The creative capital is spoilt for choice when it comes to the arts and culture, with world-class events such as the New Zealand Festival, World of Wearable Arts and The Fringe Festival, all set to grace the windy city. A cultural night out in Wellington is not complete without a drink, meal and something sweet to finish.
With the first week of the New Zealand Festival now in full swing, we've put together a list of the five best spots to enjoy a bite pre-show or wind-down after an evening of culture and creativity.
Recommended: Try the cocktail special, a Ha Noi inspired Mojito – Havana White Rum, Vietnamese Mint, Blood Orange, Kaffir Lime Syrup, Fresh Ginger and Soda Water.
Service times: Apache is running two seatings during the festival period, the first is 5pm to 6pm and the second is 8pm until late.
NZ Festival pick: À Ố Làng Phố at the St James and Writers & Readers: Woman Changing the World at the Michael Fowler Centre.
Apache is the perfect place for a bite to eat pre-show. Situated across the road from the Michael Fowler Centre, the menu from chef Le has is a fusion of Vietnamese and French flavours. A meal here will make you feel revitalised, satisfied and gearing to go for an evening of culture.
2. Mr Go’s
Recommended: One plate that you might have to keep to yourself is the Beef Cheek Gua Bao, just one of the many Bao offerings here. Be sure to try the Coffee Rumtini cocktail, it's a winner.
Service times: Open 11.30am until late, seven days. The kitchen serves the full menu until 10.30pm, Thursday through Saturday. Dine in early and take advantage of the 'Happy Hour' from 3pm until 6pm, everyday.
NZ Festival pick: The 26th Annual Wallace Art Awards Show at Academy Galleries or The Secrets of Mona Lisa.
Mr Go’s is always a hive of activity, but securing a table is never out of the question. The menu is based on hawker-style Asian cuisine, the perfect balance of Chinese and western influence. The best approach is to share with a partner and try as many plates as possible. On offer to drink is a range of Tap Beers cocktails and house made non-alcoholic drinks. Situated on Taranaki Street, it's just around the corner from the Saint James Theatre, so perfect if you are heading on to a show post-dinner.
3. Fortune Favours
Recommended: There will be a few beers to try around the month of March, like the 'Fuggly Duck English IPA' and the recently tapped 'The Giant' or French-style Bière de Garde.
Service times: Sunday–Thursday 11.00am to 11.00pm, Friday and Saturday 11.00am to 12.00am.
NZ Festival pick:Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert.
If you’re looking for a good beer and a cool venue then escape to Fortune Favours, at the top of the Leeds Street laneway. This is a recent addition to the area and quickly becoming a favourite. Try one of their many beers brewed on-site in this newly-restored, industrial space. They keep it simple but tasty with a menu offering brewers platters, a selection of meats and cheese and a range of toasted sandwiches with the option of building your own.
Recommended: The dessert tasting plate is a great option to share between two, with a range of four beautifully presented desserts guaranteed to satisfy your sweettooth. Also, try their famous China Girl cocktail – the perfect accompaniment to something sweet.
Service times: From 4.30pm Monday–Saturday, Dragonfly run a special pre-theatre menu called "Four for Fifty" this is a selection of any four dishes, at $50 off their special menu. Additional dishes can be added if needed. Bookings are available online for the dining room, so you can pre-book your if you have a quick turnaround before your show.
Late Night: To help cater for late-night diners, Dragonfly run a late-night menu Monday–Saturday. Every Friday and Saturday night their kitchen is open until midnight, serving our full menu with dining available in the dining room, bar and courtyard.
NZ Festival pick: Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert.
Located on Courtenay Place, Dragonfly is perfectly positioned across the road from The Saint James and only a short walk to the two cinemas located in the CBD. Book their dining room or make your way down the long corridor to the bar and courtyard that will instantly take your breath away. Great place to go with a group of people or a intimate table for two.
5. Shepherd Restaurant
Service times: Open until approx 10pm Wednesday and Thursday nights and 10.30–11pm on Friday and Saturdays (Sundays are a bit earlier at 9.30ish at the latest).
Recommended: Don't hold back and try something new with their special offering which changes most nights and will be created at the chef's whim on the day and available for limited times. For a unique experience book in at the bar and enjoy the theatre of the open-plan kitchen.
NZ Festival pick:Grizzly Bear and Thundercat will be amazing.
Eva Street is one of Wellington's hot spots when after a fresh culinary experience. Shepherd Restaurant at the heart of Eva Street is a great place to go for dinner on a night out and with a slightly more adventurous menu there is always the opportunity to try something new. Shepherd uses the quality produce on offer in New Zealand and matches it with flavour combinations that will surprise and delight the palate.