The Wellington hospitality industry acknowledged the outstanding abilities of its own with the announcement of the winners of the Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards.

Newcomer Rita, which seats just 28 people, took out the public vote for Establishment of the Year as well as winning accolades for Outstanding New Establishment and Suburban/Regional Experience of the Year. Rita has been recognised for its small set menu and intimate dining experience which has been compared to dining in a dolls house.

The Awards recognise the outstanding hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local café and dining scene. The Restaurant Association of New Zealand is proud to organise and foster these Awards with the main purpose being to unite, grow and promote the Wellington hospitality industry.

The coveted Hospitality Hero of the Year was awarded to Stephen Morris of Avida Bar for his wealth of international wine experience, dry wit and contribution to the success of Wellington hospitality. Stephen’s hospitality career has included the legendary Boulcott Street Bistro, Shed 5 and his own Copita restaurant.

“Wellington has always been a hotbed of talent when it comes to dining out,” said Marisa Bidois, CEO Restaurant Association of New Zealand. “It’s been great to see new places offering something unique cropping up over the last year but it’s also reassuring to see some of the more established establishments still going strong. As an industry it’s so important that we take time out to celebrate our success and acknowledge our achievements. We believe it’s important to shine a light on our industry and make sure we are recognised for the contribution we make to our community and economy. The Wellington Hospitality Awards represent the occasion to do just that – celebrate the hard work and success of the hospitality industry within the region. Congratulations to all winners.”


2018 Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards Winners

  • L’affare Outstanding Barista of the Year – Morgan West, Milk Crate
  • Jameson Outstanding Bartender of the Year – Benji Irvine, Hanging Ditch
  • Burns & Ferrall Emerging Front of House – Georgia Mackenzie, Poquito Bar
  • Helping Hands Outstanding Front of House Team of the Year – Ortega Fish Shack & Bar
  • Moet Hennessy Outstanding Maitre d of the Year – Chelsea Godinet, Shepherd
  • Le Cordon Bleu Emerging Chef – Tom Millot, Frenchie
  • Gilmours Outstanding Chef of the Year – Tom Hutchison, Capitol Restaurant
  • Southern Hospitality Outstanding Café of the Year – Prefab Eatery
  • Garage Project Outstanding Beer Experience of the Year – Little Beer Quarter
  • Negociants Outstanding Wine Experience of the Year – Noble Rot Wine Bar
  • Federal Merchants & Co Outstanding Cocktail Experience of the Year – Hawthorn Lounge
  • Service Foods Outstanding Casual Dining/Street Food Experience of the Year – Lucky
  • OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design of the Year – Lulu Bar
  • BCE Catering Equipment Outstanding New Establishment of the Year – Rita
  • Nova Energy Outstanding Suburban/Regional Experience of the Year – Rita
  • Red + White Cellar Outstanding Restaurant of the Year – Ortega Fish Shack & Bar
  • The Recruitment Network Outstanding Caterer of the Year – The Catering Studio
  • Harbourside Function Venue Outstanding Sales Rep of the Year – Stephanie Reade, Mineral Wines
  • Crombie Lockwood Insurance Brokers Outstanding Supplier of the Year – Moore Wilson’s
  • iMonitor Outstanding Hospitality Professional of the Year – Stephen Morris, Avida Bar
  • First Table People’s Choice Establishment of the Year – Rita