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Top 5 places to eat out in Auckland

Auckland City is one of the best places in New Zealand when it comes to eating out—rivalled only by Wellington City—and the restaurant choices are pretty amazing. There are plenty of things to do in Auckland, but if you’re looking to explore the food scene, our guide below is here to help!

You can always check out the Metro Top 50 to find yourself a great place to eat out, but we wanted to get more local insight, and provide you with some ideas that you might not necessarily see in your guidebook. We’ve put together our top picks for top restaurants in the Auckland CBD, and come up with the following five.

1.      Ima Cuisine

interior of Ima cuisine with cosy wooden furniture and flowers and lanterns hanging along wall

Ima Cuisine, located on Fort St, just around the corner from the Hotel Grand Windsor, is a well-loved establishment. Established by Chef Yael Shochat, Ima draws on the food of Yael’s hometown of Haifa, with a soulful menu inspired by the food of Palestinian and Jewish restaurants, and local, seasonal produce. Ima’s Mediterranean fare stems from a long-running tradition of food, creating as much as possible on-site, including bread, pastries, and cured meats.

Ima has just recently been refurbished with a new kitchen, so try out their new space for yourself soon!

2.      Amano

Interior of Amano restaurant with exposed brick walls and hanging dried flowers

Amano is another restaurant that believes strongly in seasonal, sustainable and local produce. They focus on food sourced from New Zealand, turning it into a word-class Italian-inspired rustic pasta menu. Located in Britomart, right by the train station, Amano’s bakery and restaurant both occupy the ground floor of Britomart’s historic Altrans and Quay buildings. Amano’s front door is on Tyler street, but the back doors open out directly onto the Waitemata waterfront. Amano really makes the most of this setting too, showcasing the building with exposed brickwork and earthy décor.

3.      Depot

Exterior of Depot eatery with bar and stool visible through front door

An Auckland classic, which has topped lists for years, Depot is Al Brown’s famous Auckland eatery and oyster bar. There’s a reason no list of restaurants in the city of sails is complete without it; it’s endured for a long time and continues to serve excellent food. As an oyster bar, there is a focus on seafood, but the other options are worth going for too, as much of the menu is cooked over charcoal or hard wood. Depot also prides itself on its short but punchy wine list, with excellent wine available on tap or by the glass.

Located on Federal street, right under the Sky Tower, it’s hard to miss, and can be harder to get into. For best results, we recommend going early with the expectation that you’ll need to wait for a table to turn over.

4.      Masu

sushi arranged on wooden plates

Just down the street for Depot you’ll find MASU, Auckland’s newest favourite Japanese robata restaurant. MASU is led by Chef Nic Watt, who has a background in robata restaurants across multiple continents.

Robata is a Japanese style of cooking which involves turning skewers over a charcoal grill, open to viewing for the diners, making it a visual spectacle as much as it is an experience of taste and smell. The atmosphere is both classy and informal, and makes for a relaxed night out. The space also features a private room which can seat up to 18.

5.      Commercial Bay

interior of Gochu restaurant with tall windows overlooking Auckland ferry terminal building

Finally, we have the newly opened Commercial Bay food court. While it’s not a restaurant, the food on offer really is the drawcard at this downtown shopping mall, with outlets for well-known Auckland food icons, such as Tart bakery, Wise Boys Burgers, and more. The Harbour Eats food court has something for everyone—street food from a diverse array of cultures, quick bites like the stylish classics at Good Dog Bad Dog, to full culinary experiences, like the upcoming Ben Bayley restaurant, Ahi, or the new Simon and Lee joint, Gochu; a Korean-BBQ and natural wine bar.

Find the perfect place to eat in Auckland

There are literally hundreds of great places to eat out in and around Auckland, and although this may be the top five places currently on everyone’s minds, we could recommend another 50 in a heartbeat! As always, if you are looking for a great recommendation for a place to eat out, speak to our staff at any of our Auckland accommodation, and they will be more than happy to provide some ideas based on your personal preferences.[:zh]Following on from our series of posts about the best places to eat out in the various cities where you will find a CPG Hotel, this week we look at the top five places to eat out in Auckland. The city is arguably the best places in New Zealand when it comes to eating out and the restaurant choices are pretty amazing. You can of course check out the Metro Top 50 Restaurants in Auckland and find yourself a great place to eat out, however we wanted to get more of a local’s insight and provide you with some ideas that you might not necessarily see in your guidebook.

We asked all our staff members at the Hotel Grand Windsor and Greenlane Suites in Auckland for their top picks for places to eat out and here are the top five.

1.      The Sugar Club

The Sugar Club at the top of Auckland's Sky Tower

The Sugar Club at the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower

The Sugar Club is a Peter Gordon restaurant and the quality of the food is matched only by the quality of the experience – situated on level 53 of the Auckland Sky Tower, this restaurant sets exceedingly high standards in service and their menu will not disappoint. This is a great restaurant to take visitors to Auckland as it certainly has the ‘wow’ factor as well as serving delicious food. Easy to see why this one is popular with staff, The Sugar Club is currently also part of Auckland Restaurant Month (August 2016) and there are some great deals available to don’t miss out!

Find out more on the Sugar Club website.

2.      Depot

Depot Eatery in Auckland is owned and run by celebrity chef Al Brown

Depot Eatery in Auckland is owned and run by celebrity chef Al Brown. Photo credit: Centurion Magazine

Another celebrity chef-owned restaurant, Depot is situated on Federal Street right next to the Sky Tower and is owned and run by star of New Zealand Masterchef, Al Brown. They have a no reservations policy so it can be tricky to get a table at this hugely popular restaurant but if you do, it will be worth the wait. The food at Depot clearly matches Al Brown’s outlook towards food: local, in season, beautifully cooked cuisine to be enjoyed with friends. Most of the cooking is over charcoal and the flavours are exquisite.

Find out more on the Depot website.

3.      Ortolana

Ortolana is located in the fashionable area of Britomart

Ortolana is located in the fashionable area of Britomart

Ortolana is a contemporary bistro set within an elegant, sun-filled conservatory in the Pavilions at Britomart. The name Ortolana means ‘Market Gardener’ in Italian and is symbolic of their use of the best seasonal, local produce from their own farm and from other local growers. Ortolana offers an all-day, European-inspired menu and is a great place to grab a bite to eat. Another of the restaurants participating in Auckland Restaurant Month, there has never been a better time to sample some delicious food in the city.

Find out more on the Ortolana website.

4.      Jack Tar

Jack Tar in the Wynyard Quarter attracts a lively crowd

Jack Tar in the Wynyard Quarter attracts a lively crowd

Jack Tar is a lively, spacious waterfront bar and eatery with alfresco courtyard just a two minutes’ walk from the Viaduct Basin, Events Centre and Silo Cinema. Set in the trendy Wynyard Quarter on the Auckland Viaduct that was established for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, Jack Tar attracts a mixed crowd of young and old and is the perfect place in summer for enjoying an afternoon drink in the sun and watching the world go by. Their menu is a mix of traditional pub food like burgers and sandwiches as well as more traditional mains like fish and chips and pork belly. There is a good kids’ menu too so this is a great place for the whole family.

Find out more on the Jack Tar website.

5.      Woodpecker Hill

Woodpecker Hill is a cool location in Parnell

Woodpecker Hill is a cool location in Parnell

Woodpecker Hill is a trendy restaurant up in Parnell and a great place to go for dinner, especially if you like sharing plates. Here you will find briskets and king fish, ducks and beef rib. The fresh prawns, the salmon and beautiful pork cuts all charred, smoked and flame-grilled on chef’s barbeque. The menu has a distinctly oriental feel and the barbeque flavours are to die for. This is the kind of place to come with a big group where you can try lots of different things on the menu and pass the plates around to share.

Find out more on the Woodpecker Hill website.

There are literally hundreds of great places to eat out in and around Auckland and although this may be the top five places recommended by our staff, we could recommend another 50 in a heartbeat! As always, if you are looking for a great recommendation for a place to eat out, speak to our staff at either the Grand Windsor or Greenlane Suites and they will be more than happy to provide some ideas based on your personal preferences.