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454 Great North Road
Grey Lynn, 1021
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open

Opening Hours

SUN closed
MON closed
TUE 5:00pm - late
WED 5:00pm - late
THU 12:00pm - 3:00pm
  5:00pm - late
FRI 12:00pm - 3:00pm
  5:00pm - late
SAT 5:00pm - late

The Details

Cuisine
  • Modern Kiwi
Need to Know
  • Great for Dates
  • Healthy Options
  • Love the View
Serving
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Dessert
  • Late Night

The Verdict

Ada Restaurant is entering a delicious new chapter. One with intriguing flavour profiles, a hefty splash of invention and that champions uniquely local, indigenous ingredients. 

In keeping with its well-won crown for being one of the best places for an elevated yet impossibly epic feed—especially when it comes to elevated kai and making vegetables sexy—Ada is reimagining itself. From this Friday, July 21, you’ll notice traditional Māori ingredients and touches being woven every step, or rather plate, of the way.

To thank for that is Head Chef Kia Kanuta, formerly of foodie it-destinations like Prego, Cafe Hanoi, Mudbrick and Pici including a few cameo appearances at other much-loved Auckland institutions. He’s popped his creative hat on firmly and has come up with dishes that not only command cult-following status but that will reconnect you with this precious land.

As if written in the stars, Kia met with Sous Chef Patrick Markus who had recently come to New Zealand with an express desire to learn about Māori traditional food. A bond was immediately formed and together they've crafted an exceptional menu that champions Aotearoa. Dishes that seem simple at face value have been considered, and revised to such an intricate degree that to hear the personal stories behind how they came to be is simply captivating, not to mention out-of-this-world delicious. 

Case in point? The whole fried market fish—boneless no less—and the true centrepiece of any serious feed, is now on Ada’s menu. And get this, it comes barely-there battered and drizzled with a seriously savoury Marmite isigny (a light, hollandaise sauce). Born from memories of Kia's father eating fish heads whilst Kia and his brother ate marmite, trust us, this unlikely pairing will definitely convert even the Marmite naysayers.

Think you’ve seen Ada’s saucy mastery before? Think again. Lovers of fish will also fall for Ada’s take on the Ika Mata, raw fish. This spin on ceviche comes slathered in a coconut creation that tows the line between whipped, unctuous and oh-so light. 

On the cards for smaller dishes (but we say that sparingly, as they’re generous with their servings and feeling of satiation here) are the likes of pickled seasonal veggies topped with foam (a take on Chef Kai’s memories of his crafty grandmother pickling or chow-chow-ing leftover seasonal goodness) and cold smoked trevally on fried bread.

The Rēwena bread fry bread is worth the visit to Ada alone. Made with Ada’s own culture that’s fed potatoes on the reg, it’s the literal lovechild of both Rēwena (sourdough) and classic fry bread. Top this with gooey kahurangi blue cheese and perfectly fried oyster mushrooms and, ding ding ding, you’ve got not just an elevated take on this comfort classic, but a full-blown obsession. It’s next-level special—and that’s before we start to mention the limited edition rare mushrooms that are growing exclusively for Ada and this dish as we speak. 

No mention of Ada is complete without pasta. Spaghetti alla creamed Paua, now that’s worth writing home about. Swirl the light, creamy sauce up—making sure to catch a drip or two of the bright red, lightly spiced oil—and slurp their gloriously doughy strands full of finely chopped paua right up. Keep your forks at the ready, there are a few local clams worth fighting for in the mix. 

Hangi gets bistro spin across two delectable plates: a melt-off-the-fork pork complete with a generous ratio of elegant white sauce as well as a potato and yam medley served over a goat and truffle-infused whip (perfect for scooping up with your spuds) and a charcoaled potato flake ‘dirt’. Very hearty, very textural, very impossible not to lick the plate clean.

And speaking of veggies and cleaning plates at the table, check out the carrots over buffalo. They arrive on stem-on, roasted in some light herbs, ready to be wrangled around the bowl by hand, scooping up the cheese as you go—just as mother nature intended. 

Meat eaters, you’re in luck. Ada channels everything they do superbly—perfectly marinated proteins, fall-off-your-fork textures, moreish veggies, and out-of-this-world side sauces—into one seriously good strip of beef on the bone, plus it’s native asparagus from right here in Aotearoa. Its prep style will shake up season upon season, so your best bet is to simply keep coming back to catch ‘em all. We don’t make the rules.  

Now don’t go thinking that all this talk of savoury skips the sweet. Alongside their cocktails—which are crafted with quirky fruit and liquor pairings like a charcoal white whisky that comes in a jet-black elixir (The Reverend) or a creme-de-cassis and hibiscus gin mix (Maria Goretti,) a tart liquid treat—you’ll find Ada’s own chocolate bar. It’s a blend of Chef Kia’s faves: bounty, crunchy and a touch of popping candy and rock salt. It’s delightful, comforting, boundary-pushing and shows—a poetically perfect analogy for every single dish paving the way in Ada’s new foodie adventures. 

One thing’s for sure. Everything on the menu is mind-blowing and we’re hooked at the thought of the fun-filled foodie creations that’ll come next. 

Want more? Don't blame you, check out our full review here. 

Image credit: Dave Marano, Ada.


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