Apart from the Terrace, Lambton Quay is one of the main parts of the Central Business District. A huge number of government buildings as well as office blocks are located on or around these two streets. To make all the workers happy, there has to be a wide selection of foods, from cafes to quick takeaway options to breakfast restaurants.
With quaint decor reminiscent of the 1970s, Verve provides quality lunch options, as well as a selection of cabinet food and cafe fare day long. And free wifi never hurts!
A large food court that can be accessed by Lambton Quay or the Terrace, Lambton Square has something for everyone. My favourite is the Kapai that is located here, but Mad Mex is a strong contender with fresh Mexican food and fruity margaritas. The pulled pork is amazing, but be prepared to drip the juices everywhere.
Some places have their own seating, but there's also a plethora of shared tables. If you're lucky enough to snag a window seat, you can look out at the people below and the old buildings.
That building in front with the green dome (the old Public Trust building) is currently undergoing earthquake strengthening, and the ground floor and basement is to be transformed into Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant, which is due to open sometime in 2016.
Drexel's (technically on Waring Taylor Street)
Originally started in Christchurch, this breakfast restaurant serves a whole range of eggs, waffles and pancakes all day long. Being a pancake girl myself, I got the blueberry pancakes with a side of apple compote. Unfortunately the blueberries were not fresh which did take away from the taste, but the Iowa-style pancakes were pretty good. I can't say they were special, because they tasted like generic pancakes, but it was decent for 7 in the morning. One thing to say about Drexels: if you value quantity over quality, you'll like it here.
A spark of greenery in the concrete jungle, Midland Park is chock full between 11:30 and 2pm, so if you want a seat here you'll have to sit on the grass or brush elbows with strangers. Whether it's worth it is up to you. (Note that this photo was taken in winter, and the trees look a lot more inviting in the warmer months.)
Right off Midland Park is a spacious cafe called Astoria. They have a happy hour for after work drinks, and they also pride themselves on their coffee.
Another big draw to the Quay are the retail shops, of which there are many. There seem to be almost too many jewellery and shoe shops, as well as clothing stores (Mirrou is my favourite), sports shops, and souvenir shops to pander to the cruise ship hordes.
Mrs Higgins oven fresh cookies
You can let your nose guide you to this cookie stall, as the aromatic scents waft out into the street. I know this is a chain and you can even get the dough at the supermarket and cook your own at home, but this is an important part of Lambton for me. I will keep coming back for the gingernut, the triple chocolate, and the caramel chew.
At the entrance to Plimmer Steps stands this bronze man and his dog. There's not much more to say except that I like this statues or its simpleness and playfulness in such a serious looking man. Up Plimmer Steps is the Vault: a gift store which I may never be rich enough to shop in but I always enjoy going in for a cheeky look. (Actually, I tell a lie. I did buy a fridge magnet from the Vault a while ago - Led Zepelin deserves my money.)