In my opinion, anyway. There’s an endless amount of restaurant offerings in Auckland – it feels like there’s a new one opening up every day here despite COVID. If there’s anything I like more than drinking (yes, I am a kiwi), it’s eating out. It also feels like it’s the only activity that gets me out of the house these days. The weather has been terrible here!
When I started my new job this past month the one question I kept getting asked was “what do you do outside of work?”, and my only answer was eating. I’ve been s̶t̶u̶c̶k̶ living in Auckland for the past three years now, so I feel like if anything, I have eaten at a lot of places. For this reason, I think it’s about time I dive back into my roots and share with you my top places to eat out in Auckland. I used to mention places to go all the time in my Highs & Lows but it started to feel pretty repetitive. I’m a creature of habit, and while I love trying something new, there’s nothing like revisiting old favourites to see the night through, surrounded by wine and friends, of course. So here’s the guide no one asked for so you can eat your way around Auckland.
Look, I’d happily mention any restaurant that has burrata on the menu. Besides their perfect cheese offering, this place doesn’t disappoint – except that it comes with a lengthy queue. We happily popped around to Malt for a drink while we waited for a table which is a great move. Awesome food, especially when you’re with someone that will share the whole menu with you. Try the Burrata, obviously.
2. Hotel Ponsonby
It’s become somewhat of “the local” to my friends and I, but I love it. The place is huge with a great outdoor area and the food is varied enough that you’ll find something for everyone. If not, I can vouch for the cocktail menu. Try the Cucumber Number and the Scotch Egg (trust me, I never thought I’d recommend that to anyone).
A relatively new Modern Greek restaurant that just opened up on Ponsonby Road. My best friend and I decided to risk the wait and go there the other night and it was worth it. The service was fantastic and the food came out in minutes. Something of a rarity in Auckland let it be known. Try the Negroni and Kefalograviera. If you don’t understand the menu don’t try and google it as we did – flip it over.
I’ve spent far too much money at this place over the years – thanks Ubereats. I don’t have much to say about it but your paying for great quality, good looking sushi. Try the Salmon Donburi.
4. Mekong Baby
I had the best experience here, but that could have been the wine. My friend and I went for the “Let’s Eat” menu, which is a selection of the chef’s favourite dishes. If you don’t like the things just ask them to change it, we did and got the best selection. Pre-warning: there’s no way one person could get through all that food, I ended up taking my main home. Try the Pork Belly even if you aren’t a huge pork fan.
To be honest, the last time I went here was a bit of a let down in terms of service but I’ll always go back. Why? Because the food is cheap, it’s usually pretty chilled and at the very least, offers a cheap glasses of wine. Try the ceviche and the house red.
6. Soul Bar
This is one place I want to hate because of it’s crowd, but every time I go here I enjoy it. The food is tasty and reliable, and the wine isn’t too bad of a price for the Viaduct. My pick of restaurants in the area, if you are really are, there for the food.
Elmos is always a good vibe. I come here more to sit on the street and people watch, but the foods not bad either. They often have live music. I’m kind of obsessed with anything that has honey on it, so the Discovery Of Honey pizza is right up my alley. They also have a whole burrata bar so you know, I’m a fan.
8. 1947 Eatery
I swear most of the list is made up of places I’ve shared my best memories. This one is one of them. My friend and I popped in here after an event one night and little did I know they served the best bloody fries I’ve tried. I’m not a huge Indian food fan but this was great. Plus it’s a huge, dark space so perfect for an intimate evening. The curry chips are a must-try and the definition of doing loaded fries right.
Located at the end of Ponsonby road, this is infamous for their selection of boujee Peruvian-Japanese inspired dishes making it another favourite of mine. This is definitely on the pricer end unless you stick to the entrees, but it was delicious and it and enjoyed spending every penny. Raid their superb dumpling/bun menu. I just wouldn’t try the Wasabi Mule unless you’re looking to cry from heat all evening.
10. Duck Island
This isn’t a restaurant but it’s the best ice cream ever so what’s the difference. I think I could quite easily work my way through their whole menu for dinner. If you’re wandering down Ponsonby road this one is essential to stop at – so, so, good.
Amano is a great Italian restaurant that’s worth the frustrating trip into the city. Another place with an epic venue space so it’s not often you couldn’t get a seat. Also a place where sharing plates is a must. The seafood and pasta are worth a try and always offers so many unique flavours depending on what you like. The dessert menu is delicious too – I really can’t find a fault in the entire menu.
12. New Flavour
I had to add a cheap and cheerful to the list, and this is it. New Flavour is the ultimate place to get dumplings. I have no idea what else is on the menu simply because I get tunnel vision for these. I used to live on this block, so trust me when I’ve been there enough to know what’s good (at 3am, no less). The fun part about this place is that you can have a BYO with all your friends and bring whatever alcohol you want. A rowdy place at the quietest of times, but the low prices and great food make up for it. It will forever hold a place in my heart.
13. Saint Alice
Look, I’m going to be the first to say that this place doesn’t have the best service (READ: can be rude and forgetful). What it does lack in service, it makes up for in a great view of the viaduct, good food and a variety of different drinks to choose from. I went there the other day for my friends birthday and it’s the perfect spot to kick off day drinking. Try the espresso martini at happy hour (until 10 pm) – it’s the cheapest around.
14. Cafe Hanoi
This is another that brings back fond memories. Cafe Hanoi is a Vietnamese inspired restaurant that is packed with flavour and interesting dishes. It’s also a place that I recommend to everyone too that likes this cuisine because I have yet to find another place up to the quality. Let’s face it, everywhere in New Zealand you’re looking at a $25 main but this is worth it. I love it and need to go back soon. Sorry, no recommendations here because honestly, I need to go back and experience it again to tell you.
My first love was Italian food, so it’s no surprises that this is on my list. Another boujee fave but for good reason – the food is great. I went here with work once and had the best experience (and endless tab). I trust that the pasta would be great, but all I remember what thinking that the lamb was amazing. The menu changes seasonally from what I recall, so you be the judge!
Did you even visit Auckland if you didn’t go to a winery on Waiheke? Tantalus remains to be my favourite on the island. From its great cheese platter offering, to wine, I can’t fault this place. If you’re having a meal in the restaurant I suggest experiencing the wine cave for a nightcap. Go here on a hot day so you can sit or wander through their amazing garden and enjoy the lawn games.
17. Blue Breeze Inn
Right in the heart of Ponsonby Central, this is a great place to start your night. They still hands down have served me the best Bao Buns in Auckland. With a Chinese and Asian-Fusion menu that caters to all different price points, this is a great place to take friends to catch up after a long week.
17. Peach Pit
This is more alternative than the rest but has a lot to offer even if you don’t fit the scene. It’s a relaxed little spot that offers board games to play as you enjoy your meal. It’s also the place that my best friend and I vowed to make our local but have yet to go back to (sorry, I got distracted). I do love this place though and with a great selection of light vegetarian options, it’s another winner.
A hole in the wall type spot, this place is known for their selection of wines. On the side of your drinks, you have a great range of nibbles that makes for a perfect starting place for a night out of K Road.
19. The Sugar Club
I’ll be honest and say I’ve only been here for an event, but it was a great one. We sat the next booth over from Katy Perry, so you know it’s legit with that kind of clientele. That aside, the experience of eating up the Sky Tower isn’t one to miss. Definitely on the pricer side, so keep this one for a date night.
20. Non Solo Pizza
I still to this day have no idea what was going on, but my friend and I went for drinks there on a Friday and lucked out when we got to taste the whole menu for free. I think this was a promo they were having, but since we sat there and ate everything on offer I can say this place is worth the visit. Another Italian restaurant that has a huge offering of delicious food in a beautiful setting. I can’t go past a good Margarita Pizza but trust me when I say there’s something for every fussy eater here.