Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Auckland CBD life, and it’s in times like these that we turn to the quietest corner of the city—East Auckland. Dotted with some of the cutest and quirkiest spots to grab a bite or a drink, the peaceful suburbs make for the best escape. We’ve rounded up the crème de la crème of East Auckland cafes and restaurants for you to cross off one by one!
The Apothecary Licensed Bar & Eatery
An East Auckland gem the locals will point you towards every time is the Apothecary. With a 1950’s, French-inspired décor in the café and an intimate evening bar, The Apothecary is a great spot for any time of the day or night. The Apothecary is a go-to for any Howick wanderer who is in need of a barista-made coffee, delicious lunch, or after work happy hour drink!
Urban In East
Just along the main street of Howick, you’ll find Urban In East. For an inner-city feel in the ‘burbs, this cosy café has you sorted. Great for an all-day breakfast (may we suggest the brioche French toast and the urban crepes) or, a not-your-usual cup of coffee (gingerbread lattes and peanut butter mochas all round please!) Grab one of their comfy blankets from inside and settle into a seat at Urban In East!
Half Moon Bay Marina
An epic meal with an epic view, Grangers in Half Moon Bay is a top pick for lunch in the East Auckland sunshine. Being seaside and all, of course Grangers has an extensive seafood menu with Waiheke oysters, Malooloba ocean prawns, classic fish ‘n’ chips and market sea shells. However, if seafood isn’t your game they also serve up amazing burgers, Korean fried chicken, and sirloin straight from the grill.
St Heliers Bay Café and Bistro
For a relaxed Sunday brunching session, St Heliers Bay Café and Bistro is the place to be. The view of the East Auckland bays makes this the perfect spot to sit back and relax in the sun. The immpecable service and food is not to go unmentioned either, with a decadent menu for brunch and dinner, don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of Champagne!
If you’re itching for a Paris getaway, curb those cravings by saying “Bonjour” to St Heliers’ La Fourchette. It has a menu bursting with French delecacies like duck confit, lemon and sugar crepes, rare tuna, and garlic loaded escargot. The eatery also doubles as a pattisserie with melt-in-your-mouth crossaints and au pain chocolat. Oui s’il vous plaît!
The Tearooms At Shamrock Cottage
If you’re after an afternoon of cakes and tea with some peace and quiet on the side, the cute and quirky Shamrock Cottage has your back. Tucked away on a little street in Howick, The Tearooms are cosy and intimate for a breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon date with seating also available in the sunsoaked courtyard. Grab a homemade sweet treat from the counter or order from the all day breakfast menu and catch up with your nearest and dearest.
Half Moon Bay Marina
If you’re in the mood for an authentic Japanese experience, look no further because Gouemon in Half Moon Bay. All the classics (sashami, sushi, and tempura) are on the menu, as well as sizzling hot plates, terryaki beef and salmon dishes, and udon noodle soups. It’s simple, cheap, and most importantly delicious.
A coastal drive and pub lunch go hand in hand, which is why we love The Franklin in Beachlands. Often inhabitated by the locals, this bar and restaurant has an extensive cocktail list, craft beer on tap, and some mouth-watering eats. Soak up allll the vitamin D you could ever want in the courtyard and eat your way through the menu. Our top picks are the chipotle fried squad, beef cheek sliders and the smoked pork belly hotdogs with honey mustard. Are you drooling yet?!
The best Thai cuisine out east, Thai Passion is dishing up your favourites like pad Thai, green curry, chicken satay, and Tom Yum. Draped in red and gold décor, the restaurant is friendly, welcoming, and perfect for a date night!
A health nut’s dream, Oasis Café in Howick is a hidden secret few know about. Half smoothie bar, half café with superfood bowls, open toasts (with flavours like pear, honey, & thyme), real fruit ice creams in waffle cones, and all the breakfast classics like eggs bene and waffles. The great coffee, picture-perfect smoothie bowls (ideal for a ‘gram), and pot planted interior will make you (and your stomach) one very happy camper.
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Image Credit: Lydia Arnold at La Fourchette