1. The Botanist
Sitting in the Number 1 spot is potentially one of my favourite cafes in New Zealand, let alone Wellington. This place has pioneered Wellingtons vegan/vegetarian food scene and has even made their meat-free meals favourite dishes for the carnivores among us! For me, there is no better time to hit up The Botanist than brunch – from beastly plant-based breakfast burgers to a forest floor of fresh & fruity muesli – this place has every dish a hungry soul could wish for. Personally, I recommend their pancakes – a 3 story tall stack of the lightest buckwheat pancakes swimming in orange blossom syrup, dollops of caramel cream cheese, poached peaches and a scattering of walnut & pecan crumb – utterly delicious!
Buses that run to Lyall Bay from Manners Street: 3, 2
2. Comes and Goes
Coming in second is of course Comes and Goes – Petone’s crowing café glory! Unbeknown to people who haven’t been in Wellington very long, but forever loved by long-term locals, this place disregards conventional brunch & lunch foods. Instead, Comes and Goes offers dishes inspired from every corner of the globe that make for a morning meal like no other – think bibimbap, bao buns, and my all-time favourite, breakfast panna cotta – a fruity & crunchy clash of all my favourite meals: breakfast granola & dessert.
Trains to catch to Petone from Wellington Station: HVL towards UPPE
3. Beach House & Kiosk
Ranking third on my list of cafes you’d be crazy not to travel out to is this little gem perched on the coast of beautiful Island Bay, Beach House & Kiosk. If you love the sea, you’re gonna love this place. Its nautical theme reflects the stunning seascape views, which can be enjoyed from the comfort of their warm & cozy café dining room. I’ve had many a coffee here, but one of my all-time favourite dishes I dug into was their 2018 WOAP entry – a soft shell, Furikake & seaweed salad burger encased in a brilliantly light brioche bun, served on a bed of chips. This burger blew my mind, and it really showcased the sheer skill the chefs have here at Beach House & Kiosk. If you’re not a burger fan or are more of a sweet tooth, you’re in luck – they also boast an abundance of home-baked goods that are nothing less than drool-worthy to the eye.
Buses that run to Island Bay from Manners Street: 1, 29,
There’s a common theme emerging here, as my fourth place favourite is yet another beach-side brunch haven – Scorchorama. Scorching Bay is probably the undecided best beach of Wellington – with gorgeous golden sand that attracts families, water-sport addicts, and most importantly, dogs, it’s only natural that there is a fantastic café here to feed all the hungry beach-dwellers. Again, brunch or lunch is the best time to come to Scorchorama as there is no better way to rejuvenate after a dip in Wellington’s famous ice-cold sea than to soak up the sun whilst eating some of the best Eggs Benedict’s our capital has to offer.
Buses that run to Scorching Bay from Manners Street: 2, 18e, 24,
And last but definitely not least, is a place that who’s abode is slightly further than a bus ride away, but worth the train trip any day – Longbeach. Again, fitting with our theme of today, this Kapiti beachside café and restaurant that is loved by Wellington locals far and wide. Even though this place is a little more remote than the previous four, it serves up every meal you could wish for – brunch, lunch, breakfast, dinner, pizzas, dessert, cocktails – the list goes on! I have only had their 2019 WOAP burger here, but holy moly if their other meals are anywhere close to how amazing this prawn-packed burger stack, then I’m down to order the whole menu. The best thing about this place is that it’s a stones-throw from Wellington’s Paekaririki walkway, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a well-deserved lunch or dinner after all those stairs!
Trains to catch to Kapiti from Wellington Station: KPL towards WAIK and the 280 bus from Waikanae Station.