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The Ten Best Restaurants in Auckland

From a famously fabulous modern Indian eatery to an Italian-inspired nook on K' Road — these are the Auckland restaurants we'd recommend to a friend (you, dear reader).
By Sarah Templeton and Emma Clark-Dow
January 15, 2024
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By Sarah Templeton and Emma Clark-Dow
January 15, 2024
  shares

THE TEN BEST RESTAURANTS IN AUCKLAND

From a famously fabulous modern Indian eatery to an Italian-inspired nook on K' Road — these are the Auckland restaurants we'd recommend to a friend (you, dear reader).

In this bustling city of ours, there are no shortage of excellent spots to dine — from waterfront restaurants to French bistros, Japanese teppanyaki bars and everything in between.

But there are some notable spots we consider to be the crème de la crème. You know what we mean — those eateries you can't stop thinking about the day after your meal or the first place that springs to mind when a friend asks for a recommendation. We've compiled an exclusive shortlist of the ten best restaurants in Auckland, thanks to their consistent service, beaut fit-outs, strong vibes, and above all, damn good food.

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Recommended reads:
The Most Romantic Restaurants and Bars in Auckland
Where to Find the Best Pasta in Auckland
The Best Bottomless Brunches in Auckland
The Best Late-Night Eats in Auckland

  • 10
    Gilt Brsserie - one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

    Although GILT Brasserie only opened around mid-October in 2023, it has already established itself as a gem in the Auckland dining scene. This may be because of the couple behind it — none other than hospitality power couple Josh and Helen Emett.

    Perched at the top of historic landmark Chancery Chambers, GILT is an all-day dining heaven in the form of a 130-seat restaurant where diners are encouraged to let their long lunch plans slowly but surely turn into dinner and drinks. There’s a big old mix of traditional dishes and emerging food and drink trends, combining to make one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

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  • 9
    Amano - one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

    Aucklanders are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to the Savor Group’s vast offerings of decadent restaurants and bars, and Amano is no exception. Nestled in Auckland’s Britomart, Amano expertly strikes the balance of serving top-quality food without the dishes getting too complicated for the diner to understand.

    The menu boasts Italian-inspired dishes, like burrata, house-made bread and pasta, while also providing simple dishes done well, like a good cut of steak with all the trimmings. The welcoming, warm environment of the restaurant shines through both its dishes and the attentive waitstaff. An extra bonus: Amano is also a bakery, bursting with incredible pastries, loaves and sweet treats. 

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  • 8
    The outdoor dining area at Soul Bar and Bistro in Auckland - one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

    Soul Bar and Bistro has been a staple of Auckland’s dining scene for more than 20 years, and has continued to hold its place as one of Tāmaki Makaurau’s best. The restaurant is located in the heart of Auckland’s Viaduct, resulting in gorgeous views of the Waitematā Harbour.

    The restaurant creates a buzzy, party vibe while still maintaining its status as a place for fine dining by producing excellent quality food and exquisite cocktails. Soul is constantly evolving by keeping an eye on food and drink trends. Soul revealed a refreshed list of cocktails earlier in 2023, incorporating up-and-coming spirits like mezcal, as well as a bunch of delicious non-alcoholic options. 

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  • 7
    Origine - one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

    Origine, the brainchild of acclaimed chef and restaurateur Ben Bayly and chef Chris Martin, may have only opened at the end of 2022, but it immediately became one of the best restaurants in Auckland. It is just that good. Whether you’re a fan of classic French fare, fresh local produce, or you just love to watch the ferries roll into the harbour, this is the place you’re going to want to make a regular haunt.

    The extensive menu has been curated to represent classic French regional cuisine — using the freshest and best ingredients from around Aotearoa, of course.  Pop in to celebrate a shopping win with oysters, champagne and sunset views, or make a special trip in for a multi-course dinner paired with cocktails and French wines. Just like a traditional French bistro, diners are encouraged to relax and enjoy, no matter how long they’re staying.

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  • 6

    Trying to think of the perfect group dining spot? Say hello to Hello Beasty. This vibrant and colourful eatery from award-winning chef Stuart Rogan takes its inspiration from the cuisines of Japan, Korea and China, to create something Rogan dubbed upon opening as “contemporary New Zealand fusion cuisine”.

    A large open kitchen spans the length of the restaurant,openair and diners are encouraged to sit at the pass to watch the action unfold. Booths and an openair courtyard overlook Market Square and maximise the harbour views. The result? A cheeky, fast-paced and extremely fun space — with one of the best spicy margaritas in the game.

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  • 5
    Pici - one of the best restaurants in Auckland - home to some of the best pasta in Auckland as well.

    Found tucked away in St Kevin’s Arcade, this eatery is modelled on the small wine bars of Europe, but it’s actually consistently serving up some of the best fresh pasta and wine in Auckland. Pici is a cosy and intimate space — it can only seat up to 42 patrons at a time — but given its popularity, you’ll probably see someone you know in there, perhaps on a date, in a group or grabbing a solo post-work bite.

    The simple menu changes with the seasons, but everything bursts with flavour — and, of course, diners near the kitchen are rewarded by getting to watch pasta rolled and cooked in front of them. We can only hope they never get rid of the cheesy, peppery cacio e pepe, the ultimate in comfort eating. Never change (that dish), Pici.

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  • 4
    Depot - one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

    Boisterous, welcoming and completely natural: these are most definitely the characteristics we have come to associate with the infallible Al Brown — and his Federal Street eatery, Depot. Since it first opened in 2011, this eatery is consistently one that Concrete Playground recommends to visitors to the city — as well as reminding locals to choose over some of the flashier new kids on the block.

    With a menu that is easy to navigate thanks to a select number of dishes, but packed with variety and flavour, it is a safe bet to close your eyes, point a finger and take what comes. Depot has the completely comfortable vibe of being at a dear friend’s house for dinner. Just pull up a seat, order a tumbler of wine and dig into your complimentary flatbread and hummus. This spot isn’t leaving our list of the best restaurants in Auckland anytime soon.

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  • 3
    alma at Britomart, one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

    Lifting the curse that once hung over the corner of Britomart‘s Gore and Tyler Streets, alma is the light, bright and fabulous all-day eatery inspired by the food and culture of Andalusia, the region bordering Spain’s southern coast. Not only is the fit-out one of the best in the city, but the menu travels through seasons, incorporating produce and localities across a selection of flamed-kissed small plates.

    You might be confronted with some ingredients you’ve never heard of — zaalouk, anyone? — but ask the extremely friendly waitstaff for assistance if needed. Catering to a business crowd throughout the day and creating a sexy, party-like vibe for diners at night, alma offers exciting food and above all, truly excellent service. We also have on very good authority the savoury scrolls are something to behold if the morning line for Amano is just too much to face.

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  • 2
    Cassia bar - one of the best restaurants in Auckland.

    After shutting in 2022 due to flooding, Sid Sahrawat’s award-winning underground hidey-hole Cassia reopened with renewed energy and a revised menu. At Cassia, the fit-out is modern yet intimate (with private dining rooms available), and depending on your location in the long, low and warmly-lit interior, spots can be found in front of the open-plan kitchen so you can watch the delicious dishes prepared right before you eyes.

    Included in the new menu offering are some of the perennial Cassia favourites, including the roasted carrot with dry korma and cashew, which one waiter told Concrete Playground would lead to “riots” if they were removed. But it also includes tasty new morsels, plus one of the very best business lunch menus we’ve had. Priced at $39pp, it’s one of the city’s best-kept secrets

    Image: Babiche Martens

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  • 1
    Ada - the best restaurant in Auckland.

    Found in a once-thriving nunnery which is now a convent-inspired hotel in Grey Lynn, Ada wows before you even mosey through to the eatery. With easily one of the best interior fit-outs of any restaurant in Auckland, the high ceilings, glass windows and relaxed vibe will have you feeling like you’ve been whisked away to Europe for the afternoon. Set in the Spanish-Mission style, this gorgeous restaurant churns out modern Italian food with the very best local produce.

    Our recommendation? Make a (well-in-advance) booking for the long Sunday lunch service. You’ll be welcomed with a glass of Prosecco before enjoying a five-course shared banquet. There’s no need to rush away afterwards — park up on the patio to enjoy a few warm-down bevs at the best restaurant in Auckland.

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Top images: Ada

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