A great lunch and ocean views—is there actually anything better? Maybe, but with top restaurants and cafes serving up delicious fare with spectacular views, lunching has never been so good. These 10 go-to local spots will make it impossible to stay in work-mode or maintain that grumpy mood, so reclaim that holiday feeling and take a break from work, or treat yourself this weekend and start ticking them off your bucket list.
Pretty much an Auckland institution, Swashbucklers is a popular spot for groups, for dates, and everything in between. Situated on the Westhaven Marina, chow down on its extensive and delicious seafood menu or sip on a drop or two of your choice of tipple, all while sitting on the deck and watching the boats on the sparkling water with an incredible backdrop.
Take your dining up a notch at Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill in the central city. Sitting a floor up, grab a pozzy on the deck and enjoy some inspired food and drinks. There’s plenty of seafood options—chilli fried squid or steamed green lipped mussels, but if you’re in the need for some serious filling, the steak ‘n’ cheese pie goes down a treat. The staff are super-attentive and friendly, the atmosphere elegant, and the view sensational.
Soul Bar and Bistro
Further along from The Crew Club, Soul Bar and Bistro is a beautiful and popular lunch spot for both locals and tourists alike. With a brunch and full lunch menu, it serves up a host of seafood deliciousness—everything from a South Island whitebait fritter with lemon sauce to handmade Waikanae crab ravioli, saffron and shellfish butter sauce. Drooling yet? Add in the view and the inviting décor and you’ve found your new favourite restaurant.
This hot spot overlooks one of Auckland’s most beautiful beaches—Takapuna. Tokyo Bay serves up traditional Japanese food with a contemporary take, indeed, its chef, Chikara Sato is a fully licensed ‘Fugu’ chef. It’s a great place to grab some friends and order some light dishes to share. But if sharing is just not your thing, there’s always the mouth watering bento boxes to choose from. The drinks list is also extensive, so sit back and relax. You’ve found a slice of heaven.
Back on the city side, there are plenty of options along Wynyard Quarter but Jack Tar is a go-to restaurant. Sit under one of their red umbrellas and soak in the buzzing atmosphere. There’s views over the harbour and always plenty going on to satisfy your people watching needs. We don’t recommend eating breakfast before heading to Jack Tar for lunch—the portion sizes are huge—the beef and bacon burger (topped with onion rings) could probably sustain you for a week. Because it’s so popular, make sure you head down early, or book online.
Newly refurbished and with MKR’s Gareth Stewart at the helm, Euro is an Aucklander’s dream lunch spot. Soak in the sun’s rays while knocking back freshly shucked oysters before making a selection from the extensive seafood menu while looking out over the Waitamata Harbour…bliss.
McHugh’s of Cheltenham
Right on the shore of Cheltenham Beach, McHugh’s serves up a lunchtime buffet menu of hot and cold delights. From market fish to gourmet potatoes to Waldorf salad, there is something for everyone—indeed, it’s a great place for the extended family to get together and enjoy some food and dazzling views.
Café on Kohi
If the beach is your thing, look no further than Tamaki Drive’s Café on Kohi. Right across from the beach, with views out to Rangitoto, it’s a buzzing place, ideal for a weekend lunch. Nab one of the outdoor tables, order a coffee and enjoy some light, easy food.
Last, and most certainly not least, head to Ostro for an elegant yet unpretentious lunchtime experience. Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett takes the culinary helm, serving up a seasonal all-day menu. All tables have views of the sweeping harbour and there’s also a great drinks menu and vibe, making Ostro one of Auckland’s must-visit lunch spots.
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Image credit: Soul Bar and Bistro