A great meal and ocean views—is there actually anything better? With top restaurants and cafes serving up delicious fare with fabulous views, wining and dining in Tāmaki Makaurau has never been so good.
These go-to local eateries will have you sliding into holiday mode in no time. Grab a spot by the water, dig into a tasty something and let the City of Sails treat you to some next-level hospitality at Auckland’s best waterfront eateries.
This Park Hyatt showstopper is a must-try, at least once (but preferably many, many more times). The hotel is built on a site previously used as a base for Emirates Team New Zealand and that patriotism is reflected in Onemata’s menu which features locally sourced fresh produce, seafood and livestock. Slurp down a bowl of chow fun noodles, slam some lightly fried buttermilk chicken, and dig into chocolate ‘soil’ that slaps.
Once home to Headquarters and now bangin’ Italian eatery, Bivacco, this sprawling space, designed by Paul Izzard, is big, bright and beautiful. The menu’s designed to share and you’ll want to eat all the things so round up your squad and get ready to tuck in. From chilli-marinated prawns to wood-fried John Dory, goat's cheese ravioli—freshly made of course—and dreamy tiramisu filled with custard-like zabaglione.
Overlooking the Ferry Building and the sparkling waters of the Waitematā, Gochu is culinary magic. Seasonal, local ingredients are translated to the plate with Korean flair showcasing a modern take on this delectable cuisine. Do treat yourself to the XXX Gummy Bear cocktail, a fine amalgamation of Sloe Gin with lychee, plum and lemon.
A moody historic building in Britomart makes for the perfect setting for Ebisu, an eatery renowned for its exquisite contemporary Japanese fare. Wash down a bento box with a house beer or wine, enjoy dainty sushi rolls or get amongst their larger plates like free-range teriyaki chicken, tofu with black miso jam or pan-seared salmon with caramelised grapefruit. Glorious.
This buzzing eatery caught our eye for its stunning ocean views and then we stayed for the espresso martini trees. Yep, move over gin trees, there’s a new sprig in town and it takes the form of dark cacao-infused Grey Goose vodka, Jumping Goat coffee liqueur, Havana espresso and house-made salted caramel. Wicked libations aside, the good folks in the Wynyard Pavilion kitchen whip up veritable feasts from brunch right through to dessert. Yas.
Beach Club Oysters & Kitchen
Ōrākei Bay Village
Soak up views of the Ōrākei Basin from within the ocean-blue walls of Josh Jang’s Beach Club. Whether you’re all about the kai moana—think freshly shucked oysters, fried squid and char-grilled ‘miracle’ fish—or Korean delights like fried chicken slathered in gochujang sauce, a juicy bulgogi burger, or pancakes, Beach Club hits the spot. Oh, and they’ve got a Spice Girls-inspired cocktail. Yep, this is not a drill.
Good George North Wharf
There’s something about brew tanks that we can’t get enough of. And at Good George North Wharf, these bad boys go next level with an artful configuration that rivals Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. With a creative and relaxed industrial vibe, we can think of no place more perfect to sip on an IPA or scarlet peach cider while people-watching at the water’s edge.
The Lodge Bar & Dining
Simple, honest, Kiwi kai is what The Lodge Bar & Dining is all about. And, boy, does it deliver. An experiential retail concept from the same minds that brought us Rodd & Gunn, peak at the menu and you’ll find all manner of mouthwatering delights including meat pie croquettes, salt and pepper spaghetti, sticky toffee pudding and whipped citrus cheesecake. All this, and with a waterfront view to boot. Vibes.
A modern French bistro perched in Commercial Bay, these dishes are lavish and made with the finest local ingredients. Dabble in charcuterie, caviar and cheese, then be utterly gob-smacked (in the best way) by the seafood tower which is a work of art in itself. If fruits de la mer isn’t your thing, or even if it is, a forkful of Origine’s fluffy pillow of Agria potato gnocchi will go down a treat. As for dessert, you’ll be hard-pressed to decide what to have, so you might as well surrender and just try the lot. Délicieux.
If the thought of a coconut-baked meringue with lemon curd has got your tastebuds tingling, you’re sure to enjoy a trip to Copia Restaurant. Located practically at the water’s edge near Ōrākei Bay Village, their menu is artfully put together in a nod to seasonal cuisine and organic biodynamic wines, in collaboration with local suppliers committed to sustainable practices.
Azabu Mission Bay
Japanese-Peruvian legend, Azabu, has taken up residence in the historic Mission House site at Mission Bay beach and we’re here for it. Lounge about in their outdoor seating, a stone’s throw from the beach, and tuck into sublime raw cuts of fish, sushi, tempura, buns, dumplings and more. Definitely save room for dessert though. One simply cannot dine at Azabu without gorging on the mango and ginger brûlée, and (yes, and) the pavlova smash.
Head to MoVida for a taste of Barcelona native and acclaimed chef, Frank Camorra's legendary Spanish tapas and delicious drinks alongside some pretty impressive views. A transplant from his hugely successful outpost in Melbourne, now you can live the high life with floor-to-ceiling windows and uninterrupted harbour views. Come expecting fare that's fresh and full of flavour (as per the Spanish way), with a grand and at times, theatrical twist, making MoVida one of Auckland’s must-visit dining spots.
With a name like La Marée which means 'the tide' in French, this upscale restaurant's enviable possie overlooking the Waitemata Harbour makes it an ideal fit for our list of Auckland's best waterfront restaurants. Combining exquisite local seafood with French flair such as the delectable scallops grilled on lava stone, poached octopus and shrimp mousse, this eatery with stunning views needs to go on your must-visit list, stat.
Yachts and fine dining—can you name a more dazzling combination? Treat yourself to the land version of a luxury dinner at sea, and book in for a night of waterfront dining at Sails. Whether it’s a romantic soiree for two or a sophisticated celebration, your occasion is sure to be special in the company of their stellar wine selection and beautiful cuisine. As one of Auckland’s best waterfront eateries, expect stunning views of Westhaven Marina, which glitters mesmerisingly at night.
This hotspot overlooks one of Auckland’s most beautiful beaches—Takapuna. Tokyo Bay serves up traditional Japanese food with a contemporary take, its chef, Chikara Sato is a fully licensed ‘Fugu’ chef—one of the few in the world who are legally allowed to prepare the highly poisonous blowfish for consumption. But poisoning is definitely not on the menu here, it’s a great place to grab some friends and order some light dishes to share. But if sharing is just not your thing, there are always mouth-watering bento boxes and mains to choose from. The drinks list is also extensive, so sit back, relax and sip yourself silly.
If you’re wanting to woo a special someone, colleagues or friends at one of Auckland’s best waterfront eateries, then allow us to introduce you to Hilton’s FISH restaurant. It's sleek, sophisticated and boasts one hell of a lunch and dinner menu. Featuring a raft of fresh seafood choices (all caught sustainably, of course), diners are treated to the likes of saffron fettuccine and crayfish, confit kahawai as well as the most opulent lobster roll in Auckland. Located right up close to Princes’ Harbour’s edge, Fish undeniably has some of the best seats in the house to take in views of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.
Takapuna Beach Cafe
Takapuna Beach Cafe is a firm favourite with Takapuna locals, and with stunning views of Rangitoto and the Waitematā Harbour, it’s where you want to be on a sunny day. Produce is delivered daily from their sustainable Kumeu farm and meat comes directly from the farmers themselves—so you know your smashed eggs (with celeriac, Brussel sprouts, chestnuts and pancetta) will be free of any nasties.
Oyster And Chop
With a name like Oyster And Chop, you can count on this place to be one of Auckland’s best waterfront eateries and destinations for all things kaimoana. From breakfast through to post-dinner drinks and nibbles, this hotspot dishes up delicious European surf and turf. The stars of the show are none other than their fabulous selection of oysters, which are sourced high and low from all around New Zealand. Enjoy them as tantalising entrées, or as a whole course of their own, all while people-watching on Auckland’s viaduct. If you're not in the mood for oysters you should definitely look to their mouth-watering selection of steaks.
Perched on the edge of Waiheke Island’s beautiful Onetangi Beach, Ki Māha promises utter contentment. Its menu, which is an ode to Aotearoa cuisine, changes seasonally, featuring sustainably harvested seafood, ethically farmed meats, and locally sourced fruit and vegetables. But can we talk about that view?! Hands down one of the best waterfront restaurants Tāmaki Makaurau has to offer, with the food and drink to match.
Take your waterfront dining up a notch at Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill in the central city. Sitting a floor up, grab a pozzy on the deck and enjoy some ocean-inspired food and drinks. There are plenty of seafood options—chilli fried squid or steamed green-lipped mussels, but if you’re in the need of some serious filling, the steak ‘n’ cheese pie goes down a treat. The staff are super-attentive and friendly, the atmosphere elegant, and the view sensational.
Half Moon Bay
Grangers has got it going on. Round up your crew, grab an alfresco table and a glass of your favourite drop and prepare to indulge in some seriously sophisticated pub grub—all while being seated at one of Auckland’s best alfresco waterfront spots at Half Moon Bay. Choose between a spectacular seafood platter for two or their special seafood chowder for a taste of quality kaimoana, or tuck into their seriously decadent brunch menu.
St Heliers Bay Bistro
With stunning, wraparound views of St Heliers beach and Rangitoto, St Heliers Bay Bistro is a winning pick whether you’re hankering for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or light bites over cocktails. With a knack for bringing out the full potential of meat, vegetables and seafood alike—think butternut bhaji, charred cabbage with romesco and tahini, double cheeseburger with truffle mascarpone and clam and crab fazzoletti—you know you’re in for a treat.
Half Moon Bay
Hop skip and jump off the Half Moon Bay ferry and into a Mexican fiesta at nearby Marina Cantina. Here you’ll be able to sink glass after glass of fruity margaritas while being perched at one of Auckland’s best waterfront locations. Not only is Marina Cantina an ideal spot for indulging in wonderful tipples (it’s Granger Kitchen and Bar’s little sister, after all), this eatery is also home to a lip-smacking range of Mexican dishes. Prepare to eat your weight in quesadillas, tacos and burritos galore, as well as loaded fries dripping with queso cheese and jalapenos and an out-of-this-world brisket con-carne.
Soul Bar and Bistro
Another sweetheart on Auckland’s waterfront eatery scene is the beautiful Soul Bar and Bistro, which is a popular lunch and dinner spot for both locals and tourists alike. With a brunch, lunch and dinner menu, it serves up a host of deliciousness—everything from a South Island whitebait fritter with lemon sauce to handmade Waikanae crab ravioli, saffron and shellfish butter sauce. Drooling yet? Add in the view and the inviting décor and you’ve found your new favourite restaurant.
Parasol And Swing
While tipples and mixers are Parasol And Swing’s main thing, we have to give special mention to their mouthwatering lunch and dinner menus too. Sure, a Clover Club cocktail might be a great addition to your meal, but the waterfront views are really where it’s at. Grab a seat atop their second-story open-air veranda and prepare to be wowed by amazing views of Auckland harbour and the hustle and bustle of the Viaduct strip below.
What’s better than whining and dining on the water's edge? Being perched up three stories, enjoying near-panoramic views of Auckland’s waterfront, cocktail in hand—that’s what. At Viaduct hotspot Saint Alice, you can do that over lunch or dinner every day of the week. Enjoy their fresh range of raw or cooked seafood and surf 'n’ turf as a range of beautifully presented sharing plates while sipping on cocktails named after famous people called Alice.
Breakfast. Brunch. Boats. Beautiful waterfront views. It’s really no surprise that Buoy graces this list of Auckland’s best waterfront eateries with these things under its belt. Seven days a week, you can perch out on Buoy’s sun-soaked deck and enjoy everything from breakfast through to afternoon tea, with a glass of wine or cocktail too, nonetheless. Savour their Buoy Benedict for a wholesome brekkie, or chow down on fresh seafood lunch dishes, all while taking in the best views of Westhaven Marina and Auckland’s dazzling city skyline behind it.
McHugh’s of Cheltenham
Right on the shore of Cheltenham Beach, McHugh’s serves up a lunchtime buffet menu of hot and cold delights. From market fish to gourmet potatoes to Waldorf salad, there is something for everyone—indeed, it’s a great place for the extended family to get together and enjoy some food and dazzling views. Not only that, but this restaurant is also one of Auckland’s best waterfront function spaces for everything from weddings to full-blown bonanzas.
If you've splashed enough cash, check out the best free things to do in Auckland.
Image credit: Onemata, Gochu, Wynyard Pavilion & Good George by Wono Kim, Origine, Azabu Mission Bay, La Marée, Tokyo Bay, Ki Māha, St Heliers Bay Bistro, Saint Alice.