Wellington is acclaimed the culinary capital of New Zealand. Said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York, our capital caters for everything from quick bites to long fine dining evenings. But with that much choice, we thought we’d give you a quick guide on the best restaurants of Wellington.
1. Ortega Fish Shack
Ortega Fish Shack and Bar is a fantastic location to enjoy sensational NZ seafood in a quirky setting. Set in a shack like venue as the name suggests, kitted with maritime lighting and dangling with marine themed artwork, Ortega is all about the ocean. The menu is without a doubt influenced by the head chef’s culinary travels around the globe. He prides himself in uniting the very best ingredients, years of experience and creativity to produce “interpretations designed to bring your palate an experience it will remember.”
2. Logan Brown
Logan Brown is probably Wellington’s most famous restaurant. They’ve been serving sensational food and mouth-watering dishes since its opening in 1996. The menu exhibits the nest of New Zealand in dishes that are always outstanding and never fussy. With an unpretentious service, a fantastic wine list, an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere and delicious food, Logan Brown is a must. Plan ahead and place a reservation if you want a table.
Originally a Swiss coffee house opened in 1963, Matterhorn has metamorphosed into a regular’s restaurant, café, cocktail bar and supper club, where attitude is valued over attire. With a sensational menu full of subtle surprises, a beautiful dim-lit atmosphere and a rotation of some of Wellington’s most talented musicians, Matterhorn is a truly elegant experience. It is the best choice for a long night out with drinks.
Ancestral boats a superbly refined selection of East-Asian cuisine. As one of Wellington City’s more recent additions to the culinary scene, the restaurant and bar provides diners with an elegant, yet suitably comfortable, space for sharing conversation over a table of excellent food and exclusive drinks for discerning patrons. With authenticity in culture and taste in mind, every dish explores modern Sichuan and Cantonese flavours.
5. The Larder
The vision of The Larder is to service the community with fine, honest food in a relaxed neighbourhood surrounding. They believe in supporting small businesses and they work directly with most of their suppliers using organic and local produce. With a philosophy of ‘nose to tail eating’, the restaurant aims to use and honour all parts of the animals. Try out their seared calves liver with caramelized tongue, a “mind-blowingly good” dish.
Whitebait is brought to you by the owners of the previous fine establishment The White House in a new sea side location. Whitebait celebrates the best seasonal, local produce and New Zealand seafood – focusing on the freshest ingredients, cooked simply, using a charcoal fired oven. The only embellishments are provided naturally – with a relaxing interior and spectacular views across the Wellington Waterfront.
Located inside the Museum Art Hotel right in front of the Te Papa museum, Hippopotamus offers an exquisite French influenced cuisine in a glamorous arty and hearty environment with breathtaking views. The dishes served are works of art in themselves as the head chef takes pride in both presentation and taste.
8. El Matador
If you feel like something more casual, El Matador serves the bold, fresh flavours of Latin cuisine and the wine, cocktails and beers to match. Featuring a traditional Argentine wood-fired asador, open kitchen, garden bar, great vibe and superb service, El Matador is ideal for a relaxed dinner, drinks or weekend brunch. They don’t accept reservations so get in early or wait at the bar with a local crafted beer. Buen provecho!
9. Pizzeria Napoli
Pizzeria Napoli is home to some of the best pizzas in Wellington using traditional pizza dough and preparation. The service as well as the pizzas are fantastic.