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Six of the Best Al Fresco Dining Spots in Auckland

Lunch with a side of vitamin D.
By Margaux Black and Sarah Templeton
January 17, 2023
By Margaux Black and Sarah Templeton
January 17, 2023

Most of us are firmly back in the grip of work now, but it unfairly appears that Auckland's weather hasn't caught on. The current blistering hot temperatures mean that an afternoon spent long lunching with lots of rosé sounds a lot more preferable than slogging it out at your desk.

If you're keen to cling on to the last vestiges of your summer holiday, the city has an abundance of open-air al fresco options to take advantage of. Grab a large group and schedule in a long lunch, paired perfectly with rolling green grounds, perfectly manicured gardens, Gaudi-inspired mosaic-work and ... knife throwing? Here are a few of our top picks.




Situated near Matakana, this little spot is hidden off the main road in the beautiful Brick Bay Vineyard. There are ample spots to dine under the sun across rolling green grounds, or perhaps you'd prefer to park up under the masses of hanging vines.  Our favourite spot is the 'The Row' placed directly under a canopy of vines, but if you'd like to find a private spot, 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. Take a wander through the sculpture trail pre or post lunch.

Arabella Lane, Snells Beach, Warkworth.



One of our favourite ways to wile away a New Zealand summer afternoon is to park up on the grass at a local winery and eat and drink our way through the afternoon. Luckily Kumeu winery and restaurant The Hunting Lodge ​has a gorgeously sun-soaked lawn bar which pits grape against grain. The converted container bar boasts 11 beer taps and comes stocked with all Hunting Lodge varietals, while the outdoor area has been transformed using up-cycled pallets to create a beer garden. It comes complete with a children's play area.

Here you can enjoy a tasting flight along with a delicious cheese platter — or grab pizzas, spiced pork ribs and s'mores from the outdoor wood-fired oven.

305/307 Waikoukou Valley Road, Waimauku 




Whether you're heading south or you 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. Nestled under the shade of olive trees, Bracu's al fresco dining area is the perfect spot to entertain an afternoon. And knowing that all the olive oil is grown and produced onsite ties the entire experience together. Don't sleep on the garden citrus-cured salmon which may be one of the best entrees this side of the city. If you're looking to fill the entire afternoon, the venue also offers clay target shooting, air rifle and air pistol shooting, knife throwing and archery, as well as wine and olive oil tasting and tours.

49 Main Road, Bombay.



While not technically in Auckland, we're happy to 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.




Another Waiheke hotspot, Casita Miro is a lesser known — but equally as stunning — spot to soak up some of those island rays over a long lunch spent eating and drinking wine. The grassy slope outside provides relaxed outdoor seating, with olive trees offering shade while you enjoy 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, and you're encouraged to try a little bit of everything. For groups over ten a set "fiesta" menu is also on offer, which includes, but is not limited to, goat's cheese croquettas and a delicious, freshly-caught seafood stew 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, 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 and vines. Complete the feeling of sitting in an Italian garden by ordering a few pizzas, pastas and salads for the table and it's no short of the perfect dining experience. An Auckland stalwart for a reason.

259 Parnell Road, Parnell. 


Top image: Brick Bay Glasshouse Kitchen

Published on January 17, 2023 by Margaux Black
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