Royally popular: Maranui Café
The beachside café that's equally popular with locals and visiting royals - though you don't have to be either to feel welcome here
On the top floor of Maranui Surf Life Saving Club, Maranui Cafe is a quintessential Wellington experience. On a weekend, you’ll find everyone from surfers and families to students and professionals, often winding their way down the sandy stairs, goodheartedly waiting for a table. On Tuesdays, tradies head there for the special Tuesday tradesmen’s breakfast deal.
Owners Bronwyn Kelly and Katie Richardson, the cafe’s baker, and their friendly team serve up a mix of unforgettable fare - tasty and wholesome salads, melt-in-the-mouth baking, hot food from the kitchen, and the longest, thickest milkshakes you’ve probably ever seen.
Café-goers can look out the picture-postcard windows at curving Lyall Bay, gazing at surfers riding the waves and surf lifesavers practising their drills on the beach. There's also an outdoor deck area which is prime real estate on a sunny day.
Inside, everything about this cafe screams seaside: the handrail up the stairs is an oar, while oars are also used to partition the dining area from eagerly awaiting diners, and there are decorative fish hanging from the walls. The vibe is retro vintage, which is fitting, as the club building has been there since 1911. “Coolest spot in town’’, says a sign above one table - and locals nod and agree.