The hottest spots to dine by the sea in Auckland

Enjoy your meal with a side of stunning views! There are so many options for seaside dining along Auckland's waterfront, so we've put together a taster for you. 

  • Author

    Discover Auckland
  • Last updated

    Apr 2024
  • Time to read

    5 mins

Straddling Manukau and Waitematā Harbours, with island stepping stones scattered offshore, the city of Auckland has its feet firmly in the ocean, and a meal at some of the city’s top dining establishments comes seasoned with sea views. Consider this your must-do list for dining by the water.

Downtown delights

Auckland’s handsome Ferry Building is home to Harbourside, with a smart interior and tables on the north-facing balcony that capture all-day sun and an eyeful of seaside action. Recently opened within Harbourside is a dedicated sake bar, offering premium sake from Japan as well as from New Zealand’s own Zenkuro Brewery, paired with a variety of sashimi, sushi and other moreish dishes. 

In Commercial Bay, the floor-to-ceiling windows at both Origine in the northwest corner and Ahi on the northeast offer views of the Ferry Building and beyond to boats zipping in and out of port. Origine nails the French brasserie remit, and has a fabulous wine list categorised by French regions. From the te reo Māori for ‘fire’, Ahi tells the New Zealand food story deliciously and supports regenerative agriculture in doing so, both with organic vegetables and fruit from its own kitchen garden and produce handpicked from suppliers that care deeply for land, sea and people. 

Stroll along the boardwalk in Westhaven to where you can gaze across the water under the city’s iconic Harbour Bridge, and on your way back treat yourself to a break at relaxed local favourite Swashbucklers. This nostalgic offering is famous for heartily portioned seafood dishes (the chowder is especially good) on the restaurant side, while on the bar side you can nab a table on the deck by the marina, order a handle of beer and a basket of fish’n’chips, and watch resident stingrays cruise for tidbits below.  

At the new InterContinental Auckland hotel, Advieh puts Middle Eastern flavours to the forefront in clever ways. When they’re not busy cooking, the chefs can be found out in a local vineyard plucking baby vine leaves to make their genius dolma filled with that rare Kiwi delicacy, pāua (abalone). If you’re after a showstopper dish, order the whole dry-aged duck, perfectly crisp-skinned and carved at the table, or the Lake Ohau Wagyu ribe-eye on the bone – topped with sea urchin butter, this is peak umami unctuousness. 

The Viaduct area is lined with eateries and bars opening out onto a promenade around the marina. The terrace at Soul is a great place to park up for an afternoon of oysters and Champagne, while Bivacco puts on wickedly good antipasti, pizza, pasta and grilled meats. Hello Beasty is one of the city’s undisputed champions of Asian fusion done well – order the ‘Feed Me’ menu and the chefs will ensure you don’t miss out on any of the best dishes. 

Ride the elevator up to Mövenpick Auckland’s rooftop for an afternoon treat overlooking the harbour at BODA. A chocolate fondue course serves up to four people – your own pot of melted, rich chocolate nestled over a gentle flame, served with an array of fruit and sweets to dip into it. Afternoon tea is also a drawcard at Park Hyatt Auckland restaurant The Living Room – masterful sweet and savoury creations are served alongside artisan tea (or Champagne, why not?) right on the boat-lined quay. Captain’s Bar at the hotel is a great pick for a sundowner cocktail – the premium rum selection is particularly impressive, and for a dinner showcasing peak produce from around the country, book a table at Onemata

Further afield

Waiheke Island, naturally, has water views aplenty. Gaze over the white sands of Onetangi Beach while having lunch at elegantly designed Ki Māha. Or take the stairs to cute, Cape Cod-esque The Oyster Inn in bustling Oneroa Village and request a table on the verandah for maximum magic. Watch the sun drop behind Little Barrier Island in the far distance, with a freshly prepared seafood tower on the table competing for your attention. 

There are other spots worth the ferry ride. Devonport is just 10 minutes from downtown Auckland and graced with charming Victorian streetscapes. Dulcie is a short stroll along the promenade from the ferry terminal, boasting a view over Waitematā Harbour back to the city and a very impressive daytime menu, whether you’re just after a classic cheese scone (Dulcie’s are made with smoked cheddar) or something a bit fancier such as linguine aglio e olio with nduja, calamari, and clams. 

Also a hop over the harbour from the city is Hobsonville Point, once an air force base and now a vibrant seaside neighbourhood. Some of the 1920s air force buildings remain, such as the one that houses Catalina Bay Farmers Markets on Saturdays and Sundays, bursting with great food stalls and one of the city’s best artisan bakeries, Gourmet Gannet, tucked down the back. For a leisurely lunch, Fabric Cafe Bistro is the ticket, with an all-day menu and sprawling deck jutting over the serene mangrove-hemmed pocket of harbour.  

A stone’s throw from the sand of the Mission Bay is a pretty stone cottage belying a haven of innovative Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) cuisine, the restaurant Azabu. Dishes here are a feast for both eyes and belly, such as the spider roll sushi with soft shell crab, cucumber kimchi and shichimi pepper, and the snapper tiradito with aji amarillo, yuzu radish, green chilli, coriander and chilli oil.

Written by Discover Auckland

Last updated 10 Apr 2024

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