Answers from Our Experts (1)
Auckland's food scene is really blossoming. There's heaps of different options depending on what you feel like eating, what vibe you're after and how much you want to spend. As of right now, these are a few of my favourite places, but I'm sure it will continue to evolve as the cuisine scene does here. (For other award winning Auckland restaurants go here.)
The French Cafe: This fine dining establishment is an Auckland institution. This year it has been named the best restaurant in Auckland by Metro magazine - and also took out the title for best hospitality, best fine dining and the best chef, Simon Wright. The seasonal menu is stunning, and the wine list here is perfectly picked. Most recently, my favourite dish is the spanner crab risotto with pearl barley. I suggest treating yourself to a tasting menu paired with wines. It's the best way to really soak up the generosity of The French Cafe. If you have a larger group ask about about the chic new space out the back, The French Kitchen.
Depot: It's simple Kiwi food, cooked perfectly every time. The staff are super friendly (despite being under the pump by the constant crowds) and the sliders are a must in my books. It's also an oyster bar, so it would be rude not to slurp a few of those. They don't take bookings, but there's plenty of room to sip a sav while you wait for a table to come up.
The Tasting Shed: offers some of the best service I have ever experienced, in the world. Located about an hour’s drive out of Auckland on a lush piece of land, the food here is made for picking, sharing and enjoying with wine. The décor is rustic and charming, once you’re seating at the chunky wooden tables, you don’t want to leave. The attention to detail makes for such a memorable experience – the beautiful copper cutlery, the fresh market flowers, the knowledgeable staff, I just love it out here. They take bookings (something of a rarity in Auckland) and will drop you home if you’re staying within 5km. Well worth a visit.
Mexico: As the name suggests, this place has the best Mexican menu I've sampled in the city so far. It's dark and rustic, with Day of the Dead images hung on the wall, and waitresses wearing floral headpieces. Fried chicken is their speciality, and my favourites are the caramel braised pork quesadilla and the cumin spiced patatas bravas. Make sure you're in a group so you can sample more plates.
Soul Bar: When you're in Auckland you have to sample seafood. Even if you're not a massive fan, New Zealanders pride themselves on their ocean food, so it would be rude not to give it a go. This is my go-to restaurant when I've got tourists in town. Soul Bar sits harbourside, offering stunning views of the City of Sails. Their menu is seasonal, but the salt and pepper squid starter will get you going, then try a piece of fish for main.