Best Places to Eat with Friends in Wellington for International Students

Thursday, July 25, 2019

This is an update on our 20 delicious and affordable places to eat for International Students in Major Cities Around NZ blog that we created last year. This time around we are going to be more in-depth for each city and tell you the best places for breakfast, lunch and dinner in each of our major cities. In this edition we cover Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.


1. Prefab - 14 Jessie St, Te Aro
Prefab Eatery nearby central Wellington and close to the Architecture University campus, was founded in 2013 by Jeff Kennedy and Bridget Dunn. The café has 180 seats and is also the place where all of Jeff and Bridget’s ACME branded coffee, homeware, furniture and other food are sold. We recommend the smashed avocado or the ACME waffle special.

2. Neo Café - 132 Willis St, Te Aro
This highly rated café located right in the middle of the city is well-known as being one of the best places to have breakfast/brunch. With an extensive all-day brunch menu and plenty of cabinet food to choose from, this this is a small and cherished space on the edge of the city centre. A Wellington favourite for sure.

3. Maranui Café - 7A Lyall Parade, Lyall Bay
This historic café is always packed and for good reason! The food, service and atmosphere are all fantastic. Even better, the sweeping view of the beach and the mountains from the restaurant itself are incredible. As its just around the corner from the airport, you’ll also see planes landing and it was recently visited by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Open from 7am every day, you’ll have to get in early to beat the brunch queues! We recommend starting with a smoothie, coffee, breakfast burrito and big breakfast.

4. Chocolate Fish Café - 100 Shelly Bay Road, Maupuia
This casual and unique café is located on the Wellington coast looking back towards the city. Open from 8am every morning, the salads, sandwiches, salads and bagels are all worth a look for savoury breakfast. If you want to try some sweet treats to go with the name, the options are also wide: cakes, meringues, ice creams and ice blocks. This is a café that embraces Kiwiana with Kiwi food and a Kiwi name.

5. Astoria - Midland Park 159 Lambton Quay
The simplicity and elegance of the restaurant stands out in the surrounds of the iconic Midland Park. There are plenty of choices on offer for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diners. The place is great for brunch and to sample the in-house bakery fare (specialty breads, sourdoughs, etc…)


1. Little Penang – 40 Dixon Street
With restaurants on Dixon and the Terrace, this is a dining experience that comes highly recommended. The dishes that these restaurants provide are taken directly from the island of Penang just off Malaysia and the fusion food of Nyonya cuisine. Penang Nyonya cuisine is a flavourful and mix of Chinese, Thai and Malaysian flavours, dishes and cooking techniques. Whether you are after starters, curries, noodles, set dinners or a rice dish, the quality of food and service here is fantastic.

2. Sweet Mothers Kitchen - 5 Courtenay Place, Te Aro
It’s always packed at Sweet Mothers! American style cooking, decorations, music and atmosphere combine in this quirky kitchen to produce a truly unique place to eat. The food is New Orleans inspired, Cajun and Creole dishes. You absolutely must try the chicken in a basket for some legendary American fried chicken. If chicken isn’t your thing then the po-boys, nachos, gumbo or jambalaya are the way to go.

3. The Ramen Shop - 191 Riddiford Street, Newtown
The Ramen Shop began life as a pop-up restaurant in 2013 but rapidly gained fans and soon after opened a permanent shop in Newtown in 2014. In 2018 continued popularity lead to them also opening a store in the Wellington central business district (CBD) on Victoria street. The prices, service and food here are all very reasonable.

4. Fidel’s Café - 234 Cuba Street, Te Aro
What started as ‘Little Gringo’s’ and founded by Roger Young is now a Wellington institution after opening all the way back in 1996 at the top of Cuba Street. The outside courtyard is a great place to hang out with friends on a sunny afternoon. We recommend that you try their smoothies, shakes, cabinet food, waffles and their Cuban burrito.

5. Nikau Café - City Gallery Wellington, Te Ngākau Civic Square, 101 Wakefield St
Situated as part of the City Gallery, this is the place to come to further your cultural experience after visiting the gallery beforehand. Established in 1998, Nikau has been providing great food and sunny views for over 20 years. Its central location and quality of food/service make it worthwhile of multiple visits.


1. Dragonfly - 70 Courtenay Place, Te Aro
Providing top quality food, this Asian fusion restaurant is a great example of Japanese/Vietnamese food done in a way that stands out. With a friendly atmosphere, plenty of dietary friendly foods and outstanding service, this is a firm favourite of Wellingtonians for dinner and drinks.

2. The Botanist - 219 Onepu Rd, Lyall Bay
This plant-based restaurant in Lyall Bay is a standout for vegetarian’s and vegans. It provides fantastic outdoor dining in the summer, with sun-drenched dining out the back of the restaurant. And, in winter, it is the perfect place to shelter from the wind and the rain howling outside and enjoy a tasty, organic meal full of vegetables. Try their ‘facon’, southern-fried cauliflower bites, very filling tacos or plant based ‘meat’ burgers.

3. The Greek Food Truck – Waterfront/Multiple
Affordable and tasty, this truck makes the rounds around Wellington’s streets and provides a European flavour to whatever area it parks in. Specialising in souvlaki and salads, we think that giving them a try next time they are parked close to you is a must.

4. Egmont Street Eatery - 11 Egmont Street, Te Aro
You owe yourself a treat and Egmont Street will provide you with unique and interesting combinations of ingredients and flavours throughout their drinks, starters, mains and dessert. The service is incredible, with chefs and waiters alike doing their utmost to make you feel entertained and comfortable. Don’t walk by the alley and miss this one, make sure you add it to your list of places to try!

5. La Bella Italia - 10 Nevis St, Petone
A bit further out of Wellington than the rest of the places on this list, however its worth it. If you have the means of transportation pay a visit to an authentic Italian restaurant and store, providing delicious pizza, pasta, drinks, salads and desserts. After eating pop-in to the store and pickup some cooking ingredients, oils or baci (Italian chocolate).

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