Auckland’s Dining Institutions To Put On Your Bucket List

By Albert Cho
26th Feb 2018

Auckland’s Best Dining Institutions To Put On Your Bucket List

It seems as though we’re getting a new restaurant, café, bistro, eatery, you name it, every single week. It’s all happening so fast that there are so many new places to choose from and so many places to re-visit. However, there are those few in Auckland that have been going strong for a while now and their consistency of premium quality and service puts them on another level to the other dining places. We like to call these Dining Institutions and here are a few that you should put on your bucket list.

The Grove


2018 marks the 14th year since The Grove opened their doors and still remains one of the top restaurants in Auckland. Michael and Annette Dearth, the creators of the Auckland icon had a strong passion for treating dining as an experience which can be seen in the premium quality of their food and service. The Grove explains their food as modern New Zealand with a French spin. The  menu is always evolving according to the season and market availability to ensure that only the best is coming out of their kitchen.

French Café 

Eden Terrace

Another dining institution that has been around for 14 years is The French Café, located on Symonds Street. Husband and wife duo, Creghan Molloy-Wright and Simon Wright shared their passion for wining and dining and have created a degustation experience that is recognized both domestically and internationally to this day. In fact, The French Café holds the honour of being listed as one of the World’s top ten restaurants which would make it a compulsory one to add to your bucket list.



Chef Sid Sahrawat took Auckland by storm in 2009 with his innovative degustation menu that changes according to the freshness of the ingredients in the market. Sidart is a restaurant with food that pushes boundaries and produces dishes that cannot be found anywhere else. Located up some stairs, it boasts spectacular views over Auckland. Be sure to pay Sidart a visit if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience.


Freemans Bay

In 2006, Tony Stewart established Clooney in Freemans Bay and the rest was history. Focusing on not only the flavours of the food, Clooney is a restaurant that emphasises the importance of relationship building between anyone that has anything to do with the dining institution. This includes customers, waiters, chefs, people they source their produce from and more. The intimate experience makes Clooney an institution that will be around and going strong for many years to come.



Not all dining institutions in Auckland offer just degustation courses. Euro has been in Auckland for as long as we can remember and remains as one of the best restaurants in Auckland. With the freshest, finest and local seafood paired with stunning views of the Auckland waterfront, Euro offers a dining experience that cannot be found anywhere else. 

Oh Calcutta


24 years strong, Oh Calcutta has won the hearts of locals time and time again. Changing up everything we thought we knew about Indian cuisine, they boast a rave-worthy prawn malabari, to out-of-this-world tandoori salmon tikka  and an incomparable butter chicken. Found in the heart of Parnell, Oh Calcutta is not one to miss.



When we say Ponsonby, you say Prego. This restaurant made its mark in the local area of Ponsonby in 1986, making it an icon for not only the people of Ponsonby but Auckland as a whole. Their traditional Italian menu showcases the best produce and ingredients, resulting in the finest of flavours and has allowed them to stay in business for 32 years. Prego isn’t just a restaurant, its time has made it a trademark of memories and nostalgia for many people in Auckland.



This Parnell hub has been around for more 20 years and still holds a powerful reputation as being one of the top restaurants in Auckland. Cibo offers an outdoor experience along with Asian flavours to enhance the freshness of their seafood and meat. The quality of their food married with the stunning venue has established Cibo as a dining institution that you must visit if you’re in Auckland.

Sails Restaurant

Westhaven Marina

Sails Restaurant is one of the longest running restaurants in New Zealand has won numerous awards throughout the years for their food and service. If you love seafood, then you need to make a beeline here. To make this place a little more special, Sails has an extensive wine list with vintages from New Zealand’s top vineyards.

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Image Credit: Lydia Arnold

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