BYO restaurants to us are places where you can hold a large gathering, you can eat some tasty food, and if you don’t count the cost of your bottle, you can get totally stuffed for around $25. There are a million and one place with BYO licenses in Wellington, but these are the ones that we think are the very best.


This piece of real estate on Dixon Street seems cursed, churning through tenants every few months, but we hope Namastey is going to stick around for a long time because it’s definitely our favourite Indian restaurant. Try the sizzling Tandori lamb chops or the paneer in chili and you’ll probably agree with us. The restaurant is large and spacious (and sadly, often empty) so there’s plenty of room for a crowd, and you’ll find that your curries will actually taste different, instead of just being the same goop in a different colour that too many other places offer.

Namastey: The Oaks, Dixon St


Orange beef at LongxiangWe’re the first to admit that often we have very Western tastes when it comes to Chinese food, and so Longxiang on Dixon Street hits the spot very nicely for that. Their orange beef is particularly amazing, as is the shredded duck with vegetables and the Singapore-style vermicelli is also highly recommended. Yvonne is a lovely host, and loves her regulars. Plus she doesn’t judge us when we order far more food than we really should.

Longxiang: 98 Dixon St


It may not be quite as cheap as it used to be, but it’s still worth venturing into the weird ’70s world of Willis St Village for Miyabi. It manages to excel at both the hearty carb-laden aspect and the super-fresh raw fish side of Japanese cuisine: as exemplars of each we would recommend the stomach-lining eggy goodness of Oyakodon and the sumptuous extravaganza that is their sashimi boat.

Miyabi Sushi: 142 Willis St

Roxy Cafe

Roxy is known for its great breakfasts, but now that it’s BYO every day, it should also be known as a place for a great dinner. Sure, the mains are a little more expensive than the rest of the nominations, but when you can get pork wrapped in bacon, who’s complaining? It’s a great alternative for those bored of ethnic food, and the staff are very accommodating.

Roxy Café: 203 Cuba St

Phu Thai Esarn

Phu Thai Esarn
Dinner at Phu Thai Esarn

Phu Thai, in contrast to Namastey, is not at all spacious; because it’s so popular there are too many tables, and they’re all constantly occupied. That’s okay, though, the food makes it totally worth the squish. You’d do well to order sticky rice, and maybe the duck larb, to go with your delicious Northern Thai mains (the house specialty). Or of course there are the usual range of curries and stir fries, made better with the generous use of fresh herbs, and beautifully presented. Service is impeccable, and just writing this is making us hungry.

Phu Thai Esarn: 35 Cambridge Terrace