Whether you’re living in the world’s coolest little capital or are visiting for a weekend of WearableArt – here are our picks of Wellington’s top bites.

Ombra shot by Luke Owen Smith.

Ombra –

Modelled on the canal-side restaurants of Venice, expect an enthusiastic greeting on arrival and attentive service throughout your meal. This great service is complimented by gorgeous food. The Fish of the Day is served with the crispest green beans; the to-die-for gnocchi (with sage butter and hazelnuts) is made daily on the premises; and the creamiest tiramisu I have ever tasted just has to be paired with the syrupy cherry wine! Like all good Italians, Ombra (199 Cuba Street) is noisy, elegant and seriously yummy! |

Charley Noble.

Charley Noble –

Just a stone’s throw from the powerful walls of Parliament sits this Wellington institution, Charley Noble (No 1 Post Office Square), that bucks the stuffiness of fine dining for a cosmopolitan dining hall vibe. Book ahead to get a seat overlooking their sleek kitchen, which reminds me of bustling London restaurants on The Strand. Take in the hypnotically beautiful wood fire grill, and even better, opt for a steak cooked on it! Organic meats are a worthy focus in a restaurant that brings a slice of busy urban Europe to Wellingtons heart. |


Floriditas –

I pop into this Wellington brunch stalwart late on Saturday morning. The engaging staff ask about my plans for the day as my mocha arrives, and as I await my Smoked Fish Hash, I get chatting to the retired US war vet at the next table. “I love it here,” he tells me about Floriditas (161 Cuba Street). As I tuck into the hearty breakfast, he tells me how little the US military gives veterans, which led him and his wife to our shores prior to her untimely death. Every staff member that passes greets him as a beloved regular, and with a peaceful smile, he tells me, Of all the cities in the world, this is where I feel most happy and connected.” |

Mr Go’s

Mr. Go’s –

‘Asian-Fusion’ restaurants have gotten a bad rep with foodies due to many producing bland Westernised-takes on once authentic dishes, but prepare for Mr. Gos (3 Eva Street) to change your mind. Named after a Chinese market gardener who shared his land and water supply with Western settlers, among the themes of sharing and racial harmony, be sure to try Mr. Go’s divine Prawn Shumai dumplings in garlic butter, giving this Chinese classic dish a rich French twist. Wash this down with one of their fabulous cocktails served in ceramic animal-shaped mugs, and leave room for a tasty steamed Gua Bao. |

Scopa shot by Phoebe Mackenzie.

Scopa –

Ask a local where to find the best pizza in Wellington, and they all give you the same answer: Scopa (141 Cuba Street), so be sure to book in advance! The fermented sourdough bases are the menu’s biggest drawcard (the Funghi was my favourite), but dont look past the peppery perfection of the Rocket Salad or mouth-wateringly sweet and spicy Scopa Fried Chicken. Im drooling as I type! Finish with one of their famous extra thick Italian hot chocolates (pictured) that cool to a custard consistency that can be eaten with a spoon! |