I got to spend a delightful couple of “summer” days in Wellington, New Zealand. I say “summer” because we didn’t really get the “summer” feels while we were there. The coldest day was 13′ C with winds for which this girl who loves the winter, was under prepared. I had one rain jacket and one sweatshirt and made the most of it!
What did distract me from all the cold winds was the amazing coffee, beautiful wine, and some amazing food. Fresh ingredients really do make such a difference – you can taste it. Also, the city has this most amazing vibe – it’s a little hard to describe. You have to be there.
And the street art…oh the street art!
Upon receiving some awesome support from my kiwi friend, I chose to live very close to Cuba Street (Airbnb ftw!). It was the best ever decision. Wellington is a super walk-able city and you want to walk – you might miss some of the street art if you are in a bus or car. Also, with the weather usually always being cool and nice, walking is king!
Here’s a little round up of a few of the places I tried while in Wellington that I would recommend if you are ever in this fabulous city.
The Flying Burritos Brothers – 182 Cuba St, Wellington
We were tired and jet lagged and saw that this place was just down the street from us so we ran in. And thank goodness we did. The food was amazing, the service was great. Also, I was with a Mexican friend when we ran in here starving. He was equally impressed with this place.
Fresh guacamole and pepitas – spicy toasted pumpkin seeds
The ceviche pacifico. Fresh coconut, lime chilli marinated ﬁsh. Such fresh flavors!
The carne fajitas. How beautiful does that look?
Taco de Pollo. Chicken breast dusted in guajillo chilli, pan seared w onions, coriander, chipolte pibil sauce, topped w poblano pesto. Flavor galore!
I also asked for an order of churros to go and they were worth the extra wait and calories.
Fidel’s Cafe – 234 Cuba St, Wellington
A great breakfast/ brunch spot however, they all have an all-day menu with taco and burger options and a pizza menu as well. They place is old and rustic. The outside seating area was the winning choice simply because it was so busy inside.
These flat whites, I tell ya!
The vegetarian option: Pan-fried halloumi cheese served on toasted sourdough with house made chilli jam, rocket and avocado. Delicious!
The meat option – Fidel’s Feast. And a feast it was!
Aunty Mena’s Vegetarian Restaurant – 167 Cuba St, Wellington
When looking for vegetarian options in Wellington for “Meatless Monday” and coming across this one, locals refereed to this place as an “institution” and a must-try. And so I did try it and I could tell what the fuss was all about. They had so many options – a vegetarian’s dream-come-true kinda place! It does get busy however, and from the looks of it, there might have been one person doing most of the cooking so dinner might be at a relaxed pace!
Vegetable Pan-Fried Dumplings.
Buddha’s meal. A vegetable and cashew stir-fry.
Sichuan Chilli Soup. The broth was a good level of spicy and included a personal fav – bamboo shoots!
Who I decided was Aunty Mena.
This bowl of vegetarian laksa was filled with tofu, kai-Fu, veggie balls and mixed vegetables. So.much.flavor.
Olive – 170/172 Cuba St, Wellington
When you walk through the restaurant to make it to the outdoor seating area, you will witness actual magic. From a very clean, airy and classy decor style choice for the inside, the outside is rustic, green and quite wonderland-ish. This was another breakfast stop and the food was fresh and delicious.
Oh flat whites! How I miss you!
Avocado and feta on toast with a lemon salsa and a side of poached egg and bacon.
Eggplant chips with poached egg and prosciutto. Quick note about this place, the idea when we read “chip” was that it would be thinly sliced chips, maybe baked, like you get in a bag. Once the plate arrived, we remembered we were in New Zealand where chips = fries and fries = chips. The mistake wasn’t terrible though, these were yummy.
Havana – 32a-34 Wigan St, Te Aro Wellington
Havana Bar is located in two Historic Te Aro workingmen’s cottages. The cottage on the left is the restaurant (where we sat) and the one on the right is a bar. Put this place on your “must go” list if you are in this city. The little of the food I tried was incredible.
The cottages date back to the late 19th century and look amazing against the very modern city backdrop.
Yes – that red door down the very narrow alleyway is the way to enter.
Lies. The food is something worth putting down in the books.
Roasted Thyme Mushrooms finished with 20yr Sherry Vinegar.
Smokey Pimento & Saffron Paella with Mussels, Cockles, Prawns, Chorizo and Octopus
Sautéed Prawns in Kashmiri Chilli and Garlic
Roast Pork Belly with a Smokey Sweet Corn and Coriander Salsa, Sweet Corn Mousse and Crackling. I have put it on my list to learn how to make some of that Sweet Corn Mousse.
No, really. Put this place on your list.
Floradita’s – 161 Cuba St, Wellington
I was told that this placed hasn’t changed in forever. And I am pleased that it hasn’t. Also – while all the coffee was amazing, if someone twisted my arm and I had to pick a favorite – Floradita’s coffee might just win!
The hollandaise was ah-mazing!
Ortega Fish Shack – 16 Majoribanks St, Wellington
This place has been ranked as #1 out of 605 restaurants in Wellington and so I had to give it try. Holy-delicious-and-inventive-food-Batman! Another must go! Also – you have to have reservations to get a table here. We had the table for an hour and a half and actually had to sit at the bar for dessert!
While they call it a “fish shack” there is nothing shack-like about this place.
Kaikoura Scampi ceviche, avocado, Vietnamese mint, shiso, lemongrass, scampi oil
Pan-fried Prawn tails, garlic butter sauce, lemon, Italian parsley & tagliatelle. Use the bread for the remainder of the sauce on the plate.
John Dory, Arroz negro, smoked mussels, cockles, chorizo, almonds, scampi mayo
Chocolate Mousse, espresso mascarpone, dark Ghana ganache & chocolate crumb
There you have it. Seven must-try-food-stops in Wellington!
I haven’t said “oh! I could so live here” about a lot of cities – but this is one I really could.
Have you been to this fabulous city? Where did you love best?