Best places to brunch by the beach
Sea breeze, fresh coffee and scrambled eggs - these seaside cafés offer stunning sea views and delicious brunch menus. Equally good on a blue sky day as a stormy one
30 Cochrane Street, Lyall Bay, Wellington
Spruce Goose began life as an airport terminal building and for more than 50 years was the home of the Wellington Aero Club.
Now a popular seaside café, bar and restaurant with sweeping views of Lyall Bay and Wellington Airport – people of all ages are entranced by watching the surfers, waves and planes coming and going.
After a walk or swim at Lyall Bay, this laidback and colourful eatery is the perfect place to head with the whole family for a meal or a snack.
497 Karaka Bay Road, Karaka Bays, Wellington
Scorch-O-Rama is a prime example of a spot where you’ll sit back and say to yourself, ‘you really can’t beat Wellington on a good day’. It’s a bright and bustling café on the shoreline of Scorching Bay, a popular sandy beach on the Miramar Peninsula.
Scorch-O-Rama has a fantastic brunch and kids’ menu, and their coffee is from classic Wellington roastery, Havana. Sit inside the cafe or opt to be seated across the road from the café with the sea lapping the shore beside you. There's a specially placed pedestrian crossing to keep the staff safe as they deliver your coffee across the road. A true ‘only in Wellington’ experience.
160 The Esplanade, Petone, Lower Hutt
In a prime spot on Petone Esplanade with views across Wellington Harbour, Seashore Cabaret is a fun eatery housed in the historic Petone Rowing Club.
The café’s name is a nod to the site’s previous use as a dance hall and the new fitout combines retired merry-go-round horses, carnival kitsch, pinball machines, and colourful custom-made furniture to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The menu gives a new twist on the café classics with plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes and crowd-pleasing burgers, curly fries and incredibly thick milkshakes. The coffee is their house brand Good Fortune, roasted in-house, fair trade and organic. There’s plenty of dining space indoors, plus some tables on the deck overlooking the water for sunny brunching.
Coene's Bar & Eatery
103 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington
Coene's Bar & Eatery has one of the best views in Wellington.
On sunny days sit out on their deck overlooking the water or sit inside and take in the spectacular views.
Their all-day menu covers brunch, lunch, snacks and dinner. Try their mussels and clams or seafood chowder to enjoy a taste of the sea while you gaze out at the ocean. Coene’s is a popular spot for brunch or pop by or a drink and a snack on a sunny afternoon.
Chocolate Fish Café
100 Shelly Bay Road, Maupuia, Wellington
Chocolate Fish Cafe at Shelly Bay is the go-to for enjoying a classic Kiwi seafood barbecue in the sun. Their specialty is seafood sandwiches featuring paua (abalone) and mussel fritters straight off the barbecue - simple, classic and absolutely delicious. However, If seafood isn't your thing, there's lots of other options on the menu, including a great selection for kids. Grab a spot on a beanbag on the grass or nab a picnic table and soak up the beautiful views across the harbour, as the kids run around on the grassy lawn. It's a slice of heaven.
24 Marine Parade, Paraparaumu Beach
Hospitality is in the blood of Londoner Ricardo Reis who started in his mother’s Portuguese restaurant when he was 14 before going on to bartend for Elton John and Formula 1 teams. Seven years ago, Reis moved to Kāpiti with his Kiwi wife and in late 2018 opened this two-storey bar and restaurant. There’s much to enjoy here, from the views of Kāpiti Island, a menu where there is something to suit all tastes, a long cocktail list and eight different beers on tap.
1/10 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea, Wellington
On the waterfront near Lambton Quay, Flamingo Joe’s serves up brunch and stunning panoramic views across the harbour.
While not technically on the beach, the sea views will put you in a nautical frame of mind. Flamingo Joe’s fit out is bright and fun and their modern brunch menu features all of your favourites from smashed avocado to scrambled eggs and smoothie bowls. There’s a custom cocktail list too, if you fancy making your brunch a little boozy.
106 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington
You'll definitely want to stay for a while at this Oriental Parade eatery Lola Stays is an ideal spot to enjoy some people watching over a delicious brunch, lunch or a casual drink.
With menus for different parts of the day, Lola Stays features a contemporary mix of dishes like fish tacos, burgers and salads – and don’t forget to add an order of Sydney potatoes with sriracha mayo. The light-filled eatery has a contemporary fitout with plenty of dining inside, but on a fine day, you’ll be competing with Wellingtonians for a table in the sun.
232 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington
A slice of retro beach paradise by Wellington’s golden sand beach, Oriental Bay.
Specialising in casual cool dining, Beach Babylon is a comfortable café and restaurant that’s open for brunch, lunch and dinner – and cheese fondue from 4pm. The coffee is locally roasted by Peoples Coffee, there’s Wellington craft beer and wine on the menu, or if you feel like going full retro, there’s tiki cocktails. And if you fancy it, there's the option to BYO a bottle of wine to accompany dinner. There’s outdoor seating with a view of the sea that’s the place to be on a sunny Wellington day.
219 Onepu Road, Lyall Bay, Wellington
With a plant-based menu and a lush herbaceous-themed fitout, The Botanist at Lyall Bay is the perfect spot for a seaside bite to eat.
The organic, vegetarian and vegan menu will satisfy herbivores and omnivores alike and achieves what some would deem impossible: taking meat-heavy classics, like a steak, burger, or fish and chips meal, and making a vegetarian or vegan version which is so immensely satisfying that you won’t miss the original. The Botanist’s sunny and sheltered outdoor garden is a popular spot for brunch or a drink in the sunshine.