WellingtonEat & Drink
Inside a busy Chinese restaurant with red lanterns suspended from the ceiling.

Bring your own: BYO restaurants in Wellington worth the corkage


For over two decades, Rasa has been serving its distinctive mix of Malaysian and South Indian cuisine on Cuba Street. At nighttime, the restaurant lights reflect the deep red and orange walls out onto the street. The pulsating warm colours entice you in. Decoration otherwise is simple – drums, a bicycle, and pictures adorn the walls. On the blended menu Malaysian laksa and mee goreng sit alongside goat curry and dosai. The latter, a South Indian speciality, is a crispy fermented rice pancake and stuffed with warm, spiced fillings. It’s one of many popular dishes available. Rasa is unlicensed so you can choose a crisp white wine from home to complement the spice. 

200 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington | Rasa Malaysia Restaurant

Three people sit together at the corner booth table at Rasa Malaysian.

Mother of Coffee 

Down the far end of Left Bank off Cuba Street lies an Ethiopian restaurant. Mother of Coffee is a rare find in the diverse Wellington hospitality scene. Its unassuming décor belies a flavour-filled menu. One of Ethiopia’s most famous dishes doro wat is a staple on the menu. Delicious chicken stew is served with boiled eggs, spiced butter, and traditional injera bread. The bread is gluten-free and vegan as are many other items on offer. Close to bustling Cuba Street, it’s convenient as a BYO restaurant. Tables spill out into Left Bank most nights, adding to the atmosphere.

210A Left Bank, Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington | Mother of Coffee


For a fill of authentic Korean cuisine, Newkor is worth a visit. The BYO restaurant at the western end of Dixon Street offers a quintessential Korean experience. Bulgogi (beef barbeque), and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) are all made with the freshest ingredients. The kimchi pancakes and a large array of fried chicken dishes are also very popular. The karaoke lounge always attracts wannabe singers and adds a fun dimension to your night out. Newkor has been open since 2016. It’s dedicated to providing skilfully cooked and high-quality food.

97 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington | Newkor

Ozeki Café & Bar 

Whether you’re in the mood for a donburi (rice bowl) or gyoza (dumplings) Ozeki serves up great Japanese food. Near the southern end of Tory Street, the large restaurant is a great place to bring friends, family, your work crew or that special someone, for lunch or dinner. Ozeki’s menu offers all the classics — from sushi to noodles, vegetarian, and meat dishes. Always popular are the set meal selections which include homemade miso soup, rice and salad.  It’s a fully licensed and BYO restaurant so if you have a favourite wine to go with your meal, bring it along.

161 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington | Ozeki

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Rams Restaurant 

Sometimes you must search hard for the best things, and you are richly rewarded for your effort. Rams Restaurant is a small unassuming eatery in the centre of Cuba Street. You could easily walk past it, and yet the Asian cuisine inside attracts fans from everywhere. Name-checked by many of Wellington’s top chefs as their favourite thing to eat, Rams’ chilli oil dumplings are an affordable Wellington classic. It’s not just the dumplings that pull in the punters. The hot udon plates, Szechuan pepper chicken, and the impressive potato tower are famous among locals, too. It’s a busy BYO spot, so it pays to book in advance.

171 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington | Rams Restaurant


Modern yum cha is about three things: dim sum, tea, and connection. Dragons Restaurant on Tory Street nails each one. 

Yum cha involves small portions of steamed, pan-fried, and deep-fried dim sum dishes, served in bamboo steamers and washed down with tea. All dishes are designed to be eaten communally because, at its core, yum cha is about people meeting and sharing food. 

The busiest day at Dragons is Sunday when the whole restaurant is bustling with large groups. If you like people watching it’s a great time to head along. If you’re after a quieter experience, try a weekday lunch.

25 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington | Dragons