Excellent cafes popped up in far-flung suburbs, all-day eateries answered our prayers for good food anytime of the day and destination cafes took our brunching experience to another level. The best cafes boldly made their mark on the food scene inspiring us with fresh and creative menus.
Here is our pick of the best new openings—just waiting to be discovered as your new favourite.
The Wiley boys, of Miss Clawdy fame, set the standard in Auckland once again this year, with the opening of Kindred. Nestled in Wynyard Quarter, this elevated all-day eatery has quickly become a favourite—anytime of the day.
For breakfast, it’s hard to go past the pancakes served with banana, honeycomb and a generous dollop of bacon butter. Lunch features a twice-cooked chook ready to be pulled apart and plunged into the accompanying fiery sambal and Szechuan salt, or tuna poke served with avocado, seaweed, brown rice and chia crisp. With it’s inviting leather booth seating, blush terracotta tiles and large windows, this pretty and posh space is somewhere you want to return to, soon.
The 20-year-old K Road establishment Alleluya Bar & Cafe, finally laid to rest earlier this year giving rise to a new cafe, Bestie. This welcoming cafe breathed new life into the gloriously sun-filled atrium overlooking Myers Park in St Kevin’s Arcade. What began as a humble coffee cart, owners Emma Lyell and Tane Williams have created an ultra-cool spot rekindling the alternative and bohemian spirit of K Road.
The menu features homely classics of cheese toasties and fluffy hotcakes as well as dishes with a Middle Eastern kick—think beetroot hummus, crispy sumac chickpeas and dukkah rolled eggs. Be completely satisfied until you get greedy and try the sugared ricotta doughnuts and realise how close you came to missing out on them. Home-baked cakes and pastries fully stock the cabinet, just waiting to warm our hearts as only a true bestie can do.
Oaken, an all-day eatery, from the team behind Mexico and Beirut, is one of the smartest dining rooms around town. The light-filled space, accented with a Scandinavian charm, provides a hideout from the hustle and bustle of the inner city. For breakfast, there’s a prominence of egg but thankfully it’s joined with inspired touches such as Aoraki smoked salmon, green peas and herbs or perfectly seasoned minced mushrooms and smoked mozzarella.
From midday onwards a new menu comes into play offering hearty sandwiches, refined salads and larger plates. There’s sticky pork belly, crispy fried fish and a modern tuna poke served with puffed brown rice, avocado, macadamia and smoked tomato.
If you haven’t ventured to the hidden gem that is Homestead, plan your visit now. This charming estate, which holds the largest private collection of contemporary art, got a much needed freshen-up this year when chef/food writer Sam Mannering teamed up with the boys from Ceremony cafe and took over the kitchen. The food is, of course, seasonal and local but more importantly, unfussy dishes you simply want to eat. The menu ranges from brunch, lunch and dessert and features fresh salads, baguettes, small plates and platters to share.
Thank goodness the home-made crumpets are a constant, being served with toppings like poached apple with mascarpone and hazelnuts or smoked market fish. The coffee is Flight but there’s something about being seated on the outside deck that makes an afternoon glass of wine completely appropriate. Making the most of the unique location the team has been hosting monthly pop-up dinners this year, creating a magical location where good food and art live in perfect harmony.
Rosebank Coffee & Kitchen
Rosebank Kitchen is not the cafe you would expect to find in the industrial surroundings of Rosebank Road, but the arrival of this West Auckland newbie has become a chic new resident. Passionate duo Jono Clarke and Carlos Cumberbatch are behind the new eatery, calling us over for the classiest lunch found out West. The fit-out is sleek, modern and welcoming with food to match. With amazing baked goods, plus perfect Atomic coffee, what’s not to love? The food is plated up like works of art alongside the seriously drool-worthy cabinet items. Don't miss the French toast, served with dollops of banana toffee, grand marnier infused mandarin and salted cocoa crumble.
After 13 months of peeking under the papered windows during renovations, Seabreeze was Westmere’s most anticipated new opening this year. The eatery, owned by Westmere local and cafe connoisseur Brodie McDonald, brings together nostalgia and newness in a sleek and modern space. Teal walls and beach wood accents provide the backdrop to the fresh take on classics being plated up. Eggs are served with spiced aubergine, whipped yoghurt and chilli butter and 90’s sweet corn fritters get an addition of dates, feta and a punchy sweet chilli jam. The green eggs or super food bowl with avocado, spinach and bee pollen will leave you feeling virtuous—or if you’re after something more naughty, there’s a juicy bone marrow burger on the menu too. With the ocean in sight and all the golden afternoon sunlight you could wish for, Seabreeze has breezed in just in time for summer.
The Midnight Baker
The cult following at her La Cigale Market stall practically ensured baker Yeshe Dawa’s revolutionary ‘freedom loaf’ would get its very own cafe. Now, the gluten, dairy and sugar-free toast is the star of the show at The Midnight Baker Cafe in Mount Eden, much to the delight of devoted foodies and those with restricted dietary requirements. The quaint cafe has a homely character with recycled wood tables, fresh flowers and hanging plants—it's minimal but still warm and cosy.
You’ll often be served by Yeshe herself, whose passion and consideration for every element of her toast and toppings is evident in her humble approach. In true Midnight Baker style the menu is 95% vegan and uses local, quality ingredients to pile each toast high with inventive toppings either sweet or savory. There’s a roasted vine tomato with pesto, cashew cheese and dukkah or a sweet cinnamon chai toast served with coconut caramel jam, strawberries and rosemary roasted pistachios. Priced very affordably, you can work your way through the entire menu and even buy a loaf to enjoy at home until your next visit—which we can safely bet won’t be too long after.
TRUE Food and Yoga
This new opening had us jumping for joy in our activewear! TRUE Food And Yoga transformed an iconic but dated Tamaki Drive building into a yoga studio/all day eatery. Promising to be like nothing Auckland has ever seen before, TRUE is the brainchild of husband and wife team Nic and Kelly Watt—a walking advertisement for clean living, with some serious credentials behind them. With Nic’s talent from award-winning MASU and Kelly’s passion for yoga and wholefoods, there was no way this dining destination was going to be anything but spectacular. The menu is full of delicious dishes packed full of superfoods, ticking the wellness box but never at the expense of flavour.
For breakfast, there’s the tower of matcha buckwheat pancakes with maple and fresh fruit or an omelette tinted green thanks to the addition of powdered kale chlorophyll. Lunch features a healing chicken kombu broth, roasted salmon with cauliflower cous cous and a standout ‘rebel warrior’ crab burger—crispy soft shell crab, smothered in spiced mayo stuffed generously into the fluffiest of brioche buns. Order a side of kimchi and sauerkraut for a gut friendly kick and don't miss out on the ‘miso salty’—an oozy hot chocolate pudding with salted peanuts and vanilla ice cream. There’s Allpress coffee here, but sipping on one of their matcha or tumeric lattes feels more appropriate. A meal at TRUE Food and Yoga will leave you feeling light yet completely satisfied to your soul, without even needing to roll out a yoga mat.
- Auckland’s Most Instagrammable Cafes
- 30 Cafes You Should Have Been To If You Live In Auckland
- 5 Cafes You Should Have Been To On The North Shore
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews