In the heart of Courtenay you may find a quirky little bar filled to bursting with books that you can take down from the shelf and read if you're so inclined. The cocktail selection is nothing short of funky, and there is a well chosen wine list. The bar snacks aren't bad either, with roasted almonds on every table and a menu that pairs hot chips with black truffle aioli. Tuesdays are special: they are the two for one dessert night. With books, cocktails and desserts how can you go wrong?
This paragraph is not homage to a restaurant, museum or monument, but to a person. The best known homeless man in Wellington, Blanket Man is missed. He was a fixture on Courtenay Place, with his blanket, loincloth and donated can of V, listening to his iPod (The eternal question being: where did he charge it? And was he listening to music at all?). Gone, but not forgotten.
Have you ever paid for a pint entirely out of ten cent coins? In my student days, I had. For years we came to Kitty's every Monday night for 'the Session': a group of musicians would come together and jam, one of them being our friend Oscar. (Even though I no longer attend, the Session is still a happening scene on Mondays.) As we used to come here so often, the staff even let us bring in external food and knew us on first name terms. If you want a classic Irish pub experience, I'd recommend Kitty's.
To carry on the flashbacks, I will tell you a story about the Reading cinema food court.This is me back in my student days enjoying a Strawberry Lush: a delicious smoothie blend involving strawberries and apricot nectar. Unfortunately that juice bar has now been turned into another juice bar (Tank) and I've had to learn to make the Strawberry Lush at home. There is now pretty much nothing good about Reading complex apart from the easily accesible public toilets (which are generally quite clean too). I don't even go to Reading cinema itself anymore as I much prefer Lighthouse, Paramount or the Embassy which aren't filled with squeeeing pre-teens.
The Little Waffle Shop
Hearing that Basque served food and drink from Nothern Spain, I went for a looksee. The sangria bar offers nine flavours of sangria, and having limited time and money I only tried the classic flavour and the peach sangria (which was very fruity and tasted like a wine-based cocktail). On Saturdays, you can get the classic sangria for $6 a glass or $15 for a one litre jug. We also ordered the patatas bravas, which I thought were not quite as nice as El Matador's, but we're still very tasty.
Sweet Mothers Kitchen
While this place is super hipster and overhyped, they do decent food. Cajun influenced, I enjoy getting the burritos, curly fries, mac and cheese ("the Moose"), and peanut butter pie. It's often crowded and if you go at peak times you'll probably have to wait at the bar, if there's even space there. Prepare for a wait or go in the middle of the week.
A narrow restaurant with a big hand-painted mural on one wall and photographs of rustic Italians along another, Pizzeria Napoli serves its titular pizza with gusto. Also among the culinary delights is the bruschetta, simply made with fresh tomatoes, herbs and olive oil. To finish is a tiramisu which gives Scopa's a run for its money, with plenty of coffee as I like it.
Though the pizzeria doesn't have an abundance of seating, the ambiance is perfect and it really feels like I'm back in Italy when I go there.