The Best Brunch Spots In Wellington

By Julia Gessler
Floriditas, located on Cuba Street. Photo / @floriditas

For immaculate vibes and an astonishing array of eggs, this is where to go for Wellington’s best morning-to-midday meals.

Brunch is an eggy, frothing world. The hours in which you can eat are sturdy and unflappable. Tables, sometimes perpetually jammed, are filled and secured with the kind of frenzied devotion

It is a world of harriedness and hollandaise, laced with an uncomplicated purpose and something conspiratorial — a time to clink glasses and spill secrets, to take things slow and slower some more — and in Wellington, it is no different. Below are some of the best places to do all of this in Pōneke, in no particular order.

Customs coffee shop, located on Ghuznee Street. Photo / Supreme
Customs coffee shop, located on Ghuznee Street. Photo / Supreme


For when you want fancy toast.

Customs is easy to find because there’s usually a crowd outside. If cafes are style tribes, then the people sitting on stools or waiting to be caffeinated at this Ghuznee Street establishment are cool in a preternatural way. Maybe it’s the coffee (Supreme) or the location (it’s close to other measures of taste, like Cuba Street and concept store Kaukau). Maybe it’s the toast. The self-described “informal toast restaurant” heroes this curiously wellsung brunch option, with a rotating menu that has variously featured avocado with labne and chilli oil; heirloom tomatoes with tahini and fresh goat’s cheese; banana; and egg salad. Sweet tooths should also get an apple fritter to go, partly because it’s a heck of a lot of sugar to start your day but mostly because it’s a doughnut that’s as substantial as a three-course meal.

Address: 39 Ghuznee St, Te Aro.

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 7.30am to 3pm; Sunday, 8.30am to 3pm.

Highwater Eatery

For when you want fancy everything else.

Most days, Highwater Eatery exists as one of the few better spots in which to intimately pass several hours while sinking back a procession of oysters, those silky molluscs punctuated with yuzu and kumquat as bright as exclamation points. But it also does lunch on Fridays and brunch on Saturdays, the perfect opportunity to try more of its seasonal menu that’s different enough to be interesting and challenging all at the same time. There’s babaganoush with poached egg, Persian-spiced lamb shoulder, cumin tomatoes with flatbread, and eggs done any way. Of course, the sausages are homemade, as are the bread and the Kurobuta bacon.

Address: 54 Cuba Street, Te Aro.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm to 10pm; Friday, 12pm to 11pm; Saturday, 11am to 11pm.

The fried potato with avocado and hot smoked fish at Egmont Street Eatery. Photo / @egmontst.eatery
The fried potato with avocado and hot smoked fish at Egmont Street Eatery. Photo / @egmontst.eatery

Egmont Street Eatery

For when your group is too big to fit into an SUV.

For a convivial dining experience, head to Egmont Street Eatery. It’s bright and airy and an embassy of neutrals, a sleek pocket of wishbone chairs and plants that hang above eye level and play in the sandbox of Scandinavian minimalism. It’s a great spot for a group to catch up and get lightly buzzed over Melon Parksides, a recent addition to the cocktail menu combining house-infused rock-melon vodka, fresh mint and lime. Along with the drinks, the menu highlights local, seasonal produce — think thick slabs of crunchy potato topped with a ripple of avocado; kimchi and mustard toasties; and baked beans with cornbread.

Address: 11 Egmont Street, Te Aro.

Opening hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 11am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 9.30pm; Friday, 11am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm; Saturday, 9am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm; Sunday, 9am to 2.30pm.


For when you want brunch by the ocean.

There is no more satisfying way to feast than by the sea, and for that there is Scorch-O-Rama. It’s a kitschy, salt-of-the-neighbourhood place. You enter under a cerulean surfboard flanked by a pāua shell wall, pick a themed table (on a recent visit with my boyfriend, we were instructed to walk to the available ‘Legend of Zelda’) and order from a menu full of dad jokes. Alternatively, cross the road and grab a seat on the restaurant’s extension, a sufficiently summery deck on the perimetre of Scorching Bay (there’s no shade, so be prepared). The food is simple and generously portioned, and the milkshakes are heavy enough to count as breakfast.

Address: 497 Karaka Bay Road, Karaka Bays.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 4pm.

Loretta on Cuba Street. Photo / @lorettaoncuba
Loretta on Cuba Street. Photo / @lorettaoncuba


For handsome food in a handsome place.

At Loretta, the waffles are made with the precision of a mathematician. Their angular corners and all of their crispy bits dip into prettiness — a quenelle of vanilla mascarpone here, a small silver jug of chai-spiced maple syrup there. The menu explores other territories with a similar rigour. It is one of the city’s most handsome and agreeable places to down a pizza — the eatery’s affection for toppings is playful in a consistently good way, ranging from octopus that melds with mozzarella and squid ink aioli, to venison sausage or “golden queen peach” dotted with whipped ricotta. Alternatively, get the wood-fired shakshuka — the eggs come in a comforting bath of tomatoes, lentils and sumac yoghurt. For dessert: A skillet of white chocolate brownie and a ball of purple plum icecream.

Address: 181 Cuba Street, Te Aro.

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, 5pm to 11pm; Friday, 12pm to 11pm; Saturday, 9am to 11pm; Sunday, 9am to 10pm.

Maranui Cafe

When you want to walk off everything you just ate.

Maranui Cafe is high on nostalgia — inside, retro is king; outside, it dates back to 1911. It is something of an institution in Lyall Bay, the surfer’s beacon, perched above the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club. Park yourself among the heady but charming eclecticism, somewhere between the wall of oars and the taxidermy fish, and order something substantial: a plate of scrambled eggs, say, or a loaded salmon bagel. Then go for a gentle, ambling stroll to lock in why you fell in love with it, this bay, in the first place.

Address: Level 1, 7A Lyall Parade, Lyall Bay.

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, 7am to 4pm; Friday, 7am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 5pm.

The oat and chia seed bircher at Floriditas. Photo / @floriditas
The oat and chia seed bircher at Floriditas. Photo / @floriditas


For when you have breakfast with your parents.

On an unassuming corner is a place that looks like it could exist at any point in time. Here, at Floriditas, the lights hang like droplets. The wood is a shade of chocolate. The flower arrangement never dies (or it does, but you’d never know). It’s also the kind of place that reliably serves the essential pleasures of breakfast: Brioche french toast; oat and chia seed bircher flecked with grilled pineapple and dried strawberries; a version of green eggs and ham that takes its visual cues from sauteed spinach and parsley hollandaise. If you’re the kind of person who likes smoked fish before midday, there is an excellent hash, the catch and those crispy agrias served with dill, hot sauce and lemon mayonnaise.

Address: 161 Cuba Street, Te Aro.

Opening hours: Monday, 7am to 3pm; Tuesday to Thursday, 7am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm; Friday and Saturday, 7am to 3pm, 5pm to 11pm; Sunday, 7.30am to 3pm.

The Botanist

For when you don’t want any meat or dairy.

It’s hard enough to find a decent somewhere to sit and eat on a Saturday, let alone one that doesn’t have meat and dairy. But Lyall Bay’s The Botanist is beloved precisely because it doesn’t have them. The breakfast burritos have their fill of scrambled tofu, the ham is plant-based, the avocados are (in the tradition) smashed on toasted ciabatta, and the buckwheat pancakes come in two kinds of dessert people: biscoff tiramisu, featuring banana, coffee maple syrup and delicate peaks of vegan mascarpone; and lemon posset, with a sharp lemon curd and berry compote.

Address: 219 Onepu Road, Lyall Bay.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 10.30pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 10pm.

August eatery, located on Taranaki Street. Photo / @augusteatery
August eatery, located on Taranaki Street. Photo / @augusteatery


It’s got the shape of a barn and the ochreness of a barn, but August is by all other metrics very urbane, positioned in the central city next to a heritage-listed Methodist church. The food is Mediterranean-inflected, a cornucopia of spanakopita, chorizo and feta omelettes, lamb skewers, burrata and rigatoni pasta. Try the tsoureki French toast, the bread crispened and covered in a tart orange curd, roasted strawberries and a labne light enough to eat by the spoonful. I’d advise against adding the bacon (it’s $9) but do get a bomboloni — their takes on the Italian filled doughnut swing from classic (raspberry cream) to outre (creme brulee) — to take home.

Address: 75 Taranaki St, Te Aro.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 7am to 2pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 3pm.

Comes and Goes

When you want something with a bit of pizazz.

Some cafes have a way of seizing on specific things, and Lower Hutt’s Comes and Goes’ thing is chicken waffles served with seemingly incompatible toppings like gherkins, cheddar cheese sauce and French vanilla icecream. For those who don’t wake with a taste for the unfamiliar, try the creamy mushrooms — they’re cooked with fried garlic, dusted with shallots and topped with a thin, dimpled parmesan chip — or the coconut panna cotta granola, with a scattering of fresh fruit. With navy booths and a decor palette like cool cream, this Petone spot is modern in its outlook and fortifying in its cereal.

Address: 259 Jackson Street, Petone.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, 8am to 2pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8.30am to 3pm.

Where else to eat in Wellington

From cafes to pies across Pōneke.

Wellington’s best cafes, from hot new things to historic institutions. Read on for all the caffeine and character you could possibly need.

A culinary melting pot and compact city, is Wellington’s food world-class? A hub for diplomacy and dining, these restaurants are shaping food culture and community.

Pies are political. But does Wellington make the leading pastries? From high-end to humble, Te Whanganui-a-Tara has an array of hot pie candidates.

Jesse Mulligan: Wellington’s classy home for cheddar puffs and cold martinis. Jesse Mulligan travels to the capital’s Cuba St for a solid bistro.

Joseph Slater shares his Wellington hit list. The co-founder of Six Barrel Soda lifts the lid on his favourite haunts.

Unlock this article and all our Viva Premium content by subscribing to 

Share this article: