131 Main Highway
Ellerslie, 1051 Auckland
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Opening Hours

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

The Details

  • Korean
  • Spanish
Need to Know
  • Good for Groups
  • Great for Dates
  • Healthy Options
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Dinner
  • Dessert

The Verdict

Bringing Korean and Spanish sensibilities to the (very chic) table, Bonita is the answer to the prayers we didn’t even know existed. 

Peek behind the sumptuous rust-toned curtains, take a seat in the plush banquettes and booths. Because Bonita’s a breezy, cheeky little minx that delivers an absolute feast—alongside a delectable spin on drinks—and you’re going to want to make an evening of it. 

So, who’s to thank for bringing such an inventive concept to Ellerslie? It’s one of Auckland’s foodie power couples, Isaac and Shanay Yu, the duo behind cafe favourites like SlowLane and The Breakfast Club. And get this: Bonita is their first foray into the world of restaurants. 

Perhaps their unofficial trophy for landing such a winning concept is Bonita’s epic drinks tap, sitting proudly atop the bar. Here, you’ll find prosecco and an ever-changing selection of cocktails and sangrias flowing out of it—and not the kind you’d find anywhere.  

What can one expect from this worldly fusion of cuisines? The breeziness of Spanish Tapas (followed by the desire to order a plate of everything), the savoury tones of Korean cuisine, delectable textures and an elevated take on the comfort food edges that both cuisines are known for. 

Dishes come in plates big and small, in true bistro style. Snacks and starters will have you dancing between cutlery—that being your fingers and chopsticks—as you savour each inventive offering.

Dumpling lovers will go gooey over the crispy yet light Mandoo dumplings, complete with juicy pork, basil oil (who knew!), and a finely ground capsicum salsa romesco. 

Dough-getters can sink their teeth into sourdough complete with paprika butter and onion doenjang butter. And, pro tip, you can use it to soak up the last of the savoury tomato broth in the menu’s must-try snack: the raw fish. Generous fillets of crudo fish lay across a slab of Bonita’s house radish kimchi. That’s not all, a hefty sprinkling of thin and oh-so-crunchy potato strips makes it a party-at-the-top situation. 

Speaking of raw sides, fans of Tartare would be silly not to sink their teeth into the Wagyu carne cruda. Rather magically placed on a barely-there rice tostada, thinly chopped fresh steak is tinged with sesame oil, a bit of capsicum, delicate shavings of egg yolk for a touch of creamy and a sprinkle of spring onion. Thankfully, there’s no need to begin to torture yourself at the thought of sharing this dish, as they’re ordered by the morsel. 

Of course, one can’t make it this far without something to sip on. Here, Bonita scores an A-plus. One swig of their white sangria (Aloe, Green Apple, Elderflower and Soju is conveniently on tap at the moment—and between us, should stay there) and you’ll agree. And if that doesn’t twist your arm, set your sights on the Hwachae Cobbler for—you know it—something fruity. It’s white-rum based, with watermelon, peach, berries and a snazzy ice square and tastes just as pretty as its pinky tone. 

You haven’t had a margarita if Bonita’s Makgeolli Margarita hasn’t kissed your lips—or more specifically, the Korean dehydrated pepper on its rim. Tequila keeps it punchy, while a milky rice wine grounds it and makes it moreish.

In true tapas-bar fashion, a beautiful wine selection awaits: Roasatos and reds, crisp whites, orange natural wines, beer plus soju waiting to pair with your feast. 

Speaking of feast, ordering the T-bone steak is a must if you want to a) experience Auckland’s most tender steak b) chive kimchi and c) the most incredible take on the all-important steak butter. Sliced into very shareable pieces, a doenjang butter (read, Korean fermented bean paste like miso) melts its goodness over the steak, making for one very addictive and succulent moment. 

Can’t get enough of your latest obsession, doenjang? Go for the Pappardelle. Yes, sheets of fresh pasta fuse perfectly with Korean flavours and yes, you’ll likely lick the bowl clean. But with multiple types of mushroom (including the ones you’d plush straight from the farmers market of each country) in a doenjang-infused cream, no one would blame you. Throw in a charcoal-grilled chicken thigh or a traditional Bo Ssam pork fiesta—only this time with Jalapeno—and you’re set.

Not before dessert though. You’re treated in many forms in this department: crack your spoons into the shortbread-like layers of the Milhojas, with a gentle chocolate and red bean pastry cream or sago pud, matcha semifreddo or pineapple tart. And if you like to drink your dessert—preferably with your dinner—then a frothy banana rum-heavy creation by the name of Binggrama, a nod to the nostalgic Korean kid’s drink, is an order.

There’s no shortage of endearing reasons to visit Bonita—after all, it’s named after a TikTok moment co-owner Shanay saw mid-scroll—so you can bet this one's gonna be a sure-fire winner. Pop online to nab yourself a reservation, anytime from 5pm until late. 

Image credit: Vanessa Zhao