Neighbourhood dining doesn’t get much better than farm-to-table eating where smart restauranteurs figure that going local just might be better. And, we couldn’t agree more. In a nutshell, all it means is that (as much as possible) ingredients are sourced from a local farm—so it’s not factory produced—meaning it’s better for your health and the environment.
So, if you want to get behind this fantabulous movement, then here are 10 farm-to-table restaurants to visit.
It’s a win/win and we’re in!
Provenance in Kumeu is a short half-hour drive from Auckland’s CBD. It’s part of the HipGroup’s array of cafes, and offers a true farm-to-table experience with simple dishes designed to show off the fresh produce sourced from local farms and suppliers. It also has an on-site kitchen garden to be used in many of the menu’s ingredients. You can get the full provenance experience for just $45—that’s three courses using the freshest of fresh ingredients. Score!
Pasture recently opened in Parnell and is all about foraging, fermenting, pickling and preserving. With an open-plan design, you can see the food being cooked over a fire, whilst it’s all hands on deck with chefs serving tables. Their menu is led by seasonal eating, with vegetables and animals seen as equals. Offering a set menu that changes frequently, and a bakery shelf with freshly baked sourdough loaves, you just can’t go wrong at Pasture.
Ortolana in Italian literally means for market gardener, so it’s a no-brainer that they use the best seasonal and local produce from its own garden as well as other local growers. Choose from an all-day European inspired menu, where you can see which ingredients are directly from the farm. Sitting pretty under the fairy lights, you’ll be in for a treat.
Meadow is in, well, Meadowbank, and serves locals what they want—a farm-to-table experience. With its fit out from interior designer Virginia Fisher, Meadow boasts an elegant interior and an expansive courtyard and cosy outdoor fire. Not stopping there, the farm-to-table restaurant focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients hailing from the owner’s Clevedon farm.
5. Orphan’s Kitchen
Switching the farm for the ocean, Orphan’s Kitchen claims its faithfulness to a place that has so much edible love to give. The team at Orphan’s Kitchen look to the bush, ocean, orchards, fjords and the plains as tools for exploring native flavours. It is here that the delectable flavours and plates are put together—ones that express the gratitude and influence of New Zealand’s oceanic home.
6. Mea Culpa
Steering away from the food and moving onto the liquor, our favourite cocktail bar is Mea Culpa takes on that same farm-to-table concept. This Ponsonby hot spot provides Auckland’s best cocktails, with a menu that changes each fortnight based on seasonal ingredients. Word of advice: get there early as the small— yet welcoming—space can prove difficult to get a seat at the best of times.
7. Federal & Wolfe
This inner-city spot provides organic, fresh, local food and coffee. With its rustic décor and friendly staff and its gate-to-plate food, it’s a must-visit for any Aucklander.
8. Cornwall Park Café
For a Sunday adventure, this is one spot to visit. Take a walk around the park pre or post brunch before indulging in a scrumptious dish. With a philosophy focused on using local, seasonal, free-range and hand-crafted products Cornwall Park Café embodies the farm-to-table philosophy. Most of their fresh greens are grown within Cornwall Park, with bread from Bread and Butter Bakery, and meat and seafood from Freedom Farms and sweet treats made using organic ingredients. We’re sold.
Multi award-winning restaurant Depot Eatery has good reason for its success—as soon as you step foot in the door you realise why this place is so popular. With New York vibes, great music and delicious food, Depot has been teeming with tourists and locals alike since it opened its doors a few years ago. Renowned chef Al Brown has created a seasonal menu with a focus on local produce, and most of the cooking is done over charcoal or hard wood to bring out the succulent flavours.
10. Coco’s Cantina
If you wanna hang with the cool kids, then Coco’s Cantina is the place to be. This Italian-style restaurant also takes influences from the Mediterranean. Run by two sisters, the food is made from quality ingredients and locally sourced produce. Carefully selected suppliers are chosen for their like-minded approach, whose focus is on quality and craft.
Want more? Here are 50 of Auckland’s Healthiest Dishes
Image credit: Ortolana