Jesse Mulligan's Auckland Hot Spots

Viva’s restaurant critic Jesse Mulligan shares his favourite restaurants for almost every life moment

Japanese restaurant Cocoro is Jesse Mulligan's pick for a romantic dinner. Picture / Babiche Martens

Where would you take your wife on a romantic date?
Cocoro, an exquisite Japanese restaurant hidden in suburban Ponsonby. Once you're through the doors you could be anywhere in the world.
56A Brown St, Ponsonby

If you had to choose one place in Auckland for a last meal, where would you dine?
Clooney with chef Jacob Kear, because I'd know the meal would be an expression of everything humanity has learned about food up until this particular moment.
33 Sale St, Freemans Bay

Who is your dream lunch companion and where would you take them?
I have such a good time out with my wife that I have to be careful not to over-rate restaurants we visit. Good reason to be married to her and good reason to choose her as my dream lunch companion (good way to stay married to her, too).

At the end of the night, if you’re not quite ready to jump in an Uber and head for home, where do you go for a nightcap?
In the six years since I became a father this has never happened.

You’ve got a power lunch meeting — where’s your go-to establishment?
It's hard to beat Soul Bar & Bistro for a reliably professional, fast and delicious experience. Though my corporate friends tell me Amano is their new go-to, so perhaps that would be my first choice.
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland Central

An old flatmate, now a Silicon Valley exec, is in town for one night. Where do you take them?
Pasture in Parnell — world-class food with uniquely local ingredients — or perhaps the chef's table at Sidart, with a view of our beautiful city and a truly luxurious dining experience.
235 Parnell Rd, Parnell; Three Lamps Plaza, Ponsonby

Suggestions for a boy’s night out with a bit of class?
Cazador on Dominion Rd. I had my stag do there and they cooked me actual stag! The food and drinks are great and it's not too fancy so everybody has a good time.
854 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

Your pick for most stylish establishment in Auckland?
I'm going to go with Azabu — not the fanciest, but definitely the sexiest, with incredible food and service too.
26 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

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