Urban eats: Wellington’s best cafés and restaurants in 2020

The best food haunts in the New Zealand capital.
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Press play on the video above to see GT’s round-up of the best Wellington cafés and restaurants.

Wellington may be the capital of our antipodean cousins, but its bold and exciting dining scene has put the city on the map for a whole new reason.

On a recent trip back home to Wellington, Attica owner and chef Ben Shewry paid a visit to some of the city’s leading food, wine and coffee destinations. From hip coffee bars, fine Malaysian fare and a bean-to-bar chocolate factory, here are some of his favourite spots in town.

1. Customs by Coffee Supreme

This Ghuznee Street gem is the flagship café from Coffee Supreme. The coffee powerhouse offers a selection of beans sourced locally and from around the globe, and serves espresso and Fetco batch brew. The pocket-sized pit stop also serve simple things-on-toast, and has an outdoor seating area that is well-positioned to make the most of Wellington’s morning sunshine.

39 Ghuznee St, Te Aro,

Customs by Coffee Supreme.

(Photo: Ben Hansen)

2. Pour & Twist

Meet Wellington’s first manual-brew coffee bar. Owners Elaine Loh and Zuyi Woon have created a space dedicated to hand-brewed specialty filter coffee – here you’ll find SwissGold, Chemex, Aeropress, siphon brews made from single-origin beans, roasted in Aotearoa or internationally. Its small, welcoming, and inspired by cosy Japanese coffee houses.

13 Garrett St, Te Aro,

Pour & Twist.

(Photo: Ben Hansen)

Mr Go’s

Stop at Mr Go’s for beer, bao and hawker-style bites. This casual neighbourhood eatery uses seasonal Kiwi ingredients to create fresh share plates and snacks. Menu staples include the Taiwanese-style popcorn chicken; beef skewers with peanut sauce; and steamed milk-buns generously stuffed with fillings like pork belly, fried chicken and Korean-spiced braised beef cheek.

59 Taranaki St, Te Aro,

Mr Go’s.

(Photo: Ben Hansen)

Egmont St Eatery

It’s hard to believe this elegant, light-filled eatery was once a carpark. Since 2015, Egmont St Eatery has continued to delight Wellington with its smart take on brunch classics – smoked whitefish hashbrowns, Fontina cheese omelette, salted beef with house-made smoked stracciatella – with head chef Rob Essenburg’s Italian roots playing a part in each plate. Pair your order with a cold brew or an Egmont Elderflower Bellini.

11 Egmont St, Te Aro,

Egmont St Eatery.

(Photo: Ben Hansen)

Highwater Eatery

Tucked away at the harbour end of Cuba Street, Highwater Eatery offers all-day dining in the experienced hands of Alric Hanson and Ben Farrant (the duo previously owned Small Victories in Melbourne’s North Carlton). Produce is a priority here – it’s predominantly organic, and the meat is free-range and organically raised. Expect house-baked sourdough, house-churned butter, and a menu that reflects the best of fresh New Zealand ingredients chosen with a conscience.

54 Cuba St, Te Aro,

Highwater Eatery.

(Photo: Ben Hansen)

Little Penang

It may be called Little Penang, but the Malaysian restaurant has two locations in Wellington to accommodate the number of diners who flock to here. Owners Tee Phee and Keith Cheah hail from Penang, and their menu reflects the food of their homeland: familiar classics like nasi lemak and char kway teow get a look in, though bihun goreng (fried vermicelli with chicken, prawns and pork crackling) and a mild chicken kapitan curry are worth your attention.

175 Victoria St, Te Aro,

Little Penang.

(Photo: Ben Hansen)

Wellington Chocolate Factory

You don’t need to hunt down a golden ticket to tour this chocolate factory — $16 will do it. New Zealand’s first public bean-to-bar chocolate factory hosts group tours most Saturdays where chocolate-lovers can learn the craft of chocolate making. Pass by the tasting table and sample one-off flavour combos such as craft beer, star anise and Anzac biscuit. Settling on a bar to take home is a tough choice, especially considering the beautiful, colourful packaging for which they’re known.

122 Wakefield St, Te Aro,

Wellington Chocolate Factory

(Photo: Ben Hansen)


Apachè’s French-leaning take on north Vietnamese hawker food plays out in charming ways – a cha ca (Hanoi-style barbecued fish with dill) reimagined as salmon parcels here, a beef bourguignon with five-spice and ginger there. The menu also roams across the broader Asian continent, taking cues from Thailand, China and Korea. Dishes are designed to share, and the charming restaurant provides a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of Cuba Street. In-the-know waitstaff complete the experience.

122 Wakefield St, Te Aro,

Photo: Ben Hansen

Press play on the video above to see GT’s round-up of the best Wellington cafés and restaurants.

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