Wellington New Zealand virtual tour - Restaurants, pubs, accommodation and hotel booking, NZ tourism, travel, vacation and holiday information.

Wellington Restaurants and Pubs

There are a couple of events that serious food buffs should look out for when visiting Wellington. The New Zealand Wine and Food Festival is typically held in mid-November at the Civic Square. The following week, there is the Martinborough food and wine festival held in Martinborough (one hour north of Wellington), and in February there is the Marlborough Food and Wine festival in Blenheim (in the South Island, but not far from Wellington).

General Note on Bringing Your Own Wine/Alcohol

Restaurants in New Zealand describe themselves either as licensed, which means they are able to sell alcohol, BYO (bring your own), or unlicensed (meaning they can't serve alcohol on the premises). Just to make things confusing some places are both licensed and BYO, meaning they will both sell you alcohol or let you bring your own. Quite a few restaurants in New Zealand let you take your own wine, which lets you enjoy the wines you really prefer and which you think will best complement your meal. This also tends to cut the price of the meal significantly. Even places that have a liquor license will usually let you bring your own wine/alcohol, but will often charge a 'corkage fee'. Sometimes they will try to dissuade you, but if you are polite and persistant they'll usually agree. A reasonable amount to expect to pay for corkage is no more than 2 dollars. (Even with the corkage fee, it's usually much cheaper to bring your own.) It's always worth calling ahead to check.

Some recommended restaurants in Wellington

Zeno's, for great, ultra-fresh seafood and Mediterrenean cuisine. The restaurant is in Island Bay, right next to the seashore. Zeno's has seafood that is as fresh as it gets - sometimes one can see them bringing in bags of shellfish that have the water streaming out of them and which have literally just been taken from the sea. The owner and head chef, Alex Shaw, manages to bring together a rigorous knowledge of traditional French/Italian cuisine, with some inspired innovation and the freshest produce. He's also a very sociable chap, so don't be surprised if you find him perched at your table introducing himself. Prices vary but are pretty reasonable, with mains averaging between NZ$12.00 and NZ$15.00. You may need to book early as Zeno's tends to be very popular.

Cafe Paradiso is the place where the hip young crowd can be found. It offers French and Italian cuisine in a rather chic setting. Main courses average around NZ$16-20.00. There is also a bar and good coffee. It's located on the corner of Courtney Place and Blair St.

Pharazyn House in Lower Hutt is about 20 minutes from Wellington, a bit off the beaten path, but is definitely worth the effort. It has great food, and especially good game food. The gentleman who runs it is a chef instructor, and has his chefs in training cook under his supervision, so the food varies a bit, but is usually brilliant, occasionally mediocre and sometimes sublime. The restaurant is in a big, old, remodelled mansion, and you can ask for one of several different sized rooms.

The Mount Victoria Cafe has great vegetarian food. It doesn't serve haute cuisine, but it is very cheap and serves excellent food. One should arrive early - it opens at 6:00 pm - since the food usually goes quite fast. You can get a great view of the city by driving up a bit to the Mount Victoria lookout area. The Mount Victoria Cafe is on the corner of Brougham and Queen St.

Strawberry Fare is another great specialist dessert restaurant which also has some nice main dishes. Situated in a converted house, the restaurant is friendly and cosey. Won't traumatize your arteries the way Death by Chocolate will, but that can be nice too. Open 11am-late, 7 days. 25 Kent Terrace, Wellington, Ph. 0-4 385 2551.



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