At the Wellingtonista, we don’t often give props to less consciously hipster places like One Red Dog, even though their continued success shows they have a devoted following. Today we discovered one of the reasons why this devoted following might exist.

Our little family-of-four had emerged from the Kids Animation session at the Paramount very hungry. Where, among the zillions of Courtenay Place eateries, could we take the girls for lunch?

There actually weren’t that many open, and those that were didn’t really appeal, or weren’t in The Book. Finally, and only just before the girls’ hunger got the better of their manners, we slipped into One Red Dog in Blair Street.

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It was quiet inside, with a handful of other family-type punters already seated. Without delay we were shown to a comfortable booth and handed our menus and a glass of water each. The girls were given crayons to colour in their menus; and their resulting quiet industriousness lead to such an increase in the general level of our parental sanity that we felt comfortable enough to order a glass of wine each.

The childrens’ menu was one of the best we’ve yet seen, primarily pizzas and pasta and thankfully devoid of any trace of that staple of the lazy restauranteur, chicken nuggets. The elder chose her own pizza, a ham cheese and pineapple variant; while the younger chose a bowl of ham cheese and tomato pasta. We chose a chicken salad and lamb salad for ourselves.

We didn’t have to wait too long for the food to arrive. And, in another nice touch, the girls’ food wasn’t too hot to eat! Yes, there’s nothing worse, from the perspective of a four-year-old, to wait through an interminable hell of delicious food smells, the sight of other people eating, and your own empty stomach, only to find that your food, when it arrives, burns your mouth. This has been the cause of a number of unfortunate and embarrassing scenes over the years, and we parents were grateful to be spared another such.

Both girls enjoyed their selections enormously, with the elder finishing off the younger’s portion. Our own salads were delicious, and would not have disgraced many of the fancier cafes around town. In all, we were very happy with the food, and would go there again. Others may argue that One Red Dog’s pizzas perhaps aren’t the finest in Wellington (Boulot, Scopa, and even my nostalgic favourite Calzone do better) but as we saw, pizza is not the only string to the Dog’s bow, and in any case the overall experience was several streets apart from the usual dreck that characterises the unfortunate ghetto of “family dining”.

So there you have it. For a quiet, fast, sane, and reasonably priced (take 30% off with your Entertainment Book) lunch with kids (and probably your ethnic-food-phobic older relatives) give One Red Dog a whirl.