No Auckland weekend is complete without eating at one of the fabulous cafes and restaurants our fair city has to offer.
To help you do just that, we’ve compiled a hit list of five cafes and restaurants to visit this weekend. Wriggle into those stretchy pants and BYO appetite because some serious eating is about to go down!
Ponsonby, Britomart, Ellerslie
You may not understand all of the words on the menu, but order it anyway because everything is dangerously delicious. Although the menu is seasonal, the Mexico fried chicken is something that will never—and should never—go off the menu. You won’t crave KFC ever again especially when it comes with jalapeno and chipotle mayo. Grab a taco or two to yourself, but everything else is easily shared, except the fried chicken. Don’t go shy on their homemade hot sauces and definitely don’t go shy on the Margaritas. The black plum and cinnamon version is absolutely mint. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor. But don’t hit the floor before you try the churros. Cinnamon spiced with all things nice—xocolate ganache and crunchy salted caramel praline.
Through an unassuming door in the middle of Britomart you will be transported to Hanoi’s old quarter with large white orbs adorning the ceiling, a concrete floor, wooden chairs and a plant-filled space. In true Vietnamese style the food is shared, which means you get to try more! We strongly suggest the crispy-coated tiger prawns (although avoid the sauce if you can’t handle a bit of chilli). The pork spare ribs are just as delicious. Or, dabble with traditional flavours and go for the pork and prawn pancake because it hits all those fresh, minty, herby, sweet and salty notes. Pho sure. If you love a little bit a sugar, then try the doughnuts with rich caramel sauce. And, don’t forget kick-ass cocktails, starring chili-infused vodka, because they pack a bite.
Taiwanese street food with a twist in the ‘burb of Mt Albert—Chinoserie is exactly our kind of vibe. Chill, well-priced, quick service, shared food and absolutely, undeniably frickin’ delish. It is an ode to its success that it is always pumping. The décor is totally eclectic with lanterns, clashing colours, lucky cats (maneki-neko), fortune cookies, plants, and a painted dragon on the wall. But back to the food… These people know how to bao, with the perfect ratio of bun-to-filling. The five spice and soy braised pork belly bao is to die for (just prepare to get messy cause this is some saucy goodness)…as is the Kaarage chicken bao. And the coconut crusted squid. And the chips with wasabi mayo…we could go on. The menu is short and sweet yet you will not be disappointed with anything. If you need a little extra fire (like us) then just add sriracha.
Psssst! If you sit outside, the kimonos are supplied.
Dante’s Neopolatana is the closest you’ll get to a truly Italian experience without forking out thousands for flights. At Dante’s this is something they pride themselves on, with flour from Napoli, tomatoes from San Marzano, the best mozzarella you’ll find in Auckland from Campana and a woodfired oven handmade in Napoli (the home of pizza itself) by a master of his craft. This creates the perfect light, yet charred and crispy base—you choose your toppings. Our faves would have to be the con prosciutto with rocket to give it that peppery kick, or the classic magherita. They take an all-Italiano approach to ambience as well. You are in for a loud, busy, communal experience, and may even meet the owner himself. Dante’s is a little gem in the centre of Ponsonby.
The folks over at Ceremony have got coffee and sandwich making down to a fine art. If you are looking for a place to cure your hangover, this is it. All the sandwich offerings come served on a brioche bun with an over-easy egg that when you bite into it has an oozing yolk, just how we like it. The Number One bun is a tasty any-time, with smoked bacon, rocket, cheddar, caramelized onions and a tomato relish. Yet look out for the Number Seven which changes regularly because it’s always the most exciting on the menu. Last weeks was a cumin flat bread with braised oxtail, jalapenos, shallots and lemon buttermilk. Check out their Insta for the updates. If you were to describe this place in one word it would be hip. The industrial style décor is jazzed up with plants, art and balloon-like light bulbs. They even have their own Spotify playlist. Great coffee, great people, great food, great place. End of story.
- 5 Cafes You Should Have Been To In West Auckland
- Auckland's Best All-You-Can-Eat Restaurants
- Your Home Away From Home | Auckland’s Newest Gastropub
Image credit: Chinoiserie