I am a self-confessed foodie. Food is important, it nourishes your mind body and soul. One of my favourite ways to take a break and is to explore new places for breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee!
I share many of my food adventures on Instagram stories. I am fussy when it comes to excellent service, high quality, fresh ingredients and above all lots of options! I often waste too much time spent on deciding what to eat, so I thought I would put together a list of my ultimate favourite places to eat, drink and relax in Auckland City for a variety of wallet sizes. These are places I go frequently, and would highly recommend!
Kings Cafe Henderson
Kings Cafe, inside Kings Plant Barn in Henderson is a place very close to my heart. I’m a pretty frequent customer and the staff are always friendly and super helpful, catering to Vegetarians and Vegans too. From the outside, it may not seem like somewhere with the perfect ambience but being inside a garden centre means it’s everything you’d hope for. The service is quick, with an awesome menu and fantastic coffee. The decor is really lovely, with my favourite squishy seats meaning it’s the perfect place for long afternoon chats and leisurely brunches. Keep in mind these guys get incredibly busy on weekend mornings so if it’s an important date be sure to book in advance! If you’re going for brunch or lunch it’s about $25-$30 PP for the kitchen menu and a drink plus a sweet treat from the cabinet - and you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Favourite picks on the Kings Cafe Menu:
The Lemon Delight featured below [Sometimes also offered as a mini version, so cute!]
The cookie selections… My favourite is Milk Chocolate Chip!
The Eggs Bennedict
Chocolate Milkshakes - Featured below is the kid’s size! Delish.
Many of the staff here at Mexico Ponsonby I have had the pleasure of getting to know personally over the last few years I have visited on a relatively frequent basis. The dishes here are inspired by Mexican cuisine, and the decor inside is full of Mexican paintings, drawings, even large paintings on the walls themselves with mood lighting and a lot of religious iconography. It’s a real experience going here, great for a night out or a special date. The menu includes many dishes with interesting spices, but if you hate spicy food like I used to - never fear! There is a chilli icon next to the dishes with any spice, plus vegetarian options so you can be sure to find the right dish for you. The service here is exceptional and for me, that’s about 50% of the experience. There are so many aspects of Mexico that I love - The shareable plates, the exciting menu that changes with the seasons, the colourful and fresh ingredients, the fun and relaxed atmosphere and also how easy it is to try lots of different dishes and never worry about ‘Food Regret!’ What is food regret you ask? I find myself often paralysed with indecision at the thought of what to order at restaurants where one main meal is essentially what you will eat for dinner, and this makes choosing very difficult. Particularly so when you haven’t been before and you have no idea what you can expect. Mexico has overcome this problem by creating dishes that are either small or shareable, so if you don’t like what you ordered - just order something else! Above all, this is my favourite thing about Mexico and really contributes to it being a wonderful experience every time, always something a little different. Spend as much or as little as you want, typically you can expect $60 PP if you want to really sample the menu. Lunch is often $25-$30 PP.
Favourite picks on the Mexico Menu:
The Guacamole [Avocado deliciousness and crunchy corn chips]
The Battered Prawn Taco [Mayo, Battered Prawn and lots of fresh coriander amongst red cabbage and freshness. Yum!]
Mexican Fried Chicken - You can’t miss this! [It’s free range too!]
The Churros for dessert with chocolate sauce. Sooooo yum!
Favourite Drink: The Rose Sangria - OR if you can’t drink ask for a non-alcoholic special that’s not on the menu, the Virgin Margarita.
The Grounds in Henderson is one of West Auckland, and one of Auckland’s best kept secrets. Part of Whoa Studios, a family fun park it caters to everyone: Professionals, families, couples, and children. There’s an incredible play area with a large net, pretend castle, trampolines, and slides for the little ones outside. Inside there are multiple areas to sit, and at night there is a lovely ambience with beautiful decor and lighting. Their coffee is the best yet, strong and rich with a beautiful flavour. The menu is awesome for breakfast, lunch and dinner so go at any time and you won’t be disappointed. They even create their own handmade ice-creams in standard size AND mini versions. You can expect to pay a little more for the best of everything here. Almost everything I have tried so far on their menu exceeded my expectations! Keep in mind about $30-35 for breakfast or brunch, and $75 PP for dinner.
Favourite picks on The Grounds Menu:
The Coffee in any form, it’s strong rich and delicious.
The Handmade Ice Creams in various flavours [Also in mini-size!]
The Beef Short Rib Pasta - Amazing rich flavoursome pasta, beef that melts in your mouth with lots of sauce and pickled veges…
Black Cottage Riverhead
The Black Cottage in Riverhead is an old favourite. The atmosphere here is in the middle of a small town in the country, but they often get very busy so I suggest going off-peak. They offer a variety of Kiwi dishes including variations on fish and chips, burgers and also pasta dishes. I would say about $25-30 PP for lunch or breakfast. $45-60 PP for dinner!
Favourite picks on the Black Cottage Cafe Menu:
The Smashed Avocado on Toast, featured below. Get it with wholegrain bread, and extra sauce, you won’t be disappointed.
A mochachino - They are delicious here!
The Game Fries - These are delicious morsels of heavenly goodness. They come with a special smoked aioli that’s to die for!
Renkon is one of my favourite go-to places, and I often go to Renkon in Parnell. There’s also one in Ponsonby and the North Shore. It’s a pretty easy breezy, fresh takeaway restaurant, with fast fresh food that you can order up over the phone before hand for pick up, and they also do Uber Eats! The cuisine is very vegetable focused, all in one meals that come in a bowl as well as small side dishes. I suggest one main meal and one small side to share! Perfect for those lazy evenings, and about $15-$20 PP.
Favourite picks on the Renkon Menu:
Karaage Salmon with rice [You can also choose noodles if you prefer, or just cabbage for no carbs]
Miso [Includes fresh cabbage and sea weed in it too!]
Edamame - The BEST in Auckland!
I hope you enjoyed my list of favourite places, and it gives you some inspiration over Summer of where to go and relax without having to worry about dreaded FOOD REGRET! More in depth food reviews coming soon…
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