WellingtonEat & Drink
The interior of Kisa, a Mediterranean restaurant on Cuba Street in Te Aro, Wellington.
  • Location

    195 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

  • Website


Plates of smooth hummus, dips of smoky roasted eggplant and peppers, fresh-baked handmade flatbreads, and lamb kebabs full of spices.

This is the kind of food that takes hours to make at home, and a lot of practice to get right. If you’re looking for the perfect result with minimal effort, head to Kisa. They’ve soaked the chickpeas, chargrilled the vegetables, marinated the lamb, shaped the flatbreads, and the barbecue oven is fired up and ready to go.

The 90-seater restaurant space in the middle of Cuba Street centres around a large Josper Mangal (charcoal BBQ) — the only one in New Zealand. Kisa also has a custom gas-fired pita bread oven, for the tasty (and speedy) pitas that anchor much of the menu. The smoky, charred flavours make for an authentic Middle Eastern dining experience, with New Zealand produce and suppliers bringing the lens back to Aotearoa.

The largely local drinks menu features Martinborough wine and Wellington craft beer. There is also a selection of cocktails and house-made sodas with a Turkish twist.

Kisa is the brainchild of local restauranteur Dean White, initially conceived as a pop-up restaurant as part of Visa Wellington On a Plate. Its runaway success encouraged Dean to make it a permanent fixture, and you can now find its beautifully designed home in the middle of Cuba Street.

When Kisa was first dreamed up, Dean saw a gap in the Wellington food scene to explore the cuisine of the wider Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Israel. He tasked experienced chef Jonny Taggart to come up with a menu.

While adapting dishes for Wellington diners, Jonny realised the importance of accommodating different dietary restrictions. For Jonny, this is a nod to the social function of food in the Middle East. Eating is about sharing, people coming together, and feeling welcome. At Kisa, guests can enjoy large plates and a variety of mezze around the table, with lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

Close up of a waiters hands holding 3 plates of food.