For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather over at KNOW Wellington's Word on the Street Blog or hosting Zest Food Tours around the city…
Just good fun
Sweet Mothers Kitchen – Courtenay Place very near Cambridge Terrace. Famed for southern American food, quirky and interesting staff, delicious home-made sweet pies, and weekend brunches. No bookings, but a space nearly always found. A Wellington institution. 7 days and nights.
Wagamama – Queens Wharf in the Meridian building. Long bench tables, lots of wok clanking from the kitchen, and great harbour views. Meals come in the order made, not necessarily together (no apologies, it’s part of their ‘fresh food’ charm). People turn through reasonably quickly. From lunch til late 7 days.
Bangalore Polo Club – on Courtenay Place opposite Reading. Indian and English decor larger than life, based on the Bangalore Badgers. Lots of different spaces for drinking, dining or leaning. Large bowls of peanuts to fling shells on the floor a’la Singapore Raffles. From lunch til late 7 days.
Monsoon Poon – 12 Blair Street. Love you long time. A tasty mix of asian curries, noodles, stir fries or salads with appropriately humorous or geographic names and some good euro/asian blended desserts. Firecracker chicken if you dare. Dinner 7 days, lunch Monday to Friday.
Crab Shack – in Shed 5 at Queens Wharf. Fun, loud American-style diner with loads of crab options (and a few non-crabby), as well as daily specials. Unique in Wellington and good price points. Like others, be prepared to wait at the bar. From lunch til late 7 days.
Munchen – German beer bar at Queens Wharf. Hearty, fun and myriads of Bavarian experiences. Beware the pork knuckle is enough for about 4! Great desserts too. 7 days and nights.
Green Parrot – corner Taranaki and Wakefield. Just because of its history and the (political) stories the walls could tell. Serving white bread and butter with all meals the size a growing teenager requires, pineapple rings as a side option and down home traditional puddings. Noted for their wiener schnitzel. 5pm til late 7 days.
Cin Cin – Cuba Street towards Vivian. Italian house-made pastas, thin crust pizzas, European wines and friendly service. Rear courtyard and grass now too. Good value for money. 5pm till late 7 days.
Mexico – Dixon Street opposite Aro (Pigeon) Park. Good value, quality Mexican dishes (small and large) and tequilas. You won’t break the bank here, but will leave satisfied. No bookings, communal tables and a buzzy atmosphere. 7 days from noon.
Burger Liquor – 129 Willis Street. Substantial burgers with quality ingredients in a funky graffiti-industrial environment. Lots of rums and bourbons and a few ‘hard’ shakes. Lunch til late 7 days.
Five Boroughs – corner Majoribanks and Roxburgh. American diner with plenty of graffiti grunge attitude and pretty darned good burgers, ribs and other changing delights. A range of brunches, American shakes and sweet pies. From 3pm til late Mondays, 10am til late Tuesday to Friday, 9am til late weekends.
Heavens Pizza – upper Cuba Street (near Abel Smith Street). Delicious thin crust pizzas (including dessert pizzas) from a large arty wood fired oven centrepiece, in a fun atmosphere (a lot of the old Tattoo Museum recycled). Cakes and gelato to follow. From lunch til late 7 days.
Boat Cafe – Oriental Parade beside the Freyberg pool complex. The modern day Parade Cafe, the Boat continues to charm in terms of staff, environment and views. Good value hearty food in a setting thats hard to beat. 7 days and Wednesday to Sunday evenings.
The Backbencher – Molesworth Street opposite Parliament. Fun political puppetry, a wide menu from small to large (with appropriate political titles) and many different spaces. Monday to Friday lunch, Monday to Sunday dinner.
Mr Go’s – Taranaki Street near Courtenay. Hawker-style street food in a simple but friendly environment. Excellent light and fresh food, with bao bun features and low prices. Also available as takeaway. Monday to Saturday 11am to close.
Caroline – upstairs on Manners near Willis. A basic burger and music venue sister to Meow, but well decorated in retro style and cheap, fun eating. Also a couple of pinball machines should you fancy. 7 days and evenings.
Tokeyo – in Edward Street (where Vivo used to be). Part of the Wellington Hospo Group, Tokeyo has fantastic decor, tasty Japanese gastro-pub tapas, and interesting drinks. Tuesday to Saturday evenings.
Bethel Woods – 73 The Terrace. Fun, noisy, inner city gastropub doing wings, burgers, salads, and more. Two smokers on the roof (the roof opens to punters in fine weather) create tasty meats, and there’s live music regularly. Monday to Saturday day and night.
Leroys Dive Bar – Plimmer Steps off Lambton. A very funky dive bar serving quality fried chicken (might be some of the best in the city courtesy of the $16,000 pressure cooker in the kitchen), and tacos delivered on toy trucks. Motorbikes hanging from the ceiling, a twinkly outdoor garden area and more kitsch than you can poke a stick at. Monday to Friday, day and night.