WellingtonEat & Drink
Looking down at various dishes served at Ombra on the wooden table, including pizzas, salads and Toast.
  • Location

    199 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

  • Website


Known for its bustling, welcoming atmosphere as much as its delicious plates, Ombra is a slice of Venice in the heart of Cuba Street.

The Venetian bacaro is akin to an Italian osteria: a place for locals to pop in for a glass of wine and a snack while standing at the bar. Each day, Ombra takes bookings for half of its restaurant, saving the rest for walk-ins. This means that while it’s always busy, patient foodies are likely to snag a table after a short wait at the bar.

Whitewashed walls and polished concrete floors contribute to a casual but intimate environment, making Ombra perfect for both lunchtime escapes and date night dinners. Wraparound leadlight windows allow for plenty of light and make for great people-watching on Cuba Street.

Unable to render element

The menu at Ombra is extensive and, at first glance, mind-boggling. Don’t panic, scroll to the bottom for a glossary of terms that illuminates any unfamiliar items. There is no coursing, instead, menu items arrive as they are ready. This approach lends itself to the laid-back atmosphere and keeps the dining experience interesting. The best way to enjoy the food at Ombra is to order at least one larger plate and several smaller ones to share. This ensures a wide range of flavours are enjoyed and helps to avoid the terrible fate of food envy.

The basic menu at Ombra never changes. You will always find Cicchetti (small plates), Verdure e Insalata (vegetables and salads), Pizzette (plate-sized pizza), Riso e Pasta (rice and pasta), Pesce e Carne (fish and meat) and Dolce (dessert). But within those categories, flavours constantly evolve to suit the seasonal availability of fresh produce. The baccala, or salt cod puree, is the only dish that has remained unchanged on the Ombra menu since it first opened.

The Ombra dining experience is different to many others offered in Wellington. It’s an excellent choice when you want to mix things up or feel like you’re travelling abroad without leaving the city. If you haven’t tried it yet, make a booking. Or, better yet, just show up and jostle for your table alongside other hungry visitors.