For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather out and about 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.
Fidels – Upper Cuba Street. Another long time beloved institution with fabulous nooks and crannies. Outside courtyard when fine. Famed for large muffins. Cabinet and menu.
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.
Bangalore Polo Club – on Courtenay Place opposite Reading. OTT Indian and English decor based on the Bangalore Badgers, with a fabulous bright, breezy courtyard. Lots of different spaces for drinking, dining or leaning. 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.
Leroys Bar – Plimmer Steps. OTT dive bar decoration with tasty burgers, tacos and some of the best fried chicken in the kitchen courtesy of a $16,000 pressure cooker in the kitchen. Be prepared for noise and fun, and a groovy outdoor area. Monday to Saturday, lunch and evening.
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, busy and buzzy. Good value for money. 5pm till late 7 days.
Pizzeria Napoli – Courtenay Place between Allen and Blair. A tiny pasta and pizza bar with giant street scene murals that will transport you away from Courtenay and buses outside. Lunch Tuesday to Saturday, dinner 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.
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.
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.
Counter Culture – 211 Victoria Street. Board game cafe with tasty craft beers and meals. $5 surcharge on weekends and evenings to replenish the board games. Book a table with a group, and learn a new game or have a blast from the past. From lunch til late 7 days.
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.
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.