Destination restaurants to visit outside central Auckland

It’s no secret that Auckland City has more than its fair share of award-winning restaurants, but what if you decide to spend a day dining and venture a little further afield?

Well, it turns out you’ll be spoiled for choice too, finding great old-fashioned Kiwi kai that rivals even the most exciting menus around.

From stunning locations to unique dining experiences, there really is something to tempt everyone on the outskirts of the City of Sails.

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The Kitchen at Glass House in Brick Bay, Snells Beach

Cradle of wines of character and contemporary kiwi cuisine, the Glass house kitchen also serves as the gateway to the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, making it the perfect spot for a family lunch. Facing a private lake, vineyard and orchard, Glass House Kitchen is definitely worth a visit up north. So avoid the city’s frantic rush and strap on your rubber boots for a post-visit to Aotearoa’s flagship contemporary art feast.

The Engine Room, Northcote Point

Tucked away in a former post office in Northcote Point, and promising a passion for honest good food, is the The engine room. While high-quality ingredients are of course a priority, Engine Room’s main goal is to leave diners with a memorable experience – and it seems to be working, without a free seat in sight at the neighborhood bistro. Indeed, the power of the Engine Room cult is such that they have even released their own 600-page cookbook.

Vic Road Kitchen, Devonport

Vic Road Kitchen takes its commitment to seasonal produce seriously with a menu – and wine list – that changes daily. Using only the freshest ingredients to create dishes that celebrate artisan purveyors, Vic Road sets itself apart by giving kiwi classics a Mediterranean twist. So while you can’t meticulously plan your meal in advance, you’re sure to get a meal worth crossing the bridge for here.


The Farm, Clevedon

First, a warning – the Closed is only open for breakfast and lunch, so plan ahead to make sure you don’t miss what I would confidently call Auckland’s best burnt butter cinnamon rolls. Set on a 140-acre farm, a remodeled white villa offers the humble backdrop of a cool deli-style kitchen with a view. Best of all, the farm is consciously working to minimize waste and reduce its carbon footprint, so you can feel good about dining out.

Daikoku, Botany

Forget the fusion, Daikoku serves authentic Japanese cuisine without the fuss. It’s as much about the experience as the food for Daikoku, as they offer teppanyaki – a style of Japanese cooking that involves the chef cooking your meal on an iron griddle right in front of you – without the usual price tag. It really is the definition of a dinner and a show. Daikoku can also be on the North Shore and, if you’re feeling really adventurous, Hamilton.

Windross House Restaurant, Cockle Bay

It’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time Windross House Restaurant. Located directly on the Cockle Bay seafront in a historic villa with a wrap-around verandah that oozes charm, Windross House offers classic Italian cuisine that might make even the most insensitive of us all feel a little romantic.


Bracu Estate, Bombay

For passionate gourmets, the pilgrimage in the south towards Domain Bracu is a rite of passage. Set amidst 170 acres of olive groves, Bracu follows an estate-to-plate philosophy, focusing on quality, locally sourced, seasonal foods and vibrant flavors. Originally established by Croatian-born Ivan Simunovich, Bracu proudly continues to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Bombay over 20 years later.

Bazza’s Steakhouse, Pukekohe

The home of good steaks and good times, Bazza Steakhouse is an unpretentious family restaurant in Pukekohe with a down to earth charm. Forget fine dining and roll up your sleeves for a meat feast worthy of the whole family. The real draw? Their 1kg steak. Compete against the big guy for the chance to win a free beer at the end and, of course, bragging rights.

Izu, Papakura

It can be easy to walk past Izu, tucked away on the corner of Great South Road and Market Road, but even more delude yourself if you overlook this intimate dining experience. You won’t need a view at Izu because every dish will look like a work of art, so have your camera ready to capture this Japanese cuisine with a contemporary twist.


The Hunting Lodge, Waimauku

If you’re looking for a destination restaurant in Auckland, the hunt is over. At Hunting lodgegrab a table – or a picnic blanket – and take in the 360-degree views while enjoying their casual, sharing-style menu that changes with the seasons.

Patterns, Henderson

Promising to make you feel “a hundred miles from the city”, The grounds is the definition of a destination restaurant. A modern family restaurant nestled in five acres of the Waitākere Ranges, The Grounds is not only kid-friendly, boasting an on-site playground, but also a hub for food connoisseurs. You couldn’t get anything fresher than their pasta, which is handmade daily.

The Riverhead Tavern, Riverhead

Pub grub with a sophisticated twist is the name of the game at Riverhead Tavern. Said to be New Zealand’s oldest riverside taverna, admire the Rangitopuni stream as you revel in 160 years of history while enjoying a more relaxed dining experience.

Honorable Mention – Waiheke Island

Of course, no list of destination restaurants in the Auckland region would be complete without a shout out to Waiheke Island, a one-stop-shop for guaranteed good food, beautiful views and, above all, great wine. Check earth brick, The oyster inn and Poderi Crisci for an introduction to island cuisine.

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