For a night out feeling fancy, a sweet pick-me-up or a tasty bite to get you through your day, Parnell won’t disappoint as Auckland's most stroll-worthy suburb is packed with restaurants, cafes and bars not to be missed.
Diverse, vibrant and oh so delicious, we've rounded up the best restaurants, bars and cafes in Parnell. Pray for a good park, then get amongst.
The Best Restaurants And Bars In Parnell
Geyser Building, Parnell Road
Gluten-free dumpling alert! And it’s not just the gluten-intolerants among us who’ll love Fang’s Sichuan flavour grenade of a menu. Upholding Winona Forever’s stunning aesthetic (Fang is a sister eatery) your table is sure to pop with colour. Think dainty dim sum, Sichuan-spiked meat dishes, seafood for the gods and burnt sweet chilli crispy tofu... with food this tasty, you might just have to try everything on the menu.
Bookings are essential for this restaurant with just six seats. Gathered around the chef’s counter you’ll be treated to an intimate experience inspired by the landscape of Aotearoa. The seasonal menu consists of 17-23 set courses and is complemented by a drink list celebrating local and minimal intervention producers. The team may be able to accommodate some dietary requirements (check before booking) but this Pasture is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
Right Next Door To Pasture
80% of Pasture’s drink pairings are cocktails created in its very own experimental bar, Boxer. A contraption that looks like it might have been plucked out of a sci-fi movie turns Pasture scraps into distillates spun into unimaginable cocktails. Here you have a choice of four set menus from the ‘Pasture Pantry’. This cocktail bar is pushing the boundaries, it’s dining like never before: expect the unexpected.
You won't regret falling for Parnell's secret garden lounge, Sweet Affairs. Open from brunch 'til late, with a distinctly Latin American falvour, this gem is hidden away in the historic Parnell bakehouse. Head here on a Saturday night to bust our your slickest reggaeton with resident DJ Rodrigo Silveira.
Think you know pakora? Think again. 3Nutmegs’ crushed potato and pumpkin reimagining of this traditional Indian snack food is tasty AF, as is the rest of the menu. Perched at the top of Parnell Rise this Indian restaurant is committed to sustainability and prides itself on using the freshest ingredients in its dishes. The staff are wonderful and welcoming, and you'll definitely leave totally satisfied.
An innovation by established chef and Bachelorette heartthrob, Paul Patterson, every dish at Va Bene. is made with six ingredients or less. Gather around the communal table for small plates, champagne and good times. The beef bourguignon will please meat-eaters, while there are plenty of standout vegetable dishes too including a Brussels sprouts dish that will convert even the most finickiest of eaters.
Excellently-priced donburi never gets old and Renkon is the best of the best (in Parnell and beyond). We could eat their misodare tofu all day every day. And their katsu chicken is forever popular. Complimentary Japanese tea? Yes please!
Pineapple On Parnell
Spot the brass pineapple then drink its namesake: a delightful rum-based concoction topped with torched yuzu foam. Pineapple promises old school luxury with new world flavours, and a whole lot of rum. Head to this cosy lounge for the best cocktails in Parnell, as well as a selection of pizzas, cheese and charcuterie boards, mixed nuts and smoked olives.
Made to be shared with loved ones, the dishes at Oh Calcutta are as warming as they are delicious. The restaurant is cosy and welcoming, giving you an experience of Indian culture that goes beyond cuisine—it’s as much about the culture and passion of India’s people. Chef Meena has woven Ayurvedic philosophy into the menu and you’ll find meals that feature sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent—six ‘rasas’ known to support the balance of body, mind and spirit. Fun fact: this restaurant was named after the longest-running comedy musical in Broadway history which caused quite a stir back in 1969 due to its extensive use of nudity.
A slice of Spain in Parnell, Barulho promises delicious, Mediterranean-inspired eats and great service. We hear good things about the beef picanha with chimichurri and salt-baked beetroot, and their burrata with grilled mushrooms is evidently divine.
Gion Japanese Restaurant
Sip on a complimentary green tea while you make quite possibly the hardest, and most first world, decision of your life: sushi, sashimi, grilled yakimono, tempura, nabemono hot pot or noodles? Luckily, Gion offers a three-course set menu so you can immerse in the tastes and visual experience of Kyoto in full. Magical.
If you’ve always wanted to eat flaming prawns straight from a coconut, you better hightail it to Nem. Tucked away on Parnell’s main strip this atmospheric restaurant will have you feeling like you’re living it up on holiday, minus the jetlag. Menu highlights include Saigon beef noodle; crispy aubergine with shiso, garlic and honey; and an absolutely delightful mango sago pudding.
The Best Cafes And Other Eateries In Parnell
For the prettiest cabinet food in all the land, Winona Forever is the place to be. We love their constantly evolving menu—they’re on their fourth iteration of Magical Mushrooms and their fifth Eton Rifle—and their ‘you’re an egg’ is a cheeky reminder to not take ourselves so seriously. Food fit for the ‘Gram, your belly and the planet (they’re a six star-rated environmentally friendly cafe), there’s no doubt that Winona Forever is one of the best cafes in Parnell.
Good Habit Ice Cream
YES. Just yes. Drop everything and go right now. From humble beginnings, at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market, Good Habit might just be the tastiest habit you ever form. Entirely plant-based and made from all-natural ingredients, every flavour is creamy, luscious joy. We’re dreaming about their lemon poppy thyme. And their waffle cones are also gluten-free. *Swoon*
La Cigale French Market
Saint Georges Bay Road
If you didn’t visit La Cigale, did you really have a weekend? The French market is a Parnell icon, celebrating everything we love about France while featuring local artisan producers and organic, spray-free fruit and vegetables, free from plastic packaging. It’s the perfect place for a lazy meander-and-graze. There’s even a dog treats stall so grab your pup and your reusable bags, and pop on over. Make the most of it while you can folks, this institution is closing its doors for good come the new year.
A gentle mix of textures gives Atelier Shu a satisfyingly minimalist feel—the perfect backdrop for some of the most beautiful pastries we’ve ever seen. These delicate offerings include six flavours of French-inspired canelé, a passion fruit cheese tart that looks like a daisy, a winter special choux featuring ‘Senkintan’ black sesame paste from Japan, and more.
There’s nothing like a tasty panino (fun fact: it’s the singular of ‘panini’) and Aperitivo has the best. Opt for a classic buffalo mozzarella with basil and tomato, or maybe a pancetta and free-range egg on ciabatta with a coffee. Go for the freshly made Italian goodness and stay for a spontaneous haircut at the Parnell Barbers out the back.
If you’re a fan of coffee, a visit to Red Rabbit’s roastery and cafe is sure to delight. Match your cuppa’ joe with an egg mayo pretzel roll or other delicious freshly-made sandwich and live your best life. They also do a whole bunch of tasty collabs with Food Truck Thursdays. Keep an eye on their socials to know who’ll be popping up next.
Go suburb hopping with the best restaurants in Newmarket.
Image credit: Fang, 3Nutmegs, Pineapple, Barulho, Atelier Shu.