Auckland sets a strong precedence when it comes to fine dining. With an eclectic selection of restaurants lining its bustling streets, all tastes and budgets will be replenished in New Zealand’s largest city. Get your fix of the best cuisine in town by visiting these classy venues.
Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
Clooney has everything you’d expect when it comes to fine dining: an incredible ambiance, stunningly presented food, a decadent seven-course tasting menus, and remarkable attention to the full customer experience. Each dish is a work of art, with a high infusion of exotic and contemporary flavours, and comes paired with an aptly-collated wine list.
This internationally-acclaimed Auckland institution should be on top of every Francophile’s list. The fabulous French Café knows how to deliver a wonderful VIP experience — they even have a special private room for those wanting to splurge on something truly special. Dishes are incredibly diverse, and include a selection of New Zealand seafood delicacies, Asian-flavoured salads, and a trove of contemporary flavours.
The Sky Tower is more than just an adventurous tourist attraction — it also serves up an incredible range of fine dining venues for its visitors. Add a dash of panoramic vista to your gastronomical experience by visiting the Orbit 360. Along with a lovely à la carte menu, this unique restaurant lives up to its name by providing a memorable rotating view of the city. If you’re feeling extra fancy, the Orbit also does weekend high tea sessions.
Since opening its doors in 2009, Ponsonby’s Sidart has set the standard for Auckland’s gastronomy. Sidart’s famed NZ$170 nine-course Chef’s Table menu is the city’s most expensive offering, and the restaurant’s Tuesday test kitchen is always at the highest demand. If you want to get a taste for its beautifully crafted contemporary cuisine, make sure to book early — its reputation is reflected by a large influx of incoming diners.
Classic French-inspired cuisine and a meticulous wine list are some of the standout features that attract people to this exceptional restaurant. Number 5 Restaurant’s guest list is almost as enviable as its menu. Prominent diners to grace its doors include New Zealand’s former prime minister Helen Clark, Princess Anne, Burt Bacharach and Sir Sean Connery.
Adding a whole lot of finesse to your standard hotel buffet, the Langham’s Eight restaurant is a prominent stopover for local and visiting high-end diners. The restaurant’s name stems from its eight distinctive kitchens: An American grill, a sushi bar, an Asian-inspired dim-sun kitchen, a seafood bar, an Indian curry section, a seasonal salad bar, a patisserie, and a fully-fledged dessert parlour.
Chef Michael Meredith’s fabulous creations have made his namesake restaurant a force to be reckoned with. The restaurant is all about the degustation experience, and the entire menu revolves around this concept. During the week, you can choose between a five or eight course offering, while on weekends your choices ramp up to nine. Meredith’s lunches are strictly reservations only, but any visit to this restaurant will be a memorable feat in its own right.
O’Connell Street Bistro truly exemplifies intimate dining. The upscale venue is tucked away on the corner of Shortland and O’Connell Streets, and is comprised of 12 tables and a private room. Whether you’re popping in for lunch or dinner, your taste buds will be tantalised by an exquisite showcase of contemporary European flavours.
Exceptional food that is impeccably presented, and a gorgeous harbour view to match: Westhaven Marina’s Sails Restaurant has been serving up the freshest seafood and contemporary delicacies for more than three decades. The restaurant’s chef, Jeff Scott Foster, is Michelin-trained and highly dedicated to producing the best quality dishes. This is quite a popular venue, so bookings (for both lunch and dinner) are a must.