The finalists of Wellington’s Hospitality Awards have been announced, and Wellingtonians are now invited to vote for their favourite dining destination.

The finalists are a variety of established and new venues, representing the best of the capital’s dining scene, as voted by the hospitality industry. 

Wellington’s Capitol featured strongly, being nominated for three categories including outstanding restaurant, with Patrick Ferrier being recognised in the Maitre’d category, and Tom Hutchison nominated for outstanding chef for the second year. 

Last year, Rita took home the outstanding new establishment award, this year securing a finalist spot in the outstanding restaurant award category. 

Boulcott Street Bistro’s stellar service was recognised, being nominated for outstanding front of house team. 

Wellington’s bustling café scene was acknowledged with Café Polo, Lashings and Prefab Eatery all receiving nominations for outstanding café. 

If customers are looking to grab a drink, they need to look no further than Hanging Ditch, Crumpet Bar and Hawthorn Lounge, all receiving nominations for the coveted title of outstanding cocktail experience. Glass, Puffin and Noble Rot Wine Bar were also recognised in the category of best wine experience. 

With no shortage of new openings, Birdcage, Highwater Eatery and Los Banditos were all thought to be amongst the top three newcomers. 

“Wellington has a vibrant and world-leading hospitality scene which deserves to be recognised,” said Marisa Bidois, Restaurant Association CEO. “Our goal is to recognise those providing an exceptional experience to Wellingtonians and connect them to one another and the local dining community.”

Community voting is open until 20th October, with winners being revealed on 27th October. 


A full list is recorded below:

L’affare Outstanding Barista of the Year

Hohepa Reedy – Café Polo

Nik O’Connell – Staple Espresso

Tait Burge – Swimsuit


Chivas Regal Outstanding Bartender of the Year

Alex Vowles – Hawthorn Lounge

Dan Felsing – Crumpet Bar

Benji Irvine – Hanging Ditch

Max Roberts Bristow – Poquito Bar


Antipodes Emerging Front of House

Angela Montenegro – Lashings

Jessica Wood – Noble Rot Wine Bar

Mackenzie Edwards – CGR Merchant & Co


Helping Hands Outstanding Front of House Team of the Year

Boulcott Street Bistro

Ortega Fish Shack & Bar



Moet Hennessy Outstanding Maitre’d of the Year

Davey McDonald – Ortega Fish Shack & Bar

Patrick Ferrier – Capitol Restaurant

Sophie Garnham – Monsoon Poon


Le Cordon Bleu Emerging Chef

Ben Chamberlain – Atlas

Elton Song – Hiakai

Nikita Kuschke – Hillside Kitchen & Cellar


Gilmours Outstanding Chef of the Year

Laura Greenfield – Field & Green

Monique Fiso – Hiakai

Tom Hutchison – Capitol Restaurant


Southern Hospitality Outstanding Café of the Year

Café Polo


Prefab Eatery


Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Beer Experience of the Year

Fortune Favours

Little Beer Quarter



Monin NZ Outstanding Cocktail Experience of the Year

Crumpet Bar

Hanging Ditch

Hawthorn Lounge


Negociants Outstanding Wine Experience of the Year


Noble Rot Wine Bar



Service Foods Outstanding Casual Dining/Street Food Experience of the Year

A Taste of Home

Mr Go’s

Soul Shack Hot Chicken


OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design of the Year

Highwater Eatery

Night Flower



BCE Catering Equipment Outstanding New Establishment of the Year


Highwater Eatery

Los Banditos


Nova Energy Outstanding Suburban/Regional Experience of the Year

Beach House & Kiosk

Comes & Goes

Salty Pidgin


Champagne Laurent-Perrier Outstanding Restaurant of the Year

Capitol Restaurant




Harbourside Function Venue Outstanding Sales Rep of the Year

Richard Klein – Artigiano Imports

Jamie Andrew Lawton-McKenzie – Hop and Vine

Oliver Kettle – Vintners


Crombie Lockwood Insurance Brokers Outstanding Supplier of the Year

Capital Produce

Mineral Wines

Moore Wilson’s


The Recruitment Network Outstanding Caterer of the Year

Ruth Pretty Catering

Sarah Searancke Catering

The Catering Studio


Villa Maria Outstanding Hospitality Professional

Josh Pointon – Noble Rot Wine Bar

Lindsay Coral Phillips – Bambuchi

Sarah Meikle – Wellington Culinary Events Trust