Cosy restaurants for winter dining
Think roaring fireplaces, candles, warm service and hearty soul food - just add a glass of local Martinborough pinot noir, perfect for a cold evening dining
278 Willis Street, Te Aro
It's a tale as old as time at Cinderella, where premium ingredients and talented chefs create delicious food, and all the diners live happily ever after.
Cinderella is a bistro-style restaurant, with a focus on wood-fired food and smoky, rustic flavours. A wood-fired grill and oven are used to delicious effect, making charred bread, roast chicken, grilled fish, smoked vegetables, and an indulgent burnt Basque cheesecake. To complement, the rest of the menu is crisp and fresh, balancing both palate and plate. The seasonal dining menu is paired with a selection of local wines and classic cocktails with a modern twist.
The cinder-box theme is continued into the courtyard, which is warmed by an open fire and covered from the elements during winter, and sun-baked and open in the summer. Sit and enjoy a charcuterie selection from the bar snack menu, or head indoors for an intimate meal in the cosy restaurant.
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 and 2021/2022, 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.
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.
The Old Quarter
39 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The Old Quarter is an eatery just off Cuba Street that specialises in modern fun Vietnamese. Comfy booth seats, bold primary-coloured walls and basket lampshades set the scene for a casual and relaxed experience.
The Old Quarter’s menu features your Vietnamese favourites reworked with a playful twist alongside wine, beer and cocktails (and mocktails) – try the iced coffee espresso martinis sweetened the Vietnamese way with condensed milk. Don't miss one of the best lunch deals in the city with around 12 delicious options available for only $15.
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