- Ti Kouka – upstairs on Willis St opposite Mercer. A chef formerly of Logan Brown, a barista formerly of Fuel, and beautiful food with subtle flavour combinations and excellent presentation. High focus on quality ingredients and sustainability.
- Nikau – on the end of the Art Gallery in Civic Square. Sunny courtyard in summer, art gallery ambience inside. Beautiful baking and famed for their sage eggs and kedgeree, with most things house-made (pasta, own smoked fish, ice creams etc). Monday to Saturday.
- Astoria – Midland Park, Lambton Quay. Smoothly efficient and stylish cafe serving a good range of both cabinet and menu food. Coffee is roasted on-site, and baristas carefully selected. Weekends more peaceful. 7 days.
- Plum Cafe – Cuba Mall by the bucket fountain. Hearty and right in the heart of the Cuba buzz. House-smoked salmon, delish pancakes, great bircher muesli, and much more. 7 days.
- Floraditas and Loretta – both in mid-upper Cuba Street by the same folks. Menus that morph nicely from early morning through evening. Finesse in delivery and presentation. Seasonal and fresh, with a heavy focus on interesting plants and grains at Loretta, and famed baking at Flo’s. 7 days Foraditas, Tuesday to Sunday Loretta.
- Olive – Cuba Street between Garrett and Vivian. Again some interesting Mediterranean-leaning offerings in a very pleasant cafe with lots of nooks and crannies and a lovely outdoor courtyard for fine times. Service can be a little slow, but not a bad place to kill time. 7 days.
- Arthurs – upper Cuba Street. A quaint wee cottage in the old red light district turning out delish fresh plates and using Schoc hot chocolate make-your-own-hot-chocolate stirrers. Thursday to Monday daytimes.
- Pickle and Pie – Lombard Lane. New York-style deli doing tasty food made on-site. From sourdough crumpets to pastrami hash (and of course pies and multitudes of pickles to take home). 7am to 7pm, 7 days.
- Sweet Mothers Kitchen – Courtenay Place near Cambridge. Iconic Wellington. Interesting brunches by virtue of Southern American influence, and fab hand-made sweet pies for afters. 7 days.
- Prefab – Jessie Street. Not least because of the friendly community environment and good coffee. Simple and sincere food economically priced. Monday to Saturday.
- Egmont Street Eatery – Egmont Street. Quality food in a funky lane setting, with sun at various times of day. Winners of the 2015 WOAP burger competition. 7 days. Also now at Sterling on the Terrace. Equally spectacular food. 7 days.
- Field and Green – Wakefield Street behind the Museum Hotel. European soul food with quality ingredients and often different/interesting dishes. Menu changes weekly to take advantage of seasonal offerings. Tuesday to Sundays.
- Karaka – next to the Wharewaka on the waterfront. For trying hangi and dishes using native herbs (and learning some maori words). Service can be a little variable, but on a nice day a setting hard to beat. 7 days.
- Aro Cafe – Aro Street. A little wander, but worth the effort. Late morning and lunch options. Great takeaway scones and muffins, and their own coffee. 7 days.
- Beach House Cafe & Kiosk – on the South Coast between Owhiro and Island Bays (used to be The Bach). Refurbished and run by the original Elements folks, the food is high quality, interesting and well executed. Prepare for queues. Tuesday to Sunday daytimes.