Posted by: Joan Spiller | August 28, 2011

Where to eat in Wellington?


I was laying in bed this morning trying to feel enthused about crawling from beneath the bedclothes and found myself thinking about where I’d like to go for brunch ..

As I mentally meandered around Wellington, it dawned on me how fortunate we are in NZ to have such an abundance of gorgeous eateries open all hours.

So here is a list of some of my fave places in Wellington:

It’s no secret one of my fave places to go for outstanding service is “Chill” on Willis St. Vaguely reminiscent of a grungy student flat (thanks largely to the 70’s couch with the throw on it..)

From a tiny cupboard of a kitchen, Chill’s owner (Ian) produces some of the best meals in town. In particular, the pies are both appealing on the eye and far too cheap in my opinion. On top of that, nothing is a hassle.

You want gluten free X, he’ll make it for you. Dairy free Y? Sorted, just give me a little notice and I’ll whip something up for you. And his vegetarian burgers with chips and aioli – nom nom!

His staff are lovely .. they work like dogs and yet always manage a smile (and a few cheeky comments always flow forth from the kitchen) whenever a customer comes in. They do catering too, the last function I held we used them and everyone raved about the nibbles! (I raved about the price too!)

Then we have a place on Cuba St called Floraditas. Although I find the accoustics a bit unpleasant due to the high ceilings, this place makes the best ever scrambled eggs. Service can be a bit hit and miss but their free range, beautifully cooked (with a hint of chives & the perfect amount of seasoning) eggsn are irresistable!

Another place I’ve frequented a time or two is the old “Choc Fish” cafe – now known as “Scorchorama“. I confess, the name made me go “eurgh” when I first heard it and I went in completely expecting to be underwhelmed. It was lovely .. depending on who’s on, the service can be fantastic.

Added to this, the coffee is great, the food is delicious and there’s just something about sitting by the water in the sunshine relaxing while someone else cooks your brekkie.

Everyone knows my fave place in the world is Duke Carvell’s, tucked up in Swan Lane just off Cuba St. Exceptional service, complete with cuddle or two as you pay (well, I take one anyway lol – poor Lorenzo) gorgeous food, and a very fun / different decor.

I cannot recommend this place enough.. Sadly, they don’t do brunch on weekdays, only weekends. But dinner is my fave meal to have there so I don’t really mind 😉

Back to Willis St and Ti Kouka is another place I’d rave about esp when it comes to service. Serves can be a bit small tho.. especially the line caught fish! Their coffee is great. Try their fries omg so good. A great place for tapas with reasonably priced drinks and nibbles!

Then we have Plum.

I love places that serve brunch all day. Eggs any time are good in my book – and Plum knows this! The bread they use with their eggs is heavenly (thanks to Pandoro bakery) and the hash brown potato cakes are home made and so so tasty! Dipped into “plum” sauce, they were quite outstanding. Amazing service and really good coffee too.

There’s plenty more places than my list, for example:

Hippopotamus. Gorgeous food and neat decor. Slightly haughty woman at the door but ok once you’re in. Best to go for dinner to enjoy the view. French food relies heavily on the use of duck fat and meat, but they do have 1 vegetarian option for entree and for main and they’re very delicious.

Another fave place of mine is Arbitrageuer. There’s just something about it that appeals – the wine list is vast. The service exquisite. The meals divine..

Then we have the Crazy Horse Steak house I know. A vegetarian suggesting a steak house! They have plenty of delicious sides to satisfy even the hungriest vege-killer tho. And the service is simply sublime. Cute as can be waiters, too 😉

Leuven, Dockside, Foxglove, Whitehouse, Logan Brown, 3C, La Bella Italia, Scopa – all rate in my books. Then there’s the dearth of ethnic places to get a quick, cheap and tasty meal: Siem Reap. KK Malaysia. Indus, Red Ginger etc

Oh and yes there are a few places to avoid in Wellington..

Concrete on Lambton Quay. Really average to bad food.. but generally good service.

Aunty Menas on Cuba St. Worst ever gado gado in my life. Couldn’t finish it, it was so bad. 

La Casa Pasta. Who can forget that meal.. So pleased to see it’s shut down now.

Mr Bun. Why would you do generic food in a city full of places that serve gorgeousness on a plate?

I’ve never forgiven Hummingbird for the worst hash browns I’ve ever had in my life. PRUNES in the hash browns, wtf?

The ughboat. Oops tugboat. Amazingly slow service. Crowded, noisy. And really just beyond average meal.. not even cheaply priced to make up for it. All round disappointing.

Rhythm cafe underneath the Quest in Willis St. Not just slow service but rude. Outstandingly bad experience. Loud music. And rubbish coffee..

Very disappointing was the Lido – allegedly iconic – it dished up appallingly bad service the last time I went there.  There’s too many good places to go where everything is spot on, to tolerate poor service more than once.

Anyway, that’ll do for now – tis almost time for brunch. Today, I think will be a PLUM day!

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