Both bustling and naturally beautiful, Auckland is a city unlike any other. There are rainforests to hike; picturesque beaches for relaxing, swimming and surfing; and vineyards to wander through. Its hills, lakes and basins, formed by the city’s 50 surrounding volcanoes, are also there to explore. Here, you can kayak in the morning, shop boutiques and local markets in the afternoon, then savor a slice of meat pie and glass of Sauvignon Blanc at one of the best restaurants. No wonder so many amazing creatives call this place home. We caught up with our new Kiwi pals–the city’s talented indie designers and boutique owners–to get the scoop on the best places to eat, drink and people watch.
WHERE TO EAT
“There are so many places,we have an amazing restaurant scene,” explains Anna Murray of Laing Home. “But if I have to pick, Cassia in Fort Lane for modern Indian and Kiss Kiss in Dominion Road for cheap, tasty Asian fusion.”
Cassia, 5 Fort Ln
Kiss Kiss, 1 Rocklands Avenue
“Anywhere in Sandringham is amazing for tasty vegetarian options,” explains Penny Sage’s designer Kate Megaw. “One of my favorite places to share a meal is Saattveek. When you can’t decide what to eat, they ask you how hungry you are, then they bring out plates of everything delicious, and don’t stop until you’re full!”
Saattveek, 570 Sandringham Rd
Kristine Crabb, designer of Miss Crabb, had a hard time deciding but managed to narrow it down to her top three. “My favorites at the moment are Coco’s Cantina, Madame George and Gemmayze St,” she said.
“Well, the obvious favourite is Coco’s Cantina, as it just feels like home,” reveals Greta van der Star, the talented stylist and photographer who shot Yasmine Ganley for our Q&A. “I adore the girls who run it and everyone who works there!” She adds, “I also love Conch which is South American, they do the best tacos and have an outdoor courtyard with booths, so you feel very hidden away.”
Coco’s Cantina, 376 Karangahape Rd
Madame George, 490 Karangahape Rd
Gemmayze Street, 183 Karangahape Road
Conch Records Kitchen & Bar, 115A Ponsonby Rd
Unequivocally, it’s the Orphans Kitchen for designer Kate Sylvester. An multi-award winner restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner including a bowl of potatoes you won’t be able to stop eating.
Orphans Kitchen, 118 Ponsonby Rd
Sherie Rai, designer of Sherie Muijs swears by family owned and operated restaurant Cazador. Specializing in sustainable cooking, it also happens to be Auckland’s only game restaurant.
Cazador, 118 Ponsonby Rd
WHERE TO DRINK
Ruben Bryant, the owner of Good as Gold, heads to Golden Dawn when in need of a drink. Tucked away, this popular Auckland watering hole has long been a haven for the city’s creative community and serves everything from eclectic cocktails to a vast selection of beers and wines.
Anna also fancies at spot on Ponsonby Road: “Annabelles is the perfect little local!”
Golden Dawn, 134 Ponsonby Rd
Annabelles, 409 Tamaki Dr
“On my balcony watching the cheeky Tui’s—for all you non-Kiwis this is a large honeyeater bird—fight for a spot in a big Pohutukawa tree,” admits Kate. “But If I’m feeling fancy, I like going to the Federal Delicatessen for a piece of cheesecake and an Aperol spritz.”
Federal Delicatessen, 86 Federal Street
“Any RSA (Returned Services Association) or Bowling Club around NZ,” says Greta, “You’ll meet the best characters and the drinks are simple and cheap!”
WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH
“Fukuko in Briomart,” says Anna, “Grab a cocktail and a window seat and watch the beautiful people of the Britomart precinct on their way home.”
Fukuko Bar, 43 Tyler St
Sherie and Kate both love to people watch at Coco’s Cantina, especially while sitting at the outside tables.
“Avondale markets on Sunday mornings,” reveals Greta. “It has the produce side—always rammed with people filling their bags and pulling trolleys which offers a mixture of fresh veg and treats such as Samoan banana bread or breakfast noodle bowls. Then the other side is more car boot-style where you’ll see so many interesting people and their dogs rummaging through trinkets.”
Avondale Market, 2 Ash St
Filled with contemporary art galleries, boutiques, vintage shopping and hundreds of restaurants, Auckland’s infamous K Road in the business district is where it’s at for Ruben.
Marina Davis, the designer of Ovna Ovich, also loves K Road for people watching. “My studio window is perfect, it looks out over Karangahape Road.”
Another top watching spot: “The Downtown Ferry Terminal never has a dull moment,” says Kate.
Lead image: Cassia
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