Mission Bay is a beautiful spot just out of New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland. This glorious area is all about soaking in the views during the day, messing about by the ocean, and basically living the New Zealand coastal dream. At night, its bars are some of the best lounging spots in the city, so here is our guide to finding the best ones to hang out at.
Kilala Bar is the sort of bar that every town in New Zealand has. It’s filled with friendly locals who have lived in the area for time out of mind, the bar staff treat you like one of their own, and there’s a bit of classic rock playing over the sound system. This pub is the epitome of “local” and is a great place to hang out with mates and shoot a little pool. At the tail end of a summer day you can sit out on the balcony and watch the ocean, beer in hand and think about nothing in particular.
A place that advertises beer in the name would presumably be a safe bet for a drink, and so it is with De Fontein Belgian Beer Café. They have a fine selection of European and domestic beers on tap and in the fridge here. If it’s a beautiful day then there are few better places to take a load off than at their deck. Soak up the rays whilst you soak up a cold beer and watch the world go by.
If there was ever a culinary combination made in heaven, surely it’d be pizza and beer. The Cove is a bar, but it also does some of the best pizza you’ll find in these parts. The staff are friendly and attentive and the bar itself is very homely. It’s a lovely spot to step into after a hard day – a place where you can relax, grab a drink, and put your feet up. You’ll find yourself hard put to think of a reason once you’re there not to grab a pizza to go with your drink. Try the Aucklander or the Tree-hugger and thank us later.
If you’re feeling like wanting the sort of relaxed and calm atmosphere you might get at home, then head into Portofino and make your way to the bar upstairs. This lovely restaurant is yet another place in this little area that offers wholesome Italian food and great wine. You’ll find Portofino restaurants all over New Zealand, but what they might lack in unique character they make up for in the reliability of their meals. If you find yourself craving pasta, you can rely on Portofino to satisfy that craving so that you walk away with a smile on your dial.
This is the sort of venue that begs to be visited on a bit of a miserable night so that you can be embraced by the ambiance and order a nice bottle of red wine. Five Restaurant & Bar definitely has an Italian influence – think gorgeous, oozy arancini or lamb meatballs to start, or gnocchi as a main – but it is very much cooked in a Kiwi sort of way. The emphasis is on the produce, and the stars of the show for us are definitely the cuts of meat. They are done simply, but in such a way that puts them in the spotlight. For instance, the pan-roasted eye fillet is a joy – heightened by the crispy polenta, kale and truss tomato, and parsnip puree for sure – but it’s the beef that is the hero. If you love simple yet effective cooking that uses fantastic ingredients, then this is the only place in town to go.
A good bar is one thing, but when that bar also offers the best pizza in the area then you know you’re onto a winner. Now, if you had to single out one type of cuisine that has a bit of a toe hold in Mission Bay, it would probably have to be Italian. There are a few restaurants in the area specialising in hearty pastas and tasty pizza. On the pizza front we are of the opinion that Mamma Mia Pizzeria is leading the pack. That’s not to say the rest of their offerings are in any way inferior to their pizza. For something a little more rustic, carnivores should have a go at the Fegatini de Pollo – chicken livers with ham, mushroom, white wine, onion, marsala wine, sage, and cream. If you’re of the vegetarian persuasion the Vegetarian Cannelloni is an exceptional little number.
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