Takapuna is one of our fave suburbs, period. Not only is it home to one of the most popular beaches on the North Shore and a number of covetable shops—The Department Store, Superette and MECCA to name but a few—but there's certainly no shortage of amazing places to eat out.
Whether it's a cone of award-winning gelato on the beachfront, an Asian-inspired feast at the restaurant of a top Kiwi chef, or a plate of the most incredible dessert-style waffles tucked away down an arcade, here are all the best restaurants, bars and cafés in Takapuna.
The Best Restaurants And Bars In Takapuna
For next-level Filipino, you can't beat Nanam. Away from the main shopping strip of Hurstmere Road, this tasty little spot is where we go for lamb adobo croquettes, their signature taco pao (hand-rolled beetroot buns with free-range sticky pork belly), and tres leches tiramisu. Yes, if you want big flavours in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, there's nowhere better. P.S. They also do a mean bottomless brunch on Saturdays.
Tokyo Bay brings together two of life's greatest pleasures: Japanese food, and the beach. Located right by the seaside with amazing views to boot, this spot has so much to be impressed by. We recommend hitting up their outdoor dining area for an early-evening dinner in the sun, which will likely include some next-level sushi, sashimi, tempura, and teppan-yaki. Don't forget to also check out their exotic desserts.
Asian eateries don't get much better than TOK TOK, sitting pretty on the corner of Hurstmere Road and The Strand. And when we say pretty, we're not lying—decked out with strings of lights, Vietnamese furniture and pops of greenery, this is one super gorgeous spot. The décor of course is only as good as the food, and we can assure you, there's certainly no worries here. Channelling drool-worthy South-East Asian flavours into fusion dishes like popping prawns with yuzu mayo, sweet and sour pork belly, and matcha chocolate fondant, dining here is a legit case of died-and-gone-to-heaven.
Treat your tastebuds to a feast of modern Asian delights over at Madam Woo. Yes, you can expect some of the very best Chinese and Malaysian food in town when you come here, thanks to the fact that this one's run by one of our fave Kiwi chefs, Josh Emett, along with his business partner, Fleur Caulton. Any meal here must include their crisp and buttery hawker rolls, which are so popular they've even spawned their own eatery—Hawker & Roll—while lately, we've also been crushing on their roti apple pie (it's even better than it sounds).
Eat Street: Fortieth and Hurstmere
Hands-down one of our fave locations for a spot of Burger Burger (perhaps because of its proximity to the beach, so we can walk off the food baby that inevitably follows). Pull up a pew in the all-weather outdoor dining area (complete with Instaworthy mural by Auckland artist, Andrew J Steel) and smash into a meal of insanely delicious burgers, fries in every form imaginable, and a Duck Island milkshake (or a cheeky cocktail!) to wash it all down. Dream. Meal.
Eat Street: Fortieth and Hurstmere
If you're looking for a simple pizza, you're looking in the wrong place. The dough alone for each Dante's pizza takes four days to make (yes, four), before being strewn with lush Neapolitan-style ingredients and cooked to perfection inside their wood-fired oven. Such craftsmanship has earned Dante's Pizzeria a rep as one of the best pizza spots in Auckland, and certainly one of the best eateries in Takapuna. P.S. They also make some rather beautiful pasta... and Nutella calzone.
Just off The Strand is the North Shore branch of wildly popular Mexican eatery, Mexico. As festive as its many sisters around Auckland, we love hitting up this colourful spot for a feed of their famous fried chicken and mouthwatering tacos, washed down with a truckload of thirst-quenching margs. Pro tip: if heading there in the afternoon, hit up the beach for a lil' siesta in the sun post-meal.
Taylors On Hurstmere
Taylors On Hurstmere claim to have Takapuna's best wine list, and we might be inclined to agree. Yes, this is defo the place to go if you're in the mood for a glass of vino (they even host regular wine tastings), however, let it be known that they also have some pretty great-tasting grub (think shareable plates in the form of beetroot and feta arancini, tequila chicken, and rosemary and polenta chips). Rounding out this one's credentials is its incredibly friendly vibe, which makes it a spot you'd be proud to call your local.
An eatery that has won the hearts of locals and non-locals alike, Al Forno is Takapuna's very own slice of Italy. Forget carbs for a night and settle in at this charming restaurant (complete with a mural of the Italian countryside) where you'll choose from a mouthwatering selection of antipasti, wood-fired pizza, pasta, and more. If you're bringing a date, we recommend the spaghetti bolognese, aka your best shot at nailing a Lady and the Tramp moment. Finally, Al Forno gets extra brownie points for serving legit Italian wine. Note: these guys are currently closed due to flooding damage during lockdown, but will be up and running later in November.
Fantail & Turtle
Goodside At Smales Farm
The best place to sink a drink in Takapuna is surely Fantail & Turtle. This trendy bar, located in the Goodside precinct at Smales Farm, may be away from the beach but one look at the menu and you'll forget all about the whole sun and sand thing. Their extensive gin collection (enhanced with botanicals from their on-site garden) is a major drawcard, as is their impressive selection of wines, beer and cocktails, while they also know how to rustle up some seriously good grub (the jalapeño wontons and buttermilk fried chicken are legit). Side note: for the best seats in the house, check out their cool glasshouse.
The Best Cafés And Other Eateries In Takapuna
Takapuna Beach Café
Forget the best cafés in Takapuna, this is one of the best in Auckland and has the awards to prove it. Located in a prime position next to the Takapuna boat ramp, complete with a light-filled dining room and sun-drenched deck, you couldn't get much closer to the water if you tried. And it's not just the location that has us sold. Takapuna Beach Café also do an amazing selection of brekkie and lunch dishes, and even more amazing pastries, bread, and gelato (again, award-winning, and again, some of the best in Auckland).
No one does food quite like the French, and while the birthplace of the baguette may be almost 20,000 kilometres away, the good news is—La Tropezienne isn't. This little slice of French paradise can be found on Lake Road (they also have stores in nearby Milford and Browns Bay), and is where a team of genuine French bakers and pastry chefs spend their days creating only the most gorgeous French treats. There's pies, quiches, and of course, baguettes, but the real reason we come here is for the sweets. Choose from a line-up of jaw-dropping cakes, tarts and patisserie, including our personal fave, the religieuse coffee (choux pastry filled with velvety smooth coffee cream).
With a name like Street Organics, you know this spot is gonna be good (and good for you). Whipping up delicious, nutritious goodness is their absolute speciality and they make navigating today's many diets (gluten-free, plant-based, keto, paleo, and even low-FODMAP) a breeze. Hit them up during the AM for a feed of protein pancakes, pulled pork bene or an acai bowl—get creative with their all-day BYO (build-your-own) option—or swing by in the PM for a cheese platter and a glass of vino.
Tucked away just along from Hurstmere Road is Mimosa, the home of wholesome café fare. This cute spot is always buzzing and we reckon that has a lot to do with the fact that they do great coffee, along with a slew of primarily organic and gluten-free goodies. We're particularly fond of their waffles (always changing in flavour, but known to include red velvet and lemon turmeric).
Across the road from Mimosa, you'll find Centro. Don't let the packed tables put you off—in fact, take it as a sign of just how great this spot is. Combining cool, eclectic décor with extremely moreish grub (we recommend their Korean fried chicken waffles, slathered in housemade kochujang sauce), a decent cup of joe and dreamy cabinet treats, we really couldn't ask for more.
Nestled in the back alleys of Takapuna is Honey, a cute and cosy local brunch spot with a menu that ranges from simple yet scrumptious faves like eggs on toast, to more sophisticated dishes like their drool-worthy gluten-free orange and ricotta pancakes. Coffee-lovers will be pleased to learn that Honey uses the famous Veloce bean from Atomic Coffee to provide only the very best cuppa.
Jam Organic Cafe
Jam Organic Cafe is one of those super-solid spots that deliver great food and great vibes, every single time. With outdoor seating and views of Hurstmere Green, this is a primo spot to grab your weekend brekkie. Their coffee is always bang-on and the brunches? Delicious. We're especially partial to their smashed avo and mince on toast, though really, anything here is guaranteed to be bloody good.
House of Chocolate Dessert Cafe
Anywhere with a name like House of Chocolate Dessert Cafe is 100% worthy of our attention, and these guys do not disappoint. Whether you want a housemade hot choccy (made with your choice of melted white or dark chocolate) and a sugar-laden cabinet treat to go, or you want to go all-out with a plate of their famously decadent desserts (one word: waffles!), House of Chocolate hits the sweet spot, big-time. Obviously, it would be terribly rude not to also grab a couple of their gorgeous handcrafted choccies while you're there.
The Old Lolly Shop, Hurstmere Road
You know that saying, like a kid in a candy store? Well, we know a place where you can experience that saying, for reals. We're talking about the iconic Old Lolly Shop of course, which you'll find hidden down an arcade off Hurstmere Road. Careful not to let the sight of all that sugar go straight to your head, cos there's plenty of it—from candyfloss and cola bottles to aniseed wheels and acid drops. If you're lucky, you might even see owner/confectioner, Stephen, hand-spinning his famous old-fashioned lollipops. Magic.
Continue your tour of the 'burbs with everything to eat and drink in Parnell.
Image credit: Main image TOK TOK, Nanam, Madam Woo, Mexico, Takapuna Beach Café, Street Organics, Centro & House of Chocolate Dessert Cafe.