WellingtonEat & Drink
Interior shot of busy restaurant atmosphere.

Cosy restaurants for winter dining

2 plates of food on a wooden table at Cinderella, one a stuffed eggplant served with lemon and the other a roast dish.
The exterior of Rita in Te Aro valley at sunset with their yellow lighting shining through the glass.
Exterior image looking through window into Capitol restaurant.
Waiter inside Cicio Cacio serving a table of customers with dim mood lighting and wooden fixtures surround.
Close-up of waiters hands holding two pasta bowls at 1154 Pastaria on Cuba Street. Focused in the foreground is ravioli.
3 plates of food on the corner of a table, one is fries and sauce, the other has dressings and another appears to be crumbed fish.
People sitting at the bar at Boulcott Street Bistro, with a blurred bartender going to serve them.
The dim and moody interior of Highwater eatery with customers siitng and bar staff working.
2 plates of food on a wooden table at Cinderella, one a stuffed eggplant served with lemon and the other a roast dish.

Cinderella

278 Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington

It’s a tale as old as time at Cinderella. 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. The wood-fired grill and oven make delicious flavours. Think 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 pairs with a selection of local wines and classic cocktails with a modern twist.

Cinderella
The exterior of Rita in Te Aro valley at sunset with their yellow lighting shining through the glass.

Rita

89 Aro Street, Aro Valley, Wellington

Tucked away in Aro Valley, Rita is an unassuming restaurant that is anything but ordinary. The 30-seater dining area is in a compact, 100-year-old worker’s cottage, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality. With two seating times a night, the set menu is a mystery until you sit down but it will be thoughtful, local, seasonal and delicious.

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Exterior image looking through window into Capitol restaurant.

Capitol

10 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria, Wellington

A local favourite since 2002, Capitol is a vibrant, family-run restaurant. Its bistro-style menu takes full advantage of seasonal local produce.

Consistently ranked as one of Wellington’s top restaurants, Capitol has operated from its busy corner next to Embassy Theatre for more than 20 years.

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Waiter inside Cicio Cacio serving a table of customers with dim mood lighting and wooden fixtures surround.

Cicio Cacio

167 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington

Located down an unassuming alley in suburban Newtown is the rustically magical osteria, Cicio Cacio.

The cosy restaurant serves up deeply authentic and regional Italian food. Cicio Cacio’s menu is in Italian but the staff are happy to take you through the items (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 the panna cotta.

Cicio Cacio
Close-up of waiters hands holding two pasta bowls at 1154 Pastaria on Cuba Street. Focused in the foreground is ravioli.

1154 Pastaria

132 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

At 1154, the concept is simple: fresh handmade pasta topped with classic Italian sauces to order. There are gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. It’s fast, fresh, fun, and incredibly popular.

Located on the corner of Cuba and Ghuznee, the restaurant has a relaxed and comforting feel, with a long central table for communal dining. The menu is small and selective, offering Italian pasta classics done well, and a few sides to keep it interesting (and add some greens).

Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a front-row seat to bustling Cuba Street and make for some of the best people-watching in town.

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3 plates of food on the corner of a table, one is fries and sauce, the other has dressings and another appears to be crumbed fish.

Concord

81 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Elegant dining and delicious comfort food come together at this inner-city restaurant. Taking inspiration from European bistros of the 20th century, Concord is cosy and a little bit luxe.

Concord’s menu perfectly balances high and lower-brow options. Half a dozen oysters or a cheeseburger royale? For weekend brunch, French pastries and brioche toast go well with a coffee in the sun.

A celebration of the old and the new, Concord means “a harmony between people and groups”. Or, in this case, between food, wine, good company, and great taste.

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People sitting at the bar at Boulcott Street Bistro, with a blurred bartender going to serve them.

Boulcott Street Bistro

99 Boulcott Street, Wellington

Opened in 1991, Boulcott Street Bistro is widely regarded as one of Wellington’s finest restaurants.

The restaurant is in Plimmer House, a charming 1870s Victorian cottage. Surrounded by city high-rises, it’s a time capsule in the middle of the city.

Boulcott Street Bistro serves classic bistro dishes with modern twists. The ‘BSB Classic’ has been consistently popular since day one. Comprised of an aged fillet of beef with Béarnaise sauce, red wine jus and hand-cut, double-cooked fries, it’s an example of simple done well.

Boulcott Street Bistro
The dim and moody interior of Highwater eatery with customers siitng and bar staff working.

Highwater

54 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Inner-city restaurant and bar Highwater Eatery walks the talk on sustainable and ethically sourced food. Its excellent menu is built around what’s in season, with most things made from scratch. The chefs prepare their own bread rolls, bacon, sausages, and sauces. They’re also experts when it comes to pickling, smoking, curing and fermenting. The crown jewel in the open kitchen, the Pira charcoal oven, was imported from Spain and ensures food is full of rich flavours.

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