Put this Karangahape Road eatery on your must-visit list this summer — and don't miss the courtyard out back.
October 12, 2022
Tucked behind a deceptively small entrance between Charlie's Bar and a dairy on Karangahape Road is Alta, a narrow and delightfully chic eatery pumping out some of the most flavourful snacks and meals in the city.
Alta is the brainchild of chef Georgia van Prehn and has been causing a stir since it opened in July last year. Until very recently it served a daily multi-course set menu but as we Aucklanders are so fickle, it can be tough to get us to commit to such a concept. So van Prehn has recently made the very smart move to switch up her approach, meaning those not to set on a set menu can now put this wine-bar-come-restaurant on their list for the summer season.
The now-a la carte menu is split into sections including seafood, snacks and share plates. This makes Alta the perfect post-work spot as the weather gets warmer — you can just head in for a couple of wines and snacks, or stay for a larger bite if you feel so inclined.
The menu changes regularly spending on what's in season (and what is flourishing in the garden out back) so it's tough to give set-in-stone menu recommendations. But if you're getting one thing, opt for the seafood platter ($70). Stunningly presented and bloody delicious, you'll get to try a little bit of everything: clams, mussels, oysters and 'something fish' — which for us was deliciously moreish salmon 'sausage' rolls which we enthused about so loudly, the table next to us also ordered a platter. Make sure you also get some snacks: we shared a charred cabbage skewer with a smoked cabbage vinaigrette ($9 each), along with a golden beetroot and onion weed mix on a handmade linseed cracker ($8 each). Each was delicious, delicate and perfectly paired with a glass or two of vino.
Talking of wine, the list here is simple — but that's what makes it so great. There is a range of local drops available by the glass, as well as a selection of 'tap wines' kegged into a sleek set-up along the side of the restaurant. The cocktail list is also short and sweet — you have three classics to choose from, including a negroni, martini and a twist on a sweet rhubarb number. Non-alcoholic options include a non-alcoholic negroni and orange wine.
The fit-out is chic and restrained to offset the gorgeous mosaic-tiled floor and the open kitchen, which lets you spy on van Prehn as she works her magic.
This summer make sure to squeeze past the kitchen and take a seat in the sheltered (but sun-soaked) wood-panelled courtyard out back — it's perfect for parking up after work with a glass of something icy cold and a couple of share plates.
If you're still not convinced, this might be the clincher: Alta is currently running a happy hour special from 5-6pm, which sees oysters drop to $4 apiece, and negronis and tap wines come in at $12 a glass.
Thanks to a series of rave reviews you might have thought of Alta as a special occasion spot and overlooked it for a post-work wine and snack — especially thanks to its position surrounded by favourites Madam George, Peach Pit and Cocos. But we're here to say you should let go of those preconceived notions and head in when you're next in the area — no fancy attire required.
Top images: Josh Harvey
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