When it comes to restaurants, Ponsonby is a literal smorgasbord—in fact, this is one suburb where it's more about narrowing down your choices, rather than seeking them out (Ponsonby Road alone has a staggering amount of places to wine and dine). Yes, whether you're after bistro classics, a spot of Asian street food or an old-fashioned burger and fries, this inner-city neighbourhood punches well above its weight. That said, here's our pick of Ponsonby's very best restaurants for your dining delectation.
KOL, Ponsonby Road
This latest venture from powerhouse duo Sid and Chand Sahrawat will ignite your appetite with its killer cocktails and impeccable food, largely cooked over the fire.
Parade, Ponsonby Road
Absolutely slaying the burger game with their smash patties on pretzel buns, which you'll want to wash down with a candy-coloured cocktail pitcher.
Gaja, Ponsonby Central
Prawn-filled toasties and bulgogi-stuffed tacos are just some of the epic eats awaiting you at this Ponsonby Central spot. Don't forget to save room for their deep-fried donut ice cream.
Gusto Italiano, Ponsonby Road
Gusto Italiano is your classic Italian, right down to the red-and-white checkered tablecloths. Expect exceptional takes on the classics including pizza, pasta, and a rather dreamy tiramisu.
Okumnandi, Ponsonby Road
Auckland's first South African fusion restaurant, and home to the now world-famous-in-Auckland bunny chow (an entire loaf of bread stuffed with lamb curry). For the best seats in the house, hit up their pretty courtyard.
Aigo Noodle Bar, Ponsonby Road
For oodles of noodles and a whole lot more, check out this hot new spot from hospo legend, David Lee. Don't leave without trying their game-changing take on tteokbokki, smothered in cacio e pepe, torched cheese and truffle. Woof.
Thirtyone, Ponsonby Road
We have 31 reasons and counting to love this spot, which blends Asian, Fijian and Indian cuisines in the most delicious manner possible. Amongst them? Their loaded fries and deep-fried dessert dumplings.
Lucky 8, Ponsonby Road
You'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Lucky 8—the spot dishing up epic Asian-style tapas and cocktails, for just $8.88 a pop from its lofty, neon-lit den overlooking Ponsonby Road.
Le Vietnamese Kitchen, Ponsonby Road
This exotic pitstop will have your tastebuds working overtime with flavour-packed dumplings, aromatic curries, and other authentic Vietnamese foods served with a French twist.
INCA, Ponsonby Central
Colourful, Peruvian-style eats collide with a vibrant fit-out at this second branch of top chef, Nic Watt's INCA. We'll take the classico ceviche, tiger prawn tempura and ao nori tacos, washed down with a couple o' pisco sours, thanks.
Mumbaiwala, Ponsonby Road
Take your tastebuds on a round trip of Mumbai's bustling culinary scene at this vibing spot on Ponsonby Road. Beware of honking trains in the toilet (IYKYK).
The Gyoza Bar, Ponsonby Road
Crispy and fluffy gyoza (Japanese dumplings) are the order of the day here, best enjoyed with one of their 25+ kinds of Japanese whisky.
Ponsonby Road Bistro, Ponsonby Road
Dishing up consistently good grub in a stylish yet relaxed setting, a visit here never disappoints (and they have the accolades to prove it).
Beau Wine Bar, Ponsonby Road
This place is an absolute vibe and is one of the best restaurants in Ponsonby, dishing up an impressive wine list (trust us when we say, their team know their stuff) along with delish, European-inspired eats and a cute courtyard with views of the Sky Tower.
Cocoro, Brown Street
The home of legendary Japanese, including sashimi and sushi options with more than 15 (yes, 15!) kinds of seafood included with just one course. You're lying if you're not impressed.
Mekong Baby, Ponsonby Road
For fabulous South East Asian fusion food, and interiors. If you're a first-timer or you just suck at decision-making, opt for the 'let's eat' menu where you'll be served a selection of this spot's most beloved dishes.
Olas Arepas, Ponsonby Central
We live for their gluten-free arepas, especially the volvere stuffed with slow-cooked pulled pork, grilled halloumi cheese, coleslaw and plum sauce. Their coconut and lemon milkshake also goes down a treat.
Ockhee, Ponsonby Road
This spot may be small, but it certainly knows how to pack a punch on the flavour front—dishing up belly-warming Korean that's nothing short of delicious and one of Ponsonby's best restaurants.
Prego, Ponsonby Road
A bonafide Ponsonby icon, this carb-friendly spot has been dishing up the goods (and by that, we mean pizza, pasta and rather incredible pies) for more than 35 years and still retains their crown as one of the best restaurants in Ponsonby. Their gorgeous courtyard is just as legendary.
The Hidden Village, Ponsonby Central
Stuff your face with more South East Asian street food than you can poke a chopstick at—think prawn sambal pancakes, adobo duck wontons, and their famous chicken satay skewers. Wash it all down with bubble tea (or a cocktail if you're feeling naughty).
BANZIHA Korean Bar And Restaurant, Williamson Avenue
Gorge on dishes like their insane volcanic Korean chicken washed down with fruity soju slushies—all served in a funky, underground basement.
Khu Khu Eatery, Ponsonby Road
Few places do Thai food as tasty as this one, and what's even better is that the food here is entirely vegan. Yes, that's right—vegan Thai. Consider this your permission to gorge, no wonder it stands out as one of Ponsonby's best restaurants.
The Blue Breeze Inn, Ponsonby Central
So you want pork belly steamed buns and mai tais, served by staff in Hawaiian shirts? The BBI has your back. This was the first place we ever ate at in Ponsonby Central—and we're still coming back all these years later.
Mexico, Ponsonby Road
Serving up festive vibes—along with some of Auckland's best margaritas and fried chicken—you can't go wrong with a trip to this Ponsonby fave.
Dante's Pizzeria, Ponsonby Central
Pizza bases that take four days to make? Dante's' level of care and attention to their craft never fails to blow our mind (and our taste buds). The Margherita is a must-try.
Daphnes Taverna, Ponsonby Road
Your little slice of Greek paradise in the heart of Ponsonby. Warm, welcoming, and dishing up legit food of the gods (case in point: their famous spanakopita, featuring 20 layers of filo pastry).
Tokyo Club, Ponsonby Central
Izakaya vibes await at Tokyo Club. Think sushi rolls, dumplings and sashimi—or a game-changing bento box for when indecisiveness strikes.
El Sizzling Chorizo, Ponsonby Central
A must-visit for the meat-eaters amongst you, this fiery spot specialises in legit Argentinian barbecue with dishes like spicy beef empanadas and succulent beef short ribs, warming, hearty and one of Ponsonby's best restaurants.
Taiko Ponsonby, Ponsonby Road
Take a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun with authentic, artfully-presented Japanese paired with legit Japanese wine, beer, and sake. The XL Sashimi, boasting around 45 slices of seafood, is a thing of beauty.
Bali Nights, Williamson Ave
This tropical neon paradise is your one-stop-shop for authentic Balinese cuisine and by that, we mean food that's packed with big, bold (and often fiery!) flavours. The whole grilled snapper is always a good time.
Azabu, Ponsonby Road
Making mouths water since 2016, this one specialises in Nikkei-style cuisine and we can't get enough. Think free-range fried chicken karaage, tuna sashimi tostadas, and crispy pork belly, with ice-cold Asahi's on the side.
Farina, Ponsonby Road
Pizza and pasta from a Napoli native? Sign. Us. Up. That's exactly what you can expect when you dine at this award-winning eatery from Sergio Maglione, who you might also know as one of the names behind another notable Auckland spot—Toto Pizza.
Taco Medic, Ponsonby Road
Tacos are always a good time, especially when they're handcrafted daily—filled with the freshest, healthiest, and most amazing flavour combos—and also happen to be gluten-free, à la Taco Medic. Continue the festivities with a marg or two.
Elmos, Ponsonby Road
The fanciest pizza and pasta joint you ever did see, this vibing eatery is dishing up solid Italian with a side of lavish European vibes, this is definitely one of Ponsonby's best restaurants, and has the buzz to prove it.
Sidart, Ponsonby Road
Originally cooked up by Sid Sahrawat and now owned by head chef Lesley Chandra, Sidart is a Ponsonby institution. Their secret? A blend of fine dining and modern Indian flavours.
Chop Chop Noodle House, Ponsonby Central
A self-described 'noodle saloon', this is where you can slurp on the city's best ramen bowls, while simultaneously inhaling Korean fried chicken and Chinese steamed buns. And it'd be rude not to peruse their epic whisky selection.
Burger Burger, Ponsonby Central
The OG BB spot, and consistently smashing out some of Auckland's best burgers. Their classic beef and cheese number will never go out of style.
Ramen Takara, Ponsonby Road
For real deal ramen (the owner's father ran a successful ramen shop beneath Mount Fuji), Ramen Takara's the spot. But don't stop at noodles—the karaage chicken, renkon chips and pork belly harumaki are also worth their salt.
Done Ponsonby? Check out all the best restaurants, bars and cafes in Parnell.
Image credit: KOL by Jamin Drupsteen, INCA Ponsonby, Beau Wine Bar, Ockhee, Khu Khu Eatery, Daphnes Taverna, Bali Nights, Elmos all by Wono Kim.