From left: Azabu, Omni, Kingi.
Auckland’s vast and varied dining scene offers far more than just inner-city haunts. In fact, there are just as many delicious coffee-shops, cafes, eateries, restaurants and bars dotted around the city’s beautiful suburban areas, with each one serving up its own unique vibe and delicious offering. And after weathering the storm of the last two years with as much enthusiasm as they could muster, its these tireless local operators who we need to support, now more than ever.
From the typically cheap-and-cheerful restaurants that populate Dominion Road, to the reliable stalwarts of Ponsonby to the hidden gems we adore on The Shore, there is inspired suburban dining to be found all over Auckland. Here, we round up the best places to eat and drink around the city, and show why winter is actually the perfect time to expand your horizons, embark on a deliciuous dining tour and try something new. Who knows? You might just find a new favourite spot.
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Our innermost suburb, Britomart boasts an incredible dining scene for such a small radius. Here, restaurants are made to woo those coming to the city on business, and impress the locals that inhabit the city. The following are some sure-fire Denizen favourites.
Ghost Street was conceived by the same culinary minds behind Xuxu Dumpling Bar, Cafe Hanoi and Saan, and has fast become one of the hottest dining spots in the area. Set in what used to be the Basement of 1885, the restaurant is dimly lit and atmospheric, designed to reimagine the bustling, hole-in-the-wall eateries of Beijing’s famous food street. This idea carries onto the menu too, where punchy, seasonal dishes (inspired by a wide crosssection of Chinese cuisine) run the gamut of flavours from tart and savoury to Sichuan and spice.
You’ll find some of the city’s best Japanese fare at this Britomart stalwart, where izakaya-style dining is given a sophisticated twist. Settle into Ebisu’s moody, low-lit dining room and enjoy a selection of delicious plates to share, from sushi and sashimi to dumplings, tempura and larger dishes like seared duck breast and Kagoshima Black wagyu scotch. Although open for lunch service as well, nothing beats an intimate dinner here with friends or family.
Having recently undergone a relocation (although just next door) and a refurbishment, Cafe Hanoi continues to be one of Britomart’s most popular eateries. From its delectable menu that takes traditional Vietnamese flavours and gives them a modern twist, to its lively atmosphere that promises a fun, buzzing dining experience, it’s clear to see why this downtown hotspot has remained on our radar for so long.
Designed after a New-York style speakeasy, Caretaker is a cocktail lounge inspired by the golden era of bartending. Beloved for its dimly-lit, underground vibe and its meticulous cocktails (punters can choose from an extensive menu or simply ‘trust the bartender’ to whip up a delicious concoction) this popular bar will transport you to another world.
Bar Non Solo
Bar Non Solo
As an extension of Parnell stalwart NSP’s offering, Bar Non Solo has become an inner city mainstay that brings a slice of Italian life to after-work drinks. Here you’ll find a legendary aperitivo hour, accompanied by live DJs and an atmospheric interior you’ll want to settle into for the night.
Beloved by the lunchtime crowd for its fresh sushi, satiating bowls and tasty sandos and dumplings, Oji is a downtown favourite, with outposts in Britomart, as well as the lunchtime favourite, Commercial Bay.
Having set itself apart from Auckland’s other sushi spots for its focus on locally-sourced ingredients, sustainable practices and a straightforward, no-fuss approach, Oji is the perfect place to pop into for an easy, healthy and downright delicious lunch, particularly for those who work in the city.
Heroing Andalusian flavours in its menu that marries Spanish culinary ideas with fresh New Zealand ingredients, Alma is a great place to post up for a delectable lunch or to book into for an intimate dinner. Serving small, tapas-style plates designed to share, this eatery has become one of our favourites for its unique food, relaxed atmosphere and impressive wine and gin list.
If it’s an easy, healthy lunch you’re after, look no further than the Britomart chapter of Yeah Bowl. Serving a range of poke bowls made with fresh, organic ingredients and free-range meats, this colourful, simple stop-in is on a mission to reimagine the idea of traditional ‘fast food.’
Sometimes, a good old-fashioned burger and shake is just what you feel like, and this Britomart spot delivers every time. With a simple menu that covers the traditional cheeseburger, a chicken burger, a mushroom burger and fries (all able to be made ‘epic’ with a mix of mustard, cheese, onion and ‘secret sauce’) alongside free-range fried chicken and shakes that are some of the best we’ve ever had, Better Burger is perfect if you’re in the mood for something a little naughty for your lunch.
Undoubtedly one of Auckland’s most popular eateries, Amano is open from early in the morning, when it serves elevated à la carte breakfast (and a selection of breakfast cocktails to boot), until well into the afternoon and evening, when it is consistently humming with hungry punters. For lunch and dinner, Amano offers a delicious Italian-inspired menu that highlights seasonal, local produce (the pasta dishes are a particular highlight) and transforms from a light-filled eatery into an elegant restaurant. Attached to Amano’s expansive dining room is its dedicated bakery, where coffee, freshly-pressed juices, pastries, sandwiches, salads and more are made on-site and available for anyone seeking a simple takeaway.
With a name that means ‘market gardener’ in Italian, it’s hardly surprising that Ortolana has built its reputation on serving delicious, Italian-inspired fare that showcases seasonal produce from local growers. Open from early in the morning until late into the night, this intimate, cosy spot is suitable for any situation — with a range of tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Recently, we’ve been loving the smashed eggs with chive and prosciutto piadina and the blue cheese gnudi with mushroom, truffle and pangrattato — but expect menu items to change according to seasonal availability.
Perfect for a casual lunch with friends or an after-work drink, The Brit is Britomart’s answer to the classic gastropub, serving a raft of elevated pub fare and satiating share dishes. With a laid-back vibe that ramps up with screenings of rugby games and live music events, The Brit is not only an ideal place to gather with mates but is also great for dropping into with the little ones in tow.
From the guys behind Orphans Kitchen, Kingi offers a menu that celebrates our kaimoana, showcasing a range of locally-sourced, sustainable seafood that draws attention to New Zealand’s unique environment. Located on the ground floor of Britomart’s historic Masonic building (right next door to The Hotel Britomart) and open throughout the day, Kingi is great to drop into for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even a quick coffee or cocktail.
If it’s a sweet treat you’re after, look no further than Miann. Serving up a range of decadent pastries, savouries, petit gateaux, macarons, gelato and housemade chocolates (all of which are made from ethically-sourced Cacao at Miann’s dedicated Morningside factory), and open from 7am until late into the night, this is the ideal pitstop for an afternoon pick-me-up or a post-dinner dessert.
Despite being a relative newcomer to Britomart, Mr Morris has already made a serious splash. Widely praised for its food that showcases local, sustainable and seasonal produce in dishes that present as a modern mash-up of New Zealand and Pasifika cuisine, this impressive restaurant is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a calm environment and a culinary experience.
La Petite Fourchette
La Petite Fourchette
Bringing a taste of France to Britomart, this cute spot offers an all-day breakfast menu where brunch dishes are given a delightfully French twist. (Think daily omelettes, Pain Perdu Brioché — a decadent French toast — and Galette de Pomme Terre — potato and herb hash served with a choice of avocado, bacon or salmon.) La Petite Fourchette also offers a range of delicious patisserie and savoury treats to-go.
A longstanding favourite of the Britomart crowd, The Store has a two-fold offering that has made it as much a go-to for quick takeaway options as it is for longer, more leisurely lunches. The Takeaway side offers coffee, juices, smoothies, sandwiches, soups, salads and more for those seeking an easy, transportable meal; while The Diner side allows punters to enjoy an al fresco meal in a sun-drenched courtyard, with a casual, European-inspired menu that is fresh and flavoursome.
Now with a number of locations around Auckland, Daily Bread has cultivated a reputation for delivering some of the tastiest baked treats this city has to offer — think expertly-made loaves of sourdough, satiating sandwiches, flaky croissants and more — and its centrally-located Britomart bakery (at the base of The Hotel Britomart) is the perfect place for a morning cuppa and a quick bite.
Remuera’s burgeoning dining scene is proof that this suburb is more than just beautiful real estate, offering up a range of gastronomic experiences that are delicious and family-friendly. From all-day eateries to inspired bakeries, this is Remuera’s best-of-the-best.
Seasoned restaurateurs Richard and Paula Sigley opened the atmospheric Síso at the start of Remuera Village earlier this year. An elevated, experimental restaurant melding contemporary Mediterranean fare with European flair, Sìso boasts a menu that was conceived by Gareth Stewart, with seasonal highlights including taramasalata topped with smoked fish roe, octopus puttanesca and kingfish crudo with pickled chilli and crème fraíche. On the corner site formerly home to Banque, the space has the capacity to host 200, but has been made-over by CTRL Space with nooks and archways to make it feel cosy and intimate — the perfect place to dine in winter.
Morell Bistro & Bar
Morell Bistro & Bar
The proprietors of modern bistro Morrell, Daniel and Sarah Morini, met while working as a head chef and front of house manager respectively, at SPQR. Now, they have brought their love for elevated hospitality and well-executed dishes to Benson Road. Inspired by the la familia and manaakitanga, they create each plate with care and pride, be it duck confit served with celeriac purée or tuna sashimi with crispy squid ink tapioca wafers. With inventive cocktail concoctions and a long drinks list, Morrell’s happy hour is one of the happiest in the area.
Chef Fabrizio Napolitano grew up in his grandmothers’ kitchen, in both the north and south of Italy. With a passion for artisanal products that are steeped in history and respect, Fabrizio and his wife Taryne opened Spiga in the 1050 development at the back of the Remuera shops. Their contemporary classic starters, pizza and pasta are unsurpassed, although we do reccommend indulging in the seasonal specials, including truffle cod fish and squid ink pasta mille-feuille with broccoli purée and salmon roe. Paired with a wine list that will take you on a tour of some of the finest Italian vineyards. Currently, there are limited seats in the picturesque space, but the restaurant will be expanding next door soon.
The Upland Road end of Remuera Road continues to add a line-up of delicious contemporary eateries to its offering. At Ginger, expect authentic Thai food with a seasonal twist. From signature dishes such as Panang curry, to flavoursome bites like sweet chilli snapper. All sauces and pastes have been hand-crafted by award-winning chefs, in refined dishes that reimagine the Thai food you know.
Local haunt The Corner hums from after-work drinks to weekend roasts. The philosophy here is simple food done well, from classic platters to chicken schnitzel. From the leather booths in the front to the pared-back dining room to the private dining area to the secret sunny courtyard outback, there’s room for everyone. On the Corner of Remuera and Upland Road, it makes for the perfect meeting point.
Tosca Espresso Bar
Tosca Espresso Bar
Between a row of Remuera Road boutiques, the pink Tosca Espresso Bar is more than a pretty face. It brews Atomic coffee beans with almost every milk option imaginable, including macadamia, as well as pouring invigorating cold-pressed juices and organic loose-leaf teas. Seating only 10 at a time, it’s the perfect place for an intimate catch up as you listen to a custom playlist by Jaimie Webster Haines — or to pick up a coffee and sweet Real Rad Food treat as you’re passing through.
Inspired by their travels, Deborah Chait and Andy Tse opened 4&20 to bake traditional breads on a specially designed European hearth. While the organic bakery is named after their son’s favourite nursery rhyme, you won’t find four and twenty blackbirds in their pies, but you will find pastries made with Belgian chocolate and Madagascar pure vanilla as well as seasonal salads and sandwiches made with fresh produce from Jack Lum’s next door. These and other baked goods fly out the door.
One of the most bustling cafés in Remuera is the Browns Eatery, which has grown from its original spot next to the Browns designer fashion store to become a fully-fledged café and catering service. The line of locals doesn’t lie each vying for one of the eatery’s tasty scones, slices and quiches from the cabinet. Alongside smooth Allpress coffee, you can pick up fresh flowers from the front of the store to complete your weekend checklist.
Mount Eden is an iconic suburb, and offers up dining experiences unlike anywhere else in the city (thanks in large part to Dominion Road). But there are a number of delicious places to eat that aren’t on this famous road, too. Making a trip to Mount Eden village more than worth your while.
Omni has already carved out a solid reputation for serving up some of Dominion Road’s tastiest eats. A succinct, original menu of yakitori and small sharing dishes sits alongside an excellent wine list of predominantly natural wines and delicious spirits. Don’t leave without trying the katsu sando with juicy panko-coated chicken patty, a signature dish that must be tried at least once (we won’t blame you if you order double).
There are dumplings and then there are soup dumplings, otherwise referred to as xiaolongbao. Restaurants that serve this delicacy are hard to find in this city due to the fact that making them requires a high level of skill. Filled with rich meat soup, usually made from pork, the little xiaolongbao pockets from Jolin Shanghai are freshly made to order and boast thicker skins than traditional soup dumplings which imbues them with a chewier texture.
Paasha Turkish Kitchen
Paasha Turkish Kitchen
Should a craving for excellent Turkish food hit you, we recommend you hot-foot it to Paasha Turkish Kitchen, stat. Prioritising high quality ingredients and truly mouth watering grill techniques with their shish kebabs, hot flat bread wraps, pita pockets and more, this spot is the place to go for some of the best Turkish takeaway in town.
Take a break at casual eatery and bar, Ralph’s. With a variety of Parrotdog beers on tap, a wide selection of Garage Project brews and an impressive snack and burger menu, Ralph’s is the go-to spot for a quick refuel. The jalapeño poppers and curly fries are both absolute must-tries, but if you’re wanting more of a meal, make a beeline for the Easy Cheesy Wagyu beef burger.
Eden Noodles Cafe
Eden Noodles Cafe
This iconic spot hardly needs any introduction, but if you haven’t visited Eden Noodles Cafe, we suggest you ask yourself what you’ve been doing this whole time. With locations now in the CBD and in Albany, diners city-wide can enjoy the signature sichuan-laced dishes from Eden Noodles — but we always love visiting the bustling Dominion Road outpost (provided the queue isn’t too long). Sign us up for some thick noodles with dandan sauce, some vegetarian dumplings in spicy sauce and, of course, a cucumber salad.
Having joined the line-up at the start of last year, Mr Hao offers authentic bursts of Shanghai-inspired flavour with dishes such as the Numbing Chicken, a dish which sees gently fried chicken drowning in a delicious sea of chillies and numbing Sichuan peppers. Inspired by Shanghai’s late-night bar scene, Mr Hao is just the place for a relaxed get-together. Alongside the infamous Numbing Chicken, you’ll find a range of tasty skewers, noodles and irresistible grilled seafood, plus a refreshing tea cocktail on tap.
Forget being one of the best restaurants on Dominion Road, Cazador is one of the best spots in Auckland full stop. This restaurant serves unique dishes that showcase ethical ingredients and sustainable cooking principles by making use of all parts of the animal being served, instead of only offering cuts like the breast or belly. The menu changes depending on the availability of ingredients but the charcuterie platter is a staple and for good reason. Combined with its seamless service and lush ambience, Cazador is a must for any Aucklander.
The latest addition to the iconic Dominion Road strip comes in the form of a welcoming gastropub, taking over a venue that holds a rich history. Reimagined, this space is striking, and just what Dominion Road needs. Offering an elevated bar and bistro experience, here, the dining experience is comforting but inspired. We think the take on carbonara is worth raving about, but there’s also a prime rib dirty burger if you’re feeling that way inclined.
Only a very recent addition to the village, De Nada has been welcomed with open arms for their festive take on Mexican cuisine, highlighted by the crowds that now spill out the door every night of the week. While the menu is impressive, everything always tastes better with a margarita — and we think it’s a grand idea to treat yourself to one or two while indulging in the flavoursome, Mexican fare.
Mount Eden Village’s Xoong is a restaurant that has flown under the radar for sometime, with locals in the know constantly singing its praises. Reflective of cuisine found on Dominion Road, with a decidedly elevated take, this moody and chic restaurant is a hidden gem on the eastern side of the suburb.
Every suburb is deserving of a truly mouthwatering bakery, and Mibo is Mount Eden’s. Located on the northern side of the suburb, in an area traditionally filled with larger warehouses and discounted homewares stores Mibo is the ideal drop-in in the middle of a Saturday spent interior shopping. Our advice is to order two of whatever you can get your hands on; one for now, and one for later. You won’t regret it.
Ponsonby is a suburb synonymous with wonderful dining. From the modern takes on a food court (a la Ponsonby Central), to the stalwart restaurants, this suburb is home to some of the city’s best dining establishments, and these are our top picks.
Having made its mark on the suburb, swiftly shifting from newcomer to stalwart, Hotel Ponsonby is the place to be for delicious food, satiating drinks and a convivial vibe. Harnessing the spirit of gastropubs in Sydney and London, Hotel Ponsonby has fast become the sort of go-to meeting place where friends, families, groups and couples come together amidst a vibrant, relaxed atmosphere. Be it a beer after work, or a Sunday roast, this is a venue beloved by all.
With a name meaning ‘let’s go’ in Korean, Gaja has us ready to say the same to all our nearest and dearest after eating there only once. The charming 50-seater eatery is one of the latest additions to Ponsonby Central’s hospitality stable, and specialises in flavourful modern Korean fare that appeals for both daytime and after dark consumption.
Even if you haven’t tried Parade (and trust us, you’re missing out), you’ll likely have seen the burgers. Truth be told, they’re unlike anything else. The epitome of indulgent eating, each burger is served in a house-made pretzel bun with decadent fillings that have been known to include fried chicken with macaroni and cheese or smashed beef patties with nacho chips, cheese sauce and salsa. Having recently moved into a permanent spot on Ponsonby Road, Parade is certainly worthy of a mid-winter visit.
Combining Peruvian Nikkei flavours with Tokyo-style sharing dishes, Azabu’s lively menu from Executive Chef Yukio Ozeki put a fire under the Auckland food scene when it opened in Ponsonby in 2016. It’s hard to choose between the fun and flavoursome dishes, but we will always order the warm tostada, with tuna sashimi or beef tataki, but we know the volcano roll will forever remain a crowd favourite.
Taco Medic was founded originally as a food truck by cousins Anthony Wilkins and Robbie McGillivray, who became enamoured with the cuisine while surfing in the Pacific coastal town of Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. Now with three brick and mortar locations, as well as two Taco Trucks that can be booked all around the country, Taco Medic is accessible for even more people to sink their teeth into. This Ponsonby Road outpost is the first Auckland address and sets the tone for more exciting things to come here.
Nestled in Ponsonby’s Three Lamps, Beau enlivens the area with its tasty bites, great drinks and hidden, sunny courtyard. The menu is perfect for grazing, with picks like oysters, charcuterie and prawn po boys sitting alongside small plates and large plates such as roast cauliflower, fried chicken and fresh ceviche.
Fatima’s is a faithful takeaway favourite, serving up pita and shawarma to hungry Aucklanders since 1995. This flagship Ponsonby store has been around for what feels like forever, with an additional Takapuna location and a new space at Commercial Bay’s Harbour Eats recently being added to its ranks. Here, food on-the-go is held in just as high regard as that intended to dine in, making it the perfect space for any occasion.
A Ponsonby brunch institution, this outpost has been serving the city for more than two decades. Offering Allpress Coffee and simple, reliable brunch options that are as delicious as they are consistent, it’s one of those places that if you haven’t tried it yet, you absolutely should.
Go Go Daddy
Go Go Daddy
From the minds behind the perennially popular Blue Breeze Inn, Ponsonby Central’s GoGo Daddy takes the same winning fusion formula and applies it to Thai street food. From favourites like chicken larb and green papaya salad, to elevated takes like its trademark duck fried rice and tom yum noodles, the menu hits all the sweet, hot, salty and sour marks we crave. Pair with an enticing tropical cocktail and you’re in for a treat.
When Ramen Takara first opened up in Browns Bay, people were crossing the bridge to satisfy their ramen cravings. Luckily, Ramen Takara opened another restaurant on Ponsonby Road and has since become a local favourite. The go-to bowl at Ramen Takara seems to be the Chinese sichuan dandan noodle and Japanese ramen hybrid, the tan-tan ramen. The broth is thickened and enriched with pork mince with each spoonful is as enjoyable as the one before.
With its high, vaulted ceilings, painted brick walls, varied lighting and eye-catching art, Daphnes Taverna makes you feel instantly at home as soon as you sit down, with a purposeful eclecticism that feels comfortable yet polished. Daphnes’ head chef is Anna Weir, formerly of Odettes and Amano, who has designed a modern Greek menu inspired by a family-style sensibility, with a range of small, mid-sized and larger sharing plates that span light snacks and more substantial dishes.
SPQR’s famous exterior is perhaps more recognisable than the cuisine itself, but it is a facade that has helped the outpost stand the test of time. Where the outdoor seating offers a look at who’s who on Ponsonby Road, the classic Italian menu is where the restaurant truly shines. With a simply divine take on pizza and pasta, plus a wine list that rivals most, it’s an institution that we return to time and time again.
Described as putting the ‘Soul from Seoul into Ponsonby’, Ockhee has injected plenty of flavour into Auckland’s most popular strip since it opened in 2020. Owners Paulee and Lisa Lee have taken authentic Korean food and added familiar Kiwi-style elements to create fresh, harmonious plates. With a menu that boasts as many thoughtful vegetarian options as it does meat dishes, Ockhee’s Japchae Noodle is a must-try. Comprising of kumara noodles, capsicum, carrot, mushroom, onion and sesame oil, it’s the dressing that packs a punch of fresh, authentic flavour.
Sidart’s sublime, fine dining fare is on an entirely different plane, and this just goes to show the breadth and variety possible within the flavours of Indian cuisine. The Three Lamps restaurant offers both a la carte and degustation menus that marry progressive Fijian Indian flavours seamlessly with the highest quality New Zealand produce and impeccable techniques. All these elements come together with warm, attentive service to make for an exceptional experience, each and every time.
Prego has been in action since 1986 and it isn’t about to slow down any time soon. Over many years, the Ponsonby institution has captured the hearts of locals, forming loyal base of patrons and a tight-knit community, ultimately making it one of the best family restaurants this town has to offer. Regardless of the time of day, the occasion or who you’re dining with, Prego is almost always the solution. Ask any local — if you haven’t tried it yet, you are most certainly missing out.
Annabel's Wine Bar
Annabel's Wine Bar
Ponsonby Road favourite Annabel’s is a deli by day, wine bar by night and is open every day of the week. Serving sumptuous aperitivo alongside some of the city’s finest wines and classic cocktails, it’s both effortlessly cool and cute, and is the perfect space to fly under the radar, while still remaining in the thick of it all.
What do you get when you combine the flamboyance and fire of South American flavours and the careful techniques of Japanese cooking? Nic Watt’s Nikkei-style restaurant Inca has delighted diners with its fresh dishes since opening on the Westfield Newmarket rooftop dining area in late 2019. More recently, Watt evolved this offering and brought Inca 2.0 to Ponsonby — a welcome addition to Ponsonby Central.
Ponsonby Central’s Chop Chop Noodle House is a certified crowd favourite. On its refined list of signature ramen bowls, the cobra kai is front and centre. Filled to the brim with BBQ pork, pork belly, kimchi, various veges, a jammy boiled egg and a flourish of fried chicken for good measure, only hearty appetites need attempt this hunger-busting bowl. Vegetarians will also be pleased with the miso ramen, which sees kombu smoked butter and smoked eggplant impart an irresistible umami flavour. And it would be remiss not to mention the steamed buns and fried chicken too, deserving of attention in their own right.
There’s a good reason Orphans Kitchen is a Ponsonby icon. It constantly pushes the boundaries with a creative menu that offers inspired variations on regular breakfast fare like eggs on toast. Our current obsession is the fried eggs on a homemade tortilla. This relatively simple dish showcases the natural flavours of its premium-quality ingredients. Delicious, healthy and satiating.
The Blue Breeze Inn
The Blue Breeze Inn
Offering a mouth-watering menu of flavoursome Asian-inspired fare, The Blue Breeze Inn is an undeniable Ponsonby favourite, and has drawn crowds of hungry punters since opening its doors. Between the black tiger prawn dumplings and the Bang Bang chicken, the pork belly bao is an absolute must (it has never been taken off the menu and probably never will, for very good reason).
Ponsonby Road Bistro
Ponsonby Road Bistro
Always consistent, and consistently cosy, Ponsonby Road Bistro is our go-to in the suburb for a snug and relaxed meal with loved ones. Here, we’re always happy to pull up a seat any day of the week. We’ll have the confit duck, thanks.
Here, the novelty exists in the name, where everything on the menu can be ordered for the mere sum of $8 — with eight on-tap cocktails included. The latest from the team behind the ever-popular Mr Hao — Paul Wong, Julian Diprose, and now Lucas Boucly — Lucky 8 is as audacious as it is auspicious. From a masterful mouthful of abalone and squid with soy sauce (served in its shell) to a slow-cooked black pepper beef cheek, which melts off the bone, everything is priced, and revered, the same.
When it’s cold outside, few things hit the spot like a butter chicken. At Mumbaiwala, the elevated take on Indian cuisine provides the perfect comfort. Its Murgh Makhani is a traditional take on butter chicken (and so good that we are ruined for others), served with impossibly tender chicken pieces in a rich silk (Makhani) sauce with fresh tomatoes, sundried fenugreek and a side of satiating garlic naan. Aneri Nathu opened Mumbaiwala in Ponsonby to mix up the local Indian cuisine scene. Her parents, Anup and Sadhana Nathu, have been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, and earlier this year, she finally brought their legacy to Auckland with this Ponsonby eatery.
Takapuna should be revered for more than simply beautiful beaches and a sunny lifestyle. The ever-growing food scene found on the northern side of the bridge is one that locals should be proud of, and has increasibgly been drawing outsiders over the bridge for a taste of their own. Here, we reveal some of our North Shore favourites, sure to inspire any intrepid diner.
From the renowned culinary mind of Josh Emett, Madam Woo is beloved for serving some of the country’s most inspired Malaysian cuisine, with outposts from Queenstown to Takapuna. This institution is perhaps best known for its Hawker Rolls, offering up a sumptuous selection of flavours, wrapped in a fresh and flakey roti — a deliciously indulgent bite you simply must try.
Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store
Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store
There really isn’t anything quite like tucking into some delicious food surrounded by a breathtaking view, and Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store offers both. Complement the vista by opting for the scampi omelette with fennel and sautéed greens, served with a crispy slice of sourdough.
Purveyors of fresh Asian-fusion food with a superb beachfront locale, TokTok is an often-forgotten gem in the heart of Takapuna. A true restaurant-come-bar experience, the menu is a Thai-inspired curation of some of the most well-loved dishes, all with a fresh outlook.
Inside Goodside at Smales Farm is Shake Out, the burger joint that has people from all over Auckland flocking across the bridge. Widely acknowledged as offering some of the best burgers in town, Shake Out’s signature buns are made from a blend of potato and pumpkin flour, rendering them pillow-soft and incredibly fluffy, while its fillings are exactly what a burger should be — simple and high-quality. Shake Out also offers a number of enticing shakes, sides (like crispy shoestring fries, cheese dipping sauce optional) and sweet treats, making it the perfect place to drop into for an easy takeaway.
Fantail & Turtle
Fantail & Turtle
Another entry from Goodside — the precinct that never stops giving — Fantail & Turtle offers a comprehensive drinks menu, as well as a number of delectable bites such as spiced hoki croquettes, platters and pizzas to accompany your beverage of choice. Craft beer, ale, cider and kombucha flow from its over 30 taps across its two bars, and its wine list comprises of nearly 50 varieties from some of the most prestigious viticultural regions in the world. With a welcoming ambience and ethos of offering something for everyone, Fantail & Turtle is somewhere where anyone is sure to feel at home.
With a cult following for its unique, modern take on Filipino fare, Nanam is a favourite with both Takapuna locals and longtime fans of the Pinoy restaurant who have been patrons since its humble Royal Oak beginnings. Nanam’s chicken sinigang is unlike any sinigang we’ve tasted as it’s soupless which is unheard of in the Philippines. Where usually a flavourful, aromatic broth would be the star of the sinigang, Nanam’s Executive Chef Jessabel Granada has managed to capture all the flavours in a thick sauce that she glazes over the chicken.
You can always rely on Burger Burger to deliver the goods come dinnertime (or lunchtime, come to think of it). Its Takapuna location is constantly humming, serving up its much-lauded burgers (with vegan options, too) and unbeatable sides, of which the charred broccoli and shoestring fries are accompaniments we simply can’t go without.
If you’ve never experienced a Colombian-style barbecue, El Humero is the perfect restaurant to start your love affair with what we can guarantee will become one of your favourite cuisines. The meats are cooked over wood-fire and chargrilled, lending them a succulent and juicy texture and an unbelievably smoky aroma. And aside from its meat options, El Humero’s vegetarian empanadas are an absolute must-try.
For quite some time, there seemed to be a lack of Thai eateries in Takapuna. That is, until the chefs from Newmarket’s Billy Cafe (who are in fact, Thai) opened Soho at Goodside, its quick popularity proving just how much Takapuna locals wanted somewhere to go to get a taste of this cuisine. The lamb and kumara massaman curry, tiger prawn pad Thai and the gai yang green curry are some of Soho’s standout dishes, as they simultaneously remain true to the authentic flavours of Thailand and offer modern, refined flavours, the like of which we’ve never tasted before.
Finding a good bowl of Japanese ramen in Auckland is harder than you might think, so Takapuna locals should consider themselves lucky to have Ramen Lab right on their doorstep. The tonkotsu ramen at this joint is thick and creamy with just the right amount of salt. The thin noodles have a firm centre, preventing them from going soft or soggy no matter how long they sit in the broth for. And although karaage chicken is considered a compulsory starter dish at any ramen restaurant, Ramen Lab’s iteration is particularly delicious.
A humble restaurant, this is exactly what we think of when we consider under-the-radar suburban dining. Loved by locals since 1994, Botticelli has done well to stand the test of time (a whole 28 years worth). Serving Italian food as it was meant to be; with full plates and great company, Botticelli is an essential addition to your Takapuna dining agenda.
In the heart of Takapuna sits Holy Shot, a cute spot serving up two essential ingredients guaranteed to get you through the day — coffee and doughnuts. From the early hours of the morning, the friendly and highly-skilled baristas at this local can be seen churning out fresh brews of Havana coffee. Days are made at Holy Shot thanks to its stellar service, premium coffee and of course, its assortment of tasty treats from Daily Bread.