Wellington and the Wairarapa Restaurants

In Wellington, restaurants, cafés, and sports bars spring up overnight like mushrooms. Although you'll never be without the classic meal of steak, fries, and ale, city eateries have also embraced more adventurous fare. Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Malaysian, Mexican, and Italian cuisines are increasingly common. Indigenous food, too, is appearing in restaurants around the city—native plants might be paired with traditional seafood or made into sauces to accompany meat or sweet-potato dishes.

In rural areas outside Wellington, the wine industry has revolutionized local tables, with excellent dining and wine-tasting spots. In the Wairarapa, restaurants are winning a reputation for creative cuisine.

Generally, lunch runs from noon until 2, and most restaurants close for a few hours before opening for dinner around 6. On Monday, many restaurants are shuttered. Dress codes are still really relaxed; jeans would be frowned on only in the top restaurants.

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  • 1. Saint Sebastian

    $$$

    Experience delicious and unique takes on kaimoana (seafood) in this pale blue monument to the sea. The restaurant specializes in home-style cooking and features locally...Read More

  • 2. The Farriers Bar & Eatery

    $$$

    At The Farriers, you can watch the chefs in the open kitchen while waiting for your order to arrive. Much of the large menu is...Read More

  • 3. The White Swan Country Hotel Restaurant

    $$$

    This former railway administration building was chopped into several pieces and relocated before being transformed into a grand country hotel. The menu changes seasonally and...Read More

  • 4. Horseshoe Café Restaurant

    $$$

    This restaurant takes its name from the horseshoe shape of its high-ceilinged room with glistening chandeliers. Padded seating and windows follow the pattern and along...Read More

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