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Summer al fresco dining

By Heather 27 Nov 2017

If you're too lazy to light the barbecue, or can't be bothered whipping up a salad in your own kitchen, Wellington's the place to be for alfresco options. While often harassed by constant wind, the city has been showing a lot of charm on the climatic front lately, encouraging more than the usual crowd outdoors to dine. We’ve already ticked off your options on rooftop bars and favourite bean bag spots, but only skimmed across Wellington's amazing array of outdoor eats. Here they are, in a nutshell.

Chocolate Fish Cafe

100 Shelley Bay Road 

Choc Fish beanbags 2

Chocolate Fish Cafe is my all time favourite outdoor eatery. There is a selection of great spaces to chill out, consistently fab food whipped-up off the grills, beautiful vistas across the water, and a very laid-back happy vibe. 

If you don’t enjoy the delighted shrieks of the youngsters playing out front, you can retire to the quiet courtyard out back and still enjoy the sun and fresh sea air. 

Don’t miss their signature Chocolate Fish chocolate cake.


The deck at Coene’s Provisions

103 Oriental Parade 

Coenes deck 2

While it's sometimes a little difficult to score a spot on the deck, this is undoubtedly one of my favourite outside areas to dine.

You can enjoy everything from walnut and kiwifruit granola with coconut cream to sesame crusted tuna fillet with sweet and sour mango avocado salad while enjoying magnificent vistas across the water and the breeze in your hair (it is Wellington after all!).

They do take some bookings, so you may be able to snaffle one of those great spots.


The deck at Dockside

3 Queens Wharf

Dockside music

The deck at Dockside may not boast the wide open views you'll enjoy at Coene’s, but it is equally peaceful and sunny and offers a touch of nostalgia sitting among the city’s historic port. 

Their food quality has impressed me recently, particularly their Wellington on a Plate burger which was an under-the-radar delight. You'll find all sorts of dining available from brunch to share plates to platters to set menus to a three-course lunch on Christmas Day. 

If you pop along on a Sunday afternoon you’re also likely to strike live music on the deck. 


Karaka Cafe

Odlins Plaza on the waterfront

Karaka terraces

With terraces galore, large outdoor tables with umbrellas, and Maori culture left, right and centre, this is a truly unique spot in the city. 

There’s always something to see here, whether it be rowers in and out of the lagoon, activities on the lawn by St John’s Bar, or just general people watching. 

I particularly like their use of native herbs in the dishes, the menu being in both Maori and English, and the hangi dish for those who’ve missed out elsewhere (a pretty good representation I thought).


The Bresolin

278 Willis Street

PWT Bresolin Review 09

The Bresolin boys seem to have the magic touch with an array of great eateries under their belt: Tommy MillionsScopa (which kind of qualifies as al fresco when the wall of windows are open) and their latest, The Bresolin – all seemingly quite faultless.

I really enjoy the ever-changing and fresh fare here, from zucchini with snow peas and pak choy to buttermilk fried chicken. 

Do treat yourself to their house-made soft serve ice-cream sundae. Work of art.


Olive or El Matador courtyards

170 and 196 Cuba Street

El M courtyard

Both Olive and El Matador courtyards get the thumbs up from me on the al fresco dining front.

El Matador has a big chunk of artistic groove and very tasty Argentinian-style tapas, while the Olive courtyard is a Mediterranean-style green oasis serving light, fresh vegetarian and vegan-leaning dishes. 

Check out Olive’s live music on Wednesdays, and El Matador’ s Argentinian street food lunches on Fridays.


Let us know your faves below.

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