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. The Farriers Bar & Eatery

    $$$$ | New Zealand

    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 devoted to pub...Read More

  • 2. The White Swan Country Hotel

    $$$ | New Zealand

    A big open fireplace, light modern furniture, and glittering chandeliers create a warm, welcoming dining room where the service is impeccable...Read More

  • 3. Horseshoe Café Restaurant

    $$$ | Contemporary

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

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