Auckland, New Zealand: A local guide on where to eat, drink, and shop
Both bustling and naturally beautiful, Auckland (also known as the City of Sails because of its love of yachting) is a city like none other. Surrounded by beaches and volcanoes, the unofficial capital is a tourist mecca, and once you've selfied at all the local landmarks and worked your way through the guidebook, we recommend you check out these top local hotspots.
Designed by owners Clare and Joost van den Berg with the help of resident design and architect Nat Cheshire, Odettes' is a charming eatery in Auckland's thriving City Works Depot. The menu is divided into 'morning', 'noon' and 'night' and features influences from the Mediterranean with a blend of Levantine and African Spice. With the benefit of indoor-outdoor flow onto a broad sweeping shaded area shrouded in greenery, it's easy to see why Odettes is such a hit.
James and Louise Logan, alongside Chris Kinnell, are responsible for The Butcher's Son, a one-stop shop for some of the best plant-based food in Auckland. Contrary to the name, the menu is fully vegan and is the work of head chef Angus McLean. Putting his experience of working alongside the likes of Peter Gordon and Yotam Ottolenghi to good use, you'll find everything from the massive big breakfast, tacos and burgers to cold-pressed juices, smoothies and even a child friendly offering.
Mission Bay Pavilion is a colourful new bistro serving fresh local produce, overlooking the water at Auckland's iconic Mission Bay beach. It's located in the historic 19th century mission building, restored and reinvigorated to give Aucklanders access to a true beachfront escape for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu reflects a generous and easy-going ethos with dishes such as Lemon Sole Milanese and Grilled Snapper and Risotto.
Drenched in colour and whimsically decorated with bold imagery, Mexico has a fast-paced atmosphere that celebrates the vibrant, fresh and lighter side of its namesake cuisine. With five locations across Auckland, Mexico's flavours are big, spicy and complex: grilled corn on the cob with lime-chilli butter, street-style salad and ceviche, soft tacos filled with pulled pork and everyone's favourite Mexico fried chicken.
Xuxu (pronounced su-su) Dumpling Bar is an intimate corner cocktail bar and eatery in Auckland's Britomart. The dumpling menu features classic Chinese favourites such as beef and celery, prawn Har Gao and potstickers, as well as exotic dumplings from across the Far East. The food is complemented by a comprehensive beverage list featuring Asian-inspired cocktails, wines and boutique beers. There are no bar stools or leaners, just intimate tables and a décor that evokes a whisper of Eastern elegance and old-world romance. Think rich peacock-design drapes, stained-glass lampshades and bamboo-patterned wallpaper.
With an on-site brewery, two bowling alleys and a breath-taking view of Auckland's Viaduct Harbour, Dr Rudi's is the perfect place to relax and unwind with some cold beers. Satisfying any hunger pains is a delicious menu of sharing platters, pizzas presented by the foot, and free-farmed freshly shucked Mahurangi oysters. As far as alcohol is concerned, the Dr. Rudi's 'Sweet Louise' Lager always goes down a treat, as does the Call the Doctor cocktail.
Just a short ferry-ride from the CBD, Waiheke Island is renowned for its award-winning vineyards and one of our favourites is Cable Bay. The estate is situated on the stunning west coast of Waiheke and includes vineyards, a winery, olive groves, organic gardens, two restaurants, private event spaces, a cellar door and an expansive outdoor lawn area with spectacular views. Their Cellar Door is open daily, and welcomes visitors for tastings. Uniquely designed with an arched ceiling inspired by the wine barrels themselves, and full-length windows to reveal their working winery, it's the perfect spot to try a range of award winning wines.
Lying between the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland's lower CBD, Britomart is a busy and diverse mix of restaurants, bars, boutiques, offices and services. Having made a name for itself in the international fashion industry, New Zealand (and Britomart) is home to designers such as Karen Walker, Zambesi, Kathryn Wilson, Trelise Cooper, Deadly Ponies, Huffer and Kate Sylvester. International brands such as M.A.C, Sass and Bide, Tiffany & Co and Chanel can also be found at this vibrant mixed-use community.
Bored with the thought of a '9 to 5' job, Superette owners and friends, James Rigden and Rickie Dee embarked on a world trip with the idea that they would begin collecting all things they loved with the intention of selling them in an inspiring creative space. From these humble beginnings, the brand now has three retail stores in Auckland (Newmarket, Ponsonby and Takapuna), one in Wellington and one in Christchurch, as well as an online store. Many of the 150 brands Superette stocks are Australian, but in the past few years they have branched out into the US, picking up labels like Rag & Bone, Saturdays NYC, Frame and Calvin Klein.
Lonely is a New Zealand-based design house that celebrates the strength and individuality of women. Each Lonely collection is part of an on going conversation that maintains a consistent design ethos committed to outstanding comfort, unique signature silhouettes, and custom prints and fabrications. With two retail spaces in Auckland (New Market and Ponsonby), current lingerie, swim and clothing collections sit alongside a curated selection of Anna Sheffield jewellery, J Hannah nail colours and Maison Louis Marie scents.
About Gracie Stewart
A born and bred Kiwi, Gracie Stewart has spent the last six years living over three continents and writing for publications such as Vogue India, Vogue Arabia, OliviaPalermo.com, Emirates Woman and Style.com. When she's not busy writing about 101 ways to banish spots and get glowing, Gracie loves travelling or researching new places to visit. She is also particularly passionate about saving our oceans and spends half her life underwater.