Enjoy Wellington's award-winning eateries
Wellington has some of New Zealand's top restaurants, bars and cafes, which have won awards for their incredible food, service and atmosphere. Here's a round-up of the most recent award-winners
25 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Weekend yum cha at family-run restaurant Dragons is a way of life for many Wellingtonians. It’s a chance to catch up with friends and whānau in an informal and relaxed setting, but it’s mostly about the steamed dumplings and Dragons’ are among the capital’s best.
Stacks of dim sum steamers are pushed past your table on a trolley with a huge array to choose from, but the joy of yum cha is not having to choose – everything is shared with the table and you’ll be surprised at how many dumplings you can put away while you sit and drink jasmine tea.
The vibe, particularly at weekends, is that of hustle and bustle and the service is friendly but fast-paced. Save some room for a custard or coconut bun for dessert.
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.
1 Post Office Square, Wellington
Showcasing wood-fired cooking, local ingredients, organic wine and craft beer, Charley Noble is the perfect place to experience Wellington on a plate.
Their Zesti wood-fired chargrill and rotisserie is the first of its kind in New Zealand from which the delicious smoky flavour details meats and vegetables throughout their menu.
Also a haven for lovers of seafood, Charley Noble features freshly shucked oysters, fire-grilled line-caught market fish and a wine to match every dish. Charley Noble has won awards for both their food and drinks menus.
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.
Boulcott Street Bistro
99 Boulcott Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Generally regarded as one of Wellington’s finest restaurants, Boulcott Street Bistro is led by acclaimed and award-winning chef Rex Morgan.
Opened in 1991 in historic Plimmer House, a charming inner-city Victorian cottage, the restaurant is warm and inviting. The Bistro has a long-established reputation for serving timelessly classic bistro dishes using the freshest seasonal produce and contemporary flavours.
Described on the menu as a ‘BSB Classic’ the aged fillet of beef with Béarnaise sauce, red wine jus and hand-cut, double-cooked fries is a dish that has been consistently popular since the restaurant first opened.
Field & Green
262 Wakefield Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Award-winning Field & Green is a personable eatery where chef Laura Greenfield puts great care and thought into her food.
Specialising in European soul food – think classy comfort food with dishes like smoked fish kedgeree, fish finger sandwiches but reworked with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. There’s a menu of house-churned ice cream with 17 flavours ranging from homely vanilla to the more adventurous saffron and cardamom.
The service at Field & Green is always warm and welcoming, and the restaurant space is classic and simple with lovely personal touches – the mid-century bone and silver cutlery is a family heirloom.
141 Manners Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Great India is both incredibly popular and award-winning; they were included Cuisine's list of the top New Zealand restaurants in 2019. Their service is impeccable – start your meal with the poppadom and chutney while you decide what to order from the menu.
Specialising in authentic North Indian cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients and fresh spices to create flavoursome dishes. The BYO license allows you to bring wine or beer, so take along a good bottle of Martinborough wine or your favourite local craft beer.
28 Grey St, Te Aro, Wellington
It begins the moment you walk through the doors and into the lobby of DoubleTree by Hilton into a beautifully restored historic building which has all the glamour and style of the 1920s.
Head up the staircase or take the extremely dapper lift to Spring Kitchen – a restaurant designed for comfortable enjoyment of the kitchen’s excellent food.
For dinner, you’ll be enjoying Spring Kitchen’s Asian-inspired flavours combined with modern European cuisine to create new flavours and experiences, like their signature dish of Angus tenderloin beef with smoked eggplant, curried potato and masala jus.
5 Todman Street, Brooklyn, Wellington
An award-winning modern neighbourhood bistro, Salty Pidgin is warm and welcoming with an open fire that is lit on cooler days. Salty Pidgin’s menu is driven by quality and makes the most of local produce, meat and seafood.
Open for brunch and dinner at the weekends and dinner during the week, their Turkish pide (flatbread with toppings) is a popular choice and their crispy cauliflower with harissa mayo will change your opinion of brassicas for good.
There’s an excellent wine list (co-owner JP is a sommelier) and a changing line-up of local and international craft beer on tap. Right across the road from the popular Penthouse Cinema, Salty Pidgin is the perfect spot to head for a bite to eat after a film.
Memorial Square, Martinborough
Set in the quaintly idyllic wine-making village of Martinborough beside the grassy, oak-tree lined town square and inside the historic old hotel on the corner, is Union Square is a bistro-style restaurant by Michelin star-winning chef Adam Newell.
Surrounded by farmers and makers of incredible produce and products, including award-winning olive oil and cheese, the restaurant doesn’t have to go far for many of the top-quality ingredients used in the kitchen.
Rated in Cuisine’s top 100 New Zealand restaurants in 2018 and 2019, this restaurant is as popular with out-of-towners as it is with the locals.
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.
1/5 Eva Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Sitting at the heart of Hannahs Laneway, Shepherd serves refined, yet playful food in a playful, stylish restaurant. Shepherd's menu is fresh, seasonal, and local, and the team try to use every part of everything they cook with. The drinks menu features organic and biodynamic wines and the restaurant also brews their own non-alcoholic drinks in-house which can be paired with your meal.
The dining experience has a relaxed informality with the option to sit at the chef’s pass and watch as the kitchen staff do their thing. This is a popular spot so it pays to book a table in advance if you can and if you miss out on a table, you can always drop by their bar for a drink and a snack on the deck.
Bellamys by Logan Brown
1 Molesworth Street, Pipitea, Wellington
A premium and quintessentially New Zealand dining experience, this is your opportunity to dine at the Beehive, where you might spot some Kiwi politicians if you’re lucky.
Combining New Zealand Parliament’s rich history with the legacy of award-winning Wellington restaurant Logan Brown.
Previously open for parliamentarian's exclusive use only, Bellamys by Logan Brown is now open to anyone wishing to experience the buzz and incredible food, but you must make a reservation with the restaurant in advance.
181 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Scandinavian-style design with a Californian-style menu on Wellington’s Cuba Street. Loretta is a smart but casual eatery serving up wholesome and delicious food in an award-winning, architecturally designed 120-seater restaurant.
Perfect at any time of the day or evening, Loretta has menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and the food, served on ceramics by local potter Paul Melser, reflects the natural earthy style of the restaurant’s interior.
Start your day with coffee and house-made crumpets and end it with day with free-range organic wood-fired chicken and fresh, seasonal salads. An extensive wine menu is available by the glass, or at the other end of the spectrum there’s fresh lemon verbena tea and kombucha.
Chameleon - InterContinental Wellington
2 Grey Street, Wellington
Award-winning Chameleon Restaurant is the perfect place to experience a seasonal snapshot of the best local produce treated in the very best way.
Led by acclaimed chef de cuisine Paul Limacher, Chameleon is known for innovation and crafting dishes with global inspiration with a uniquely New Zealand flavour.
If you’re one of those people who likes to taste everything, Chameleon is for you - the dishes served are designed to be between entrée and main size, to enable guests to enjoy multiples tastes. Located at the five-star hotel InterContinental Wellington, the modern window-lined restaurant is light-filled and the perfect place to enjoy a memorable meal as you watch Wellington go by outside.
90 Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Experience exquisite French-influenced cuisine in a glamorous setting at coolest little capital’s most creative and art-focused hotels, QT Wellington.
Led by executive chef Jiwon Do, Hippopotamus carries on its award-winning approach to fine dining. By day, Hippopotamus offer an opulent and delicious high tea service that’s the perfect treat or way to mark a special occasion.
By night, their beautifully presented dinner menu has a mix of comfort food and fine-dining dishes with wine or cocktails – made by the expert mixologists from the adjoining cocktail bar – to match. With its flamboyant elegance and stunning views over Wellington Harbour, Hippopotamus makes for an always memorable experience.