In my previous post, I mentioned that there was a lot more to come about Wellington and here we are. So last time I talked about some of my favourite Things To Do and Walking Tours. This post is about some of my favourite Foodie Places.
1. The Enigma Cafe
Enigma is a late night cafe on Courtenay Place. It is one of my favourite places in Wellington and I have spent many a good evening there catching up with friends. The main attraction of the cafe is, of course, it’s late opening hours, providing an alternative place to go. The other attraction is their cakes. If you ever should visit make sure you try their cakes. They have a great selection of home-made cakes, such as their Bailey’s Cheesecake or any cake involving boysenberry. Boysenberry is a New Zealand hybrid fruit made of the European Raspberry, Blackberry, the American dewberry and the Loganberry. The cafe also serves alcohol, which is included in some of their cakes. When ordering a cake or really any dessert in New Zealand you get the option of yoghurt or cream.
The cafe is decorated with graffiti art, as well as local music and arts events posters. You can also find leaflets on the local events in Wellington or simply ask the staff. The staff are very helpful and knowledgeable about the Wellington Arts scene. The cafe is generally bustling with people no matter what time of day you visit. There is also a smoking area outside.
2. Electric Avenue (now called Danger Danger)
Right next door to Enigma Cafe is the famous, or infamous, Electric Avenue. If you have ever had a night out in Wellington, then you have probably ended up here before the night was over. It is a backpacker friendly bar, with cheap prices and the latest chart hits. Generally speaking after midnight you will find that most of the native Kiwi’s will have left and so you will be surrounded by your fellow backpackers. The drinks on offer are classic Kiwi favourites, including the Sauvignon Blanc that New Zealand is famous for as well as your more standard beers and ciders. Electric Ave has, however, been closed down and is now under the name of Danger Danger. The setup is still the same, except now they have extended their food menu to include Wood Fire Pizzas. I haven’t tried these myself, but they definitely look interesting.
I have had many a good night here when it was Electric Avenue, and if you are a cider drinker, like myself, do try the Wild Side, which is a Kiwi produced brand. Or for the beer drinkers out there, try the Tui or Mac’s beers, both of which can often be found on tap. The music in Electric Ave will change from the Chart Hits to some 80’s or 90’s music. One thing I found about New Zealand is the radio stations do play a lot of 80’s music, so be prepared to sing the night away to the likes of Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl and Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun. From the reviews I have seen, Danger Danger still seems to have the same vibe as Electric Avenue did, it is just under a different name, so definitely check it out.
Moving from one drinking establishment to another.. Tank. Tank is a chain of juice and smoothly bars, which sells some really delicious and healthy fruit shakes, wraps and salads. All of the shops have a large menu of juices and smoothies, which detail the ingredients and whether they are vegan and/or vegetarian friendly. The drinks cost around $9-$11 each and come in a choice of Half Tank or Full Tank. The brand is a stand-out orange colour, so it is easy to spot. You can find a Tank in most towns and cities, such as Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch, to name a few. There are 50 stores in total across New Zealand.
My favourite drinks are on the Tank menu are either the Berry Hipster or the All Berry Tank. Both are filled with beautiful berries, as the names suggest, including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. There is also a great range of illness-fighting shakes, including the Tank Healer and the Xtreme C. Of course, you don’t just have to stick to the menu, as you can customise your shake by adding extra shots, such as the immunity shot (found in the Tank Healer). There is a great selection of drinks and snacks on offer and they are made fresh right in front of you. It is definitely worth a visit after a long night out at Electric Avenue.
4. Burger Fuel
New Zealand has a lot of great food options, one of which is Burger Fuel. If you talk to anyone in New Zealand about food, you will probably be advised to go visit a Burger Fuel. Mainly on the North Island, the stores are in most towns. The burgers are decently priced and you can choose from a good range of options, including beef, chicken and vegetarian burgers. My favourite burgers are the Bacon Backfire (which is chicken based) and the C N Cheese (beef based).
Burger Fuel is an iconic brand in New Zealand and Australia, which is beginning to branch out into other countries. I’m hoping it will come to the UK some day soon. The burgers are extremely tasty and are more than enough to fill you. Other things to try at Burger Fuel are the Kumara Fries (New Zealand’s native sweet potato made into chips) and Aioli (another New Zealand favourite, of garlic and mayonnaise). The burgers are styled as gourmet, so don’t be expecting the typical fast food style, because these are so much better.
5. Noodle Canteen
If you maybe aren’t a fan of the amazing Burgers served at Burger Fuel, another great place to try is Noodle Canteen. Based at the top of Courtenay Place in Wellington, this noodle bar offers huge bowls of freshly made noodles for around $11.00 each. It is a budget-minded traveller friendly place, as the large bowls can be used for two meals, or more, depending on how much you eat. For me, Noodle Canteen was one of the few places open after a long day at work and it was on my way home. I could pick up a bowl of their Sweet and Sour box (amazing and full of meat and vegetables), which would then do me for dinner that night and lunch the next day. New Zealand food is often influenced by Asian culture, as there are a lot of connections between Asia and New Zealand.
For me, Noodle Canteen was one of the few places open after a long day at work where I would quite often be leaving after midnight. I could pick up a bowl of their Sweet and Sour box (amazing and full of meat and vegetables), which would then do me for dinner that night and lunch the next day. It’s not out-of-this-world food and it may be something you can find in your own country, but it is definitely good food for a cheap price.
6. Wellington Night Market
One of the highlights of Wellington and their food culture is the Night Market and I couldn’t discuss food in Wellington without mentioning it. It takes place just off Cuba Street on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Friday Night Market is located off Cuba Street by the old bank-turned Burger King. The Saturday Night Market is further up Cuba Street and some of the surrounding shops and restaurants also stay open later. The Night Market showcases local Wellington businesses with a good variety of food and crafts on offer. The market consists of food trucks from a number of restaurants in Wellington. The food is decently priced and the market attracts a big crowd, both of visitors and locals. I would suggest you try the deep fried ice cream, if you are a dessert person. It’s something that you probably won’t try anywhere else.
The Night Market showcases local Wellington businesses with a good variety of food and crafts on offer. The market consists of food trucks from a number of restaurants in Wellington, with mini menus for you to try from. The food is decently priced and the market attracts a big crowd, both of visitors and locals. I would suggest you try the deep fried ice cream if you are a dessert person. It’s something that you probably won’t try anywhere else. If you are looking for something more savoury, there is the House of Dumplings cart, which serve a selection of their homemade dumplings for you to choose from. They are great, bite-sized, and you can mix and match which ones you want to try.
In addition to this list, there are many other great places in Wellington to try out. For instance, there is Hell’s Pizza, which makes brilliant pizzas but for a slightly over-budget price for me. Definitely worth a try though if you fancy a treat. Also worth a visit is the Wellington Chocolate Factory- you can buy chocolate there or take a tour to see how it is all made. You will find the Wellington Factory chocolate in the local stores and the museum shop if you fancy trying it first. There are also a number of more niche or alternative bars in Wellington, such as The Library, which is a more upmarket bar in a library setting, which makes it a chilled place to relax and catch up with friends. There is also Laundry at the top end of Cuba Street, which does a pretty decent reggae night.
So no matter what you are looking for, there is something for everyone’s taste buds in Wellington.
Next: A couple of weeks by the beach.