For the Sweet Tooths: Where to Dessert in Wellington

Two hands holding an ice cream cookie sandwich.

For those times when you just need to finish with something sweet, Wellington has got you covered.

Words by: John Son

Photos by: Anna Briggs

Wellington’s renowned culinary scene barely needs an introduction, but its dessert offerings are often underrated. Those with a sweet tooth are in good company - from ice cream and gelato parlours to bakeries serving up indulgent pastries, you’ll find a plethora of mouthwatering treats across the city. Make sure you save room for dessert next time you’re out for a meal, and head to one of these places to finish on a (sugar) high.

Duck Island

Cafes key icon.

168 Cuba Street, Te Aro

Hailing from Hamilton, the small but mighty Duck Island has found another home on Cuba Street, and Welligntonians have embraced it with open arms. That won’t come as a surprise to those in the know - in addition to the fun pastel hues it brings to the capital, the ice creams on offer have quickly become a firm local favourite. The Fairy bread and toasted marshmallow are always in hot demand, while the salted caramel and cacao crumb is something else. Check out the ice cream sandwiches and vegan options too.

Kaffee Eis

Various locations

With stores located strategically around the central city and an impressive lineup of awards, Kaffee Eis is a major player in Wellington’s ice cream and gelato market. Indulge in the generous scoops of rich, velvety ice cream, accompanied by the selection of sweet slices and other baked treats from the cabinet. For those after a caffeine hit with their ice cream, the affogato here is superb.

Zelati

Cafes key icon.

116 Cuba Street Left Bank Arcade, Te Aro

Left Bank offers a respite from the chaos of Cuba Street - as well as a fantastic little gelateria in Zelati. The chirpy family business has roots in Tawa and brings bountiful energy, great gelato, and unparalleled service to the central city. With unique flavours such as Fix & Fogg peanut butter and dulce de leche, as well as those harking back to the business’s Filipino heritage, it’s definitely a place to go if you’re looking for something new.

Fidel's

Cafes key icon.

234 Cuba Street, Te Aro

A Wellington institution that continues to draw the brunch and lunch crowds, Fidel's not only serves amazing nachos and toasties but also an impressive range of desserts. Just stroll right up to the counter and take your pick from the hefty cakes, muffins, and slices on offer. Pair it with one of Fidel’s legendary thick shakes, which are among the best you’ll find in town.

Seashore Cabaret

Cafes key icon.

160 The Esplanade, Petone

One of the most revered eateries in Petone, Seashore Cabaret sits proudly on The Esplanade, offering spectacular views over Petone Beach. It’s a great place to watch the sunset over dinner, topped off with a selection from the dessert menu - take your pick from meringue, key lime pie, banana split, and more. As a bonus, head along on a Sunday night for their two-for-one special, and indulge in twice the goodness

Tomboy

Cafes key icon.

21 Majoribanks Street, Mount Victoria

Near the foot of the foodie hotspot that is Majoribanks Street, you’ll find Tomboy, a beloved cakery and caterer that pulls hordes of locals all through the week. The cabinet - which you can get a sneak peek of through the windows - is literally overflowing with some of the most tempting cakes, donuts and other baked goods you’ll find in the capital. It’s the perfect place to get your sugar fix after a weekend brunch.

The Library

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1/53 Courtenay Place, Te Aro

It might be hidden behind a narrow entrance on Courtenay Place, but don’t judge The Library by its cover - the cosy, classy bar appeals to bibliophiles and dessert lovers alike. With an entire page of their menu dedicated to desserts, you’ll find it hard to limit yourself to one. Will you opt for the Basque cheesecake or dark chocolate and pistachio Rocher? Eliminate the guesswork by heading along on a Tuesday for the two-for-one, and pair your pick with a classic Library cocktail. 

Myrtle

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23 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria

Kent Terrace might not be the first area that comes to mind when it comes to dessert hotspots, but Myrtle is doing a fine job of changing that perception. As well as a rotating range of fresh artisan loaves, the small-batch bakery has carved itself a reputation thanks to its pastries and other sweet treats. The donuts here come highly recommended, and the galettes are a must-have - if they haven’t sold out by the time you get there.

Sweet Release

99 Manners Street, Te Aro

When it comes to catering to dietary requirements, few do it better than Sweet Release. All the treats here are vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free by default, so you can get your sugar fix with complete peace of mind. None of this means the flavours are compromised - the delicious donuts, milk buns and other cabinet goods will get top marks from even the most discerning dessert lover. One of the most inclusive food businesses in Wellington, Sweet Release ensures those with dietary needs can fulfil their sweetest of cravings.

Neat Wellington Places

Baker Gramercy

Two bakers working in the empty bakery in the dark morning.
Place Wellington
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It’s the kind of simplistically stylish bakery you’d expect to find on a New York avenue or down a European side street.

Hawthorn Lounge

Green lamps on bar counter.
Place Wellington
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The service at Hawthorn Lounge is impeccable, in the sense that they're attentive without being overbearing. It's novel enough to make you realise that most places have forgotten the hospitable out of hospitality.

Slow Boat Records

View of inside the store at Slow Boat Records, Wellington.
Place Wellington

If you prized hours of crate-digging or the thrill of a new favourite sound, make this your next port of call.

Ziggurat Fashion Exchange

Close up of shoes and suitcases.
Place Wellington
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A Cuba Street vintage shopping treasure trove.