I’m always being asked where to go for dinner in Wellington and I always suggest a few places or to go wandering along Courtenay Place (including Allen and Blair Streets) or Cuba Street, and just follow your nose and your heart. There are so many places to eat out in Wellington that you often hear locals bragging that we have more eateries per capita than New York City. I don’t know about that (just sounds cheesy to me), but I know it’s very easy to find an amazing meal. The other night Nicole and I went out for dinner and a movie, and here’s what we did.
We decided to catch a bus into the city for dinner at Chow (Level 1, 45 Tory Street, ph (04) 382 8585). Chow is pretty well known to Wellington locals but we had never been here. We just walked in and being a Sunday night, it was pretty quiet so we were seated right away. The menu is full of very fresh and colourful asian dishes and we were told that 2 dishes per person is about right for sharing. We ordered five between the 2 of us and this was a good amount of food.
Coconut prawn dumplings with galangal, bamboo & lemongrass ($15)
Prawn summer rolls with chives, coriander, lettuce & peanut nahm prick ($12)
Pekin duck lettuce cups with shiitake mushroom, garlic, lemongrass & spring onion ($15)
Pork belly & prawn salad with daikon, carrot, celery, cucumber & peanuts ($18)
Korean kim chi gyoza with red raspberry vinegar ($7)
Add a couple of drinks each to the menu and we spent just over $100 without dessert. (If you haven’t been to NZ this isn’t terribly expensive or unusual. We pay a lot for food and drink here). When asked about dessert we told the waitress we were going next door to The Library. She thought that was a great idea (although Chow and the library do have the same owners).
The Library is a place I almost always recommend when people ask about dinner. Actually, I generally say something along the lines of “wherever you go for dinner, you should go to The Library for dessert”. I’m addicted. Its tucked away upstair on Courtenay Place, above the Burger King – I usually gets a couple of laughs when somebody asks “where should we go tonight?” and I reply with “see that Burger King over there…”. The Library is darkly lit in a cosy way, the walls are lined with full bookshelves and the furniture is very comfortable. They specialise in Cocktails and desserts, so we each had an Earl Grey Creme Brulee ($13), and I added a glass of Scotch.
Dessert was as excellent as ever and arrived very quickly, allowing us to eat up quickly and hustle down Courtenay Place to The Embassy cinema for Man of Steel (I liked it). We are very spoilt in Wellington, with several fancy movie theatres to choose from. We have the big mall-style multiplex, but for just a couple of dollars more you can be sitting in comfort in a grand old movie hall, nursing a beverage (another scotch anyone?) and usually not a sneaky cell phone in sight. The Embassy was host to the world premiere of The Return of the King in December 2003, and more recently The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey (November 2012). A lot of money was invested in upgrading and restoring the original classical style 1924 theatre. Wellington loves going to the movies, so you shouldn’t feel bad about taking an evening off of your trip to indulge yourself. You may get lucky and make it to the annual Rocky Horror Picture Show screening!