Discover passionate chefs who focus on fresh, innovative flavours, from modern New Zealand cuisine to dishes from every corner of the globe. But, with so many choices, perhaps the best way to tackle this epic epicurean mountain is by location.
Two of the brightest stars in Auckland’s hospitality firmament, perennial favourites SPQR and Prego have long held court. Newcomers to find favour include Saan (authentic Northern Thai) and Azabu (Peru meets Japan). As for Sidart, (contemporary fine dining), it's been named Supreme Winner in the esteemed Metro Dining Guide 2018. Still can’t decide? Then stop to think with a drink in one of the many buzzing bars.
Beneath the shadow of the Sky Tower, this short street bulges with good taste and big names. With renowned chef Al Brown in charge at Depot, his fish sliders have earned a cult following. Find out why Nic Watt found fame from London to Hong Kong for his take on Japanese robata style dining at Masu.
Matakana and Mahurangi Harbour
Just an hours drive north of central Auckland, markets, and restaurants, oyster outlets and vineyards await. Top spots include Rothko, where you can work off your lunch by strolling through the Dr Seuss like Sculptureum. Matakana Market Kitchen and Brick Bay Winery are well-loved for attention to freshness and flavour. If you’re an ice cream buff, stop at Oob, set among bucolic blueberry bushes, their frozen treats are just plain cool. And if beer’s more your thing, make a beeline for the Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room.
If you’re one of those planning types, book ahead to secure a berth on the Shuckle Ferry, New Zealand’s only oyster farm tour. Upon boarding this quirky vessel, on top of your shucking lessons, you’ll also be offered local wine, beer and soft drinks while discovering fascinating facts about these briny bivalves.
The Hunting Lodge, The Tasting Shed, Hallertau, it’s hard to pick a favourite so either toss or coin, or try small bites at all three? Or, for a craft beer tour of the "City of Ales", visit Brewbus. Here, you'll explore the breweries out West and North of central Auckland.
Popular for weekends, day trips and weddings, although if you ask an Aucklander to name their favourite vineyard, you’ll simply be given a list, as there are so many to discover.
The Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter
Gourmet Māori Fare
The traditional earth oven, or hāngi, is a hearty indulgence, so catch a bus to The Ōtāhuhu Hāngi Shop in South Auckland.
Top marks to markets, from the Catalina Bay Farmers Market out west at Hobsonville Point, to La Cigale French Market in Parnell (Saturdays and Sundays) and not forgetting Matakana Village Farmers Market (Saturdays). For fresh fish and stalls serving informal seafood dishes, go to the Auckland Fish Market. Or, browse the melting pot at Avondale Sunday Markets, the biggest outdoor market in New Zealand, or seek out the myriad charms of Māngere or Clevedon.
You’re a vegan?
We’ve got news for you. Little Bird Unbakery in Ponsonby and The Raw Kitchen and Revive Cafe in central Auckland hits the vegan spot. And if your BFF is GF, they’re going to think Auckland takes the cake.