmont St. Eatery
Hidden-gem Egmont St. Eatery used to be an unassuming industrial car park, but has now been transformed into a cool, modern restaurant and function space. Here, you’ll enjoy a simple pleasure in Wellington: Food designed to be shared with friends and family. Many of the dishes are based on classic recipes, but with a modern, new-age twist of unconventional flavours and spices. Relax and enjoy the comfortable environment of this light-filled place as you decide what to order from the extensive menu—with individual meals, sharing plates, sides, or bar snacks, the choice is yours. As with any Wellington eatery, you can expect top-notch coffee, as well as a range of unique cocktails, wines, and craft beer. Your new favourite place likes to mix it up, so you can return again and find a regular rotation of delicious options on the menu with the changing seasons. Settle in for a good dose of quality New Zealand food at this great hideaway.
Hillside Kitchen & Cellar
Another treasure in the Wellington food scene is Hillside Kitchen & Cellar, which focuses on New Kiwi cuisine featuring seasonal and local ingredients. This venue is unique in that it has two faces; deli and coffee shop by day, and full-service restaurant offering dinner and dessert by night. If you’re looking for somewhere to mix and mingle with friends over mouthwatering food in a relaxed atmosphere, this is the place to be. At night, you’re in for a treat with many tantalising dishes to choose from and a selection of delectable drinks to sip on. During the day, try unusual foods like truffle fried eggs and wild pork baked beans, or for something a bit different, opt for a duck liver parfait with relish and sourdough, topped off with chocolate tart brulee. To really get your taste buds dancing, try the full-course dinner menu, with dishes like almond soup with flowers, asparagus, and ducks egg, or carrot, pork, and quinoa—all complemented with a delicious wine.
The seasonally inspired Jano Bistro is serving fine local New Zealand food with a small and simple menu, but big in taste and execution. Set amongst a beautifully restored historical cottage, you’ll enjoy this unique dining experience where you can explore new flavour combinations. Indulge your senses in the culinary world that French-born New Zealand chef Pierre-Alain Fenoux has created in the relaxed environment. He likes to change the menu regularly to showcase the best available produce, and his creativity in researching and developing new ideas and techniques really shines in his food. Start with warehou fish served with orange, mussel, and watercress, followed by free-range pork served with parsnip, rhubarb, and juniper berries. Don’t forget dessert! Finish off your meal with peach, vanilla, muesli, and Vietnamese mint. For a true culinary indulgence, order from the seven-course degustation menu, which allows you to experience the full spectrum of what Jano has to offer.
Elegant and refined, Whitebait’s seafood-focused menu (partially translated into Maori) offers a variety of fish, including bluenose, hapuka, snapper, John Dory, salmon, and so much more. No seafood restaurant would be complete without crab, paua, tuatua, clams, and oysters, too! The philosophy is ‘simple food cooked well’, and the dishes celebrate the best of New Zealand’s local produce by putting fresh ingredients front and centre. Match your mouthwatering meal with a delicious glass of wine from the selection of organic, sustainable, and handmade wines from local vineyards, further highlighting what this region has to offer. You’ll also enjoy spectacular views across the Wellington Waterfront. As you listen to the water lap against the dock and watch the sun set over the water, you’ll wonder why you didn’t come here sooner.