One thing is sure: you won’t go hungry in this town – will not matter exactly where you are staying there will also be plenty of alternatives within easy access! The top eating places in Auckland can compete with any on earth, offering fare that’s of the same quality – if not better – than anyplace else on earth. They’re the perfect spots for a spot of luxury, but you will also discover a big and stylish variety of less formal restaurants, wine bars, bistros, gastro-bars and ethnic dining places and cafes. And, in Auckland, ‘cafe’ means cool: these spots are typically (but not always) licensed to sell alcohol too, with an eclectic food selection, cool dcor and laid-back, welcoming atmosphere.
With out supposing what your personal tastes are, we are here to guide you in the proper direction for some very nice food encounters in the ‘City of Sails’… bon apptit!
Where do we start? The French Caf, The Grove, Euro, dine by Peter Gordon, Vinnie’s, Te Whau (on Waiheke Island – voted one of the world’s finest winery restaurants), White, Antoine’s, Bracu (outside Auckland in the Bombay Hills), Number Five, the Engine Room (on Northcote Point, over the harbour bridge), Mollie’s (private dining suites).
A little less formal but still offering superb fare are Cibo, SidArt, Prohibition, Sails, Prego, Eight Point Two (over the bridge in Birkenhead), Wine Chambers, The Mudbrick Vineyard and Stonyridge Vineyard (together on Waiheke Island) and, in Mount Eden, Meredith’s, Molten, Bowman’s and CAC.
For a more informal bar bistro style establishment, try Pure, O’Connell Street Bistro, The Occidental Belgian Beer Caf, Mondial, Prime, Bluestone Room, Ponsonby Road Bistro, The Mulberry, Pastis (authentic French), Soul, De Post (Belgian; Mt Eden).
You’ll find the trendiest cafes in Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Parnell, Grey Lynn, Mt Eden, Devonport, Takapuna, Kingsland, ‘K’ (Karangahape) Road, or if you are in town you will discover plenty in the city – especially in the vicinity of High Street, Chancery and Vulcan Lane. Infact it’s tough to imagine of where you will not find an excellent cafe offering excellent food cheap. Level of popularity is a fickle matter, but a few of the current hot spots are Gala, Dida’s, The Fridge, The Teed Street Larder (Newmarket), Ben, Allelulya (K Road), Landreth, Agnes Curran and the very typically ‘Kiwi’ Queenie’s Lunchroom in Freeman’s Bay. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg!
Seafood is superb and succulently fresh in Auckland, and there are plenty of eating places specialising in it. Among the best are Harbourside, Kermadec, Sails, Hammerheads, Mikano, Squid Row (pub-style) and Soul.
Survey the scenery
For excellent sights and excellent eating, try Vertigo at the Mecure Hotel, Orbit, Sails, any of the Waiheke Island vineyard restaurants, Hammerheads, HQ, Euro, Mikano.
Look before you leap
I know I prefer to walk down busy restaurant streets considering menu’s before choosing. Wonderful spots to have a look at the restaurant scene on foot are Ponsonby Road, O’Connell Street and High Street in the CBD, Parnell Road, the Viaduct Basin and Takapuna; all four provide plenty of eateries of all types.
Fancy High tea?
Kiwis really like a good cup of tea, and a nice spread of food to go with it! For a traditional high tea, visit the Cornwall Park Restaurant. Situated in the attractive and spacious Cornwall Park on One Tree Hill, locals have been taking pleasure in high tea here for over 100 years. Luxury high tea is also offered at historical Cotter House in Remuera; reservations crucial, and make sure you go armed with an appetite! For a modern take on an old favourite, try higher tea at Orbit in Sky City, with vistas of the entire Auckland region from the continually turning restaurant floor (Saturdays and Sundays only), or Low Tea at Prohibition in Ponsonby (Friday and Saturday afternoons). And in case you genuinely can’t wait until after lunch, the Little Cake Kitchen on upper Queen Street is packed with newly baked cakes.
Any popular beach front in Auckland should have a cafe nearby serving simple but scrumptious breakfast, lunch and dinner time menu’s. Head off around Tamaki Drive to Mission Bay, St Heliers or ‘Kohi’ (Kohimaramara), or over the harbour bridge to suburbs like Devonport and Takapuna. However, you won’t find anywhere comparable to the Piha Caf, anywhere else in the world. It’s a reasonable drive out to Piha, but absolutely worth it (closed Mondays and Tuesdays).
And now for something completely different
For cusine with a difference, try a place like Prohibition in Ponsonby, Allelulya (caf) on K-Road, Deus Ex Machina (Wellesley Street in the Cbd), the absolutely French and fantastic Le Garde-Manger (Upper Queen Street, CBD), Queenie’s Lunchroom in Freeman’s Bay, or the above-mentioned Piha Caf.
Ethnic food fans will not starve in Auckland. There is a large selection of cafes and eateries serving food from around the globe, including African, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indian, Middle-Eastern and more.
Locals advice: Want something low cost, typically Kiwi, filling and tasty? Try fish and chips – you will find a decent Fish and Chip shop in virtually any suburb, but I recommend heading to the nearest beach front and eat them straight out of the wrapping paper whilst you enjoy the last of the sun dipping over the horizon.
Sarah Boyle is a an independent travel and leisure journalist from New Zealand. She travels alot, but is just as content staying at home, especially if it means a stay at her favorite hotel in Auckland. Find out more about siteseeing in Auckland.
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