a guide on where to eat in wellington
** Updated in June 2018
New Zealand's capital city is an absolute foodie paradise! Wellington has some really good restaurants and caters for everything, from cheap eats to fine dining.
Visiting Wellington is an all-round delight, and in case you don't already know, we adore this windy city. We were lucky enough to call this quirky little corner of the world home for nearly one year. The city has an incredible food scene and we spent a year here eating our way around the place, and trying some of the best restaurants in Wellington.
Did you know that Wellington has more restaurants per capita than New York City? This fierce competition ensures standards are kept exceedingly high. The electric food scene in New Zealand's capital is enough to satisfy any foodie for months on end. Whether it's cheap eats, authentic Asian or modern New Zealand cuisine you are after, you will find it all here. From delicious seafood to divine cocktail bars, the variety and sheer quality of the eateries in Wellington will astound you.
Also, if you haven't already purchased an Entertainment Book, like yesterday, then you really need to do it now! The Entertainment Book provides you with vouchers for deals on the majority of restaurants in Wellington, once you've used it twice you have already made your money back plus 50% of proceeds go to charity. What's not to love?
So if you are looking for where to eat in Wellington but don't know where to start, fear not.
Sit back and relax as we take you on a cyber tour through the best restaurants in Wellington; these places are definitely amongst our favourites!
zibbibo - our favourite
Zibbibo is our favourite restaurant in Wellington for two simple reasons.
The food is incredible and the service impeccable.
Zibbibo serves modern New Zealand food and is a restaurant at the top of it's game. One of my favourite things about this restaurant is that they do a platter for starter and for dessert, which means if you are incredibly indecisive when it comes to food (like me!) you can get the platter, allowing you to try a miniature version of each thing! Genius idea!
Zibbibo would be halfway between cheap eats and fine dining, it's definitely not the fanciest restaurant in Wellington but the restaurant is lovely and would make for the best place for a special occasion. It also won the "Wellington on a Plate - Best Menu Award 2015" and "The Entertainment Guide Best Wellington Restaurant for 2015 and 2016"
Zibbibo, 25 Taranaki Street, Wellington
the spruce goose - the one with a view
Located in Lyall Bay, The Spruce Goose is our favourite for Sunday brunch when we're feeling a little hungover.
Facing right onto the beach, it's the perfect place to have a bite to eat, then stroll along the beach afterwards. When at The Spruce Goose it is imperative you order the ribs - they are one of the most delicious things we have ever tasted. I was actually vegetarian for a while and those ribs were a game changer. Amazing!
The Spruce Goose, Cochrane St, Lyall Bay, Wellington
CRAB SHACK - THE BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Without a doubt, our favourite seafood restaurant in Wellington.
This place was so popular in Wellington, a second one was opened up in Auckland. And considering New Zealand is surrounded by the ocean; the seafood produce available is incredible and The Crab Shack really showcases that.
If you order the crab it comes complete with your own bib, it's rather messy work but totally worth it! And don't worry, even if you don't like crab, the Crab Shack also does a mean steak so really there is no reason not to go!
The Crab Shack, 5 Queens Wharf, Wellington
sweet mother's kitchen - the legendary one
We were told about this restaurant long before we ever moved to Wellington. We were travelling through Asia and whilst in Singapore we met a Kiwi who proceeded to tell us that Sweet Mother's Kitchen was probably the greatest restaurant on earth.
About 1 year later we ended up in living in Wellington and we knew we had to give this place a go. Sweet Mothers Kitchen is a New Orleans style eatery with good, old fashioned Southern fried food. It's a cool place with a laid back vibe and outdoor seating which is perfect for the summer months! If you ever feel the need for some epic fried chicken or the biggest slice of pecan pie you have ever seen, then Sweet Mothers Kitchen is the perfect place for you.
This restaurant is legendary amongst people from Wellington so don't be surprised if there is a queue for a table.
Sweet Mother's Kitchen, 5 Courtney Place, Te Aro, Wellington
kk malaysian - the best cheap eats restaurant in wellington
KK Malaysian is the best cheap eats restaurant in Wellington. Not only is it great value for money with most meals costing less than $13, but the food portions are huge and the food is seriously good! It's a no frills kinda place and only has about 8 tables so expect a queue, but it undoubtably worth the wait. This is a really good restaurant in Wellington for popping out mid-week went you've just finished work and can't be bothered cooking! Low key, cheap and super tasty!
KK Malaysian, 54 Ghuznee Street, Wellington
fidel's cafe - perfect for a hangover
Fidel's Cafe is cool.
With Che Guevara influences, outside seating in a colourful garden and amazing breakfast food it is the perfect place to go when in need for a hangover cure. Located on Cuba Street in the centre of the city, you won't have too far to wander to reach Fidel's. Be sure to order a coffee as it's one of the best in Wellington and you can't really go wrong with the menu, whatever you order will exceed your expectations.
We loved brunching at this trendy place on weekends, usually in a crowd as we tipped our toasted bread into Mexican style eggs and cringed at the antics from the night before.
Fidel's Cafe, 243 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
chow - the best asian fusion restaurant
Chow is where Asian meets Tapas.
With small dishes designed to share and an almost impossible menu to pick between, there is something for everyone here. Plus, on a Monday Chow do 2 for 1 meals which means for every tapas dish you order, you get another one for free! It's usually very busy and you can't book, but you can put your name down and pop into the The Library cocktail bar next door while you wait. And I promise it will be worth it!
Chow, 45 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington
matterhorn - the best fine dining restaurant in wellington
**Matterhorn is currently closed as the building which the restaurant occupied for 53 years needs restrengthing after an earth quake. The owners are currently looking for a new location for the restaurant so we will updated this post once a new location has been confirmed.
Matterhorn was the very first restaurant we ever ate in in Wellington, and it still remains to be one of the best.
This is fine dining New Zealand cuisine at it's very best and it offers an experience you won't forget. The restaurant is dark and moody, lit by low lanterns and has an overall intimate and sophisticated feel. It's the perfect place for a romantic evening and the food will not disappoint.
restaurant 88 - the best vietnamse restaurant in wellington
It's no secret that we simply adore Vietnamese food, but outside of Vietnam we have never been able to find anywhere that comes even close.
That was until we found Restaurant 88 and wow!!
This place took me straight back to Ho Chi Minh City, the food is so authentic and undeniably delicious. Whether you have tried Vietnamese food before or not, I guarantee you will love it after you visit this restaurant.
Restaurant 88, 88 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington
the sunday farmers market - when you want to be outdoors
Last but certainly not least, is the famous Wellington Farmer's Market.
Right on the waterfront every Sunday is a mixture of stalls and food trucks selling some of New Zealand's best produce. It usually starts around 8am and goes on until early afternoon. There are cuisines from all over the world, from Brazilian to Mexican to Indian. On sunny Sunday mornings, this is the perfect spot to try lots of different dishes whilst a local busker plays music. We spent many a happy Sunday here!
Our absolute favourite stalls are the Brazilian one which sells grilled haloumi cheese with honey, the Ripe coffee stalls and the Churros stand!
When you visit Wellington you really will be spoilt for choice when it comes to food. There are some really good restaurants in this city, but good food doesn't always need to mean high prices. There are plenty of cheap eats restaurants, mid range eateries as well as some fine dining restaurants doing some very exciting things!
We hope you love all the places we have recommended, and if you decide to visit one then let us know how you found it or if you know of any other great restaurants we should add to this list!