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…
Slightly hidden gems
Ortega Fish Shack – Majoribanks Street. Gorgeously done seafood in an old Mt Victoria Villa. Chef Mark Limacher formerly of Roxburgh Bistro and Café Bastille.
Pomelo – Oriental Parade above Beach Babylon. Quality pan-Asian dishes by sister chefs with a long Wellington background. Spectacular views over the harbour and excellent food.
Fratelli – Blair Street. Two brothers from one of the large Newtown Italian families. All pasta and pizza bases handmade daily with the best ingredients. An example of the heart of the Allen/Blair Street area.
Havana Bar – Wigan Street. In the former coffee roastery half of the Havana building. Fabulous nooks and crannies, tasty sharing plates, and excellent staff. Like visiting friends.
El Matador – Cuba Street (opposite Ombra). Also not hidden per se, but easily overlooked. Argentinian speciality, order a meat platter to share with a few sides. Delicious dulce de leche desserts. No bookings.
Monte Cervino – 66 Tory Street. Modern Mediterranean-style plates in a lovely old restored building. From the former Matterhorn folks. Great conviviality.
Charley Noble – Post Office Square. Small and large plates in a buzzing old maritime atmosphere from an ex-fine dining family. Same menu day and night, bookings for weekday lunches only.
Shepherd – Leeds Street laneway. Playful and interesting share plates from two of Wellington’s hospo icons. With a variety of seating arrangements (tables, leaners, kitchen counter), you can pop in for a short or long visit.
The Egmont Street Eatery – Egmont Street off Dixon. Step down into understated quality, both in food and decor. Part wine bar, part brasserie and tasty brunches, a lovely spot for any occasion.
Sterling – 101 The Terrace. Associated with the Park Hotel and sister to the Egmont Street Eatery above. Excellent food, a little more a’la’carte style than ESE.
The Bresolin – Cnr Willis and Karo Drive. Another venture from the Bresolin boys (Scopa, Tommy Millions) with a focus on meat and sharing plates. Outdoor bar and indoor restaurant options.
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.
Field & Green European Soul Food Eatery – Wakefield Street behind The Museum Hotel. Ex-London chef bringing classics with modern twists, using high quality ingredients and executing superbly. Don’t skip their ice cream.
Nicolini’s – 26 Courtenay Place. Long-time Wellington establishment, with a fabulous back courtyard and good value, hearty Italian. Pays to book.
Kera-la-carte – 25 Courtenay Place. Some very good Indian from the Kerala Region of South India. Fresh, light, interesting and flavourful.
Pravda – 107 Customhouse Quay. Smart food in a classy European-style setting. The food always has interesting twists or components, and are small-medium sizes so you can try a couple of courses. With a steakhouse focus in the evenings.
WBC – A venture from the Capitol folks upstairs on Victoria Street (above Asian Kitchen). Small and intimate, fresh and seasonal, best for tapas and wine or desserts. bookings for lunches only.
Apache Vietnamese – Wakefield Street opposite the town hall. An ex-Dragonfly chef who grew up in French-influenced Vietnam. Quality, authentic and fresh Vietnamese at good prices, in a relaxing environment.
Restaurant 88 – 88 Tory Street. Despite having a picture menu (which is very glossy and quite smart), excellent fresh modern Vietnamese food in a stylish setting. Do book.