Leave your tastebuds dancing with a visit to Kisa. Starting as a pop-up in 2021 before becoming permanent, this addition to the iconic Cuba Street will be your new special place. The Middle Eastern and Turkish inspired restaurant has a beautiful, modern Mediterranean interior.
The menu is divided into four sections; dips and spreads, mezze, large plates and, of course, desserts. Start with an assortment of creamy, indulgent dips and don’t forget to order the freshly baked flatbreads to mop up every last morsel. For the garlic lovers, you can’t skip the mozzarella borek served with tomato butter, black olive tapenade and garlic toum. Wash it down with a mint lemonade before starting on some larger plates.
A selection of meat and vegetarian dishes makes it perfect for large groups with different dietary requirements; vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options are available.
Rita’s is a must try for all foodies venturing to Wellington. The intimate eatery is tucked away in a vibrant neighbourhood housed in a historical workers’ cottage on Aro Street. Rita has a menu that changes daily, focusing on the best product available either from their garden behind the restaurant or locally.
There are two seating slots per night, so be sure to lock in a reservation as this is an experience you won’t want to miss. Not only will the staff make you feel at home but the personalised handwritten menus, pull-out cutlery drawer and refined attention to detail on the menu and in the interior will make Rita’s your new favourite restaurant in town.
Located next to Wesley Methodist Church on Taranaki Street, August Eatery is a trendy, picturesque local jaunt open for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The café has a Mediterranean influence with a seasonal menu, tempting cabinet baked goods, and delightful coffee. For breakfast, you can’t go past the tsoureki French toast with orange curd, poached tamarillo, baklava crumble and labneh. The lunch menu is refined with a variety of irresistible offerings such as beluga lentils, witlof and burrata. This stylish café is not to be missed.
Located on Cuba Street, Floriditas is a bustling all-day eatery, known for its tasty seasonal menu. Whether you choose breakfast, lunch or dinner, you won’t be disappointed by its delicious range of dishes. For breakfast, try the Martinez chorizo kebab with chilli scrambled egg, burnt lime aioli on an alamir bakery pita: the perfect fuel for a day of adventure in the capital.
If you are opting for a more casual dinner setting with a sophisticated menu, this is your place. The seasonal menu has a big selection of seafood, meat and comforting dishes with a European, Kiwi touch. And you can’t leave a Floriditas dinner without trying their famous Brown sugar pavlova.
This quirky Wellington hotspot is located just off Cuba Street, nestled in the historic Opera House. The charming interior and effortlessly cool atmosphere hosts an eclectic menu of quality-crafted cocktails. If you can’t find a cocktail that tickles your fancy, the menu encourages you to suggest some flavours and a spirit you like and the rest is left in the hands of the trusty bartenders. Before you know it you are sipping on your new favourite one-of-a-kind cocktail.
Ready for a snack? Crumpet provides a tasty selection of bar snacks including, you guessed it, a selection of sweet and savoury crumpet options. Crumpets and cocktails might seem like they’re a bizarre pairing, but once you have tried it, you’ll be craving a crumpet after every cocktail.
If you need a break from shopping, an afternoon treat or even a coffee to start your day, Customs is your spot. A stone’s throw from Hannahs Lane, this hipster hotspot will have you feeling like a local in no time. Order a coffee and sit out on the footpath or inside the swanky wood-panel interior café and watch the world go by.
If you’re after a small bite, grab a doughnut or a freshly baked focaccia sandwich. Whatever you choose, you’ll be coming back for more. Customs is the flagship café for Coffee Supreme with nine beans to choose from.
Noble Rot Wine Bar
If you are a wine lover, you have to head to Noble Rot Wine Bar for a cheeseboard and a glass of wine from your favourite region. Founded by a group of talented sommeliers and restaurateurs, Noble Rot is sure to impress any wine connoisseur around, with an aim to excite, inform and educate.
Using the Coravin tool, Noble Rot offers an extensive menu of wine by the glass: this unique technology allows the wine to be served without the cork being removed. If you can’t select which wine to try, don’t worry … you can also order a wine flight allowing you to enjoy three 100ml servings of wines from a variety of regions.
City Gallery Wellington
Set in the heart of Wellington, City Gallery Wellington is a great place to visit for families, couples or solo travellers. With regularly changing exhibitions, you’re sure to be entertained by the curated showcases. Current exhibitions include Joanna Margaret Paul: Imagined in the Context of a Room, a major retrospective celebrating the career and legacy of the late Kiwi artist (open until 5 February).
If you are in Wellington on a Sunday morning, check out the Harbourside Market. Fresh produce, hot sauces, baked goods and of course the best food trucks in town gather near Te Papa Tongarewa Museum for a fabulous foodie experience. Grab a coffee and select a treat from its many culinary delights.
A trip to Wellington isn’t complete without a visit to Hannahs Laneway. Pop into Wellington Chocolate Factory for a hot chocolate or better yet, book in for a bean-to-bar chocolate class. If your sugar fix hasn’t been satisfied, head to Leeds Street Bakery for their iconic Salted Caramel Cookie.
If you’re more interested in savoury, don’t miss out on the Neapolitan wood-fired pizza at Pizza Pomodoro, the first shop to open in Leeds Street (aka Hannahs Laneway) back in 2000. Or head to Golding’s Free Dive bar across the lane and have your pizza served straight to your table. While you’re there, grab a drink and soak in the friendly neighbourhood vibe at the bar.
Tory Urban Retreat
This is the perfect end to a weekend of indulgence. Treat your body to a relaxing pamper at Tory Urban Retreat. This inner-city sanctuary has been a hidden gem for locals for decades. If you are interested in Finnish saunas, a vast selection of massages, reiki or even Floating Pod Therapy, they’ve got it all.
Take your relaxation to the next level with an Ayurveda massage. This consists of a rhythmic massage using aromatic oils over the entire body in order to loosen toxins and relax the nervous system. As the oils sink gently into your skin, you’ll experience deep rest, nourishment and rejuvenation.
The newly opened five-star Mövenpick Hotel is the place to stay for all chocolate lovers travelling to Wellington. Every day the hotel serves up an hour of cocoa indulgence to make sure your day is a delicious one.Keep the sweetness going with their 24 Hour Sundae Service, and have a gourmet ice cream sundae delivered straight to your room within minutes.
Photography by Dot McHugh, Adrian Vercoe, Ryan Domenico