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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.