Oh wow, Wellington! A few days in New Zealand’s capital made me regret not bringing my usual ‘eating jeans’ (you know, the ones you have when you’re about to have a feast!). This trip was really just to catch up with friends I had not seen in years - and what better way to catch up with friends than with food. Most of these places were recommended by locals, and those in my books are the best kind.
Wellington is a city best explored on foot, well at least on a sunny day. If you’re staying away from the CBD, I highly recommend to bus in (or catch the train and walk) to save yourself the stress of trying to find a park. I will definitely be back Wellington, and hopefully this time, not too long between drinks!
Floriditas Cafe and Restaurant
My friend Conrad is a recent ‘local’ to Wellington, and like me, he loves food. At 10.30am on a Saturday morning, Floriditas was already busy and service in full swing. I ordered the cauliflower, kale and feta fritters. These days I like to try vegetarian dishes for brunch, especially avoiding brunch staples of cafe menus.
The feta helped satiate my mid-morning savoury craving, who am I kidding, I love cheese. Also, I appreciated that the cauliflower wasn’t chopped too finely - it gave the fritter body, which meant it didn’t crumble to pieces. I had my usual soy mocha and that was delicious - there was the option of going with a bowl or cup, and after my meal I was glad that I went with the cup.
By the way, kudos to Floriditas for your great service. This wasn’t just from our server either, I observed some of the nearby servers, and you can tell they enjoyed what they did and wanted to be there. Delicious food, great setting and fantastic service!
Location: 161 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
Phone: 04 381 2212
Kaffee Eis - Gelato and Coffee
I just happened to be in Wellington on the first day of Spring - and the waterfront was teeming with tourists and locals walking their dogs. After a wet Winter, there was definitely an optimistic vibe and I was even walking around with a t-shirt until the wind picked up later in the day.
After walking off brunch, we headed to Kaffee Eis for gelato. How about this for a backdrop? I had the biscotti flavour, which is pretty much like a cookies and cream. No regrets on that choice! There are tables inside, but with a day like this, we took advantage of the ones overlooking the harbour inlet. The local rowing club was nearby and use this as their launch area. Apparently on a good day, you can even watch stingrays swimming by.
Tommy Millions Pizzas & Subs
When I say I love pizza, what I really mean is eating pizza made with love. Tommy Millions popped up a few times with my friends while I was in Wellington, so I made time to pick up a slice on my last day in Wellington. It was another cold and wet day - I figured delicious pizza would be a perfect way to end my time here.
Being on the corner of two major streets in the Wellington CBD, their pizzas and subs is the ideal eat and walk food. There aren’t any outdoor tables and chairs, however I saw plenty of bench seats nearby. On a sunny day (or just not raining), you can always make do. From Monday to Friday at 11am - 4pm, they have a two for one deal on their Margherita pizzas and slices!
They have three stores in Wellington, check out their website to find the closest one to your hood.
Location: 101/103 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington
Phone: 04 382 8866
Best Ugly Bagels
I have had a love affair with bagels for awhile now, and Wellington was where it all began for me, way back when I was a student in 2001. Something about biting into that crunchy, toasted bread, then the softer dough and topping flavours hit you. For a few minutes all is good in the hood, you feel?
Whether you’re a minimalist or an all out topping fiend, Best Ugly Bagels has something for you. So far I’ve had their spicy tuna melt, peanut butter (with yummy Fix & Fogg) and Koko, with their in-house hazelnut spread.
I had the Koko at the airport before I flew home - they were next to my gate! If that wasn’t the Universe telling me I needed more bagels in my life, then I don’t know what is.
They have locations both in Wellington and Auckland, see their website for store locations. Make sure to check out my full Ronna Eats write up on my bagel feast!
Wellington: 5 Swan Lane, Te Aro, Wellington + Airport
Phone: 04 803 3563
Another local recommendation, this one I checked out with Renee, a friend I first met at a dance camp in 2012. She told me that she eats here almost every week. What’s her usual? The seafood laksa - it smelled so good! Unfortunately it had crustaceans, so I couldn’t try it. We also had chicken wings with a sweet and sour sauce to dip in.
It was a cold night, so I ordered the wonton noodle soup with BBQ pork strips. I always check if they make the wontons with shrimp, and luckily this time they didn’t, especially since I had my heart set on it. You know when you get cravings for certain dishes? Yeah, like that.
Less than 15 minutes and we were digging in, so quick that I barely had enough time to look around. I’m not going to sugar coat it, the setting is tidy and plain. This is a place you go to for the quick service, cheap food and one of the few places you can BYO wine (make sure to check on the corkage fee).
Location: 203 Left Bank Cuba Mall, Te Aro, Wellington
Phone: 04 381 3303
Who is RonnaEats? Ronna Funtelar runs this independent foodie blog, with a philosophy to eat and write about food we can rave about. We don't ask for free meals or collaborate with our reviewed eateries, so you can be assured the reviews are unbiased and all for the love of food. Whether it's a food truck, a hole in the wall eatery, street food, local hangout or fine dining, we want to know where to head to for our next food adventure.