19 Best Restaurants in Auckland, New Zealand

Cibo

$$$$ | Parnell Fodor's choice

When you are in the mood for superb food without any drama head to Cibo. The name means "good food" in Italian, and it is apt for this restaurant, which has been around for more than 20 years. Chef Kate Fay is known for smart innovative food and the service is led by co-owner Jeremy Turner, who is possibly Auckland's best maître'd. This is a popular venue for weddings, so don't be surprised if you can't get a table on a summer Saturday.

Dizengoff

$$ | Ponsonby Fodor's choice

One of the area's most popular breakfast and lunch places, Dizengoff serves hearty Jewish (but not kosher) food to an eclectic clientele. The coffee is among the best around, and there is an ever-changing selection of New Zealand art. This place is always busy; avoid weekends unless you get here early for breakfast (no later than 8). The lemon poppy-seed muffins and coffee make an excellent take-out option along with the bagel filled with chicken and red cabbage.

256 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, 1011, New Zealand
09-360–0108
Known For
  • Superb scrambled eggs and veal sausages
  • Long waits especially on weekends
  • Perfect chicken salad
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner

Fish

$$$$ | City Center Fodor's choice

This light-filled restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass looks across the harbor to trendy Devonport and the Bayswater boat marina. The menu is based on high-quality fresh local produce, particularly fish and meat cooked to perfection. Salads are made the minute before they are served. The windows are so big you might need your sunglasses on a bright day, and reservations are advised.

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Giraffe

$$$$ | City Center Fodor's choice

Located in the buzzy heart of the Viaduct, Giraffe unites the best local foods with flair and fun. It's open from breakfast until late and whether you are a meat eater or a vegan, the menu will leave you satisfied. The wine list is fantastic and the atmosphere cosmopolitan.

O'Connell Street Bistro

$$$$ | City Center Fodor's choice

This former bank vault, on one of the city's fashionable backstreets, has a cozy bar from which you can watch passersby through thin venetian blinds. It has garnered a loyal clientele who keep returning for the food and service. The wine list is big and imaginative, showcasing varieties rarely seen elsewhere. Great for lunch, the bistro is popular with the business crowd.

3 O'Connell St., Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
09-377–1884
Known For
  • <PRO>large and varied wine list</PRO>
  • <PRO>intimate and sophisticated atmosphere</PRO>
  • <PRO>superb, ever-changing menu</PRO>
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch Sat., Credit cards accepted

Prego Restaurant

$$$$ | Ponsonby Fodor's choice

It's no mean feat being the longest-running restaurant in Ponsonby, where the locals and their guests are fussy. The broad Italian menu includes wood-fired pizzas and good pasta. Also worth trying, the fish of the day is served in many ways. Prego is extremely noisy, so don't go there for an intimate chat, though you may find the courtyard quieter. It is always full; a wait is likely, but the expert staff will usher you to the bar. The wine list is comprehensive.

Sidart

$$$$ | Ponsonby Fodor's choice

This spot and its tasting menus bring modern cooking to a whole new level. The chefs take a slew of the finest ingredients and combine them in ways that will delight and astound the most jaded palate. The sweet and the savory are combined on beautiful plates with foam, or the finest jus.

283 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
64-09-360--2122
Known For
  • Innovative use of produce
  • New recipes offered at Tuesday night test kitchen
  • Beautiful city views
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.

Soul Bar & Bistro

$$$$ | City Center Fodor's choice

There's always something to see at the Soul Bar and Bistro, which fronts the Viaduct Basin on the harbor. The menu is modern with a traditional twist and changes to match the season, but you will always find something good, whether your interest is in fresh fish, meat, or something from the plant family. On the terrace, you're close enough to the moorings to study the paintwork on the yachts, and at night, the bar and outside tables are packed with a polished and often noisy crowd.

The Food Vault

$$ Fodor's choice

The fresh-baked goods, plumber's breakfast (a hearty plate of eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, and anything else the chef adds), and coffee make this a great place to spend a morning. The atmosphere is friendly, with customers ranging from cyclists stopping for a fix to locals looking for a hearty breakfast or lunch.

Bambina Ponsonby

$$$ | Ponsonby
This café is part of the Ponsonby Road old guard and has been serving its loyal customers for over 20 years. The menu offers breakfast staples like eggs and bacon, but you can also mix it up with coconut yogurt, muesli, and superb salads at lunchtime. A big central table brings together its diverse patrons while separate tables are also available for those wanting a more private dining experience.

Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill

$$$$ | City Center

Overlooking the water from the upper level of the restored Ferry Building, this seafood restaurant is an Auckland institution that draws foodies and families alike. It serves seasonal New Zealand seafood on a menu that references a number of cuisine styles. Meat-eaters can choose lamb, eye fillet (beef tenderloin), and perhaps cervena (farmed venison). On warm nights, reserve a table outside on the balcony, where you can watch the ferries come and go.

Quay St., Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
64-09-307–0486
Known For
  • High-quality seafood
  • Unique and tasty meat options, including venison
  • Stunning harbor views

Manuka

$$$

A corner on Devonport's main street is a good place to people-watch and rest after exploring, and Manuka is a relaxed spot with wooden tables and stacks of newspapers and magazines. Wood-fired pizzas are available all day, with toppings ranging from classic pepperoni to smoked chicken, Brie, and roasted cashews. Weekend brunch is hectic when the locals turn out, but tables turn over quickly.

Mexican Café

$$$ | City Center

This very busy café has been serving up great Mexican-style food since 1983. People go as much for the noisy, friendly vibe as they do for the food such as the chicken fajitas or vegetarian burritos. It's best to go before the lunch or dinner crowds if you don't want to wait.

67 Victoria St. W, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
09-373–2311
Known For
  • <PRO>tasty Mexican food</PRO>
  • <PRO>great value</PRO>
  • <PRO>big crowds during prime mealtimes</PRO>
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant

$$$$ | Hauraki Gulf Islands

This vineyard produces a small portfolio of whites and reds, many of which never make it off the island. The menu emphasizes seasonal, high-quality food and caters to all tastes. Degustation menus are available. The front terrace is the best spot to take in the harbor views. Many people like to arrive by helicopter. It's a popular spot for weddings, so it pays to reserve a table before heading there. Overnight accommodations are available both at the winery and nearby.

Non Solo Pizza

$$$$ | Parnell

If you've had a busy day and want to roll on and be surrounded by animated diners this place is for you. The food can be ordered individually or with bowls to be shared by the table. Lunchtimes are busy when people head for a table in the Italian-style courtyard. There's always pizza with traditional toppings, and the green salad is excellent.

259 Parnell Rd., Auckland, 1052, New Zealand
64-09-379–5358
Known For
  • Delicious pizza
  • Great range of pastas
  • Fabulous desserts
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., Reservations essential

SPQR

$$$$ | Ponsonby

This former motorcycle shop is one of the best places on Ponsonby Road for people-watching. The excellent food is largely Italian, and it's known for its thin-crust pizzas. Should an outside table not be available, you can sit in the minimalist concrete interior. With the eclectic clientele, the people-watching is just as good inside. The bar cranks up as the sun goes down. On weekend mornings, aspiring celebrities and the "love your work" set can be seen having a late breakfast in public.

150 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, 1011, New Zealand
64-09-360–1710
Known For
  • Excellent food and wine
  • Hip (sometimes too hip) ambience
  • Fun outdoor seating
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted

Tanuki's Cave

$$$$ | City Center

A flight of dimly lighted stairs leads down to this buzzing Japanese yakitori and sake bar. The oblong bar is usually jammed with film-festival types, the young art and fashion crowd, or classical music lovers eating before a concert in the nearby Town Hall. Order small plates of Japanese food and sip at more than 20 types of sake by the glass.

319B Queen St., Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
64-09-379–5151
Known For
  • Japanese small plates
  • Wide range of sake
  • Hip crowds
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

The Sugar Club

$$$$ | City Center

For a high-end dining experience, this is the place to go—53 floors up in the Sky Tower. The decor is reminiscent of 1930s Italy, while the food and views attract a range of diners. Dishes are served in starter-size portions and you order in sets of three through to six. It's not cheap, but the span of the cuisine speaks to innovation and fun.

Vino Vino

$$$$ | Hauraki Gulf Islands

Waiheke's longest-running restaurant perches on Oneroa's main street, with a large all-weather deck overlooking the bay. The platters—Mediterranean, grilled (with Italian sausages and calamari), or seafood—are perennial favorites. It's popular in the busy summer months.