Some secrets are best kept on the hush… like that your 2016 ‘weekly Zumba class’ goal will actually be a trip to Giapo, or it was you who demolished your flattie’s choccie stash in one sitting.
There are, however, certain secrets that would be unfair not to share—especially when it comes to wining and dining.
Auckland has numerous eateries that are patiently waiting for you to stumble upon them. From concealed craft beer bars to pocket-size restaurants, here are our picks of the secret Auckland dining spots you should know about*.
*If you already do, we commend you.
Venosa | Kingsland
Away from the hustle and bustle of Kingsland’s bars, Venosa is unlike any restaurant you’ve dined at in the area… maybe even in Auckland. It’s a small restaurant, overflowing onto the street, serving exceptional Italian family recipes and Italian wine with the warm Italian service to match.
The Black Hoof | Auckland CBD
Climb a staircase on Wyndham Street and you’ll be met with a stonkingly good tapas bar. The Black Hoof is big on all things Spanish. We’re talkin’ cured meats, nibbly bits, cheese, wine and Sherry, gobbled up in one of Auckland’s best incognito restaurants.
Mezze Bar | Auckland CBD
Keeping up with the tapas theme, Mezze Bar is a relaxed eatery down Durham Lane. A must-visit if you’re fond of picky food (think parmesan polenta chips, patatas bravas and Spanish meatballs) and lesser-known CBD restaurants.
Number 5 Restaurant | Grafton
Number 5 offers fine Kiwi dining in a lovingly restored villa, just off Symonds Street. It oozes unpretentious elegance and is the kinda place to take your nearest and dearest for a special, secretive meal. Opt for the seven course degustation—it’s designed to wow.
Big J’s | Mt Wellington
Far from the swankiness of city eateries, Big J’s is a takeaway shop famous for flipping seriously tasty (and massive) burgers. Well worth the drive, and even though it’s usually busy, Big J’s is tucked down a road in Mt Wellington, so you’ll feel like you’ve made a discovery.
Moto | Parnell
Down the stairs by The Coffee Club in Parnell is Moto. It’s the most secretive place to chow down on chicken karaage, udon, and donburi.
Red Bar | Auckland CBD
Sitting at the top of Pitt Street, Red Bar is a city drinking haunt with epic wall art and solid beats. Prepare to meet some absolute characters, while sippin’ on some of the best cocktails in Auckland.
The Wine Cellar | Auckland CBD
Make your way down the steps at St Kevin’s Arcade and you’ll hit the hidden jackpot that is The Wine Cellar. It’s a bar will a small handful of beverages, but a whole lotta soul, which you’ll get hooked on rather quickly.
Mo’s Bar | Auckland CBD
One of our fave ‘secret’ spots, oozing friendly feels and a cosiness that’s hard to find in the CBD. Mo’s Bar will have you drinking classic cocktails (plus munching on complimentary corn chips) and wondering how the hell you didn’t discover it sooner.
Flight 605 | Morningside
No one will make you feel more at home in a bar than Simone and Gary at Flight 605. These two and their awesome staff are responsible for the welcoming vibes, which are guaranteed to make you hit up this Morningside gem for craft beer and chats on the reg.
The Gin Room | Auckland CBD
Stepping into The Gin Room is like stepping into another era… or at least into a secret gin appreciation society. This Vulcan Lane gin bar, sitting above the historic Queen Ferry Hotel, is reminiscent of a speakeasy with its dim lighting and revamped classic cocktails.
The Jefferson | Auckland CBD
Class and character is at the heart of The Jefferson. Tucked in the basement of Fort Lane’s Imperial Building, there are over 500 varieties of whisky and bourbon, and brilliant ribs and tasty bites to eat with them. This, Listers, is where you should go for a quiet dram or two.
We’ve got more secrets for you! Check out Auckland’s Best Secret Swimming Spots.
Image credit: Flight 605