Our pretty city is bursting at the seams with delicious places to eat. From cute cafes to buzzing cheap restaurants and fancy eateries, anyone who says we’re lacking on the food front in Auckland is wrong.
Occasionally though, you just want to get out of town. Luckily, there are a handful of restaurants on the outskirts of Auckland that are 100 per cent worth the drive. We’re talking vineyard eateries, casual bistros and restaurants with views so damn good, you won’t want to leave.
Without further ado, here are eight of Auckland’s best destination restaurants to flock to this summer.
Situated in Onetangi on stunning Waiheke Island, Casita Miro takes destination dining to a whole new level of relaxing. With a stunning ambience, premium wine and fine food menu showcasing local produce and flavours inspired by Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, this is the kind of place you could easily spend an entire afternoon. Grab a table and tuck into paella, slow-braised ox cheek or harissa sautéed prawns and squid with a vino from their Miro vineyard.
If you’re a city slicker but your heart is in the country, Bracu is the destination restaurant for you. This legendary venue sits within the beautiful Simunovich Olive Estate and is guaranteed to be a dining experience like you’ve never had before. Get amongst the tasty a la carte menu or go the full shebang and opt for the seasonal degustation. Food isn’t the only thing Bracu has to offer as they also encourage you to take part in some activities—think clay bird and air rifle shooting, knife throwing and archery. Bracu is more than a restaurant, it’s a paradise where you can spend an entire day and not want to leave.
The Tasting Shed
When it comes to outdoor eating spots in Auckland, The Tasting Shed is a standout. Find a sunny spot on the grass and sip some wine, or choose from one of the four dining areas. There’s the rustic living room, the cosy grotto, the al fresco living table and the cabana, which offers epic indoor-outdoor flow. Food-wise, you’ll be treated to scrumptious seasonal dishes such as miso pork belly and market ceviche—all made for sharing with your crew. The Tasting Shed’s cocktails are also something to rave about. They are a modern twist on the classics but made using a Slow Drip Infuser to extract flavours from fruit, herbs and spices. Our pick is the Kumeu Mexican Standoff made with tequila, ground coffee beans and muscovado sugar.
Matakana Market Kitchen
Instead of gorging yourself at the Matakana Markets, save some room and settle in for a long lunch at Matakana Market Kitchen. This country-style café and restaurant sits along the tranquil river and uses herbs from their garden and produce from local suppliers to create tasty dishes. You can feast on everything from oysters to sticky pork ribs, confit duck and whole-baked camembert. They even have a dedicated gluten-free and vegetarian menu.
Another Matakana spot totally worth the drive is Plume Restaurant. Located within a vineyard, it is everything you could want out of a destination restaurant. Splash out on the six-course summer tasting menu designed to be enjoyed by the whole table, taking a minimum of two hours or nibble on the Plume Vineyard Platter featuring beef carpaccio, mushroom croquet, venison terrine, cheese, homemade dips and fresh artisan bread.
A sucker for views? Cable Bay’s are an absolute treat. Lounge on the vineyard’s lawns and soak up the rays or stay cool in the verandah while sampling the exceptional wines. When the hunger hits, there’s monkfish sliders, woodfired pizzas, mezze platters and cured meat boards to feast on. The cellar door is also open daily for tastings.
The Refreshment Room
Drive five minutes from Titirangi Village and you’ll find yourself at The Refreshment Room. It’s located on an old winery and boasts some of the most breath-taking restaurant views in Auckland. If the sun’s out, be sure to nab a table on the large, sunny deck and order up a storm. Their menu changes weekly but you can expect top-notch food every single time because they only use the freshest produce and ingredients in their dishes at all times.
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Image credit: Casita Miro