Voting in the Fourth Annual Wellingtonista Awards is open from December 1-15. Then come find out the results at our Awards Night at Mighty Mighty on December 17!

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In these harsh economic times…ah, who cares? It’s fun to splash out! And when you do decide to spend good money on food, you want it to be the best it can be. This group of fine dining establishments make eating a pleasure, instead of the awful chore it has become…

Photo by Gerald N

The Ambeli: It’s a little less formal than the stereotypical "fine dining" experience, and slightly more affordable too, but The Ambeli takes Mediterranean-influenced cuisine to new levels of deliciousness. Australian food blog Grab Your Fork paid a visit, and the photos and descriptions are enough to induce near-terminal drooling. Combine that with a warm ambience and a luscious wine list, and it makes for one of the most rewarding dining experiences in town.

Logan Brown: It’s pretty hard to argue when Cuisine anoints it the best restaurant in the country, and dubs it "a temple of fine dining". At Logan Brown, hearty yet exquisite flavours combine with great service, wine and a grand ambience to create an unmissable special-occasion dining experience.

The Matterhorn: As well as its envious reputation as a top-notch bar, Matterhorn has employed a who’s-who of Wellington’s best chefs over the past decade. The menu has often been edgy and always delicious, and the wine and cocktail list is exemplary, making this a dining destination for those who prefer a buzzier atmosphere to the more formal restaurants.

Trade Kitchen: With a sleeker take on interior design and a subtle nod towards experimentation on the menu, Trade Kitchen shakes the cobwebs off the upmarket restaurant tradition. Modern European cuisine, with an occasional touch of Asia, the Mediterranean and even the Caribbean, is complemented by unflinchingly modern décor to make for a memorable meal.

Le Metropolitain: For a while, it seemed this location was cursed, but Le Metropolitain seems to have got the formula right. Blend friendly service and an approachable atmosphere with French provincial food that is heart-warming, and sometimes heart-stoppingly rich, and it’s not hard to see why this has rapidly become a Cuba St institution.