Auckland’s hottest places to eat and drink

Keen to eat and drink your way around the best spots in Auckland? With bars and restaurants for all occasions, our list of foodie faves will give you a taste of what's on offer.

  • Author

    Discover Auckland
  • Last updated

    Apr 2024
  • Time to read

    7 mins

Seeking to tick off some of Auckland’s hottest places to eat and drink? This hit list has you covered! The culinary scene of this subtropical city, influenced by its multicultural population, fertile land and seas and youthful energy, is fresh and exciting – and nowhere more so than at these hot spots. Check them out!  

Karangahape Road 

Two people walking along Karangahape Road

One of the city’s most lively and eclectic hospitality precincts is along Karangahape Road and its surrounding streets. Known colloquially as K’Rd, this former red-light district is lined with bars and restaurants, most owner-operated. 

At the heart of K’Rd, the handsomely heritage St Kevin’s Arcade offers a view across the palm trees of Myers Park to the city’s towers – plus a bounty of excellent eating options, from perfect pasta at pocket-sized Pici (if there’s a wait on a table, pop to its sister wine bar Tappo next door), and modern Lebanese at Gemmayze Street. The sins of the night are forgiven come daylight as customers from corner cafe Bestie sprawl across the elegant arcade’s light-filled shared dining area, enjoying top-notch coffee and brunch.

The signature pisco sours flow and the tables on the footpath are merry as a result at Madame George. But do progress to the dining room, where the Peruvian-inspired tasting menu with drinks match is excellent value. Latin flavours tantalise, too, at Tempero, which boasts a Brazilian-leaning menu catering especially well to gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diners.

Owned by one of the city’s young natural wine doyens, Flor is home to a fantastic selection of low-intervention wines and small plates with an elegance belying the casual atmosphere.

Behind the main strip, down a flight of stairs off Cross Street, Bar Magda occupies a former swingers’ club and dishes up modern and inventive Philippines-accented cuisine and excellent cocktails – go for dinner or for late-night snacks and a digestif.

Downtown Auckland

Two people in Amano

Amano is a perennial hot ticket for its slick service, stylish design and delicious Italian fare served from its open kitchen all day long. Alma is that quiet kid in the corner that suddenly surprises everyone with mad skills – in this case seriously tasty eats with Andalusian flare. Aotearoa New Zealand is blessed with fantastic kaimoana (seafood), and kingi in The Hotel Britomart prepares it masterfully. Wander through Commercial Bay to One Queen Street, where the newly opened InterContinental hotel gazes on to the historic Ferry Building and sparkling waterfront beyond. Its restaurant Advieh wears Middle Eastern flavours elegantly, tailored with the best New Zealand produce. Steak fans should not miss the Lake Ōhau Wagyu bone-in ribeye, which chef Gareth Stewart may just be present to carve for you tableside.

In the bustling Federal Street dining precinct, Metita is the flagship restaurant of The Grand by SkyCity, and also the flagship of Pacific cuisine in the city. Acclaimed chef Michael Meredith showcases flavours from the likes of Fiji, Tonga and his mother country Samoa. Whether you order a la carte or roll with the tasting menu, make sure you start with fat, juicy oysters warmed ever-so-slightly or cooked in bone marrow, and unctuous corned beef buns topped with lardo and caviar.

Gilt, opened by New Zealand celebrity chef and restauranteur Josh Emett, may be new but it has an old-school charm – no open kitchen to disrupt your leisurely meal with the clash of pans, and a menu that dials up continental classics. For a post-dinner nightcap, cross the street to Panacea, a hidden gem of a bar pouring inventive, small-batch cocktails.

Pull up at Tacoteca for fare inspired by the grandmothers of its Mexican-raised owner-operators. The tortillas are made fresh every day which gives the tacos, chilaquiles and other dishes the edge. Premium mezcal and tequila, and copious amounts of fresh lime juice make for a knockout list of margaritas and the most delicious and fun way to boost your vitamin C.

Over the road on the rooftop of the Sudima Auckland City hotel, Sunset does what it says on the tin – enjoy a sundowner with an eyeful of the western sky as it shifts gear, while DJs spin tunes to enhance the moment.

Ponsonby and city fringe

People sitting at cafe tables in Ponsonby

Ponsonby Road, the city’s original strip of bars, restaurants and hospo heroes, is as vibrant as ever, with diverse offerings to cater to all tastes. KOL masters cooking over fire while the bar elevates cocktails. This is one of renowned chef Sid Sahrawat’s establishments, and its best dishes and drinks have Indian ingredients woven through. Beau is a little wine bar with big energy, and happily it’s open through the afternoons when most places aren’t. Fans of modern Korean will love dishes like scampi prawn meatballs with hand pulled noodles at Aigo, while a tasting menu at Sidart – tucked up on the first floor of an arcade – offers up a stellar city skyline view together with incredible fine dining.

Nearby Grey Lynn attracts locals and visitors alike with some great little neighbourhood bars and restaurants – in one evening you could tick off an aperitif at wine bar Freida Margolis, dinner at quaint bistro Lilian, and a little something to sip on before bedtime at Gypsy Tea Room over the road.

Dominion Rd, one of the city’s liveliest dining stretches and home to an unofficial Chinatown, boasts scores of regional Chinese restaurants as well as plenty of other diverse Asian options. Among some of its popular spots are Cazador for heavenly charcuterie, wild proteins and famously excellent service, teeny Ooh-fa for wonderfully chewy pizzas, Omni for yakitori and inventive small plates, and Eden Noodles for arguably the city’s most reliably spot-on Sichuan cuisine – you will forever dream of their dumplings in spicy sauce. 

Wonderful Waiheke

Wine and beer tasting at Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island in Auckland

If you’ve got a bit of time up your sleeve, Waiheke Island is just 40 minutes away via ferry, and offers Instagrammable scenery, a plethora of vineyard restaurants, and hospitality well worth the journey. Tantalus Estate boasts elegant dining in the upstairs restaurant surrounded by gorgeous gardens, while tucked below is Alibi Brewing. Duck in and order a tasting paddle of the brewery’s own inventive beers and famous truffle fries, and relax in the cool cellar-like space or out on the sun-soaked terrace overlooking the lush landscape.

We’ll let you in on a local secret: One of the island’s oldest vineyards, Goldie Estate, has a quietly fantastic little eatery Wine Bar 78 open for sunset sessions on Fridays. Order one of everything on the menu and a bottle of something from the vineyard, then wander through the vines up to the gnarly pōhutukawa tree on the top of the hill – the view across the Hauraki Gulf back to the city at dusk is enchanting. 

The Courtyard is a popular pick for an afternoon spritz and a plate of perfectly crisp calamari. It’s just a short walk from the golden sands of Oneroa Beach and handy to the ferry terminal. Dining on the terrace of Three Seven Two you’ll look out upon the long blonde-meets-blue stretch of Onetangi, and you really ought to try this Kiwi classic from the menu: Creamed pāua (abalone) on fry bread with bacon and wakame.

It comes as a surprise to find a world-class whisky distillery on the island, and that Waiheke Whisky cleverly makes use of the mash from the onsite brewery is just one of the strings to its sustainable bow. Enjoy a dram surrounded by barrels of liquid gold – the peated varieties are particularly interesting. Peat from Southland wetlands offers a different and milder profile to the famous Island.

Gin lovers should make the pilgrimage to Waiheke Distilling Co. The drive alone is scenic, but the view that greets you as you settle onto the boutique distillery’s cliff-top lawn is something else. The Spirit of Waiheke gin features a savoury note from giant kelp – try it in the Pink Lady cocktail with pink grapefruit and Mediterranean tonic, add an order of local Te Matuku oysters, and enjoy the moment. 

Written by Discover Auckland

Last updated 10 Apr 2024

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