C’mon, what’s not to love about this lovely little Australian-Italian all-day cafe and bistro? You walk in and the layout hits you like a sack of gnocchi, right in the eyeballs. It’s somehow modern and yet rustic too. Then you sit yourself down, peruse the menu and out comes something that’ll leave your taste-buds singing like the gals from Sister Act. Every meal is an indulgence with chunky, light slabs of sourdough bread to go with everything. The seafood options are the ones that we’d most recommend. Salt-cod is a treat that you don’t see enough of at this end of the planet, so wrapping a tooth around that is a shrewd move — as is getting a bit of the old smoked trevally pate. And, as any Kiwi will tell you, if you go for any culinary option that involves crayfish, you’re not going to be disappointed. In this cavernous space, you feel like you have ample room, even if the restaurant is packed.
Kokako holds two fundamental things close to its business heart an those are; to source ethically grown and delicious coffee, and to make sure that the ingredients it uses in its dishes are all sourced locally and seasonally. These two aspects are so important to cafe and restaurant goers these days are what makes this establishment stand out from the crowd. If you want an absolute corker of a latte in a city that is renowned for the quality of its coffee, then this place is the one you want to visit. It has recently been handed over to new ownership — which might put some people off — but don’t you worry, the new owner is none other than Troy Mentor who cemented his place in Auckland cafe lore with Dizengoff.
Hotcakes? Ricotta doughnuts? Coconut rice pudding? Did anyone say “comfort food”? Bestie Cafe is just the place you’d want to go on a rough Sunday morning with, well, your bestie. It’s the perfect spot to go and iron out the details of the previous night’s debauchery with your best mate, preferably over a cappuccino and a plate of the exemplary chilli-butter fried eggs on hash with a side of hot-smoked salmon. You’ll want to get in early on the weekends though because it’s notoriously competitive when it comes to getting a seat at this little gem come Saturday and Sunday morning.
It’s been 14 years since Revive opened its doors and, since then, it has grown and flourished – so much so, that they now have three cafés around Auckland, a selection of cookbooks on healthy eating, and a wholesale healthy-food shop. The man behind it all is Jeremy Dixon, and his company really does have your best interests at heart. Just try a selection of their raw food or whip up one of their healthy vegan recipes, and you’ll soon realise that eating raw, organic foods doesn’t have to be a chore. Revive makes excellent coffee too, so pop down for an amazing breakfast and see how good it makes you feel.
When it comes to old hands that have been serving quality gear to the taste-buds since — comparatively — way back, then Dizengoff would probably top our list. This establishment has been churning out the good caffeine, scrumptious brunches and sweet treats since ’94, which in New Zealand terms makes it practically neolithic. There’s a Jewish influence to the menu with pastrami, chopped liver and salmon on offer — which might strike you as a bit rich until you get your chompers round the offerings. This place has been attracting a wealth of clients from rich Auckland housewives to Green Party politicians to hipsters for years, and there’s a reason. Come and join the cool kids, because this is a place to be seen.
Are you part of the cynical crowd when it comes to the idea that vegan and raw food can be delicious? Does the idea of a chocolate cheesecake with no dairy fill you with disdain and contempt? Well, be brave, swallow that cynicism and head down to the Little Bird Organics and The Unbakery. To experience the best, most healthy, nutritious, fresh, unrefined, non-pasteurised, non-pressurised, non-heat-treated, pure, delicious whole foods, this is the only place to go in Auckland — with the possible exception of Revive Café. It’s a revelation when you first try it and comforting to know that you really can walk out of a restaurant and be the healthier for it.
Rosie makes our list because after some especially taxing weekend frivolities, you feel like dinner for your late lunch. You know what we mean. You’re after a solid bit of lamb or some sort of wonderfully cooked poultry that’s drizzled with a rich sauce. Here you’ll often find those sort of lovely items on the lunch menu, and that is the mark of a chef who knows his clientele. That’s Rosie in a nutshell. The attentive staff are just fantastic, whether you want to sit down for a long lunch or just grab a coffee on your way to work. With dishes like lamb shoulder, lentil ragout, turnip and hung yoghurt on the menu, you can see why this multi-faceted cafe-restaurant is such a big hit.