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 were 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, using fantastic ingredients, then this is the only place in town to go.
A good Japanese restaurant is hard to beat. Every town needs one, and Mission Bay is lucky enough to have the fine folk at Midori Japanese Restaurant as their resident purveyors of all the classic dishes that you could want. Katsu curries and sashimi boards are as good here as any that you will find in the big smoke of Auckland, and the prices, due to being out of the city, are reasonable for what you get. If you’re in a rush or looking for a quick bite, you can do a lot worse then the sushi selection here.
Just up the road from Midori is Mamma Mia Pizzeria Restaurant. 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 that 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.
Yes, it’s a chain store, but as much as that might grate on the nerves of many an anti-corporation minded person, at the end of the day they’re good burgers, and they’re made with good, fresh NZ ingredients. I mean, you have to admit that when a fast-food restaurant is making their own (delicious) garlic aioli in-house, they are setting themselves apart from other, more global companies in the same sector. The vegetarian burgers here are what stand out the most, and the kumara fries are also particularly great. If you’re in a rush and have the burger craving hit your stomach like a tonne of bricks, then why not give this NZ franchise a go?
This is thai food the way you want it to be made, like they do it on the streets of Bangkok. The guys and girls at Thai Passion use only the freshest ingredients in their meals, and you can genuinely taste this in the cooking. The veggies are crunchy and flavoursome, and the seafood is — as you’d expect at a place that is literally a stones throw from the waters edge — absolutely on point. The best part is that if you can’t handle the thought of getting out of your slippers to pop down to their shop, they will home deliver on any orders over $40 NZD that are within 4km of the restaurant. This is very dangerous news if you’re a local.
A brief stroll down the road from Thai Passion, on the main drag of Mission Bay that is Tamaki Drive, you will find Portofino. This lovely restaurant is yet another place in this little area that offers wholesome Italian food. 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.
Every town needs a fish and chip shop, but for a beach town not to have one is some sort of sacrilege. Luckily for Mission Bay they have Hook, Line & Sinker. It’s your classic Kiwi beach fish and chip shop. Perhaps not fancy, but when all you want to do is order your favourite bit of fish over the phone, zip down and collect it and enjoy some lovely food whilst you binge your latest box-set, then this joint more than does the job. It’s comfort food at its finest here.