When it comes to restaurants, us Aucklanders really are spoilt for choice. Whether you have a taste for the finer things in life and can't go past a degustation, or you're simply on the hunt for some good ol' fashioned comfort food—we're sure you'll agree that this wonderful city of ours caters to it all.
So grab your appetite—trust us, you're gonna need it!—and prepare to eat your way through our list of Auckland's 50 best restaurants which are in no particular order.
1. Pici | Three little words, one life-changing dish—we're talking about their cacio e pepe, aka Auckland's tastiest plate of pasta.
2. Madame George | We'll take the arroz con mariscos (Peruvian seafood rice) with a frozen pisco sour for afters.
3. Ghost Street | It's spicy, it's subterranean...and you even get a free fortune cookie on the way out.
4. The Fed | Home of the three p's: pastrami, poutine, and pumpkin pie. P.S. For the best seats in the house, head outside and grab a table beneath the twinkling lights of Federal Street.
5. Homeland | Peter Gordon's gift to Auckland, this one's a legit triple threat (it's a restaurant, cooking school AND a retail space).
6. Baduzzi | For some of the best meatballs of your life (sorry Nonna). And that's not all, they also make a mean tiramisu.
7. Ada | Nestled inside a former nunnery, this spot has plenty of character and is also blessed with incredible pasta.
8. Gemmayze Street | Get schooled in real deal Lebanese food, washed down with legit Lebanese wine.
9. Va Bene | A little bit French, a little bit Italian—and a whole lotta delicious. The perfect spot to wine, dine and relive that European holiday.
10. Gochu | The pork buns with beurre blanc sauce will change your life, period.
11. Bar Céleste | Good times, good vibes... and shucked oysters at 2am, if you please.
12. El Sizzling Chorizo | Forget what you know about barbeque and let this authentic Argentinian spot show you how it's really done.
13. Café Hanoi | Still dishing up epic Vietnamese after more than a decade, including some of the best pho this side of—well—Hanoi.
14. Bali Nights | A slice of Indonesian paradise in the heart of Ponsonby. P.S. We ain't vegan, but their tofu and tempeh skewers could be just the thing to convert us.
15. Parasol & Swing | Where the smash burgers and jalapeño poppers reign supreme. And you thought this was just a bar.
16. Beach Club | Dishing up serious summer vibes (and an oyster bar!) all year round—this is one club we definitely wanna be part of.
17. Onslow | The latest venture from celeb chef, Josh Emett doesn't disappoint. Get the party started with their fried bread and crayfish eclairs.
18. Cocoro | Their name may mean 'heart and soul' in Japanese, but it's our stomachs that are the real winners (sushi and saké, here we come!).
19. Daphnes Taverna | We're still not quite sure who Daphne is, but we sure love her taverna—home to gorgeous Greek-style eats.
20. Onemata | Kiwi kai combined with stunning waterfront views—this one's a real class act.
21. Candela | There are so many reasons to love this one. Spanish wine. Grilled octopus. Basque cheesecake.
22. Jervois Steak House | The steak house to rule them all, with some epic sides to boot (we could eat their candied kumara on the daily).
23. Bar Magda | Make no mistake, this one is just as much bistro as it is a bar, with tasty plates aplenty. And did we mention it's underground?
24. The Oyster Inn | You've never had fish 'n' chips like this. And if you really want to go to town on the menu... they even offer accommodation.
25. Cazador | If you're in the mood for meat, there's nowhere better. Top tip: step outside your comfort zone and try something new (poussin hearts, we're looking at you).
26. Depot | The wait to get inside may be long but if you're an oyster lover, it's totally worth it. And don't get us started on their fish sliders.
28. ELMOS | For pizza, pasta and seriously good burrata. Plus, we're pretty sure this is still the only spot in Auckland to get a cocktail served inside a President head tiki.
29. Cassia | Proving that Indian cuisine is so much more than curry (seriously, where else can you get oyster pakora?).
30. Ima Cuisine | For Middle Eastern dishes from the heart, and at Easter time—the city's best hot cross buns.
31. Archive Bar and Bistro at Mudbrick | Beautiful food, world-class wine and stunning Waiheke views—what more could you possibly want?
32. SMOKIN COLE BBQ | A low 'n' slow meat fest from Sir Richard Branson's former personal chef.
33. Khu Khu | There's no better place for (vegan) Thai. Seriously, bring along your carnivore friends and see if they don't agree.
34. Soul Bar & Bistro | A place to be seen, yes, but also a place to eat bloody good food. Our only complaint is that they don't serve their mac 'n' cheese in bigger portions (bucket-size would be ideal).
35. MASU | Where you'll get dinner AND a show thanks to their insanely epic robata grill.
36. Coco's Cantina | Loved as much for its vibe as for its food, order up large on the polenta fries (arguably the city's best).
37. Esther | Get fed on the best of the Med—think anchovies on toast, golden lemon linguine, and again, Basque cheesecake.
38. Apéro | Cheese, charcuterie and fine wine are the order of the day at this cozy French-inspired bar/bistro.
39. Xuxu Dumpling Bar | You haven't lived until you've tried their famous banoffee dumplings or at the very least, their chocolate steamed buns.
40. Peach's Hot Chicken | The undisputed kings of fried chicken, best enjoyed as part of their behemoth Baller Sandwich.
41. 1947 | Where curry goes hand-in-hand with cocktails (if you try only one, make it the Butter Pop Pop Pop).
42. Sid at The French Café | An Auckland institution, this one is still at the top of its game and we reckon it's got something to do with their famous beetroot and goat's cheese tart.
43. Cotto | Laying on the carbs with dishes like kumara gnocchi and beef-cheek lasagna, loose pants are all but compulsory for this one.
44. Street Feast | Find not one, but six incredible vendors slinging top-notch street food inside this upmarket food court, complete with a bar.
45. Tantalus Estate | Quite possibly our fave winery on Waiheke or beyond, this one ticks all the right food and booze boxes. Be sure to squeeze in a stroll through the vines before you leave.
46. Amano | Take your tastebuds on a round-trip of Italy with burrata, gelato and (almost) every other dish under the Tuscan sun.
47. Culprit. | Keeping the good times rolling with their epic trolley service. Just be sure to leave room for dessert (namely, the soft serve sundae).
48. The Tasting Shed | Expect the unexpected at this wee gem out West. Thoughtfully executed dishes such as the mushroom foie gras never fail to impress.
49. Ebisu | One of our fave places for a feed of Japanese... with a cheeky cocktail on the side.
50. Paris Butter | This little piggy went oui oui oui... all the way to Paris Butter, where the food is confited, brulee-d, and undeniably French.
For restaurants with multiple venues (or in one case, multiple kitchens...)
Mr Hao | Meet Mr Hao, skewer master and chicken magician (careful though, it ain't called Numbin Chicken for nothin').
Burger Burger | A better beef burger is hard to find. Plus, those potato skins are some next-level stuff.
Mexico | We'd pick a favourite dish, but we love them all. The same can be said for their margaritas.
Azabu | Proving that Peruvian-Japanese fare is a match made in heaven.
BurgerFuel | The undisputed kings of gourmet burgers. Any list without them would be a travesty.
Eight | If you thought smorgasbords were a thing of the past, you clearly haven't been to Eight. We're talking eight kitchens (including a chocolate fountain), each inspired by a different cuisine.
How about a nightcap? Check out the best bars in Auckland.
Image credit: Ghost Street by Wono Kim, Cocoro, ELMOS, Khu Khu and Peach's Hot Chicken by Wono Kim, Tantalus Estate