The guide who ate Auckland
One question we frequently get asked by visitors and locals is "where's a good place for lunch?" At the end of each walking tour we like to treat ourselves to a little sticky or a savory and always with coffee. Hey it’s a tour guide’s job to know where to go right? Let’s just say we like flavorsome food, plenty of it and the personalities who prepare it for us.
The following cafes and bistros often feature on our radar for their tasty treats, ambiance and friendly service so hopefully, there’s something here to whet your appetite too. This is our independent opinion with no free perks, commission or backhanders coming our way!
1. Oaken 130 Quay St, Downtown
A special occasion lunch with an old friend brought us here. Sitting in the sunny front room with the Waitemata sparkling across the way, we could’ve been anywhere but wintery Auckland. The coffee was exemplary, you can choose between Supreme and Allpress, and it's the first time we’ve been asked by a waiter to choose our preferred blend! The chicken roulade salad was light, fresh and flavorsome with its salty anchovies and flaky croutons. The waiter personally addressed us by our names on each approach and was courtesy personified. And the total bill? It came to $45 which, for its premium location and satiation factor, we judged good value. Five star service too.
2. Misters 12 Wyndham St, Central City
A vegan ‘Sister’ first revealed this ‘Mister” to us. A no-dairy, gluten-free cafe which serves up delicious multinational cuisine - mainly bowl food. Think Japanese, Turkish, Thai, Chilean dishes each featuring a different base - be it potato, rice or quinoa. Shared trestle tables make for a buzzy boho vibe and the coffee’s very good too. Love that it’s tucked away off Queen Street up the mysterious Wyndham way.
3. Major Sprout 21 Graham Street, Central City
One of the few eateries on the ‘lower westside”, Major Sprout is a light-filled, spacious cafe just down from the new flash NZME headquarters. It’s so good - it’s obviously drawing up the city workers from the Viaduct office park who bravely cross Fanshawe Street for the uphill traipse. Their classic eggs bene (pictured) is a regular favorite as are their light and dreamy cakes on display. Well worth hunting out.
4. Chuffed 43 High Street, Central City
For some of the friendliest service and tastiest slices in town, check out this hidden-deck delight. It’s small and a bit cosy with other diners in close proximity but hey it's winter, so that’s ka pai! The pocket terrace seating area provides a delightful contrast to busy High Street and it’s a secret little spot worth sharing. Love the poached chicken salad - try it!
5. Mezze Bar - Durham Lane, Central City
Sisters Sally and Clare are celebrating the 25th anniversary of this locally-loved Middle Eastern inspired bistro. It's always humming and particularly popular with the city workers keen for their specialty kofte meatballs or hummus and za’atar spiced falafels. Their woodfired pide bread leaves you wanting more of its soft and doughy deliciousness. A great midtown stop which has proven its stripes time and again.
Auckland is blessed to have so many great cafes and we're constantly unearthing more. Walk with us to discover even more decadent delights - chocolateries, cocktail bars, ice creameries and cake shops. We’ll show you how to eat your way around town and walk it off!