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Best Brunch in Wellington New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand, is a laid-back city with residents who savor the good things in life. As a result, the nation’s capital takes two things seriously: brunch and coffee. Wellington is filled with cute cafés that offer decadent breakfast food and baristas who have been making coffee for years. Eating out in Wellington is not the cheapest endeavor. However, here are ten places where your New Zealand dollar will score you some amazing food and coffee.
Here’s where you can find the best brunch in Wellington New Zealand:
MARANUI CAFÉ, 7 LYALL PARADE
Eat at Maranui Café and enjoy the view of Lyall Bay Beach, a scenic beach that is also the best surfing spot in Wellington. This elevated café offers plenty of seating for groups of various sizes. If you’d like to soak up the strong New Zealand sun, grab one of the coveted tables on the back porch—if Windy Wellington isn’t too windy that day. As one of Wellington’s busiest brunch spots, a queue of hungry diners is almost always winding down the stairs. Thanks to all those seating options, though, the line usually moves fairly quickly.
The most popular dish is the buttermilk pancake stack, which comes in two varieties: Manuka smoked bacon, banana, and maple syrup, or strawberry and rhubarb compote, banana, crème anglaise, and toasted hazelnut. If you want to order pancakes and a coffee, expect to spend around NZD 20 (USD 14.85).
ELEMENTS CAFÉ, 144 ONEPU ROAD
Elements is only a five-minute walk from Maranui Café. Although it doesn’t provide the view of the Lyall Bay Beach and surrounding mountains that Maranui offers, Elements has a reputation for serving consistently delicious food and coffee.
When I lived in the Lyall Bay neighborhood, I visited Elements at least once per week. After a few months, I decided that the Eggs Florentine and Eggs Benedict were the restaurant’s best breakfast dishes. Prepare to pay around NZD 25 (USD 18) for one of these entrees and a cup of coffee.
PATRISHA’S PIES, 298 THE PARADE
One of New Zealand’s signature dishes is the savory meat pie, and Patrisha’s Pies has mastered this meal. The shop is located in Island Bay, a popular fishing area about a five-minute drive past Lyall Bay.
Patrisha’s most popular dishes are the small steak and cheese pie and the steak and mushroom pie, as these are classic kiwi meals. If you want to order one small pie and a cup of coffee, you’ll probably only pay around NZD 10 (USD 7.40).
MIDNIGHT ESPRESSO, 178 CUBA STREET
Start at Dixon Street and turn onto Cuba Street. You’ll find this next café just a ten-minute walk down Cuba Street. Wellington’s most popular and culturally diverse pedestrian road. Midnight Espresso has a cute ambiance, featuring a pinball machine and video game-themed tables. However, it offers little seating. The best option is to order your food and coffee “for takeaway,” then indulge as you explore Cuba Street. While most Wellington restaurants are good about accommodating people on strict diets, Midnight Espresso offers even more (and more delicious) vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options than most places.
Most Wellington cafés have menu items and cabinet items. Cabinet items are the pastries and casseroles displayed behind the glass case next to the register. Usually, menu items are of consistently higher quality. Midnight Espresso is the one restaurant whose cabinet food, which is constantly changing, surpasses its regular menu items. For a sandwich or slice of cake from the cabinet served with a cup of coffee, expect to spend around 15 NZD (USD 11).
FIDEL’S CAFÉ, 234 CUBA STREET
Fidel’s is probably the most popular brunch spot in Wellington. Like Midnight Espresso, it’s located on Cuba Street, but it also has a fun Cuban theme to match the name of the famous street. Although the restaurant is always busy, there are three separate seating areas, so you’ll most likely be seated quickly. However, be aware that you may have to wait a half hour or more for your food.
Favorite dishes are the varieties of Fidel’s Waffles, the most ordered being waffles with fried chicken and toasted almonds. For a cup of Cuban coffee and a plate of fresh waffles, you’ll pay around NZD 22 (USD 16).
THE FLIGHT COFFEE HANGAR, 119 DIXON STREET
I mentioned that Wellington residents take coffee seriously, but The Flight Coffee Hangar takes this passion to a whole new level. This restaurant has won many awards for its brews, including first place in the 2014 and 2015 Brewers Cup Championships.
If you want to sample as many types of coffee as possible, order a tasting flight. For a true kiwi experience, order the Flight of the Flat White to taste three versions of Oceania’s signature drink, which is very different from the flat white Starbucks has introduced to America. A coffee flight will cost you around NZD 13.5 (10 USD).
ENIGMA CAFÉ, 128 COURTENAY PLACE
Enigma is located on Courtenay Place, the second most popular road in Wellington and a mere five-minute walk from the bottom of Cuba Street. Courtenay place is also within walking distance of the scenic Wellington Waterfront. Enigma is great for brunch during the day, drinks at night, and cake throughout the day.
This café’s best-sellers are the Eggs Benedict, Florentine, and Montreal. For an order of eggs and a cup of coffee, you’ll pay around NZD 22 (16 USD).
SWEET MOTHER’S KITCHEN, 5 COURTENAY PLACE
Like Enigma, Sweet Mother’s Kitchen is ideal for brunch but is also open late. This restaurant happens to be located across the street from Enigma Café on Courtenay Place. Sweet Mother’s Kitchen serves some of the most unique brunch food in the area, with Cajun, Creole, and Mexican influences.
Sweet Mother’s has numerous beloved dishes, the most unique of which are the beignets and pain perdu, both New Orleans-inspired. For one of these dishes and a cup of coffee, expect to pay between NZD 10 and 20 (USD 7.50 to 15).
SCORCH-O-RAMA, 497 KARAKA BAY ROAD
Scorch-O-Rama’s best features are its proximity to and view of Scorching Bay Beach, arguably Wellington’s most scenic seaside. While most of Wellington’s beaches are ideal for water sports and scenic walks, Scorching Bay is ideal for a luxurious afternoon of sunbathing.
This café’s most unique meal is the Scorch-O-Rama Lama Ding Dong, a huge meal comprised of bacon, bratwurst, hash browns, mushrooms, and eggs. If you want to experience this epic meal along with a cup of coffee, you’ll pay NZD 27 (USD 20). Keep in mind that this is the café’s most expensive dish, so you’ll pay less if you try something else.
PEPPERMILL CAFÉ & BAR, 4 NORRIE STREET
Peppermill is located in Porirua, a neighborhood located just 20 minutes outside central Wellington by car. It isn’t in a touristy part of the city, which can be seen as a pro or con, depending on your perspective.
This café’s menu changes frequently, but regular customers would never let the Belgian waffle disappear. Another popular meal is the veggie breakfast, the vegetarian version of the full breakfast displayed on the menu. For one of these dishes and some coffee, you’ll spend NZD 21 and 27, respectively (USD 15.50 and 20).
Have you been? What’s your favorite brunch in Wellington New Zealand?