If you’re heading to to Wellington any time soon, here are some of the top restaurants in Wellington City – the best places to eat in my opinion and my experiences there.
Recent years have seen fine dining restaurants in Wellington forced to reduce their opening hours (Logan Brown) or close completely (The White House and Martin Bosley’s) as consumers vote with their feet in favour of casual dining in Wellington.
The result is some great, affordable places run by the same restaurateurs. A win for consumers in my mind.
One of my favourite places to eat in Wellington, arriving even at 6 or 6.30pm on a Saturday night you should expect an acceptable 30 minute wait for a table. But if you do have to wait you’ll be directed right down the venue, through Shed 5 to another the bar (where the Crab Shack drink specials are not available) to wait.
If you’re seated near the visible kitchen you can watch the meals being prepared. The White Sangria works with everything, Salmon and Calamari Rings make fabulous starters and you can’t go wrong with the Cajun Catch of The Day. I always feel a little bad not ordering crabs being their speciality but they truly offer some of the best Wellington food and it’s well priced.
Dragonfly was quickly listed in the top 20 restaurants in Wellington according to Cuisine Magazine. Asian Fusion is a popular style and the moody, ambient restaurant is my new favourite.
Expect the main restaurant to be fully booked on a Saturday evening, however the space extends right through to a courtyard and bar area at the back of the premises where the same menu is served and a booking is not required.
I love the Cocktail and Desert Samplers giving you a range of flavours when it is just too hard to choose. The Squid, Cheese Parcels and Salmon 2 ways are also brilliant with edgy flavours.
Pravda is a favourite Wellington restaurant of mine for a late afternoon glass of wine (they have a loyalty stamp card!). It’s proximity to all parts of the Wellington CBD also makes it convenient for lunch meetings and they’re famous for their cheese scones.
My risotto was nice but didn’t look photographically impressive. The chocolate mud cake however both looked and tasted AMAZING but it’s too rich to consume alone.
Hillside Kitchen and Cellar
From the moment you walk in the door at Hillside Kitchen and Cellar and are greeted among beautifully set tables, artwork and jars of pickled produce on shelves this is an experience.
Dinner at Hillside is a choice of 5 or 7 vegetarian courses with the option of alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink matches, but they also have a spectacular wine list. There were extra courses on top and each dish was explained by a chef at our table, a truly special experience.
When available the freshly shucked oysters are a highlight as was their cute Airmail Cocktail and my Whitebait Fitter Sandwich. This is a top restaurant in Wellington but slightly noisy during busy periods which can make it challenging to converse with a large group of people.
Other top Wellington restaurants to try:
- Capitol The menu is certainly unique – don’t be put off by Pasta for Breakfast! I had a cheesy gnocchi with mescalin salad and my dining buddy French Toast which was served with fish and capers rather than the traditional syrup and fruit or bacon.
- Loretta for their Egg Sandwich. and Crumpets with Lemon Curd
- Ombra for Venetian Tapas which reminded me of Italy – though the prawns themselves were a little too authentic for me – still complete with heads and shells etc.