The Kiwi capital isn’t nicknamed the “Windy City” for nothing. Nestled in a harbour surrounded by hills, it can be ferociously windy even on the sunniest of days. Just as well then that Wellington boasts some of the finest restaurants, cafes and markets on the North Island.
The strong Asian influence in Wellington is hard to be missed as sushi shops seem to pop-up on every street corner. The city has a strong international vibe, whilst championing New Zealand produce with locally grown ingredients on every menu.
If you have done any research on the food scene in Wellington, Cuba Street will no doubt be mentioned once or twice. Cuba Street is literally heaving with cafes, restaurants, bars and food stores.
You will not go hungry by walking along this street, but with so much choice can come indecision. Here I have tried to shorten my list of favourites in and around Cuba Street.
A brother of Havana, the Cuban influence continues with the same exceptional cooking. Fidel’s Café is a Wellington institution famous for its coffee, hospitality and bohemian decor. Open from early until late, there is plenty of options for all appetites. Don’t miss out on the Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Blondie.
Sourdough lovers will rejoice as the loaves are baked fresh in-house daily at Prefab. Tuck into a sandwich, a hearty bowl of soup or just sit back with a coffee roasted on site.
Feel like a late night treat, then here you will find every imaginable ice-cream flavour. Kaffee Eis blend European, Asian and New Zealand flavours to make the creamiest gelato. Make sure to taste the Black Sesame Gelato – strange but addictive!
Midnight Espresso is located on the infamous Cuba Street and yes it stays open until 3am for all you crazy coffee lovers. Midnight Espresso also serve some exceptional vegetarian food so a winner for all.
Tuck into a freshly baked pastry or savoury bread as you watch the bakers masterly knead and shape each loaf on site at Leeds Street Bakery. The signature Salted Caramel Cookie is not to be missed!
At Commonsense Organics you will find every conceivable ingredient, spice, grain and nut with a strong emphasis on organic, local and eco-friendly amongst the heaving aisles of Commonsense Organics. They also stock a great range of skincare and beauty products.
Moore Wilsons is a landmark in Wellington since 1918. Here any food lover might think they have died and gone to foodie heaven.
Moore Wilsons is a food emporium that encompasses three flours and numerous different sections from wholesale, wine, fresh food and every kitchen implement you could ever dream of. Just try not to leave without buying something!!
Hidden down a nondescript industrial street lies the most magical and whimsical restaurant Havana located in two historic Te Aro workingmen’s cottages.
The colours of the building nod towards a Cuban laid back influence but the food garners attention to detail and a flavour explosion.
With a weekly seasonal menu – you can be sure to be eating the freshest ingredients cared for in a delicate and sensitive style at Havana.
If the chilli and garlic prawns are on the menu, order them as you will literally be licking the plate clean. As the menu offers tapas style portions, ordering a few options is the best way to really experience all Havana has to offer.
Loretta oozes freshness with its constantly changing daily menu. The restaurant serves breakfast right up until 4pm so perfect when all you feel like is breakfast for lunch or even an early dinner. The salads are some of the best around too so don’t miss out.
The Wellington Night Markets are a must-visit. Every Friday and Saturday night the streets of Left Bank, Cuba Mall and lower Cuba Street come alive to the music of buskers, the sizzle of food trucks and the smiles of happy customers.
There is a real international flavour to these Night Markets from the food on offer to the entertainment that steps on stage.
Travelling with fussy eaters or you just don’t know what you feel like then the Capital Market is the place for you. A covered courtyard with numerous stalls from all over the world where you order, wait and eat at communal tables.
Perfect for your first night in Wellington after a long day travelling. Make sure to try the Sushi Taco from Oriental Blues. Also watch out for special lunch offers and discounts after 3pm.
A 90 minute drive away is the sleepy colonial village of Martinborough nestled amongst some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in New Zealand.
All the vineyards are within walking distance of the town and offer a variety of wine tasting and dining options. Ata Rangi and Poppies are not to be missed and the platter at the latter will leave you breathless so make sure to plan a day to Martinborough.
When you are not enjoying the culinary highlights of Wellington, be sure to visit these spots during your trip:
After work and the football field, the kitchen is generally where you will find chartered physiotherapist and ladies footballer, Sinéad Delahunty. A passionate lover of all food, she shares her kitchen creations through her food blog – Delalicious. She focuses on inspiring others to fuel their lives through healthy, wholesome and natural food with quick and easy recipes for all. She is currently on a year out from work and football, eating and adventuring her way around the world.
Check out her blog, www.delalicious.com for more recipe inspiration or follow her on social media for more Delalicious delights.