Auckland, the vibrant city nestled between two harbors, promises not only breathtaking landscapes but also a culinary journey unlike any other. During my recent visit, I embarked on a gastronomic adventure to discover six must-visit dining spots that showcase the diversity and richness of New Zealand’s food scene.

1. Ostro: Seafood Elegance with a View

Location: 52 Tyler St, Britomart, Auckland CBD 

Ambiance: Stylish, with panoramic views of Waitematā Harbour 

Ostro, situated in the bustling Britomart precinct, is renowned not only for its exquisite seafood offerings but also for its breathtaking views of Auckland’s iconic Waitematā Harbour. The restaurant’s sleek and modern interior sets the stage for an elegant dining experience, whether you’re seated indoors or on the expansive outdoor terrace overlooking the waterfront.

Specialty: Seafood Platter

One cannot visit Ostro without indulging in their renowned seafood platter. This culinary masterpiece showcases the finest selection of New Zealand’s seafood bounty. From freshly shucked oysters sourced from the Coromandel Peninsula to succulent crayfish, green-lipped mussels, and Cloudy Bay clams, every component of the platter is a testament to Ostro’s commitment to quality and freshness.

My Experience:

During my visit to Ostro, I opted for their signature seafood platter, paired with a crisp and aromatic Sauvignon Blanc recommended by their knowledgeable sommelier. The platter arrived beautifully arranged, adorned with ice and garnished with lemon wedges and fresh herbs, enhancing the visual appeal of the seafood spread before me.

I started with the delicate oysters, enjoying their briny sweetness characteristic of the Coromandel region. Moving on to the meaty crayfish and plump green-lipped mussels, each bite was a celebration of the sea’s bounty. The Cloudy Bay clams, lightly steamed to preserve their natural flavors, provided a delightful contrast in texture.

The highlight of the platter was undoubtedly the crayfish, expertly prepared to retain its tender flesh and sweet flavor. Paired with Ostro’s house-made sauces and accompanied by seasonal greens, the dish was a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.


Ostro is highly recommended for seafood aficionados and anyone looking to savor Auckland’s stunning waterfront views while indulging in world-class cuisine. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply treating yourself to a memorable meal, Ostro’s commitment to excellence in both food and service ensures an unforgettable dining experience.

Booking Platform:

Reservations can be made directly through Ostro’s official website or via popular dining reservation platforms to secure your spot at this popular Auckland establishment.

Nearby Attractions:

After your meal at Ostro, take a leisurely stroll along the Britomart waterfront precinct. Explore the nearby boutiques, art galleries, and cultural attractions, or simply enjoy the scenic views of Auckland’s harborfront.

2. Cassia: Modern Indian Fusion in Ponsonby

Location: 5 Fort Ln, Auckland CBD 

Ambiance: Contemporary, with an open kitchen 

Cassia, located in Ponsonby, stands out among Auckland’s culinary landscape for its innovative take on traditional Indian cuisine. The restaurant’s sleek and modern interior, featuring an open kitchen where diners can glimpse the culinary magic in action, creates an inviting atmosphere that blends seamlessly with its vibrant dishes.

Specialty: Tandoori Lamb Shoulder with Smoked Yoghurt

At Cassia, Chef Sid Sahrawat’s creative prowess shines through in every dish, combining traditional Indian spices with locally sourced ingredients to create a symphony of flavors. One of their standout dishes is the tandoori lamb shoulder, marinated in aromatic spices and slow-cooked to perfection in their tandoor oven. Served with a side of smoked yoghurt and accompanied by fluffy fenugreek naan, this dish exemplifies Cassia’s commitment to both authenticity and innovation.

My Experience:

Stepping into Cassia, I was greeted by the tantalizing aroma of spices wafting from the open kitchen. The ambiance was lively yet sophisticated, with warm lighting and contemporary décor that set the stage for a memorable dining experience.

I began my culinary journey with a selection of small plates, including the delicate crab and prawn tikki infused with coastal spices and served with tangy tamarind chutney. Each bite was a burst of flavor, showcasing Chef Sahrawat’s skillful fusion of traditional Indian techniques with modern culinary trends.

For the main course, I opted for the tandoori lamb shoulder, attracted by its promising description on the menu. The dish exceeded my expectations—the lamb was tender and infused with smoky flavors from the tandoor, complemented perfectly by the creamy smoked yoghurt. The fenugreek naan provided a delightful accompaniment, ideal for soaking up the rich sauces and juices.


Cassia is a must-visit for food enthusiasts eager to explore the depths of Indian cuisine through a contemporary lens. Whether you’re a fan of traditional spices or curious about innovative culinary techniques, Cassia promises an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates the vibrant flavors of India.

Booking Platform:

To secure a table at Cassia, it’s advisable to make reservations in advance, especially during peak dining hours. Reservations can be conveniently made through their official website or via popular dining reservation platforms.

Nearby Attractions:

Ponsonby is a vibrant neighborhood known for its boutique shops, art galleries, and lively atmosphere. After dining at Cassia, take a leisurely stroll down Ponsonby Road to explore local boutiques, cafes, and bars. Nearby parks and green spaces offer opportunities for relaxation amidst the bustling cityscape.

3. Hangi Master: Authentic Māori Cuisine in South Auckland

Location: 120 Bairds Rd, Otara, South Auckland 

Ambiance: Traditional, with cultural performances 

Hangi Master in South Auckland offers a unique opportunity to experience authentic Māori cuisine cooked using traditional hangi methods. Located in the heart of Otara, this cultural gem welcomes visitors with warm hospitality and a genuine taste of New Zealand’s indigenous culinary traditions.

Specialty: Hangi Platter

The highlight of the dining experience at Hangi Master is undoubtedly the hangi platter—a traditional feast cooked underground using heated rocks. This cooking method infuses the food with earthy flavors, resulting in tender meats, sweet potatoes, and stuffing that reflect the essence of Māori culture.

My Experience:

Arriving at Hangi Master, I was immediately struck by the welcoming atmosphere and the aromas emanating from the hangi pit. The restaurant’s traditional décor and the sound of Māori music in the background set the stage for an immersive cultural experience.

I opted for the hangi platter, which featured a generous selection of meats including succulent lamb and juicy chicken, perfectly cooked to retain their natural flavors and textures. The sweet potatoes, infused with smoky undertones from the hangi cooking process, provided a satisfying accompaniment to the hearty meats.

As I savored each bite of the hangi feast, I appreciated not only the delicious flavors but also the cultural significance behind each dish. The staff at Hangi Master shared insights into Māori traditions and customs, enhancing my understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s indigenous heritage.


Hangi Master is a must-visit for travelers seeking an authentic taste of Māori cuisine and culture. Whether you’re interested in traditional cooking methods or simply eager to sample delicious, locally sourced ingredients, Hangi Master offers a memorable dining experience that honors Māori traditions.

Booking Platform:

For larger groups or special occasions, it’s advisable to book in advance to ensure availability. Reservations can be made directly through Hangi Master’s website or by contacting them via phone.

Nearby Attractions:

After your meal at Hangi Master, explore the vibrant Otara Market, renowned for its Pacific Island flavors and cultural diversity. Discover local crafts, fresh produce, and traditional Māori artworks, or visit nearby cultural centers to learn more about Māori history and heritage.

Certainly! Let’s continue exploring the remaining three culinary destinations in Auckland, providing in-depth descriptions and personal experiences at each establishment.

4. The Grove: Fine Dining Excellence in Auckland CBD

Location: Saint Patrick’s Square, Wyndham St, Auckland CBD 

Ambiance: Elegant, with a focus on seasonal New Zealand produce 

The Grove stands as a beacon of fine dining excellence in Auckland’s CBD, offering a refined yet approachable dining experience that showcases the best of New Zealand’s seasonal produce. Nestled in Saint Patrick’s Square, the restaurant exudes sophistication with its contemporary decor and intimate setting.

Specialty: Canterbury Lamb with Seasonal Vegetables

At The Grove, Chef Ben Bayly’s culinary expertise shines through in every dish, emphasizing locally sourced ingredients and innovative cooking techniques. One of their standout dishes is the Canterbury lamb, renowned for its tender texture and robust flavor profile. Served with a medley of seasonal vegetables and accompanied by carefully selected wines, this dish exemplifies The Grove’s commitment to culinary excellence.

My Experience:

Entering The Grove, I was immediately impressed by the understated elegance of the dining room, adorned with soft lighting and minimalist decor that exuded a sense of tranquility. The attentive staff welcomed me warmly, setting the stage for a memorable dining experience.

For starters, I opted for the seared scallops, perfectly caramelized and served with a delicate pea puree that complemented the sweetness of the seafood. Each bite was a testament to the restaurant’s dedication to precision and flavor balance.

For the main course, the Canterbury lamb stole the show. Cooked to perfection with a hint of smokiness, the lamb melted in my mouth, accompanied by vibrant seasonal vegetables that added depth and texture to the dish. The presentation was impeccable, showcasing Chef Bayly’s attention to detail and culinary artistry.

Throughout the meal, the knowledgeable sommelier guided me through a selection of New Zealand wines, enhancing the flavors of each course and further elevating the dining experience.


The Grove is a must-visit for discerning diners seeking refined cuisine and impeccable service in Auckland. Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply indulging in a memorable meal, The Grove promises a gastronomic journey that celebrates the essence of New Zealand’s culinary heritage.

Booking Platform:

To ensure a seamless dining experience at The Grove, reservations are recommended. Bookings can be made directly through their official website or via popular dining reservation platforms.

Nearby Attractions:

After dining at The Grove, take a leisurely stroll through Saint Patrick’s Square or visit nearby attractions such as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and local art galleries for a cultural immersion.

5. Federal Delicatessen: Brunch Haven in Britomart

Location: 86 Federal St, Auckland CBD 

Ambiance: Lively, reminiscent of a New York-style deli 

Federal Delicatessen, located in the vibrant Britomart precinct, offers a nostalgic nod to New York’s iconic delis with a Kiwi twist. The restaurant’s retro decor and bustling atmosphere create a welcoming environment for diners eager to indulge in hearty brunch fare and specialty deli treats.

Specialty: Pastrami Sandwich on Rye Bread

At Federal Delicatessen, the pastrami sandwich on rye bread is a crowd favorite and a must-try for brunch enthusiasts. Piled high with layers of succulent pastrami, tangy sauerkraut, and house-made pickles, this sandwich is a flavorful tribute to classic deli cuisine.

My Experience:

Stepping into Federal Delicatessen, I was immediately transported to a bygone era with its retro signage, tiled floors, and communal dining tables buzzing with conversation. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and sizzling bacon filled the air, adding to the deli-inspired ambiance.

For brunch, I opted for the pastrami sandwich, intrigued by its reputation as a local favorite. The sandwich arrived generously stacked and perfectly toasted, with the pastrami offering a harmonious blend of smoky, salty flavors. The sauerkraut provided a zesty contrast, while the house-made pickles added a refreshing crunch to each bite.

Accompanying my meal was a robust flat white, expertly crafted to complement the rich flavors of the sandwich. The friendly waitstaff enhanced the dining experience with their attentive service and genuine enthusiasm for the menu offerings.


Federal Delicatessen is a must-visit for brunch aficionados seeking a taste of classic deli flavors in a vibrant setting. Whether you’re craving a hearty sandwich or looking to indulge in freshly baked pastries and specialty coffees, Federal Delicatessen promises a nostalgic culinary journey that celebrates comfort food at its best.

Booking Platform:

While Federal Delicatessen typically accommodates walk-ins for smaller groups, reservations are recommended during peak brunch hours to ensure availability. You can conveniently book a table through their official website or popular dining reservation platforms.

Nearby Attractions:

After enjoying brunch at Federal Delicatessen, take advantage of its central location in Britomart to explore nearby shops, galleries, and the bustling waterfront. Britomart precinct offers a plethora of boutiques, cafes, and cultural attractions, making it an ideal destination for post-brunch leisure activities.

6. Soul Bar & Bistro: Pacific Rim Cuisine by Viaduct Harbour

Location: Viaduct Harbour, Auckland CBD 

Ambiance: Stylish, with waterfront views 

Soul Bar & Bistro epitomizes waterfront dining at its finest, offering a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere overlooking Auckland’s picturesque Viaduct Harbour. The restaurant’s contemporary decor, coupled with panoramic views of the marina, creates an idyllic setting for enjoying Pacific Rim cuisine crafted from the freshest local ingredients.

Specialty: Marlborough Salmon with Citrus Glaze

At Soul Bar & Bistro, the Marlborough salmon with citrus glaze stands out as a signature dish that showcases the delicate flavors of New Zealand seafood. Sourced from pristine waters, the salmon is expertly cooked and complemented by a refreshing citrus-infused glaze that enhances its natural richness.

My Experience:

Arriving at Soul Bar & Bistro, I was captivated by the stunning waterfront views visible through the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant exuded a sense of elegance and sophistication, with plush seating and soft lighting that created a welcoming ambiance.

To start my dining experience, I opted for the New Zealand green-lipped mussels, steamed to perfection and served with a fragrant lemongrass broth. The mussels were plump and tender, offering a delightful taste of the sea that paired beautifully with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

For the main course, I selected the Marlborough salmon, drawn to its promise of seasonal flavors and impeccable preparation. The salmon arrived impeccably cooked, with a golden sear on the outside and moist, flaky flesh inside. The citrus glaze added a tangy brightness to each bite, complementing the richness of the salmon without overpowering its natural flavors.

Throughout the meal, the attentive service and knowledgeable staff ensured a seamless dining experience, offering insights into the menu’s offerings and expertly pairing wines to enhance the culinary journey.


Soul Bar & Bistro is recommended for those seeking a refined dining experience paired with stunning waterfront views. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or enjoying a leisurely meal with friends, Soul Bar & Bistro promises impeccable service, delectable cuisine, and an ambiance that captures the essence of Auckland’s waterfront charm.

Booking Platform:

To secure a table with a view at Soul Bar & Bistro, reservations are recommended, especially during peak dining hours. Bookings can be made through their official website or popular dining reservation platforms.

Nearby Attractions:

After dining at Soul Bar & Bistro, take a leisurely stroll along Viaduct Harbour to admire the yachts and waterfront scenery. Nearby attractions such as Wynyard Quarter offer additional opportunities for exploration, including maritime museums, waterfront parks, and recreational activities.

Exploring Auckland through its culinary delights was a journey of flavors, cultures, and unforgettable dining experiences. Whether indulging in seafood at Ostro, savoring Indian fusion at Cassia, or immersing myself in Māori traditions at Hangi Master, each restaurant offered a unique glimpse into Auckland’s diverse food scene. I highly recommend planning your dining adventures in advance, utilizing online booking platforms for convenience. Auckland not only satisfies your taste buds but also offers nearby attractions to enhance your visit, ensuring a truly memorable journey through Tāmaki Makaurau.

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