Eat your way through Wellington this winter

Winter’s a time of home-cooking and laying low. But all that time indoors hibernating can lead to a bit of cabin fever. So the question arises: what to do to get you out of the house in the colder months? The answer: eat.

wellington night market Feature

Wellington has long been known as a city of creativity, culture and “cool people”. But with more bars, restaurants and cafes per capita than New York City, it’s also New Zealand’s capital of cuisine. There’s a new eatery opening almost every week, and deciding where to go can be overwhelming. So to make eating your way through Wellington a little easier, here are some of the most mouth-watering spots around.

View of Wellington at night

Picton to Wellington

The Interislander Ferry has been the bridge between Picton and Wellington since 1962. And after almost 60 years, we think we know a thing or two about making the most of our beautiful capital. So if you’re travelling from the South Island, why not cross the Cook Strait with us? It’s the easiest and most comfortable way of hopping between the North and South Islands. And between the idyllic inlets of the Marlborough Sounds and Wellington’s buzzing waterfront, it’s a beautiful journey as well.

So have a read of these delectable dining spots and check out the Interislander timetable to get your getaway underway.

Couple with a wine on the Interislander

Intimate eateries in Wellington

Sometimes smaller is better. A restaurant or café that caters to fewer people are often able to put that extra care and attention into each dish.

Rita is a quaint eating house set in a known historic Aro Valley cottage. With an ever-changing three-course set menu, influenced by the season and whatever their chefs are inspired by on the day, every dining experience at Rita is different. Plus, they have a toasty open fire downstairs, making for an even more intimate dining experience. They offer two staggered sittings a night, but because it’s a small restaurant they can only take groups of up to six guests, so be sure to book ahead.

Jano Bistro is one of the most popular spots in the city. Nestled in a lovely little yellow cottage in Te Aro, Jano offers a perfect combination of romantic ambience and fine cuisine in a relaxed and homely environment. As a small owner-operated bistro, many of their main suppliers are local farms. That means the menu is always changing depending on what ingredients they can get their hands on. Check out the inspiration behind this quaint eatery full of soul.

Jano Bistro Exterior
Image Courtesy of Jano Bistro
Plate of food from Jano Bistro

Cicio Cacio is an ‘osteria’ restaurant, meaning they cook humble Italian food in a family style environment. Their goal is to be as authentic as possible, igniting each dish with passion inspired by cuisines of different regions and cities of Italy. If they can make it by hand, they will. So you’re always guaranteed a meal made with love at Cico Cacio. Plus, all their dishes, wines and menus are in Italian so it’s the closest you’ll get to the real thing, right from the heart of Wellington. Buon Appetito!

Couple eating at Cicio Cacio
Image Courtesy of Cicio Cacio
Interior of Cicio Cacio

On a budget? Rasa is one of the best BYO restaurants in Wellington. With a mixture of Malaysian and Southern Indian food, it's the perfect place to warm the cockles with some spice over a bottle of wine. Their huge menu is filled with flavour and plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans too.

Rug up, get out

If you’re not sure what kind of food you’re craving, why not put on your winter woollies and check out the Wellington Night Market? With a melting pot of community artists, local performers and private stallholders, it’s a chance to get amongst the culture and cuisine Wellington is known for. The market’s on both Friday night in Left Bank (off Cuba Street) and Saturday night on lower Cuba Street (beside Manners Street intersection).

Couple eating at Wellington Night Market

Breakfast, brunch or lunch

Start your day off right with a scrumptious bite. These are a couple of the best places to eat in Wellington with great food and atmosphere.

The funky fresh Beach Babylon is a retro beachside café and restaurant, open from sunrise to sunset. From coconut creamy mushrooms to a vegan big breakfast, there’s a bit of everything, whatever you’re craving. And to drink there’s delicious organic Peoples' coffee, plenty of craft beers, tiki cocktails and wines to pair with fabulous food options. Plus, with its popping interior and beach views, it’s one of the grooviest grazing spots in town.

Interior of Beach Babylon
Photo Credit: Beach Babylon
Inside Beach Babylon Cafe

For something a little less quirky, try Egmont St. Eatery, tucked among one of Wellington’s laneways. Transformed from an old industrial carpark into a chic, multi-level, light and airy eatery, it’s one of the city’s most happening spots. And located a ten-minute drive from the Wellington Ferry Terminal, it’s the perfect place to pop in for a spot of lunch when you hop off the Interislander.

Couple eating at Egmont Street

Photo Credit: Pivot Photography

Food with Passion

Wellington has its fair share of creative culinary whizzes, making for many a passion-fueled menu. These heartwarming hot spots are sure to leave you feeling content, nourished and full up to your eyeballs. So, make your Interislander booking, start planning your trip away and get ready to experience the best food the coolest little capital in the world has to offer.

730x504 snippetWELLINGTON HUB boatsheds waterfront wgtn city 01 thumb 1024x1024

You can't beat a weekend in Wellington

The most livable city in the world? Two years running. Cultural hub? Famous for it. Culinary watering hole? You’ve come to the right place. If you’ve haven’t guessed already, we’re talking about Wellington, New Zealand’s capital.
Find out more
sunset over Wellington snippet

A locals guide to the hidden gems of Wellington

We asked Wellingtonians to share their hidden gems of the capital with us! Now you can enjoy the excitement of finding experiences that are authentic or undiscovered by tourists all in your backyard.
Find out more
730x504snippetWELLINGTON HUB wellington night market 01 thumb 1024x1024

Taste Wellington

Wellington is the culinary capital of New Zealand. With more than 300 restaurants, cafes and bars dotted around this compact, vibrant and easy-to-get-anywhere city, the only trouble is deciding where to devour.
Find out more