Sometimes in life you just get hit over the head with the unbearable urge to sink your teeth into something delish. In our case, it pretty much happens every night. And, who can blame us when we live in a foodie-mecca city like Auckland?!
With eateries dotted all over the place, it takes a real effort to keep our drool off our chins at all times and our money in our wallets vs spending it on all the yummy goodies we come across every 3.45 seconds in our city.
So when those hunger pangs hit you hard and you can’t hear your own thoughts over your tummy grumbling, it’s restaurants that are all about only walk-ins that are your saving grace. No bookings? No problems! The City of Sails is packed with places ready to dish it up as you waltz on in.
Without further ado, here are the best restaurants in Auckland where you don’t need to book!
Spaghetti n’ meatball cravings are serious business and should never, ever, be taken lightly. Lucky for us, the team at Coco’s Cantina have our backs when it comes to satiating our spagooter urges. They make sure that nothing gets in the way of devouring our favourite feel-good treat with their strict walk-in only policy. This means you can rock up whenever you please and (quite literally) roll on out after your carb-a-thon!
Taking your tastebuds on an adventure around South East Asia is a total breeze with Monsoon Poon on the scene. At this central city eatery, you don’t need to bother booking ahead of time to get a taste of the Orient. Instead, you can just walk in for lunch, dinner or whenever you’re feeling in the zone for their famous firecracker sliders. No need to bother calling up and dibsing a table (unless you’ve got a posse of 12 or more, #MrPopular), just pop right in to get aaaaaall the beef rendang and Singapore noodles your heart desires!
Confit duck legs, lamb ribs, fresh sashimi, oysters galore— you name it, Depot Eatery has got it, and more! It’s no secret that we think Depot is the absolute bees knees of inner-city dining and the trails of foodies waiting to score a table here every day of the week are a testament to this. Don’t let the lines deter you though, because this Auckland walk-in restaurant has some of the best food in town—their shared plates are something you most definitely need in your life (and bellies) pronto.
This bright and bubbly Balmoral hotspot is a blast for literally every one of your senses. From the impossibly cheerful neon light-infused interiors to their equally colourful nosh and cocktail menu—which, fyi, comes in an actual View-Master, Kiss Kiss is an Auckland walk-in restaurant for a fun and easy-going feed. Rock on up here for a weekend brunch or evening feed that will leave you with a happily full belly (and with some seriously good ‘grams in the bank).
Tucked behind a wall of flora and fauna, away from the bustle of the big city lies Xuxu, a true mecca of all things delish. A bar dedicated to two of the best things in life—cocktails and dumplings, it’s safe to say that this is a sacred space for foodies. Best of all, this Britomart hidey-hole only takes walk-ins, meaning you can rock on up and get your dumpling fix whenever you please.
Another brilliant, flavoursome and fragrant walk-in Auckland restaurant is Café Hanoi. As Xuxu’s big sister restaurant, it’s only natural that this eatery dishes out seeeeriously good Vietnamese tucker. We’re talking finger licking, plate polishing, kinda good food. Decked out with oriental chic décor and filled with the irresistible smell of Viet cuisine, it’s hard to walk past Café Hanoi without giving in to your tummy’s uncontrollable rumbles. The folk at this joint are all about walk-ins, which (thankfully) makes getting your din-dins here is super duper eezy-breezy!
Having recently sprung up in the hood, Happy Boy is causing quite the stir in Royal Oak (and, let’s face it the whole of Auckland). Aside from being a deliciously cute and futuristically decked-out joint that scores a perfect 10/10 for restaurant aesthetics (just look at your Insta feed), this place is total heaven for burger lovers. With perfectly put together patty-stacks like pork belly and kimchi as well as karaage chook and citrus mayo, it’s no wonder that they’ve drawn in such a crowd. So much so, that they’re all about only allowing walk-ins to make sure the most dedicated of burger-hunters get their well-deserved fix.
If you’re all about trying something new, you haven’t booked and just want to walk in, then Ponsonby Central’s latest addition, Honeybear is the place for you. From dosas to slow roast pork cheek, tamarind chicken wafer through to Burmese tofu, you can’t beat Honeybear for fun and fresh food with a Burmese zing to it. Oh-so conveniently located in Ponsonby’s most happening spot, Honeybear is here for you to waltz on in when you need to grab a bite and put down your (hopefully) heavy bags after a long day’s shopping.
A favourite with theatre-goers and city slickers, this underground Queen Street joint is the place to be for a quick, painless and totally delicious feed. Serving up the classic Japanese Yakitori fare (i.e., our fave foods on skewers), you can always rely on Tanuki’s to deliver the goods and fried cheese skewers—all in a super timely manner. While they don’t accept bookings, these guys are all about the walk-ins AND will make sure your food arrives in the nick of time if you’re hightailing it to a show after. Talk about legends.
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Image credit: Natasha Van Der Laan