Culinary Adventures
Comments 9

The Crab Shack

The Koala and I had a gluttonous jolly good time eating our way around Wellington city last week.

One thing that struck me with Wellington is that they are super conscious of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diners. The Koala and I don’t fall into either of these categories, but I normally get the feeling that anything meat-gluten-whatever-free is a pale version of the original. Not so in Wellington. Some of the vegetarian dishes looked so good that I ordered them instead of my regular omni choices. That’s not usually a thing. Many of the menus we saw had plenty of selection for even the most discerning eater.

Over the weekend, I will be posting my reviews of the places we ate and loved, from the perspective of an out of towner.


The Crab Shack

First up, the place I had my eye on – due to a severe lack of crab eating in this country – was the newly opened restaurant on the waterfront: The Crab Shack. New Zealanders don’t eat crabs. It’s just not part of our culinary vocabulary. Crabs expect you to work for your dinner and I guess with so many other things to eat, people just choose to eat other things.


The Crab Shack is owned by Nourish Group who also bring you Euro and Jervois Steak House in Auckland. You can blame Simon Gault the MasterChef celebrity for this place on and it is a fancy version of East coast crab and lobster shacks in the US.


Come here for…

The daily specials, the crabs, the sliders and other tasty treats. Prawns by the pint, bivalves by the scoop, kids eat free on Sundays.

Unexpectedly wonderful…

The kilo of chilli crabs we devoured. Who knew that salt, garlic, chilli and parsley would be so divine?


The most interesting thing on the menu…

  • Wine on tap
  • King crab leg
  • Dutch babies
  • Buffalo burger

I would come back to try…

Prawns by the pint and clams by the scoop

The atmosphere is…

Happening. We arrived early and they were quiet, but by the time our food arrived it place was packed. The interior is fancy-nautical, bright, fresh, well designed, heavily and consistently branded. The design reminds me a bit of Squid Row in Auckland or any modern nautical or Cape Cod themed restaurant. Feels a bit like a franchise.

Expect to spend…

$30 to $60 per person. Spend some time picking at crabs.


The service was…

Excellent. Once our server realised we were getting the crab, she made sure we had everything we needed to tuck in.


Avoid if…

  • Avoid the crab if you don’t want to get messy or are short on time.
  • Avoid on Sundays before 6.30pm if you’re not into sharing a restaurant with kids. Kids dine free.
  • There is plenty for those that don’t eat seafood, but not much in the way of vegetarian fare. You might stay away if shellfish makes you itch or puff up.

The Crab Shack
Address: Queens Wharf, Wellington
Opening hours: 7 days, 11.30am ’til late
Phone: 04 916 4250


  1. It’s nice to see what you and the Koala look like. But what are Dutch Babies? They look a bit like what we call Yorkshire Pudding, a puffy, semi-hollow bread baked in a lot of fat and often eaten with roast.

    • Hi Colleen! Dutch Babies are an oven baked pancake so these were mini-dutch babies. They are usually served with icing sugar, lemon or maple syrup. These were savoury though and were a bit overcooked, hence they do look and taste more like Yorkshire Pud or popovers.

    • Happy eaters indeed. We were super excited. We thought we better take photos before we got too messy. Lucky we did! My camera wouldn’t have liked me while elbow deep in crab shells. 😉

  2. Great to see you in front of the camera for a change! I love crabs, and luckily have been having my fill around Asia. I wish we get larger crabs and a better selection of crabs in NZ. We just have to get more people keen on them. 🙂

    • Hi Easy Food Hacks. Yes, I’m usually the one taking photos but when on holiday it’s nice to be in front of the camera too. Have you had hairy crab that’s popular in China/Hong Kong? That’s the pinnacle of what I think crab eating experience is.

  3. Pingback: foodie destination: wellington | casual ramblings

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