While Auckland has no shortage of cheap ‘n’ chic restaurants, when you’re in the mood for something special, a $15 wine and dine deal just doesn’t cut the culinary mustard.
Thankfully, Auckland is also home to some of the best fine dining and award-winning cuisine, ever. Perfect for any special occasion, these fine dining restaurants will truly knock your socks off. And my, oh my, aren’t they fine!
Here’s The Urban List’s edit of Auckland’s best fine dining restaurants.
Globally recognised and winners of multiple awards, The French Cafe encapsulate everything fine dining. With a tasting menu fit for royalty (and vegetarians!) here you will feast on beautiful food in beautiful surroundings. Think egg yolk confit with fluffy gnocchi and mushrooms for starters. Or, how about smoked duck with bursts of juniper and blackcurrants? Whichever menu you choose, disappointment isn't an option. Top it off with expertly selected wine matches for a true taste of sophistication.
Not only is Clooney one of Auckland’s most stunning restaurants, it’s also a fine dining utopia. Mood lighting and incredible interiors make for one hell of a sexy vibe at Clooney. Paired with flawless food and stellar service, you’ve got utter perfection. Worth every cent, expect to dine on delights to wow and amaze with every bite. Take a culinary journey through Aotearoa, as you sip and dine your way through an exceptional evening.
A Parnell fine dining paradise comes in the form of Cibo. Transforming an old chocolate factory into a mesmerising mecca, Cibo is beyond beautiful. With an innovative and inventive menu on hand, your dining decisions are not gonna be easy! Think liquorice infused venison with chocolate soil, black pudding and blueberries. Erm, yum! Tummy now rumbling? Thought so. Finish off your evening with an extensive yet elegant dessert menu.
If Princess Anne has dined there, you know it's good. Number 5 is not only fit for royalty, it's also the place for you too. With heavenly food and a complementing wine list to match, Number 5 has got it all. Putting emphasis on all things Kiwi—with a slight French twist—the food is nothing but exquisite. The a la carte menu gives you the likes of venison carpaccio, roasted cauliflower risotto and zesty lemon sorbet, we want it all!
Oh, Auckland! Your beautiful eateries have us pining for fine dining deliciousness on the reg. Another to add to this list is Ponsonby’s Sidart. Crafted and plated to perfection, Sidart's dishes wouldn't look out of place in a gallery. With tasting and discovery menus on offer, expect to feast on wow-worthy innovations. Think seasonal, Kiwi-inspired dishes a.k.a masterpieces in stunning surroundings. Sidart is your next special occasion destination, for sure.
Contemporary and ever-so chic, Kazuya is a Japanese fine dining destination you won't want to miss. Not only stunning to look at, each dish served is a masterpiece your mouth will enjoy too. Traditional Japanese cooking styles meet modern methods for the ultimate taste sensation. Think cavatelli, red prawn, squid and Nori seaweed for serious food envy. For an Asian-inspired banquet, look no further.
Gusto At The Grand
We're all about that pasta vibe and we're sure you will be too. Gusto At The Grand places great emphasis on fresh and incredible Italian food. With none other than chef Sean Connolly at the helm, it's a curated menu of all things brilliant. From a la carte to exquisite breakfast buffets, they've got it all. All made to order, it's safe to say, you can't get fresher than that!
Set in the luxurious Simunovich Olive Estate is one heck of a South Auckland delight. With an emphasis on contemporary and elegant fine dining, Bracu is simply spellbinding. Thought that eating exquisite food was enough? Think again! Overlooking vines and picture-perfect landscapes, dining at Bracu couldn't get much better.
Cosy, intimate and completely mesmerising is Mount Eden's very own Meredith's. Forget a quick bite to eat—dining at Meredith's is an experience worth savouring. Creative combinations grace the menus (chicken floss is a thing!) to wow and delight. Saving your pennies for an indulgent meal at Meredith's is so worth it!
Serving some of Auckland's best seafood, Harbourside is a fish fanatic's dream. Forget greasy fish and chips, this place is all about elegance and excellence. There's an extensive and yummy selection of seafood to choose from—think whole roasted crayfish with Pernod butter. Or how about seared Atlantic scallops with crispy pork hock? Add in fantastic harbour views and you’re pretty much in heaven.
One Tree Grill
With a roaring, open fire, immaculate table setting and welcoming vibe, this next place has it all. One Tree Grill takes New Zealand produce and does it proud. In a gorgeous setting, with incredible food to match, isn’t it our birthday yet?! Although the food on offer is enough to get us going, wait until you see their wine list. Boasting the best wines around in a bountiful cellar, dinner and drinks has never looked so good!
If eating exquisite food while looking at a marina of super yachts is a crime, lock us up. Located on the water's edge, Sails Restaurant is a fine dining destination worthy of a visit. With stellar views and award winning food, dining here isn't a chore. Focusing on incredible seafood, expect to feast on scallops, salmon and sashimi. With expert chefs, fantastic service and killer views, Sails is so worth it.
Creating mind-blowing dishes in a stunning setting, Cassia is beyond beautiful. Here, you’ll enjoy the likes of Dehli duck with kumara, lychee and cardamon. Or, how about spiced quail with parsnip puree? Either way, we're ready to eat!
Yup, you guessed it, this one's big on all things fish. With a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the Waitemata Harbour, it should come at no shock. For excellent seafood, service and scenery, FISH is an obvious choice for all. With oysters, Kahawai tartare and crayfish mac ‘n cheese on offer, we're sold! Don't worry, they also serve non-fishy options too!
With Ben Bayly at the helm, you know it's going to be good. The Grove is a masterpiece of taste, atmosphere and sophistication. With a French twist on New Zealand food, expect flavour, seasonality and excellence. Specialising in tailor-made tasting menus, The Grove is a degustation delight. Prepare to feel like royalty dining in this renowned Auckland establishment.
If this doesn't scream date night, we don't know what does. Small yet intimate, Pasture is a Parnell gem waiting for you to unearth. Perfection is a key focus—serving the best produce and offering outstanding service. With such a passionate, creative and welcoming team on hand, Pasture can do no wrong.
Located in the gorgeous and historic, General Buildings, lies Wine Chambers. With a grand focus on tasty tipples and wonderful wines, their food is also worth a mention or two. Using the finest ingredients to create decadent dishes, why not try it for yourself? Think nutmeg-infused gnocchi, tender lamb rump and wild mushroom risotto. Hungry? Us too!
For a true elegant eating experience, book into Cable Bay's 'Dining Room'. Boasting incredible views of the Hauraki Gulf, it's a stunning must-visit restaurant. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow for views with every turn. The food, now where do we even begin? Wild venison tartare with beetroot, garlic and cured yolk for starters. Merino lamb rack with eggplant, miso and goat's curd for main. And how about sticky, apple satin to finish? All in all, it's indulgent, inviting and completely worthy of your company.
The Sugar Club
Sitting pretty high in the sky is the The Sugar Club. With culinary expert, Peter Gordon at the helm, it offers killer views, legendary dishes and a welcoming vibe it’s easily one of the best fine dining restaurants in Auckland.
We can't get enough of dinner and a view, can you? Didn't think so. Euro is a top contender to add to your list, that's for sure. Impeccable service, decadent dishes and sea views await. The menu is a fantastic balance of seafood, meat and vegetarian, all executed to the utmost perfection. Top it off with an incredible selection of wine and your dinner plans look hella good to us!
A fantastic way to end any Waiheke experience is a visit to Mudbrick Vineyard. Their stunning, fine dining restaurant is a thing of pure beauty. Overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, it dishes up exceptional food you won't want to miss. They offer both an impressive degustation menu with wine matches or exquisite a la carte. Either way, with views and food like that, Mudbrick has caught our eye for sure.
Soul Bar & Bistro
Get a little luxury in your life and have fun while doing so. Soul Bar serves up elegant and tasty food but in a welcoming and friendly environment. Perfect for catch-ups, birthday celebrations or a fancy feast, Soul is the place to be. Overlooking the marina, expect to dine on delicious seafood here—think kingfish ceviche, shucked oysters, trevally crude, and we haven't even left starters!
The Grill by Sean Connolly
At The Grill, it's all about great food, done right. Serving fresh, honest and tasty Kiwi produce, chef Sean Connolly keeps us wanting more. And by more, we mean everything! Think tender cuts of steak, complimentary sides and sharing plates. All served in a magnificent eatery, it's the perfect place to spend a special occasion.
With a menu designed by Josh Emett, you know that Ostro is nothing but the best. Ostro is all about elegant dining in a serene, relaxed atmosphere. From clam spaghetti to beef brisket burger, they've got something for everyone. Add in exceptional views of the harbour and a bountiful bar and you're good to go!
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Image Credit: Bracu