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 Auckland 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 in to a tasty something and let the City of Sails treat you some next-level hospitality at Auckland’s best waterfront eateries.
Akarana Yacht Club
When we say that Akarana Eatery may just be your new favourite waterfront eatery, you best believe us. As the latest opening by Kiwi culinary icon Nic Watt, Akarana Eatery is an all-day bar and restaurant that dishes up fresh seasonal and dishes in the most beautiful ocean-side location out at Akarana Yacht club. Seafood is the centerpiece of the menu—where you can find delicious cured and cold dishes, market fish, right through to hearty bites like blue moki sliders, mussel fritters and a deliciously crisp crab burger. There’s also an onsite wood fire oven that dishes up surf and turf dishes designed to share. Make sure you leave room for their fabulous dessert too—a whole cabinet of Kohu road ice cream and a short but sweet dessert menu awaits.
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.
Billfish may just be the best under-the-radar waterfront spot in Auckland. Perched right at the harbours’ edge, this all-day-eatery boasts rows of al-fresco tables as well as a sun-filled interior. On the food front, expect a mighty fine selection of the freshest seafood and prime cuts of meat, all bursting with flavour and served in generous portions.
The Lula Inn
You’ve no doubt seen The Lula Inn’s iconic blue bottomless brunch prosecco flûtes blowing up your Instagram feed—however, the harbour views here are also pretty darn iconic. Sweeping views of Princes’ Wharf and the historic boats that call it home add a touch of charm to the Lula experience, making it one of the best waterfront eateries in Auckland. Throw their epic cocktails, buzzing atmosphere and live music into the mix, and you’re in for quite the treat here.
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’s plenty of seafood options—chilli fried squid or steamed green lipped mussels, but if you’re in the need for 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.
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.
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 in to their seriously decadent brunch menu.
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 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 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 a top 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 wining 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 St 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.
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’s always the mouth watering bento boxes and mains to choose from. The drinks list is also extensive, so sit back, relax and sip yourself silly.
Kitted out with a sleek interior and terrace, and with MKR’s Gareth Stewart at the helm, Euro is an Aucklander’s dream lunch and dinner spot. Soak in the sun’s rays while knocking back freshly shucked oysters before making a selection from the extensive seafood menu while looking out over the Waitamata Harbour. Talk about bliss.
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, this restaurant is also one of Auckland’s best waterfront function spaces for everything from weddings through to full blown bonanzas.
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.
Head to Ostro for an elegant yet unpretentious dinner or lunch experience. Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett takes the culinary helm, and serves up a delicious all-day menu that changes seasonally. All tables have views of the sweeping harbour and there’s also a great drinks menu and vibe, making Ostro one of Auckland’s must-visit dining spots.
While we’re on the topic of Seafarer’s eateries-come-institutions we can’t go past Seven. Perched atop—you guessed it—Seafarer’s seventh level, this bar and restaurant’s harbour facing windows look out to views of the Waitemata harbour and the North Shore. It’s one of Auckland’s best spots for express lunches, dinners for a good old party when the weekend rolls around. An absolute must try is none other than their cheeseburger bao, as well as each and every cocktail on their list. Trust us, Seven is heaven.
If you've splashed enough cash, check out 30 of the best free things to do in Auckland.
Image credit: Harbourside