Views and food are meant to be, and there’s no better place to enjoy the two than in Auckland’s b-e-a-utiful Viaduct. This buzzing spot is home to a collection of downright delicious restaurants, waiting for you to come visit them. From burger joints to seafood spots and special occasion eateries, consider this your guide to dining and wining in the Viaduct.
In need of a hearty pig-out? The Culpeper covers all bases. Sitting right on the water’s edge, you can feast on ceviche, pork belly corn dogs, fresh salads, jerk chicken, lamb ribs, beef brisket, mac’n’cheese…we could go on all day. We do, however, advise that you pull on the reigns before you get too full. The sticky date pudding and chocolate chip cookies are two desserts you need in your life.
Soul Bar & Bistro
Every city needs a soul and that’s exactly what this Viaduct restaurant is to Auckland. If you’re looking to impress the pants off your date or lock in that business deal via some top-notch wining and dining, Soul Bar & Bistro is the place to go. Get things started with fresh oysters, wagyu carpaccio or a scampi cocktail and the obligatory round of cocktails. The goats’ cheese and lemon ravioli is a vego’s dream and the Savannah beef fillet with Pukekohe onion tart and bordelaise sauce will put you into a happy food coma. It’s exactly what your soul needs.
Master Chef’s very own Simon Gault may have gone MIA for awhile, but he’s back and better than ever bringing this exquisite eatery to life. Giraffe, named after his daughter, caters breakfast, lunch and dinner with an incredibly indulgent menu. Think melt-in-your-mouth mussels served with a warm buttery sauce or unique ‘crackers’, starring succulent beef tendons that are dehydrated until crispy. The interior itself is enough to draw you in, with black leather seating, marble counters, soft pendant lighting and a decent dose of soft wood. Let’s not forget those bright yellow tiles that line the bar area (hint-hint, Giraffe!). Whether you’re in for a cocktail or coffee, relax out to those waterfront views and appreciate how special this place we call home truly is.
Any restaurant that has been doing their thang since 1999 has gotta be good. Euro has provided sea views and exceptional food to Aucklanders for pretty much forever and continues to be one of the best restaurants in the city. Led by Gareth Stewart, the menu features fresh-as-can-be seafood, beautifully presented small plates and other scrumptious dishes. We can’t go past the slow-cooked pork belly and Euro’s take on mielle feuille—peanut putter mousse, salted chocolate and milk ice cream. Did someone say peanut butter?
The Luna Inn
‘A taste of home’ is the inspiration behind the glamorous restaurant known as The Luna Inn. It’s the Viaducts (second) newest friend, and a much needed one at that. Appreciating us Kiwi’s, the menu boasts traditional dishes such as fish and chips battered with golden lager and Takapoto steak with garlic butter and a flavoursome parsley salad. Grab your crew, ditch the jandals and slip into those boots as you endeavour upon an evening of decadent food and luxurious vibes in the heart of the city. A friendly tip: save room for dessert. The menu boasts apple crumble with nashi, miso and ginger or for a true Kiwi classic, opt for the raspberry chocolate fish! Soak up the atmosphere (and a good dose of liquor) and you’ll be leaving with the smugness of one very proud New Zealander.
Industry Zen definitely has the wow factor. It’s an eclectic restaurant (perfect for date night) and makes some of the best Japanese food in Auckland. Start with crispy lotus chips and pork shu-mai—that will give you enough time to contemplate the MASSIVE menu. Their yakitori, wagyu beef and yum yum prawns are must-orders, while the sashimi adds that necessary hit of freshness. Can’t decide? Go for the meat lovers robata.
Oyster & Chop
When you want to get shucked, make your way to Oyster & Chop. Epic harbour views, ice-cold bevvies and delish seafood is what this ‘laxed establishment is about. From the funky nautical furnishings to the irresistible oyster menu, you’ve got plenty of reason to waste a few hours here. There are quality steaks for your carnivorous mates and classic cocktails if drinks and shared plates are the goal. Our pick? The mojito. You’re on island time, baby.
The spot to drink is the spot to bowl… The Viaducts newest venus is equipped with a rooftop bowling alley! We are forever grateful for the day Dr Rudi’s graced our shores! The masterminds behind this one have successfully placed a laid-back, incredibly fun and oh-so inciting rooftop bar that is quickly becoming a local for many. Thirsty? Good. Because there is not one but 14 tap beers on offer, each brewed up at Leigh Sawmill by the crew themselves. We recommend turning up with an empty stomach as well, because the seafood platter boasts a gorgeous selection of New Zealand’s finest catches. Oysters, prawns and salmon are among the mix, half fresh and half battered, this specialty board is designed to share.
Burgers, hot dogs and everything in between—Fokker Bros does classics and they do ‘em well. Slurp up a shake with a cheeky shot of whisky before getting acquainted with their burgers. There’s crab, chicken, fish and mushroom but we recommend the Kiwi Black—Angus Pure beef, cheddar, free range egg, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, Fokker sauce and kiwifruit relish—it’s basically New Zealand in a burg. Or take the saus route with a hot dog. Just be sure to leave room for their ice cream cups. Marshmallows, brownie and salted caramel, please!
White + Wong’s
Injecting a bit of fusion into the Viaduct is White + Wong’s. This pretty eatery overlooks the harbour and serves up an array of Asian delights. We’re suckers for their dumplings, chicken wings and roti rolls, although you also won’t be able to resist the Chinese roast duck and wok fried hapuka curry. Their drinks menu is off the charts (order the Blushing Buddha) and the fact that they do yum cha on Saturday and Sunday makes us very, very happy.
The Crab Shack
Bibs on, kids! Things are about to get messy. The Crab Shack lets you get down and dirty with fish, prawns, mussels, lobster and, of course, lots and lots of crab. If seafood doesn’t float your boat, there’s lamb rump, the Shack Steak and half a roast chook with maple glaze, kumara hash, chorizo, jalapeno and yoghurt. Just remember, a pina colada is compulsory.
Coley & Punch
It ain’t always about the food. Coley & Punch is the kind of place where you can enjoy a stiff drink, without having to full your belly up with a full-blown meal. There are more than 250 whiskies to choose from (!) and some of the most creative cocktails in town. From a classic Hanky Panky to a vamped-up espresso martini (made with gingerbread syrup), you’ll have to keep going back until you try them all.
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Image credit: The Crew Club, Jaiden Bhaga, supplied