The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington, is well-known for its fantastic array of cafes, bars and restaurants. When it comes to brunch, Wellington might just pip all other contenders to the post thanks to the huge selection of independent places to eat. Here are 10 of the best.
No list could be complete without the mention of Fidel’s Cafe on the famous Cuba Street. This cafe has been a firm favourite for years now, and there looks to be no sign of that changing. Its eclectic menu and decor has made it a favourite of uni students and young professionals, busy suits and relaxed retirees. If you want some properly tasty cabinet food made with love and some of the best ingredients to be found, then look no further. Also, the coffee is probably the best in the city, and that’s saying something in Wellington.
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Located in the heart of this bohemian street is Floriditas, where the high ceiling, quirky decor and bright, colourful ornaments provide a cool space for you to enjoy the delicious modern cuisine. It has recently had a bit of a well-deserved facelift and is looking sharper than ever. Floriditas have breakfast, lunch and dinner covered, and if you come at the weekend they have a specialised brunch menu waiting. When it comes to brunch fare these guys are famous for their eggs, which are available any way you care to imagine. This is the sort of comfortable, classy joint in which brunch all too easily turns into dinner and cocktails.
This could perhaps be the most “Wellington” of all the brunch options on our list. True to its name, Midnight Espresso is your almost-round-the-clock stop for a coffee fix. It only closes for four hours a day. Locals rave about this Cuba Street gem’s inviting ambiance, brilliant brews, and generous food offerings. On the food side of things, it’s worth pointing out that their menu includes a great selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes, so head along and try out some of the excellent cabinet food. You can also drink your coffee and munch on a pastry while playing retro video-games.
Olive, a restaurant, café and bar, is one of Wellington’s secret havens. It is also another one of its eating establishments that has withstood the test of time whilst newer places have come and gone. Its garden area is furnished with palm trees and wooden décor and is a great spot to enjoy that lazy brunch catch-up with friends. On a good day – and you’ll hear Wellingtonians say this a lot – Wellington can’t be beat. And as you sit out with your coffee or Bloody Mary, reading the morning papers and finishing off the last of your shiitake mushroom stuffed with cashew mozzarella on forbidden rice with ginger dressing, you will too.
This iconic Wellington cafe is a must-visit for anyone passing through the capital city. The bustling establishment in Lyall Bay caters to the masses with a good cuppa and plentiful menu. As well as having fantastic views of the sea and being located very close to the beach, Maranui Café also has delicious options for breakfast or lunch, making it a great spot for an after swim bite. Not only that, the Maranui Cafe also impresses its ever-so-loyal clientele with its beachy decor and stunning views of the coastline. If you want to order like a local, then make sure get your mitts on a milkshake. The best way to enjoy one is to get it to go after your meal and sip it while meandering slowly along the beach.
Scorch O Rama
This café, out of town and off the beaten track as it is, is consistently rated one of the best in the area. Dust off the sand and salt, head into the funky interior and grab a Sammy the Salmon Bagel for simple gastronomic perfection. Vegetarians should point straight to the Hulk Smash. If you’re on the fence about driving out to this bay from the city, just know that during the filming of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, this was a favourite hangout for (in happier days) Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom. How’s that for some celebrity endorsement.
Chocolate Fish Cafe
This quirky little outpost of culinary excellence has been a favourite among the locals of Wellington for a good while now. The location is out of the city in Shelly Bay. It’s only a short drive along the winding coastal road, but it’s well worth it. It’s quite a good idea if you’re visiting the area, to tie a bit of brunch in at the Chocolate Fish Cafe and then drive on to Mirimar where you can visit Weta Work Shop at the hub of Peter Jackson’s film empire. As with all these places, it’s the little touches that have the biggest effect on the paying public. The fact you can wear complimentary hats on hot days when you’ve forgotten your own is something for us that eclipses even the marvellous food.
It’s a very relaxed, very dreamy sort of vibe that they’re going for at Beach Babylon, or they would be if it wasn’t so popular and busy with tourists and locals alike. If you’re venturing out to Oriental Bay, make sure to stop by this harbourside restaurant. Catering for the coffee crazy, brunching crowds, and fine diners, Beach Babylon is a great place to head if you’re wanting to add a bit of variety as you wind down by the cool ocean waves. They have deals on most days, including a Kids Eat Free Sunday and 2 for 1 Mains on Mondays.
Caffe L’Affare has been buzzing with Wellingtonians for more than 25 years, and it’s still going strong. The company relies on the expertise of some of the highest-graded roasters and industry-leading baristas. Caffe L’Affare’s selection of fairtrade coffee and delectable menu items keep the crowds coming back to their flagship location. The industrial decor is very Wellington, making you feel somehow that you’re getting your hands dirty or slumming it while you sip on your perfect espresso and nibble on your elegant pastry.
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