When my husband and I arrived in Wellington, I was a little bit nervous about the vegan scene.
Would there be any options? Would I have to be that girl, ordering something that wasn’t actually on the menu every time I went out?
Turns out, Wellington is an incredibly vegan-friendly city! Not only were there already TONS of options for me when we first got here, but the vegan movement continues to grow and it seems like there are more new options every day.
Keep in mind, this list doesn’t even begin to cover ALL of the options Wellington has for vegans – just some tried and true options. Here are some of my favorite spots around town to pick up some grub:
The Laundry is, without a doubt, our favorite place in Wellington. Their vegan options are out of this world, the staff is fantastic and the vibe is unbeatable. We’ve even been deemed the “favorite Americans” by the staff because of how frequently we visit. There are tons of options for the vegan community, and they have a new Burger of the Week each week that is sometimes vegan (and delicious) as well! Their weekend brunch is killer, and they open at 4pm on weekdays for equally fantastic eats.
What I’d try: Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich
When we first moved here, we lived right in the center of town. I typically walked to Midnight Espresso 4 out of the 7 days of the week for breakfast, and visited multiple times in between for lunch and dinner as well. It’s a walk-up ordering setup, with tons of great prepared meals and sweets on the counter (I quickly became addicted to their vegan rhubarb and date scones…drool). They also have a HUGE menu that is served all day, and mostly everything can be made vegan! It’s a small cafe though – don’t get discouraged if you can’t find a seat. Take that grub to go and enjoy it on a lawn somewhere.
What I’d try: Tofu Scramble in Sweet Chili Sauce and Toast
The Rogue & Vagabond
Not only does this place have a super cool atmosphere, live music and great beer…they also have TACO TUESDAY! Every Tuesday, you can get $2 tacos (I kid you not), sit on the lawn and drink a cold one. The lawn is situated with outdoor cushions to sit on, and little sitting-level tables made from old tires and wood. Nothing like kicking your shoes off and feeling the grass on your feet while you eat tacos! I would also highly recommend getting their curly fries in addition to the tacos.
What I’d try: Taco Tuesdays + Curly Fries
Chow on Tory
Our old apartment was right across the street from this amazing restaurant, which meant lots of take out as the newbies in town. Often times, people settle for their closest restaurant out of convenience…it just so happened that ours was AWESOME. They offer a handful of vegan options in the form of appetizers (I see you, steamed edamame!), main courses and sides. Fair warning: their food’s got a little bit of kick – but fear not! I am very sensitive to spicy foods and their food tastes so good that you hardly notice the spice…until you finish your food.
What I’d try: Jungle Curry
Heavens Woodfire Pizza
Heavens Woodfire Pizza is actually a chain in New Zealand, but it definitely doesn’t give the “chain” vibe. As a vegan, you have to some tweaking to get the pizza how you want it, but it’s SO WORTH IT. And really you just have to ask for no cheese. I know what you’re thinking – NO CHEESE?! Not even vegan cheese? Trust me, you will not be disappointed. The crust of the pizza is super thin and crispy, and all of the toppings are fresh and prepared super well. We also love the flatbread and dips appetizer tray with pesto, hummus and a sun dried tomato and olive mixture.
What I’d try: The pizza and jug deal – 1 large pizza (your choice of toppings) and a jug of beer for $40
Coming from America, it was a little strange to go into a Cuban restaurant totally dedicated to Fidel Castro; but I embraced the weird and ordered some food…and THANK GOODNESS I did! The breakfast/brunch options there are fantastic, and they even offer late night pizzas that are vegan-friendly (I know, so many vegan pizza options). There’s a great covered patio to sit on in the warmer months, and a very cool back patio as well.
What I’d try: The Vegan Breakfast (nobody will judge you for eating the whole thing by yourself)
I’m a fairly new customer at Pranah, but I am blown away by the amount of vegan options they have! You can choose some delicious already-made food from the cabinet, or order fresh off of their menu, all while enjoying the LARGEST large coffee (or in my case, chai latte with soy milk) you’ve ever had. This place is perfect for breakfast on Sunday morning…or any other day of the week.
What I’d try: Vegan Shepherds Pie
The Arborist was one of the first places we tried when we arrived in New Zealand, but we didn’t have a full appreciation for it until the second…and third, and fourth time we visited. The Arborist itself is really cool; they have an awesome rooftop bar that is amazing on a nice night and there are plants everywhere, inside and outside. But the food – oh my gosh, the food. You really can’t go wrong with a single thing on the menu.
What I’d try: ALL of the vegan tapas. Really, all of them.
Sweet Release Cakes and Treats
I have a special place in my heart for Sweet Release Cakes and Treats…because it was my first job in Wellington! I worked in the bakery with the owner Kristine, who started baking as a therapeutic release from an illness (hence, Sweet Release). She eventually shifted the bakery into an entirely vegan shop, offering custom cakes, treats from the case, savory lunch items and vegan milkshakes.
What I’d try: Dark Ghana Brownie
Bebemos is in Newtown, which is just outside of Wellington Central. There are a few kick-ass vegan items on their menu, including the vegan burger that my husband would eat two of every day given the chance. The vibe of the place is very cool too, with an awesome back patio for the summer months and an indoor corner of cozy couches and chairs for the colder times (if you’re lucky enough to snag them!).
What I’d try: Maple roasted kumara salad with black bean & cashew bolinhos (WHOA)
Oh, The Botanist. This fully vegetarian/vegan cafe in Lyall Bay, right across from the water, is the PERECT place for vegans in or around Wellington. Their breakfast, brunch and dinner options are all amazing (let’s talk about the fig and apricot oats with coconut yogurt and berry compote that I had for breakfast the other day), and their sweets and treats on the counter are almost impossible to pass up. They also serve amaze-balls coffee, beers and mixed drinks! If you need me, I’ll be there.
What I’d try: Something different for every meal of the day (granola bowl, tempeh burger, Veganise Me…)
Maranui is kind of a legend in New Zealand; they are always jam-packed with customers from open until close. Mac and I went for the first time when we moved over to Lyall Bay, and now we can see why. The cafe has a few great vegan options on their menu, but the counter food is where it’s at. They offer a ton of vegan desserts and pastries, as well as fresh mixed salads (both greens and grains). Plus, if you’re lucky enough to get a seat, there is a gnarly view of the Bay.
What I’d try: Tofu Scramble and a dessert…for sure a dessert.