WellingtonEat & Drink
The cabinet food behind the glass at Nikau cafe, with a waiter behind the counter.
  • Location

    City Gallery Wellington, Te Ngākau Civic Square, Wellington

  • Website


Established in 1998, Nikau Café is a mainstay of the Wellington hospitality scene. The light-filled café is in the centre of one of the city’s cultural hubs. Tucked into the corner of City Gallery Wellington, Nikau counts the Wellington Central Library, and the prestigious concert venue, Michael Fowler Centre, among its neighbours.

Despite being named after the imposing, 10m high nīkau palm sculptures surrounding the library, Nikau is a bit of a hidden gem. Its Harris Street entrance is via a long, paved ramp, and its gallery and Civic Square entrances are discreet. Nikau’s ongoing success is a testament to the strength of its offering. People seek it out for the excellent food, coffee, and service.

The menu is full of expertly assembled brunch classics, often served with a twist. The kedgeree is famous, having been a firm staple on the menu since day one. It has fueled many locals and visitors for a day of exploring the city. If smoked fish isn’t your thing, it comes in a vegan version too.

The cheese scones are also highly sought after (and a strong contender for the top spot in the city’s competitive cheese scone scene). Apart from the staples, the menu often changes with the season and produce availability.

A plate of cheese scones in the pastry window at Nikau Café, a caféin the City Gallery Wellington located in Te Ngākau Civic Square.

Owners Shelley Addison and John Fiso have a clear vision. “To be a café that continues to astound people with high quality, fresh, and innovative dishes.” Sourcing produce from their onsite garden helps keep it fresh as can be.

Two floors above where customers sit in the café lies Nikau’s rooftop garden, which must boast one of the most beautiful views in the city. Flanked by the cityscape and surrounding green space, it has a sweeping view over the harbour.

The organic rooftop boxes grow anything from garden herbs and garnishes to tomatoes, beetroot, and potatoes. A gardener tends to the rooftop sanctuary every week, ensuring any unwanted guests don’t get to the before the customers.

The storefront of Nikau Café, the café at the City Gallery Wellington located in Te Ngākau Civic Square.