where to eat in + around Wellington, New Zealand

I've spent a great deal of my time in New Zealand, and a good portion of that time has been spent in the "suburbs" of Wellington as much as the capital city itself. There's more to Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, and Petone than just relatively cheaper rent {by Welly standards}-- there's a real food scene bubbling. It can actually be overwhelming to pick a place to eat given Wellington's thriving cafe culture and general foodie vibes. 

Here are 5 fun places to grab a bite if you're in the Wellington area...

 kombucha from Beannie Cafe

kombucha from Beannie Cafe

1. Comes and Goes

Grace and I spent a soggy Petone evening eating dinner by candlelight in this beautiful cafe that maximizes on the idea that details are everything {and I love details}. Chopsticks tied outside of your napkin with a tiny bow and small marble bowls that hold the salt, the way you find table salt all around Asia-- Comes and Goes truly thinks of everything. Admittedly, I was not in the mood for Asian food when I went, however, hours passed quickly in the gorgeous setting catching up with {the also inarguably gorgeous} Grace over sesame tofu and long beans. The Argentine man who worked at the bar that night gave me and Grace a good laugh and we bonded over my Buenos Aires mugging, to which he responded, "You have had a truly South American experience then. You haven't been to Argentina until you've been robbed." 

2. Seashore Cabaret

On my last day in New Zealand, I was taken to Seashore Cabaret. The outside wasn't extremely impressive, and I wasn't sure where he was taking me until we walked inside and I say the colourful decor and yummy menu. It turns out, he knows me better than I thought because Seashore Cabaret was right on my alley! Their hibiscus tea was served in the cutest little teapot and ceramic cup. I didn't eat much that morning due to pre-flight nerves, but everything looked good and my accomplice seemed to enjoy his avocado toast and berry smoothie. 

 vegetarian burger at Beannie Cafe

vegetarian burger at Beannie Cafe

3. Beannie Cafe

Petone has all kinds of fun food places that continue to pop up along Jackson Street. Beannie's is an alt-y cafe that serves the best vegetarian burger I've had in New Zealand. Like...anywhere in New Zealand. Tash brought me here on my most recent trip home and I first noticed the stellar soundtrack and the beautiful espresso machine. The inside features satirical New Zealand art and there is outside seating complete with flower beds and funky murals. 

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4. Heaven Woodfire Pizza

A place that was made special to me for one set of reasons has been made special recently for another-- family friends bought Heaven and now run the woodfire pizza shop. The music played at Heaven, combined with the art that hangs around the place and general Cuba Street vibes makes it a good place for grabbing lunch on a rainy Wellington day. Side note: please try Sharmla's white chocolate, lemon cheesecake-- it's delicious. Ask for Teigh if you visit, and tell him his obnoxious American friend sent you! 

 nothing beats Wellington {and bagels} on a good day

nothing beats Wellington {and bagels} on a good day

5. Best Ugly Bagel

Anyone who knows me knows I love bagels. I thought seriously about getting a bagel tattoo in Shanghai after finally finding recognizable carbs in the Chinese city. I took Tash to Best Ugly Bagel in Wellington on a sunny day out and found the place was exactly as I'd hoped it'd be-- industrial-style interior, large windows for prime people watching, reasonable prices, and delicious New York bagels.