Beneath the dark shadow of the Sky Tower is one of the best places in Auckland—Federal Street. The transformed precinct is home to some of the best restaurants in Auckland and some of the best things to do. Easily go from day to night, to romance to adrenaline, American to Japanese. Here are the best things to do when visiting Federal Street in Auckland’s CBD:
Every Auckland foodie puts Depot on their go-to spot for great food, great wine and great atmosphere. Popular chef Al Brown can often be spotted on the restaurant floor in his signature cap, and the open kitchen allows for ring-side seats to some damn impressive food prep. It’s a great place to gather with a group of friends and share a selection of small or big share plates. Get in early though—Depot doesn’t take bookings but they will call you when a table becomes available.
It’s Spanish deliciousness at Bellota. Nestle into one of their semi-private chairs and tempt your palette with one of the best tapas bars in Auckland. Godfather of fusion cuisine, Peter Gordon is the chef behind the menu, so you know you’re going to be fed well. Enjoy the live music on Friday and Saturday nights, soak in the atmosphere and relish the food.
The Glass Goose
Federal Street newbie, The Glass Goose, is one of the best places to eat in Auckland. The menu is made to share—so not ideal for dining solo. There are bite-sized or medium options: think crumbed pork belly, mulled wine glaze or braised pork cheeks, black pudding watercress. There’s plenty of outdoor space, with the rooftop bar a popular spot for after-work drinks.
The Grill By Sean Connolly
Located in the popular SKYCITY Grand Hotel, The Grill by Sean Connolly is perfect for your carnivorous cravings and is one of the best places for steak in Auckland. Sourcing the finest produce, they do as little as possible to allow natural flavours to shine through. From casual lunches to formal dinners, there’s something for everyone here.
The Sugar Club
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: The Sugar Club is one restaurant you absolutely need to eat at if you live in Auckland. In fact, even if you don’t, it needs to be on your bucket list. With the best views across our fabulous city and an ever-evolving, delicious menu from Peter Gordon, The Sugar Club is more than dining—it’s an experience.
Having just celebrated its 2nd birthday, MASU has more than solidified its place as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Auckland. Behind this bar-slash-restaurant is Nic Watt, who uses fresh, local ingredients and likes the food to speak for itself. Bold, dramatic and utterly delicious.
Affectionately known as ‘The Fed’, Federal Delicatessen is Al Brown’s other baby—an old-school NYC Jewish delicatessen. Again, you’re likely to spot the man himself working away as it opens early and closes late. Authentic atmosphere and dining, The Fed is also one place to get some of the best poutine in Auckland. Order the large size—you won’t regret it. There’s plenty of cocktails, wine and beer to whet your whistle while eating pastrami, bagels, salads or soups. There are share options or eat on your own, but rest assured, whatever you choose, you will have chosen well.
Gusto at the Grand
Within the SKYCITY Grand Hotel, Gusto at the Grand is one of the best Italian restaurants in Auckland. Simple and rustic, it’s another restaurant with its menu designed by Sean Connelly. There’s a selection of small, medium and large plates, perfect for sharing with family and friends. All pastas are made in house and the resottos are made from scratch once you make your order. Enjoy everything from house bread to the orgy of mushrooms, Clevedon buffalo ricotta gnocchi to the warm chocolate pudding, pistachio gelato.
At 328 meters high, the Sky Tower is Auckland’s most famous landmark and so heading up the glass elevator to the best view across our fabulous city is one of the best things to do in Auckland. There are three viewing platforms, showcasing 80 kilometres in every direction an is the perfect place to soak in just how magnificent our city really is.
Take a 192 metre leap of faith off the Sky Tower in this truly adrenaline-pumping experience you’ll never forget. It’s a right of passage that also made it onto our list of 50 Things You Should Have Done If You Live In Auckland.
As if the SkyJump wasn’t enough to send your heart rate soaring, there’s also the option to walk around the Sky Tower on a 1.2-metre-wide platform. There’s a full body harness and overhead safety lines to keep you safe as you soak in the views of Auckland, but it’s still not for the faint-hearted!
Image credit: Kellie Blizard