2 customers clink their wine glasses and enjoy their food at Graze Wine bar.

Venture beyond the city to these neighbourhood spots

The interior of Graze Wine Bar with bar staff behind the bar.
Two bartenders pouring drinks at the BambuchiSan bar, Green indoor plants occupy the background.
The interior of Graze Wine Bar with bar staff behind the bar.

Graze Wine Bar

95 Upland Road, Kelburn, Wellington

Cosy and quaint, Graze is a village wine bar nestled in the hills of Kelburn. What was once a neighbourhood butcher shop is now a meat-free restaurant, serving small plates in an intimate and welcoming space.

The 22-seater bar meets relaxed restaurant is the perfect mix of casual and quirky. Perch up at the bar or in a window-side seat to enjoy a meal filled with love for both food and the planet.

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3 Wilson Street, Newtown, Wellington

Down a side street in Newtown, you’ll find Margot. She’s not a person, but a place — a restaurant to be exact — but it’s not hard to imagine the woman behind the name.

With a striking red awning, big open windows, and a warm atmosphere spilling onto the street, Margot is a welcoming aunt, your chicest friend, and the ultimate dinner party host. In short: she’s someone you want to meet, and a restaurant you want to visit.

Margot’s menu changes often, championing local produce in often simple ways, but always to delicious effect. Small plates are made for sharing, with a European flair and Kiwi touches across every dish.

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Parrotdog Bar

66 Kingsford Smith Street, Rongotai, Wellington

Nestled a street back from Lyall Bay beach, Parrotdog’s relaxed brewery bar welcomes one and all.

Inspired by traditional pubs, retro decor brings the space to life. Funky wallpaper brightens up the walls, and antiques and taxidermy provide excellent talking points. There’s a pool table to keep you busy, and a window through to the adjacent brewery. Keep an eye on what’s brewing while you take your pick from the bar’s 17 revolving taps.

If you’re looking for a takeaway, head next door to Nice. Takeaway, the brewery’s cellar door.

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Maranui Café

Level 1, 7A Lyall Parade, Lyall Bay, Wellington

On the top floor of Lyall Bay’s Maranui Surf Life Saving Club, Maranui Café is a quintessential Wellington experience. The red and white building is a beacon on the beach, having stood in the spot since 1911. While the café isn’t quite as old (it opened in 2003), it has established itself as a firm local favourite and a “must-do” for visitors to the city.

Like the colourful furniture and old-school art, Maranui’s menu is fittingly retro. Tasty salads, melt-in-the-mouth baking, and some of the best fries in town. The milkshakes are famous in Wellington and almost a meal in themselves. Served in the shaker, they’re super thick and super delicious.

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Oikos Hellenic Cuisine

382 Broadway, Miramar, Wellington

Its location in the suburbs has not been a hindrance to its success. Oikos is a destination restaurant and people are more than willing to drive to the suburbs to dine there. Experience the wonderful, familial atmosphere and the excellent food is more than worth the short trip to Miramar.

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Thistle Inn

3 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington

The Thistle Inn has stood in the same spot on Mulgrave Street, Thorndon since 1840. It received New Zealand’s second-ever liquor license and is the country’s oldest surviving tavern.

Today the Thistle Inn is an all-day gastropub, with a tasty menu and local wine, beer, and spirits to match. Tours of the historic building are available if you book in advance.

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Two bartenders pouring drinks at the BambuchiSan bar, Green indoor plants occupy the background.


31a Waitoa Road, Hataitai, Wellington

The hillside suburb of Hataitai has a strong sense of community and is a great destination to meet, eat, greet, and drink. Local Lindsay Phillips has opened BambuchiSan and Bella’s Wine Bar within the one destination in Haitaitai village. Both are cosy places to enjoy yourself in the city fringe suburb.

The menu is casual, featuring Japanese-fusion food with some Canadian influences, reflecting Lindsay’s British Colombian roots. There’s a mix of accessible and complex dishes to appeal to families and foodies alike. Plates are made for sharing, and the whole menu is gluten-free.