Cosy eateries for winter dining
Think roaring fireplaces, candles, warm service and hearty soul food - just add a glass of local Martinborough pinot noir for perfect winter dining
200 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
In a city that has an established love affair with Malaysian food, when it comes to Rasa it's a long-term marriage. Rasa was opened in 2003 and quickly became known for their signature dish - dosa, which is a fermented rice pancake of South Indian origin.
It's huge, delicious and comes with a range of house-made condiments. Their beef rendang and Goan fish curry also come highly recommended. With its invitingly warm red and orange interior, friendly service and BYO wine license, Rasa is a popular place to go for a celebratory dinner with a bottle of local Martinborough pinot noir.
10 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria, Wellington
Based on a classical Italian style, Capitol's food is fresh, pure and uncluttered.
Ranked in Cuisine's top 100 New Zealand restaurants for 2019, Capitol's bistro-style menu is strongly seasonal and is carefully designed to take full advantage of local produce. Led by chef and owner Tom Hutchinson, Capitol pride themselves on using ethical produce and the best New Zealand seafood.
The restaurant has an intimate feel and the service is warm and professional. Grab a seat by the windows and watch the world go by as you sip your expertly-made martini and decide what to order next.
167 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington
Located down an unassuming alley in suburban Newtown is the rustically magical osteria, Cicio Cacio.
Serving up deeply authentic and regional Italian food, Cicio Cacio’s menu is written in Italian but the staff are happy to take you through the menu (and patiently field questions when you immediately forget what everything was).
With a homely wooden interior and brown paper covered tables, this is a place to relax and order up an Italian feast. Make sure you save room for their panna cotta.
107 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Specialising in nose-to-tail and fin-to-fin eating, WBC is a popular restaurant that tries to use every part of the best-quality New Zealand meat, seafood and fresh produce they cook with.
Brightly coloured patches of chalk paint on the walls are updated with seasonal special dishes, new wine arrivals and the line-up of fresh oysters and clams, served on the shell.
The menu has a distinct Asian influence and is made up of small and large plates that are best shared by the table – the chilled Goan raw fish curry served with poppadom is a highlight.
Located in the former factory space of the Wellington Boot Company, the elegant restaurant space is dominated by large windows looking out over Wellington’s boutique retail district. WBC is a lovely spot for a long lunch or dinner with friends.
Egmont Street Eatery
11 Egmont Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Tucked down one of Wellington’s laneways, in what was once a carpark, is one of Wellington’s, and New Zealand’s, top restaurants.
Egmont Street Eatery is a hidden gem that everyone needs to know about. The all-day eatery has well-deserved reputation for serving some of the best brunch in town, but in truth, excels at every mealtime.
Egmont Street Eatery’s menu is a carefully thought-out arrangement of seasonal produce and ingredients – this is a restaurant that isn’t afraid to make vegetables the hero of their dishes. The restaurant caters for dietary requirements incredibly well and the level of service is always impeccable.
54 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Hand-churned butter, homemade bread, and bacon and sausages lovingly produced in-house – this is just a small hint at the care and passion that goes into every forkful of food at this sustainable Cuba Street eatery where nearly every item on the menu is pickled, cured, smoked, fermented and made from scratch.
There’s a strong commitment to sustainability across their menu, their treatment of food waste and the renewable electricity that powers the restaurant. With a sleek architecturally-designed fitout, Highwater has an easy-going elegance that’s enjoyable anytime of the day.
Oikos Hellenic Cuisine
382 Broadway, Miramar, Wellington
Oikos (pronounced 'ee-kos') takes fresh approach to rustic Greek food with a respectful nod to tradition.
Chef and owner Theo Papouis wants to introduce diners to Greek dishes and ingredients they may not have come across before – but helpfully the menu has a glossary.
This is food made for sharing: there’s a menu of mezze-style plates to pick and mix from, or if you're not in the mood for choosing, there's a set shared menu. The sesame-crumbed feta drizzled with honey and thyme is a revelation.