One of the best things about Auckland is its cosmopolitan nature, and nowhere is this displayed better than the great food and drink on offer in New Zealand’s largest city. Tallying up the best restaurants in Auckland would take hours, but while there’s a consistently high quality of eateries dotting the city, we believe there are some places that stand out even in this culinary wonderland. Here’s Orbzii’s guide to the best breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Auckland.
Federal Street Deli
Although Auckland is about as geographically far away from New York city as anywhere on earth, a visit to the Fed (as it’s affectionately known) will make you feel like you’re right in the heart of the Big Apple. The menu is full of old school deli classics like the hearty Matzo Ball Soup and a Cheesecake that’s fresh, light, and melts delightfully on your tongue. The bagels are deliciously dense and chewy without feeling too heavy in your mouth, and the different fillings all pack a punch.
Seeing as you’re on holiday, you might fancy a breakfast tipple. Or maybe you’re just in for a weekend brunch. Regardless of the reason, the Fed will sort you out with a boozy breakfast, if that’s what you’re after.
They have a wide selection of wine and beers, as well as some New York inspired cocktails. If you want to go all out on breakfast, there’s few better restaurants to visit in Auckland.
Mission Bay Cafe
Operating for over two decades in the affluent suburb of Mission Bay, Mission Bay café serves breakfast with a view. Less than a ten-minute drive from downtown Auckland, or a twenty-minute or so bus ride, you’ll be served up some astoundingly good breakfast fare while being able to watch the waves lap against the shore.
The café has been family run since its inception and is a real local institution, but still churns out high quality meals and drinks for locals and visitors alike. Staff are all incredibly friendly and the food is all sourced from local vendors. Although this is one of the best restaurants in Auckland, everything about Mission Bay café is truly rooted in the local community, and that love and care shows in everything they do. Make sure to try the Creamy Mushroom Medley if you visit.
Ipoh Malaysian Cuisine
If you’ve ever been to Malaysia and developed an addiction to the delicately layered Roti Canai, then you need to eat at Ipoh Malaysian Cuisine when you visit New Zealand. Named for a foothill town in the heart of Malaysia that’s mostly famous for its street art, it’s not just the fried golden rectangles of goodness that are worth eating at this Auckland restaurant. Everything on the menu has that authentic flavour that defines the Malaysian mixing pot, making you wish you had room to try all the different dishes.
The joy of Malaysian cuisine is that it’s multiple different ones rolled into one. The strong Chinese presence on the menu is matched by the Indian influence, and no matter what end of the spectrum you prefer the food is done to an incredibly high standard.
Of course, Malay people have added their own flavours and ideas to the dishes that were brought from their ancestral homelands, and melded them with indigenous tastes to create something spectacular that the chefs at this restaurant are recreating. As discussed, the Roti Canai is a must-try, as is the Mee Goreng.
Wu and Yu
Modern, chic, and with some of the best melt-in-the-mouth Pork Belly in the world, Wu and Yu is a party of senses, with the excellent fusion flavours complemented by neon décor and an ultra-cool vibe. A predominately younger crowd tends to eat here but don’t let that stop you from coming; despite being decorated with seemingly opposed vibrant graffiti murals and traditional Chinese garb, the food is still the most entertaining and impressive thing about this spot.
The cuisine is predominantly pan-Asian fusion (with a focus on Chinese food). Burgers are infused with Eastern flavours like hoisin and peanut sauce; tacos and bao buns come out perfectly, as if Mexico and Sichuan were neighbours; things that feel needlessly experimental, like the Sushi Fries, suddenly become obviously great ideas after you’ve had a few bites.
If you’re keen to try something new – and we mean really new – then Wu and Yu is one of the best restaurants in Auckland for it.
While the immense quality of Asian food means a lot of the best restaurants in Auckland lean that way, there are still plenty of astounding eateries in the city that serve up local fare that would be much-vaunted anywhere on the planet. Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar is one such place. The menu changes based on what’s in season, and the atmosphere is so laid back you’ll be surprised at just how high-class the food is. Depot Eatery is definitely a place to go with friends and share – although if you do go alone, you’ll be happy to have all the plates to yourself.
The oysters are expectedly phenomenal, as is the sashimi: everything is caught within New Zealand waters, so you know it’s as fresh as can be. If you want something warmer, there are plenty of options. The beer and wine lists are also full of top-quality choices, so really there’s nothing more to do than sit back, unbuckle your belt, and try whatever takes your fancy.
High quality, contemporary Indian cuisine is hard to come by in a lot of places, but not in Auckland. Cassia has been a revelation since opening, melding fresh, local produce with subcontinental flavours to create some absolutely astonishing food. Presentation and setting is key here, making you feel like royalty. However, the most important thing is of course flavour, and Cassia delivers that in abundance.
The menu is inventive and unique, filled with classics like Tandoor fish and Pani Puri, as well as more innovative dishes like the Te Matuku Oyster Pakora and Wagyu Beef Laal Mass Croquette. Like all good Indian food, the menu is made for sharing, but if you want something truly memorable there’s also a tasting menu available. An unforgettable culinary experience: a visit here is a visit to one of the best restaurants in Auckland.
Everything about this basement restaurant in the heart of Auckland’s downtown screams quality and authenticity. Even the cocktail menu is full of classics with Sichuan-twists, although the wine menu is very un-Chinese, showcasing some of the best bottles that New Zealand can offer. No matter what you drink, it’s the food here that’s the star of the show. While there is a heavy lean towards Sichuan cuisine, there are dishes from all over China on this ‘street food’ menu, although most of the produce is from the local area.
The Ghost Street concept reimagines Beijing hole-in-the-wall eateries, hoping to evoke the kind of nostalgia you could only get in pre-internet times when you stumbled across an amazing meal at a hidden restaurant you’d likely never find again.
The food is also incredibly well-priced, especially given its quality, so there’s no excuse not to try everything on the menu. If we had to choose, though, the Sichuan Eggplant is near-perfection.