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With more bars, restaurants, roasteries, breweries and cafes per capita than New York City, Wellington is one of the world’s great food cities. If you like to eat and drink as much as we do, then here’s a few must-visits.
It’s official, foodie heaven exists. Right in the heart of the central city, this tucked away laneway is home to a trail of delectable flavour-filled factories. Here you can sample artisan chocolate, bread, peanut butter, soda and locally roasted coffee. After you’ve stocked up, you can then relax over a craft beer and pizza at the super colourful Golding’s Free Dive. Find out more about what is quite possibly the world's tastiest laneway.
If you're after some fine fare, Wellington’s plate is full of delectable dining options. As winners of the highly acclaimed 2015 Dine Wellington menu, Zibibbo are enjoying centre stage and well worth a visit. If you have an adventurous palate or fondness for offal, be sure to swing by The Larder in Miramar - plenty of Wellingtonians can attest to the deliciousness of their gremolata crumbed lambs’ brains!
Hole-in-the-wall The Little Waffle Shop makes up for what it lacks in size with lashings of flavour. ‘Luscious lemon curd’ and ‘slightly scorched meringue’ are just some of the glorious toppings that adorn the menu. If you like your waffle paired with something a little less traditional, swing by nearby Crumpet for its Tuscan-inspired relish, cheese and spiced sausage pairing. If you’re a bit of a waffle connoisseur, there are plenty more places to try too.
In Wellington, mixology is an art form. And as artists like to provoke thoughts, mixologists love to inspire your palate. Take, for example, My love is an onion - CGR’s latest savoury twist on a daiquiri with caramelised onion infused rum. Located in the heart of Wellington’s nightlife on Courtenay Place, a secret set of stairs whisks you away to this Caribbean-inspired bar where the ever-changing gin and rum infusions are not to be missed. Check out more of our favourite Wellington bars.
Whether coffee or beer, Wellington is a city that knows its brews. Celebrated as New Zealand’s craft beer capital, the city is home to a trail of craft beer bars and inner-city brewery cellar doors. Named among the top 8 coffee cities of the world by CNN, there are plenty of great spots for your caffeine hit.
The seaside town of Petone, 15 minutes from Wellington city, is well-known for its international flavour. La Bella Italia epitomises this, providing Wellington with a little slice of Italy. The family roots of owner Antonio Cacace are evident as soon as you step through the doors, and the Italian products for sale, the menu, and the infamous Italian hospitality are second to none.
For a little liveliness while you dine, look no further than local favourite, Havana Bar. This colourful local favourite is known for serving up great bands as well as cuisine most Thursday through Saturday nights. Laundry and Matterhorn are other great options, all located in the heart of the Cuba Street area.
As the name would suggest, Whitebait - the 2015 winner of Cuisine magazine’s “Good Food” Best New Restaurant - serves up plenty of New Zealand’s seafood delicacies. The oceanic touches don’t end there, with eel motifs adorning the floor, mollusc-shaped light pendants and a location right on the water’s edge on Clyde Quay Wharf with views across the harbour. Speaking of views, you can’t beat picking up some takeaways from one of the many fish and chips shops, and heading up Mt Victoria.
Aside from sporting one of the punniest names for a cheese shop we’ve ever come across, C’est Cheese in Wairarapa, stocks an impressive array of specialty cheeses and gourmet local produce. Speaking of cheese, at only $5 a pop, the halloumi sandwiches from boutique cheese makers Zany Zeus in Hutt Valley are a great option for the trip back to Wellington.
Time your trip with one of the region’s excellent food and wine festivals. Held over the last two weeks in August every year, Visa Wellington On a Plate is the ultimate food festival with over 100 events, dedicated menus and the highly anticipated Burger Wellington. Or savour some of the region’s finest wine, cuisine and music at Toast Martinborough in the picturesque surroundings of wine region, Wairarapa.
Scope out more must do’s, browse and book accommodation, search Wellington’s sights and activities, see what events are coming up, have a nosy at all the incredible bars and restaurants, and start planning your trip with our handy experience planner.