Food & Drink

Where To Wine, Dine And Treat Your Lover In Auckland This Valentine’s Day

By Alice Rich

Romantic cakes at Neat

Hello lovers. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner—14 February to be exact—so if you haven’t made plans yet, you’d better hustle. Whether you love one or many, you’re looking to sweep your fellow lovebird off their feet, or you’re thinking about taking your situationship to the next level, a romantic Valentine’s Day date is sure to have them catching all the feels. Cupid’s at the ready and we’re crossing our fingers for fireworks. 

Here are the most romantic places to wine, dine and treat your lover in Auckland this Valentine’s Day (or live it up while revelling in singledom). Heads up: Some of these events take place on 15 February instead of Valentine’s Day so take a second glance before you lock it in mmmkay?

Valentine’s Dinner At JW Kitchen

14 February, JW Marriott Auckland, Albert Street

A gorgeous red heart-shaped desert from JW Kitchen, one of the best places to dine in Auckland this Valentine’s Day.
Image credit: JW Marriott / website

Swan into JW Marriott and a glass of bubbles will appear in your hand–the perfect start to what’s sure to be a sensational Valentine’s Dinner.

Enjoy salmon tartare, chicken liver parfait or smoked oyster mushrooms; herb-crusted lamb rack, truffle risotto, scotch fillet or pan-seared salmon. Finish with a curious (and phenomenal) blend of raspberry, parmesan, white chocolate and vanilla, or opt for a decadent dark chocolate mousse; and petit fours.

Caretaker & Rocketman’s Double Date

14 February, Britomart

Double the love this Valentine’s Day at not one but two distinct, amorous locations. Start at Caretaker, making moon eyes at your lover over sumptuous cocktails in a candlelit, deep romance atmosphere spun with jazz and soul.

Next, make your way upstairs to Rocketman for some Dirty Dancing, cutting shapes on a sax-soaked dancefloor until you decide to hightail it home to embody the other meaning of dirty dancing. 

DOE-lentines Day Box by DOE Donuts

Pre-order for 14 February, Grey Lynn

Two heart-shaped donuts-one red, one brown-with XOX written on them in icing.
Image credit: Doe Donuts / website

Doe Donut’s iconic DOE-lentines Day box is back again and earth-shatteringly delicious waves of pleasure will ensue. Choose from one or two heart-shaped delights–the cherry compote and vanilla mascarpone cream-stuffed cherry glaze-dipped Cherries & Cream and the Double Choc, a masterpiece filled with rich chocolate custard and covered in chocolate ganache.

Bozo’s Southside Stories 

14 February, Karangahape Road

Southside Stories is back for one love-soaked night only. Beyoncé’s been kidnapped so it goes without saying you’ll do all you can to save her, especially if that involves sipping cocktails and taking part in an interactive murder-mystery game.

Each of the mystery’s five chapters is paired with a delicious cocktail so you know it’s going to be a mighty fine affair. Do you have what it takes to save the Queen? Bookings are available for pairs and fours. 

Valentine’s At Tempero 

14 February, Karangahape Road

The amor will be flowing at Tempero this Valentine’s along with Tattinger Cuvée Prestige Champagne and a four-course set menu that has us drooling onto our keyboard.

Your dreamy culinary journey will begin with moreish, naturally gluten-free pão de queijo cheese bread and guac, and be followed by potato gnocchi and a main of your choice. Dessert is their renowned passionfruit mousse. Non-alcoholic, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free iterations are all possible too. 

Dia De San Valentin At Candela

14 February, Karangahape Road

A dark space almost lit by an understated pink cocktail perfectly accented by a maraschino cherry.
Image credit: Candela / supplied

Candela is one of those places that effortlessly embodies romance any night of the year, so you know they’ll be serving a fully-fledged lovers’ fantasy come Valentine’s.

Book in for a four-course menu, with champagne on arrival, and a sultry you-choose-your ending. Will it be a sweet dessert cocktail or oysters, a classic aphrodisiac? Let the mood be your muse… 

Taking A Stand For Valentine’s At Bali Nights & Java

14 February, Ponsonby & Karangahape Road

While the actual menu is yet to be announced, Bali Nights & Java are offering you the chance to share the love with a portion of the profits from their Valentine’s Day set menu going to ReliefAid to help with the humanitarian efforts in Gaza. Our hearts are full.  

Valentine’s Day By Fankery

Preorder for 13/14 February pick up in Glendene/Balmoral

A freakin’ lush strawberry-topped chocolate mochi cheesecake from Fankery.
Image credit: Fankery / website

Somehow capturing the essence of both vintage and new-wave modern, your Valentine(s) will froth over this pair of mouthwatering cakes by Fankery. CUPID (pictured) is a choc strawberry cheesecake with a chocolate brownie base and mochi centre topped with strawberry-spiked fresh cream and berries.

EROS is a black forest cherry cheesecake iteration topped with fresh chocolate cream, a dusting of cocoa, and cherries. You can even add on a cute two-pack of mochi-filled cookies. 'Nuff said.

Valentine’s At Palmer Bar

14 February, Auckland CBD

Syrupy jazz is synonymous with romance and Palmer Bar’s got it in abundance along with a three-course shared set Valentine’s menu you’ll definitely want to wrap your mouth around.

Flavour notes include tofu or tuna tataki, bacon chilli with wasabi butter, kohlrabi schnitzel, smoked cheese, and lime gin sorbet; and Lanson Champagne on arrival.

La Festa Di San Valentino At Bivacco

14 February, Viaduct

If your lover’s heart sings for seafood, you’ll want to book into Bivacco, stat. From crayfish caught just off our own shores to Wood fired Skull Island prawns and a chocolate hazelnut mousse with a sea salt and cherry accent, La Festa Di San Valentino is the perfect start to what’s sure to be a hot summer’s night (and you know we’re not talking about the temperature).

Inca’s Lovers Banquet 

14 February, Ponsonby 

A frozen margherita garnished with a slice of lemon whispers ‘drink me’.
Image credit: INCA Ponsonby / Facebook

Woo your special someone (or someones) with a lunchtime Lovers Banquet this Valentine’s Day at INCA Ponsonby.

Slingin’ tasty eats inspired by Latin America and Asia, expect INCA’s signature guac and corn chips, spicy tuna tostada, Pacifica ceviche, lime and hoisin-spiced crispy duck, ember roasted black cod, and candied jumbo strawberries with basil ice cream and toasted meringue. Pair with a frozen marg for the ultimate indulgence. It’ll be the second-best thing you put in your mouth…

Valentine’s Day Set Menu At Ebisu 

14 February, Britomart

Does the ultimate Valentine’s Day dinner begin with a flute of Veuve Clicquot on arrival? We think so. Book you and your boo into Ebisu’s Valentine’s Day dinner for a five-course menu worthy of Cupid himself.

Think an Omakase sashimi platter, wagyu tataki and Ebisu’s signature spicy tuna roll, miso marinated white trevally, pavlova and a dark chocolate silken tofu cake. It’ll be love at first bite.

Valentine’s Day At Onslow

14 February, Auckland CBD

A bottle of Ruinart rosé, two full glasses and a pomegranate - smashed, like your ex’s heart when they realise they dumped the best thing that ever happened to them.
Image credit: Ruinart / website

A rose is all very well but a glass of Ruinart Rosé (a blend of 45% chardonnay and 43% pinot noir)? Now that’s a party. Book into Onslow for a stunning five-course dinner.

And if you’ve had to postpone or bring forward your Valentine’s Day celebrations a little, for whatever reason, the good folks at Onslow have you sussed. Dine with them between 12 and 18 February and you’ll score a take-home petit fours for a sweet after-dinner treat. Cute. 

Valentine’s Day Set Menu At MoVida

14 February, Tyler Street

Put your hands to good use with luscious tapas at MoVida this Valentine’s Day (what were you thinking?). Book a table and you’ll receive a flute of Moët and Chandon Rosé when you waltz through the door. How delightful.

Next, you’ll enjoy a selection of aperitivos including Spanish olives and jamón Iberico with pickled garlic. But the party doesn’t stop there, no-no.

You’ll then be treated to a whirlwind of delectable tapas and larger plates before finishing with churros and Spanish drinking chocolate, flan and a selection of petit fours. All this for just $110 per person.

A Special Valentine’s Offering by Magda

14 February, Cross Street

The gorgeous Valentine’s Day spread at Bar Magda.
Image credit: Bar Magda / supplied

Subterranean with exposed brick and lit in sultry reds, Magda is an intimate setting for the most romantic Valentine’s dinner and that’s even before the mouthwatering food arrives at your table.

There are two iterations of their Valentine’s Day sharing menu—Meat Lovers and Seafood Cravings—and each starts with some tasty bites to whet the appetite followed by ‘something hot’, two cocktails each or a bottle of wine, and a chocolate marquise finisher. Naughty (in the best way). 

Valentine’s Day At Ortolana 

14 February, Tyler Street

Bliss out with your lover at Ortolana with a three-course menu that’s sure to give you a food ‘gasm (setting the scene for later on, maybe?). Start with your choice of entree–we’ve got our heart set on their stracciatella—then follow with hand-made tagliatelle or whatever takes your fancy.

As for happy endings, there are four delicious desserts to consider. Will you be wooed by coffee-soaked tiramisu, citrussy Italian meringue with lemon curd, creamy cheese or strawberries and cream with a hint of basil? Follow your heart. 

Valentine’s Day By Neat. 

Pick up/delivery on 14 February, Dominion Road 

A vintage-inspired pink heart-shaped cake with the words ‘let’s make out’ iced on top of it, and a disco ball.
Image credit: Lou Corry for Neat Cakes / supplied

If the love of your life has a sweet tooth and you’re looking to make a gesture that’ll leave them weak at the knees, order a sweet somethin' somethin' from the plant-based Valentine’s Day lineup by Neat Cakes.

Choose from adorable vanilla sugar heart cookies, a vintage heart cake—available in tall or short—or a box of cutie mini cakes in chocolate s’mores, lemon passionfruit, caramelised cornflake and chocolate raspberry or whip something up yourself. 'Cause boo definitely deserves to have their cake and eat it too. 

Deliciously Unromantic Dining by Shop 23

15 February, St Kevin’s Arcade 

For something completely different, head to St Kevin's Arcade to attempt to hand-feed your Tinder date in a hilarious tonic to Valentine’s sometimes overwhelmingly loved-up vibe. Part of Karangahape Road’s iconic Anti-Valentine’s party you’ll be served a bunch of sharing plates and an assortment of utensils to get the mahi done. PSA: this is free.

Moksha Gin

Anytime, Your Glass

A pink bottle of gin stands temptingly amidst a seductive pink set up.
Image credit: Moksha | website

For a Valentine’s Day date that’s whimsical and more than just a little bit boozy, why not bequeath your beloved a bottle of Moksha Rose & Hibiscus Gin?

Spiked with cardamom and organic rose petals from India, plus Hibiscus flowers and a dash of orange, this cheeky tipple is the perfect addition to your Valentine’s Day spread. One sip and your date will be all a flutter. 

Coco’s Cantina Broken Hearts 

15 February, Karangahape Road

We’ll swoon over Coco’s Cantina exactly as they are but we’re not going to say no to their Broken Hearts Happy Hour. Serving up “refreshingly crushing cocktails” stopping by here is a must, and you might as well tuck into some of their delicious Italian kai while you’re at it. Bonus: Keshia Pulse and acoustic duet, Ruckus, will be singing their hearts out just outside the door. 

Mini Movie Screening + Cocktails at Verona

15 February, Karangahape Road

Get dinner and a movie without lifting a finger. Verona’s valiantly dishing kai and cocktails with a mini movie and beats by DJ Massmaya in the name of self-love, independence, friendship and singledom. So grab your spoon and get amongst. (Although you know what they say about spooning… it leads to forking.)

Looking for some last-minute romantic getaway inspiration? Right this way. 

Main image credit: Lou Corry for Neat Cakes / supplied

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