Seven of the Best Al Fresco Dining Spots in Auckland
Lunch with a side of vitamin D.
Dining outside over an extended duration of time with lots of rosé has the makings of a rather perfect summer day. As the weather warms up there are an abundance of open-air al fresco options to take advantage of across Auckland. Move beyond the stuffy dining room and pair your lunch with rolling green grounds, perfectly manicured gardens, Gaudi-inspired mosaic-work and knife throwing. Here are the seven best al fresco dining spots in Auckland.
Situated near Matakana, this little spot is hidden off the main road in the beautiful Brick Bay Vineyard. With rolling green grounds and vines there are ample spots to dine under the sun, and with a sculpture trail on the property you can even have a wander pre or post lunch. My favourite spot is the "The Row" sitting directly under a canopy of vines, however, if you'd like to find a spot away from everything, over the summer months they also offer lunch in a picnic basket to take where you please. Open for brunch, lunch and bites means one can literally stay all day — experiencing the scenery and delectable menu items.
Arabella Lane, Snells Beach, Warkworth.
Just outside of Auckland in Kumeu, The Tasting Shed is a prime spot for some fresh country air, beautiful landscape and a menu brimming with delicious food and wine. No surprise then that it's rated as one of the top restaurants in Auckland. It's worth the trip for just this fact. The market fish with crab and shiitake mushrooms is our personal top pick, with the lamb belly, kumara and harissa coming a close second. With big wooden, family-style dining tables to make yourself at home at under the sun, it's a great spot to bring the crew for an afternoon day trip — where fine food, wine and conversation is the sole focus.
609 SH 16, Kumeu.
If you're heading down south, or just want an excuse to eat some of Auckland's best food in a beautiful location, best make sure to stop off at this gem of a place. Placed under the shade of olive trees, Bracu's al fresco dining area is the perfect spot to entertain an afternoon. And knowing that all olive oil is grown and produced onsite ties the entire experience together. Salmon pastrami with leek and oyster caviar is a rather indulgent entree to begin, and a side of seasonal greens with miso and peanut just sounds too good to pass up on. If you're looking to fill the entire afternoon, the venue also offers clay bird shooting, archery and knife throwing.
49 Main Road, Bombay.
While not technically in Auckland— we can let that slide when it's a mere half hour ferry ride across the gulf to this beautiful spot— Mudbrick is one of the most picturesque locations on Waiheke, overlooking the water with Rangitoto in the distance. Their perfectly manicured garden and cobbled pathways is the ideal spot to enjoy a meal. High quality gourmet food is always on offer as you sit back, relax and enjoy the sun and fresh air. The outdoor dining options are plentiful and come alongside a different menu from the more formal dining options inside the complex. More casual favourites such as croquettes, whitebait fritters and parmesan gnocchi will be enough to take you well into the evening.
126 Church Bay Road, Waiheke Island.
The more casual of the bunch, Takapuna's The Commons is a great spot for a fresh lunch outside, lounging on the couches in the courtyard, or sitting in The Garden by the bar. You can't go wrong in the beautifully designed space, wherever you choose is sure to be a hit. Menu items include a plethora of small sharing plates such as mushroom arancini and crispy cornflake chicken, with a few burgers for the hungrier of the bunch.
21 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna.
Another Waiheke hotspot, Casita Miro is a top pick to soak up some of those island rays over a long lunch sipping wine and eating your heart out. A grassy slope outside provides a relaxed seating alternative outdoors, with olive trees providing shade and views across the Hauraki Gulf. The outdoor area also plays host to a evolving mosaic-work inspired by Gaudi's Parc Guell. The Spanish and Mediterranean theme continues on the menu. Tapas are the main focus, which only encourages trying a bit of everything. For groups over ten a set menu is also on offer, which includes, but is not limited to, goat's cheese croquettas and a delicious market fish paella for the table to share.
3 Brown Road, Onetangi, Waiheke Island.
Hidden down an alleyway in Parnell is the long-standing NSP (EST 1997 to be precise). Serving up delicious and traditional Italian food, it has long been a go-to for al fresco dining in central Auckland. The leafy courtyard, complete with fountain, is sheltered from the elements but filled with light. Combine the feeling of sitting in an Italian garden with ordering a few pizzas and salads for the table and it's no short of the perfect dining experience. And as a sibling to Toto's Pizzeria the aforementioned pizza should be high on the list of things to try.
259 Parnell Road, Parnell.
Published on December 01, 2016 by Margaux Black