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FOOD & DRINK

Seven Spots to Dine Out in Auckland on Christmas Day

Enjoy the festivities, friends and family, while someone else takes care of the food and clean up.
By Sarah Templeton
December 07, 2021
  shares
By Sarah Templeton
December 07, 2021
  shares

Christmas is a time for gathering with friends and family, giving and receiving gifts, and of course, eating until you burst. But what is it not a time for? Stressing and slaving in the kitchen for a week in preparation.

Take the stress out of the big day this year and enjoy the festivities elsewhere —  like one of the city's top restaurants. After all, wouldn't you rather be enjoying your Christmas lunch with a glass of champagne gazing out over the Viaduct, rather than worrying about everyone squashing around the dining room table?

From an Almafi-inspired Italian feast to seafood smorgasbords at a waterfront hotel, here are the best places to dine on Christmas Day in Auckland.cp-line

KITCHEN RESTAURANT, HOTEL DE BRETT

This ex-hostel transformed into a luxury boutique hotel is our top pick for a place to take the grandparents on Christmas Day. Numerous lunch and dinner seatings are available throughout the day, with the excellent De Brett team putting on a four-course traditional spread. The menu is choc-a-block full of the classics — think English roast turkey, plum pudding with brandy butter, truffles and tea and coffee to finish. Of course, if you'd rather start your Christmas day in style, you can also head along to try their Christmas breakfast menu, which comes with a brekkie mimosa.

The wrap: Christmas breakfast from 8am, $50pp including house mimosa. Lunch and dinner seatings available from 12pm Christmas Day, for $185pp. Bookings recommended.

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ONEMATA RESTAURANT, PARK HYATT HOTEL

The five-star Park Hyatt hotel caused a stir for a good reason upon opening last year, thanks to its incredible location and luxe interior. Now the waterfront location makes it the prime place to be on a Christmas Day in Southern Hemisphere. If you've been looking for a special occasion to frequent signature restaurant Onemata, let head chef Rob Hope-Ede take control of your festive feast while you just soak in the vibes and views.

Sure it's a splurge, but from $255 per person, you'll be tucking into a four-course menu of chicken liver pate, honey-glazed ham, miso and sake salmon, lamb shoulder and duck fat potatoes. All washed down with champagne, of course,

The wrap: Seatings for Onemata Christmas lunch are available from 12:30pm – 3pm. $255 pp for a four-course sharing set menu and a glass of Billecart-Salmon Champagne.

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THE LIVING ROOM, PARK HYATT

For a more relaxed atmosphere, head to one of the Park Hyatt's other fabulous dining spaces, this one with views of Auckland's Viaduct through the floor-to-ceiling windows. In the Living Room, seafood is set to be the name of the game on Christmas Day —  a great time to indulge in something you love to eat but hate to cook. A shared platter of shrimp, oysters, salmon tataki, clams, ceviche and mussels is sure to satisfy the most ardent of fans, all enjoyed while gazing out over Auckland's Viaduct with a glass of champagne. Now that's Kiwi festive cheer.

The wrap: Seatings for Christmas Day lunch at the Living Room are available from 12:30pm – 3pm. $195pp for a four-course set menu and glass of champagne.cp-line

ESTHER RESTAURANT, QT HOTEL

Sure, chef Sean Connolly might not be in your immediate family, but he's very graciously letting you spend Christmas with him and his team at his QT eatery all the same. Connolly has created a menu of Esther's most beloved classics for Christmas day, making it the perfect place to take a Connolly fan. Sean's steak tartare and Pacific-rock oysters are set to start, with seasonal specials like fire-pit roasted paella, roast porchetta and snapper all set to make your Christmas particularly merry and bright. Great news, there will be Christmas crackers on the table to let the dad jokes roll between courses.

The wrap: Esther Christmas lunch from 11am, dinner from 5:30pm. Lunch feasting menu $159pp. $79 per child 12 and under. Lunch menu plus beverage package $230pp.

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NINETEEN, RYDGES FORMOSA

Gather the family, hop in the car and get out of the city to spend Christmas at Nineteen, The Rydges Formosa signature restaurant which will be serving up a family-style Christmas spread. If you're looking for a mammoth feast and relaxed atmosphere, this is the place to head. Traditional turkey, lamb, clove ham, smoked salmon and all the veggie delights are on the menu, plus fruit cake, Yule log and, of course, a traditional Kiwi pavlova for dessert.

The only thing that might distract you from your plate are the world-famous views of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island. You might even be able to squeeze in a round of gold after lunch, if you're so inclined.

The wrap: Nineteen Christmas lunch, $159pp including a glass of bubbles on arrival. Children 12 and under at $79.50pp, including a soft drink on arrival.

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GUSTO AT THE GRAND, SKY CITY

Season three of Succession got you dreaming of taking off to Italy? Same. That might not be quite possible to wrangle by the 25th, but you can at least get a taste of it within Auckland's city limits. Gusto at the Grand is putting on a 'Taste of Almafi'-themed Christmas lunch, with a set menu served the famiglia way. Fresh seafood starters including scallops and crabs are promised, followed by Italian twists on local fare: hearty beef brisket ravioli, local whole fish and slow cooked lamb. Squeeze in some Tiramisu and Panettone to finish and you'll be craving a la siesta before you know it.

The wrap: Gusto at the Grand's 'Taste of Amalfi' Christmas lunch. Adults $145pp, kids 14yo and under $60pp.cp-line

CABLE BAY VINEYARD, WAIHEKE

Put your glad-rags on and catch the ferry across to Waiheke Island on Christmas morning to feel like you've really escaped the city. Our lunch stop of choice would be Cable Bay, where the team are putting on a five-course Christmas feast to be enjoyed gazing out at Cable's notoriously incredible views. Start with a glass of bubbles before digging into house made focaccia, a fresh Kiwi twist on turkey — this time served with fresh tomato salsa, reggiano and rocket — a selection of cheeses and sweet treats to finish.

Cable Bay will be open until late on Christmas Day to keep the festivities flowing. Just make sure to check the ferry's holiday timetable so you don't miss your trip home!

The wrap: Cable Bay Christmas lunch and dinner, $130pp or $39 per child.cp-line

Top images: QT Hotels 

Published on December 07, 2021 by Sarah Templeton

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