If you’re visiting Wellington and planning on making the most of the foodie scene, here are some of the best cafes in Wellington to check out. If it’s brunch specifically you’re after my Wellington brunch guide is also be worth referencing!
The best cafes in Wellington
The staff at Caffee L’affare are on to it and generally amazing. No matter how busy they are friendly and helpful and the coffee is always perfect.
I’ve long been buying beans from Cafe L’Affare to grind at home. In the cafe they have two salad options in their cabinet which are switched out daily and served with freshly baked bread which is a bargain and I think the best healthy lunch deal in the area.
Perhaps not worth a mission across town but certainly from a neighboring suburb, Cafe Villa tends to get very busy at the weekends and the capacity of it’s kitchen is less than sufficient resulting in some slightly longer than ideal waiting times.
Cafe Villa does however have plenty of off-street parking and the brunch is worth waiting for with classics like Eggs Benedict, French Toast and Muesli with Fruit as well as meatier options such as a burger.
First off – I love cafes which offer sparkling water at no cost. The staff at Flight Hangar are lovely and personable and are helpful in interpreting the menu and deciding between coffee blends. As a pescatarian who’s normally on a budget, I thought the Truffled Eggs with Mushrooms on gluten free bread was pretty good, however I’ve heard a discerning foodie describe the Spiced Pork Benedict as the best thing they’ve ever eaten.
Mama Brown has excellent food and a fun feel with the former aeroplane chairs dotted around tables. There are lots of great items to share and I’ve especially enjoyed the tacos. On a cold, wet Wellington night so I ordered one of the many fruit teas on the drinks menu but the range of milkshakes looked fantastic. Will be back to start working my way through them!
The Kedgeree at Nikau Cafe is a must try, even better with a glass of wine and followed up with the Affogato.
The only real disappointment will be something the staff can never prevented – if it’s a typically windy Wellington day when you visit for lunch you won’t be able to sit out in the sun!
While my companion on a elimination diet was ultimately extremely restricted in choices (no choice but to have the risotto), our attendant was very helpful, providing her list of approved foods to the kitchen to identify a meal option for her. The Eggs Montreal was delicious and the garden area at the back is a beautiful spot to catch up with friends on a mild Wellington day.
Pickle & Pie
Pickle & Pie is a Wellington take on a NYC delicatessen servicing classic pastrami sandwiches, salads, and pickles with pies. Perfect for those craving a pie but not the classic kiwi meat style. They also make a good coffee and squeezed juice.
Begonia House, Rose Garden, 101 Glenmore Street, Thorndon
Best visited if you’re in Wellington during Spring or Summer, Picnic Cafe has really upped its game from the Botanic Gardens cafe I recall in my youth.
It’s a little pricey but they make great coffee, have some nice treats in the cabinet (kid friendly things like fresh fruit kebabs as well as decadent chocolate brownies) and a decent all day menu. It’s lovely sitting out in the sun in the gardens and makes me feel grateful to live in Wellington.
Prefab cafe is definitely one of the best cafes in Wellington and an absolute favourite of mine. It’s closed on Sundays and has an intimidating queue in the doorway for a table at lunchtime on any other day of the week so it took me far too long to visit.
The staff at Prefab are lovely despite the hectic pace of the place and the coffee comes out fast and perfectly. I’ve never been in a group where at least one Reuben Sandwich has not been ordered but the chowder, salads (with Halloumi or Salmon) and open sandwiches are my own go-tos.
497 Karaka Bay Road, Karaka Bay
On a cold, windy, winter’s day in Wellington the seating at Scorch-O-Rama is effectively halved as no one wants to sit outside. But when you get the perfect day in Wellington and the city turns on the weather though it’s a real sun trap.
Excellent coffee, friendly staff, great views and good food. Nice spot for a walk to work off your meal too!
Sweet Mother’s Kitchen
Finally on the list of best cafes in Wellington is Sweet Mother’s Kitchen which is cheap and wonderfully cheerful. The catch is everyone knows about it and it’s very busy so you tend to have to wait for a table, service, your food, and to pay. My personal favourites are Po Boys and Fish Tacos (always with a side of curly fries), and they must be commended for their great range of non-alcoholic beverages.