Whoever came up with this cunning way of eating cake for breakfast (or any other meal, for that matter), we thank you for your service to society. Carrier of berries, bacon, or pretty much anything you darn well please, pancakes are peerless and are usually the first thing we learn to whip up in the kitchen. This is no coincidence—if you can make pancakes, you're set for life.
So wave goodbye to waffles and au revoir to French toast—because today we're talking pancakes. Here's where to find Auckland's best.
The Store Britomart
The Store's ricotta hotcakes have been on the menu as long as we can remember, and although the flavours change seasonally (their current iteration features berries, mascarpone and a millet crumb), their position as some of Auckland's tastiest pancakes doesn't. Bonus points to these guys for dishing up such a lovely setting to enjoy them in.
The Federal Delicatessen
If you can tear yourself away from The Fed's dinner menu—even just the once—make sure you order some of their moreish American-style griddle cakes. Made from a buttermilk batter that's next-level soft, these have doubs the blueberries (blueberries in the mixture and as a compote on the top), as well as cinnamon butter and a strudel nut crunch. Suddenly we're not missing that Reuben sammie quite so much...
KIND Cafe & Eatery
Deserving of the very highest pancake praise is KIND, the Morningside cafe with a knack for deliciously wholesome, plant-based food. This gorgeous spot, fittingly decked out in foliage from floor to ceiling, does an incredible tiramisu-inspired stack that brings together plant-based pannies, cream, coffee syrup, cacao nibs and coffee powder—now that's what we call a breakfast of champions. And because they're vegan, there's no reason to feel bad about plumping for the double stack, right?
If you like your pancakes on the generous side (hell yes), then be sure to check out Oak Eatery. Not only does this cafe produce some of Auckland's best pancakes—made from coconut, vanilla, or other seasonal batter blends—they're also low-key massive, and that's a big tick in our book. Work your way through a stack of these bad boys, accompanied by extras like seasonal fruit, coconut mascarpone cream, cherry compote and coconut mint meringue, to learn why they go by the name 'The Return of Pancakes' (so good, you'll want to return for them again and again).
When it comes to hotcakes, Bambina doesn’t do things by halves. Their blueberry ricotta hotcake is served with fresh berries, mascarpone, seeds, millet puff, maple AND edible flowers. They don’t skimp on toppings here—this hotcake is stacked high. It’s pretty, tasty and oh-so Instagrammable.
No. 1 Pancake
Rosedale & Takapuna
Having upped sticks from their legendary CBD kiosk to Rosedale (and now Takapuna), fan-fave No. 1 Pancake continues to sling their cheap and delicious Korean-style pancakes. Here the pancakes are stuffed with sweet and savoury fillings, before being cooked to crispy perfection (their potato and cheese number is exceptionally moreish, and one year featured on the 100 Auckland Iconic Eats).
Little Bird Kitchen
Bringing the fermented food trend to pancakes is Little Bird Kitchen. This Ponsonby eatery serves a savoury pancake made with a delicious (and healthy) combination of chickpea and kimchi. The pancake is then topped with leafy greens, radish salad and wait for it... a sweet chilli and cashew aioli. While it’s a li'l different to the traditional pancakes we all know and love, we promise it’s very VERY tasty.
Marua Road Cafe
Listen up team, because these three words are going to change your life forever—carrot. Cake. Pancakes. Yes, the clever peeps at Marua Road Cafe have whipped up a plate of fluffy cakes that taste just like the popular Kiwi treat and yes—that means cream cheese frosting, along with apple crumble and maple drizzle. You're welcome
If the thought of pancakes with marshmallows and fairy floss has your tastebuds tingling, you've come to the right place. Circus Circus doesn't mess around when it comes to breakfast and these cakes—make from a delicious ricotta-laced batter—are no exception. Novelty ingredients aside, you can also expect vanilla yoghurt, berry compote, maple syrup and—if you're feeling extra gluttonous—streaky bacon and vanilla ice cream. Go on, you know you want to... Dale says Circus Circus never disappoints.
Sweetening up the North Shore is Honey Cafe, which serve a super tasty gluten-free orange ricotta pancake. This bad boy comes with vanilla ice cream, fresh seasonal fruit, honey orange blossom syrup, berry coulis, chocolate soil, and vanilla maple syrup. We recommend adding on bacon—because everything tastes better with a few rashers.
The black forest hotcakes at Woolfy's are a must-try. You'll want to bring along your best sweet tooth though because there's a lot to work through—think thick, fluffy cakes drowning in cherry compote, smothered with mascarpone whipped cream, and sprinkled in shards of dark chocolate. Go full glutton, and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to your order.
Jam Organic Cafe
Just because you’re competing in NZIFBB needn’t mean you have to give up pancakes. Jam Organic Cafe serves figure-friendly protein hotcakes in a glorious fashion. Made with vanilla whey, these hotcakes will go straight to your biceps. They’re topped with spiced poached pears, maple, berry coulis and thickened yoghurt. Protein shakes have nothing on this.
Honey Bones' ricotta pancake is indeed very cakey (aka dense) and, for this reason, it's one of our faves. Topped with tangy lemon curd, creamy Greek yoghurt and luscious poached fruit (and a bit of bacon if you fancy), the news just keeps getting better. And if you're feeling adventurous, why not dabble in their green pea pancake with seasonal brassicas, crispy kale, pistachio tapenade, dukkah and a poached egg, with added avo.
Domain & Ayr
Looking for pancakes in Auckland? While we’re sure Domain & Ayr has an extensive breakfast menu, we wouldn’t know because we’re too caught up in their fluffy 20-minute pancakes. They're soft, fluffy and bigger than any pancakes you’ve seen before. Served with seasonal fruit, mixed berry compote and mascarpone and drizzled with maple syrup, these famous pancakes are worth every minute of the wait.
Hello Friends + Allies
If you haven't had the pleasure of smashing back a plate of red velvet hotcakes from Hello Friends + Allies yet, the time is nigh. These ruby-hued beauties not only look the part, but they're also seriously tasty and that makes them some of Auckland's best. Yes, as much as we love Hello's French toast and mermaid yoghurt bowls, it's the hotcakes that keep us coming back: think pretty red cakes topped with cherry mascarpone, lemon curd, berry coulis, meringue, chocolate soil and Persian fairy floss. Woof.
Dutch Delight is a North Shore icon, having served up pancakes in a range of wild flavours for as long as we can remember. Tiramisu pancake? Check. Baklava pancake? Check. Rum and raisin pancake? CHECK. And we haven't even started on the savoury options... from the humble ham and cheese through to pannies inspired by the flavours of Indonesia and Greece, these guys know what's up.
Keep up the breakfast of kings with a tour of Auckland's best waffles.
Image credit: Main image The Store Britomart, KIND Cafe & Eatery, Bambina, Little Bird Kitchen, Circus Circus, Woolfy's, Honey Bones, Hello Friends + Allies.