Everyone is different, with their own unique tastes and desires. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for something that is spicy or authentic, hearty or light, the only thing that counts is if it is delicious.
If you’re heading on a world cruise and are stepping onto land with a rumbling stomach then you’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to eat in Auckland.
For street food
While you can always settle down at a table in a nice restaurant in Auckland for some food, it would be a crime not to enjoy the great outdoors. Street food in the city is big business, the locals are obsessed with getting their taste of diverse eats from stalls, trucks and pop-ups.
With such popularity comes great competition. What is already hard graft for the business owners becomes even harder, but this is only benefiting the city’s foodies. Each street food vendor is developing more and more innovative and original dishes for the paying punters to savour.
Bringing a taste of authentic American barbeque to the New Zealand’s north island, Dixie Barbecue provides perfectly slow and low cooked meats from traditional woods. With an Southern Pride wood smoker all the way from Tennessee in the US, makes them the top-dogs in the Barbecue-game in Auckland.
Using their own sauces, rubs, pickles and sides, Dixie Barbecue serves up a selection of barbecued bites including Alabama barbecue chicken, Texas style beef brisket, Eastern Tennessee pork ribs and Georgia style pulled pork.
The Lucky Taco
Defining themselves as an ‘eatery on wheels’, The Lucky Taco owners Sarah and Otis were inspired by a trip to the United States, where they were amazed by the array of foods available from trucks. In the four years since opening, they have received numerous awards and sold more than 250,000 tacos to hungry locals.
After more travels to the States for inspiration, the pair took a taco and food course in Mexico City. Tacos were not a big deal in New Zealand before The Lucky Taco pulled up. Packed full of flavour, they sell varieties of spicy fish, marinated steak, pulled tongue and even beef tongue.
What the bloggers recommend
When looking for somewhere to eat in Auckland, you need to hear from the people who eat there regularly – the experts. The five sisters behind the What’s Yummy blog write about their gastronomic, travel and lifestyle experiences across New Zealand and the world.
Victoria kindly gave her recommendations:
“Britomart in the Auckland CBD is a must visit. It has undergone a transformation in the past decade and is now a true epicentre of dining and nightlife in Auckland. Our current favourite place to eat in this area is Amano (an Italian eatery), but The Store, Ostro, Ortolana, Cafe Hanoi and Ebisu are also fantastic options. Mexico is a vibrant, casual and fun spot nearby that does delicious pitchers of margaritas. The Caretaker is a chic, speakeasy-vibe bar that is worth visiting for bespoke cocktails.”
“City Works Depot is another CBD location that has sprung up in the last few years and is a great place for coffees, lunch and casual dinners. We love 'Odettes' cafe and restaurant.
“Ponsonby is a pocket of Auckland that is well known for its culinary offerings, such as at the Blue Breeze Inn (Asian-fusion), Ponsonby Road Bistro (European), Cocoro (Japanese) and Orphan's Kitchen (locally sourced whole-foods).”
“Getting out of the city and into the suburbs is a great way to spend a weekend. A favourite cafe-come-restaurant of ours is St. Helier's Bay Bistro, which does everything from breakfast to dinner to the most delicious fresh gelato and cakes! The service is always amazing and the location is divine. A similar quality location (run by the same people) is Takapuna Beach Cafe, over the Harbour Bridge.”
“If you're looking for a slightly eclectic, fun location for a date or dinner, head to Coco's Cantina on K'Road. You must try the polenta chips! The area is historically grungy, but this provides a lot of atmosphere and is great for people watching. Madame George is a good drinks spot nearby if you're waiting for a seat at Coco's (which you will be).”
Food you need to try in Auckland
While you can indulge in a variety of dishes from around the globe, there are certainly a number of foods to try in Auckland. New Zealand might be famous for its rugby and stunning natural scenery, but its gastronomy is unique and delicious. Whether it is authentic New Zealand cuisine or something that is perfectly executed in the city, you need to try these bites.
Another one for those who easily succumb to their sweet-tooth, Hokey Pokey ice cream is a real treat. You might be curious to find out what is exactly in the ice cream, but when you ask many will just say “its Hokey Pokey!” with a gleeful smile on their face. As it turns out, it is commonly vanilla ice cream with chunks of honeycomb whipped in.
Available in grocery stores, you should really opt for a scoop (or two) on a crunchy waffle cone as you explore the city.
While Hokey Pokey is a very enjoyable treat, there are some who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of ice-cream and gelato.
Giapo is like few other ice cream joints, you only need to check out its Instagram page to see why. Forget a single scoop of the customary flavours perched atop a cone, think chocolate squids emerging out of scoops covered in chocolate, or scoops lathered in sauce with beautiful toppings sat on a donut.
Annarosa from Giapo summed it up perfectly when we spoke to her:
“If you visit just one place in Auckland, it must be the famous ice cream kitchen Giapo. Why? Because it's like nothing you’ve ever experienced.
“Giapo serves the most incredible ice creams in the world from this one-and-only location, tucked away in a side street in Auckland’s downtown precinct. Over the past nine years Giapo has built a remarkable reputation both in New Zealand and internationally.
Ice cream is a surprisingly diverse ingredient, but only the geniuses at Giapo could ever come up with the concepts that they have.
“Expand your concept of ice cream by trying Giapo’s takes on Montreal poutine, Maori fried bread, Yorkshire pudding or even Japanese gyoza dumplings. No, we’re not getting confused, these all real items on the menu at Giapo.” Said Annarosa.
“Or let Giapo pull out all the stops when you order one of their intricate creations, like the chocolate-tentacled cone inspired by the colossal squid on display at Te Papa, the national museum - without a doubt the most incredible eaten anywhere.’ To visit to Giapo is to experience something new, exciting, and ultimately delicious.”
Fish & Chips
Synonymous as a take-away best enjoyed on the beach or a lovely park, fish and chips are very popular in New Zealand. Be adventurous with your choices, however. Don’t go for your usual, try the readily available snapper, terakihi and hoki, or even the popular scallops and squid rings.
New Zealand is fortunate enough to have more than 14,000 kilometres of coastline. With that comes a brilliantly fresh selection of seafood. Crayfish, whitebait and mussels are all very popular.
But oysters really hold their own special place in New Zealand gastronomy, with the country even holding a month long Bluff Oyster Festival each May.
The Oyster Inn
Presenting honest and delicious foods using only the best local produce, The Oyster Inn on the Waiheke Island is a seafood restaurant, bar, beach shop, take-away and luxury accommodation all rolled perfectly into one establishment. It is also among the best places in New Zealand to try oysters.
Sitting in the sun looking out at the postcard perfect sea views as you tuck into fresh seafood you’ll wonder how many better places there are to enjoy some oysters.
Named the Best Inner-City Bistro and among the finalists in the Supreme Winner and Best Service categories in the 2017 Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards, was Depot Eatery. Fun, fast and fresh, everything on the menu is in season and delivered brilliantly. It is also among the best places to try some freshly shucked oysters with a perfectly balanced wine from their wine list.
kiwi Meat Pie
Not only have New Zealand managed to make one of England’s greatest sporting exports their own, they’re also doing a mighty fine job of replicating the meat pie. The humble meat pie will bring back fond memories to many New Zealander. A school-meal staple and bonafide comfort food, a classic Kiwi meat pie is filled with hot mince, gravy and a generous helping of cheese just beneath the flaking crust.
Many will choose this as a hearty snack on a wet day, or as their go-to after a couple of beers. While the meat pie is the original, there are some out there creating some delicious verities with fresh ingredients.
Supplying some of the best cafés and food lovers around Auckland with handmade products, Scratch Bakers is the place to go for the best in baked goods.
“Scratch bakers is all in the name. Everything we do is made from scratch with fresh ingredients baked every night,” said Jonny from Scratch Bakers, who told us all about their products.
“We've become famous for our pies with flavours such as pork belly & apple cider, and beef cheek and tomato katsundi, as well as our other baking treats such as lemon, blueberry and almond scones. Tucked away off the main streets, Scratch is located in Graham Street, just a short walk from the port of Auckland.”
There is so much to sink your teeth into in Auckland. Something hearty, something inventive, something that you would never have tried before, it has it all. Visit with an empty stomach and leave satisfied.
Image Credit: jen