A BYO is the perfect place to get litty, whether it be for a birthday or just because you’re feeling extra thirsty on a Friday night. But the one question that always floats to mind when organising all the lads together is; where the heck do we go? To make this decision easier for you (so now all you need to think about is what wine has the most standards for the cheapest), I’ve compiled a list of the best BYO’s in Wellington that have always started me off well for a steamer of a night.
1. Great India
There are 2 things I love when its comes to a BYO – 1. A round table where you can chat sh*t to everyone, and 2. Flipping good food. Luckily, Great India has both of these (and a very cheap corkage) to kick your night off just right! The chefs at Great India specialise in dishes from South Gujrat and North India, with each dish bringing its own distinctive flavour and aroma (no matter how much you’ve had to drink) which simply can’t be replicated from your flats spice rack.
My top pick: Any curry, but get rice & naan for the whole table! This means they bring out a selection of different rices & naan to pick & choose from, and when I say a selection, I mean enough carbs to feed a small village.
Arashi Kushiyaki Bar is, in my humble opinion, one of the best Japanese BYO’s in the CBD. If you’re looking for some lighter, less greasy meals whilst still being able to chug a bottle of wine in 15 minutes, then this is your place. From crispy skewered meats & proteins, to beautiful bowls of saucy teriyaki dons, Arashi can cater for any of your western asian food cravings – and has vegetarian/vegan options too!
My top pick: The Okonomiyaki! Savoury pancake, spring onions, Okonomiyaki sauce, and plenty of kewpie mayo – what’s not to love???
“If you know, you know” is the phrase that comes to mind when I describe Newkor. Only a very select few of my friends know about this place, which after dining and (lots of) wining here, is an abomination. Situated just opposite the liquor store on Dixon Street (convenient, right?), NewKor serves up some of the sauciest Korean dishes around – and I can confirm that the dishes here are as authentic as they come. Oh, did I mention they have karaoke rooms upstairs and endless bottles of Soju? Newkor literally has everything you need for a night to (not) remember!
My top pick: Korean fried chicken. I only tried this because it was going to go to waste otherwise, but god it was like KFC on crack (without all the grease and using real chicken of course). Nobody, and I mean nobody, does fried chicken quite like Koreans do
Located at the top of Cuba Street, or what I like to call ‘the rowdy end’, Rasa is a humble abode that serves up some killer south Indian and Malaysian cuisine. If you can squeeze your group in between its small walls then you can be reassured your night here will only be a fantastic one, as the team here prove that even the smallest of restaurants can be huge on flavour and quality.
My top pick: Roti. You cannot go to Rasa without getting a healthy serving of roti to pair with your meal, and if you do, you’re a psychopath.
5. Satay Village
When you say BYO, everybody in earshot instantly imagines mountains of Malaysian food, and there’s no other place that quite executes that authentic south asian flair than Satay Village. Inside the restaurant the decor is quaint, unassuming and very simple – but this facade soon disappears once the dishes start coming out, as the fragrances from their rice or noodle dishes soon fills your nostrils. Fun fact, they were the first ever Malaysian restaurant established in Wellington – so that means they must know a thing or two about that cuisine, right?
My top pick: The Laksa. I like to pretend I’m going to order something different, but the aromas and flavours of this dish drawn me in every damn time.
6. Indian Alley
Led by an A+ husband and wife team, the folks at Indian Alley take you on an authentic food journey through India with an abundance of awe-inspiring regional starters, mains, and desserts. With 2 restaurants across Wellington (one on Wakefield Quay, one in Press Hall), they have built a reputation of providing dishes which are daringly different and prepared with ingredients of exceptional quality for an enticing level of Indian flair. Whether you’re looking for a more casual dining experience with buffet or à la carte options OR seeking more of a traditional full service Indian fine dining experience, Indian Alley has you covered – oh, and you can BYO wine to make the experience even more enjoyable (and, perhaps a little more blurry!).
My top pick: Kurkure Paneer. Nothing in this world prepared me for the unfathomable flavour and texture of deep fried paneer with a fresh minty chutney dip.
7. Tequila Joes
If you’re for something a little more Western on your night out, then look no further than Tequila Joes! Being the only Mexican BYO Restaurant in Wellington, this place serves up some seriously saucy Mexican faves such as tacos, quesadillas & nachos – plus they have vegetarian and vegan options so no matter your dietary direction, you too can don the Sombreros and Cowgirl Hats and have a fiery fiesta of a night!
My top pick: Baja Fries. I know you’re coming to this place for Mexican, but trust me these pillowy fried pockets of spicy potato will line your stomach nicely for the night ahead!