Where To Eat Something Special This Valentine’s Day
Pick from a full bloom of faithfully romantic (and magnificent) menus in Auckland this February 14
Culprit’s Valentine’s Day Menu
Start Culprit’s one-day-only $99 menu with kingfish sashimi before indulging in a selection of delectable bites (tempura-fried Shishito peppers; a kumara and mussel fritter ‘taco’; chicken liver parfait donuts; and a short rib corn dog) and equally impressive mains and sweet treats. Or go all out with the $140pp menu, where you’ll be greeted with a glass of Champagne and a single rose stem, and dine on local oysters paired with a watermelon and lime granita. A full wine match is available with either option for $50pp. culpritdiningroom.co.nz/valentines-day. Level 1/12 Wyndham St, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010.
Kingi’s Valentine’s Day Menu
Sharing is aptly at the fore of Kingi’s four-course Valentine’s menu, which features bubbles on arrival, “raw bar morsels”, shared antipasti, mains and icecream. And while the restaurant will be devoid of red roses (“Not [one] in sight,” they say) it is sure to deliver in flavour. kingibritomart.com/#bookings. 29 Galway St, Auckland CBD, Auckland.
Cazador’s Valentine’s Day Dinner
Meat maestro Cazador is offering a seasonal set menu served generously (and thoughtfully) for sharing. Expect a selection of deli charcuterie; baked Persian flatbread; grilled venison heart; roasted duck; spiced bulgar; a rhubarby, pistachio-y smashed meringue; and handmade chocolate truffles. Enjoy drinks to match for an additional $65pp. Bookings available through Eventfinda or by emailing email@example.com. 5pm to 7.45pm, and 8pm to 11pm. 854 Dominion Rd, Auckland CBD.
Paris Butter’s Valentine’s Day Menu
Chef Nick Honeyman has put together a special four-course sharing menu at unbelievably good French fine dining Paris Butter, which includes snacks, four courses and a glass of Champagne for $160pp. parisbutter.co.nz/book. 166 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay.
Saxon & Parole’s A Thousand Points of Light
From Friday, February 12, to Sunday, February 14, steak house-inspired restaurant Saxon & Parole is transforming its locale into a delicious hymn to romance: there will be dinner by candlelight, a one-off celebratory menu, and, of course, expansive views of the harbour. $140pp. Book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Commercial Bay Level 2/172 Quay S, Auckland CBD.
Summer of Love Cocktails at The Sugar Club
The 53-floor of the Sky Tower is hard to beat when it comes to both views and impression-making. Combine that with The Sugar Club’s summer cocktails (called Pink Haze, Love is in the Bubbles, and Anna’s Lips) and you have a recipe for something truly sweet. $20 a drink. skycityauckland.co.nz/restaurants/the-sugar-club. Corner of Federal and Victoria Streets, Level 53, Sky Tower.
Ima’s New Dessert
Described as “probably the most authentic Syrian dessert you can get,” Middle Eastern restaurant Ima’s new pud of soft semolina dough, ricotta, candied beetroot and pistachio is sure to make for a memorable pit stop. imacuisine.co.nz/book-a-table. 53 Fort St.
Sofitel’s Dinner For Two
Sofitel Auckland’s La Maree, helmed by Michelin-star chef Marc de Passorio, has a five-course degustation dinner to show, replete with fresh seafood and local produce. There will be seared Waitemata scallops, grilled scampi, seared Hauraki snapper, rosemary-basted Te Mana Lamb rack, a fruit dessert and petit fours. $150pp, or $245pp with wine pairings. sofitel-auckland.com/offers/valentines-dining. 21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue.
Mr Morris’ Valentine’s Day Menu
With a rare 20/20 review by our restaurant critic Jesse Mulligan in tow, Michael Meredith’s Mr Morris is a must-try for any occasion. Dine on its first Valentine’s Day set menu of $120pp for either lunch or dinner, which includes sipping on a welcome glass of Tattinger Prestige rosé, snacks to share, an entree of crayfish, a main of duck, and dreamy sweets (think dark chocolate and rose Turkish delight). Book at mrmorris.nz. Corner of Galway St and Commerce St, Britomart.
The Hunting Lodge’s Bespoke Dining Experience: Fine Dining
Whisk away to a winery and tailor the occasion to your liking with The Hunting Lodge’s two special experiences. For something sophisticated, opt for the pasture-to-plate three-course set menu served in the heritage Lodge restaurant for either lunch or dinner, which boasts crayfish, a saffron butter emulsion with chorizo, duck confit and a selection of desserts (there's chocolate mousse, creme brulee, basil meringue and chocolate-dipped strawberries), for $150 for two. Reserve your table at thehuntinglodge.com/the-restaurant. 305/307 Waikoukou Valley Rd, Waimauku.
The Hunting Lodge’s Bespoke Dining Experience: A Picnic
Alternatively try the Valentine’s Picnic Hamper, filled with an antipasto platter (a vegetarian option is available) and dessert for two, plus a bottle of wine and eco-friendly glasses and cutlery, perfect for those drawn to the outdoors. Pre-order a hamper online for $70 by February 13, then pick it up on the day and make tracks to your choice of setting (somewhere vine adjacent, or at Muriwai Beach, located down the road, come recommended). 305/307 Waikoukou Valley Rd, Waimauku.
Buko’s Pop-Up Degustation Dinner
Buko’s Will Mordido has teamed up with Event Cinemas Newmarket to create a decadent four-course degustation menu paired with Yealands Estate wines, followed by a film screening at The Library, a book-themed homage to storytelling, or The Gallery, an art-filled cinematic auditorium. Tickets are available here. Saturday February 13 at 6pm and Sunday February 14 at 12pm. Westfield Newmarket, Level 4, 309 Broadway Newmarket.
Azabu Ponsonby/Azabu Mission Bay’s Valentine’s Menu
Both iterations of beloved modern Japanese restaurant Azabu will have a four-course meal on offer, and it’s a bounty of moreish fare. Pick a complimentary drink (we’ll take the yuzu sangria flask to share, thanks) before indulging in beautifully salty edamame beans, tuna ceviche, crunchy seared beef tostada, sushi, dumplings and more, and ending on a rich note of chocolate cake. $95pp. Book through their website, azabu.co.nz. 26 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn / 44 Tamaki Dr, Mission Bay.
Ostro’s Valentine’s Menu
Enjoy waterfront bistro Ostro’s cult-favourite crayfish toastie as part of their four-course Valentine’s Day menu at $120pp. There’s a range of options to choose from as you work your way through each course, and you can add on a seafood platter for $95 or oysters for $6 each. Book through their website here. 52 Tyler St, Auckland CBD.
Tommy’s Valentine’s Menu
Tommy’s five-course shared menu kicks off with what you’d expect of a Champagne parlour: a flute of Ruinart rosé. Afterwards, sate your tastes with premium catch, herb-crusted tuna, wagyu sirloin, fried chicken and waffles, and “chocolate nemesis cake” served with fresh berries and mascarpone. $175pp. Book via seafarers.co.nz/tommys. Level 6, 52 Tyler St, Britomart Place, Britomart.
Ebisu’s Valentine’s Menu
Britomart’s Japanese institution Ebisu will be serving a five-course degustation meal complete with an amuse of pickled “shime” white trevalla, a starter, two mains and an eclair with chocolate crumble for dessert. It’s $125pp; splash on an extra $50pp for sake to match. See the full menu here, and book on their website. 116–118 Quay St, Auckland CBD.
Park Hyatt’s Onemata Valentine’s Day Menu
The Park Hyatt Auckland is offering a celebratory set menu, created by executive chef Brent Martin and focused on local, seasonal produce with a romantic bent (expect a “riot” of red and pink hues). There are vegetarian options available in this curated four-course experience, and a complimentary glass of Akarua Rosé Brut NV on arrival. 5.30pm to 9.30pm at $150pp. For dining bookings and enquiries, contact Aimee Tuck on 09 366 2500 or email@example.com. 99 Halsey St, Auckland CBD.
Non Solo Pizza’s Valentine’s Day Menu
Dine in one of the city’s most picturesque courtyards at Non Solo Pizza for a long lunch or $125pp set-menu dinner that includes rosé and a selection of courses true to the restaurant’s Italian cuisine. Its Aperitivo Hour will run from 4pm to 6pm, and freshly shucked oysters will be available in the Osteria. nonsolopizza.co.nz/book-a-table. 1052/259 Parnell Rd, Parnell, Auckland.
Saan Valentine’s Day Menu
Lovers of Northern Thai fare should make a booking for Saan’s dinner-only Valentine’s menu for two. Try their award-winning soft shell crab as one of two entrees, delight in lamb massaman curry and turmeric honey chicken with a green papaya salad as mains, then finish with a dessert platter. $55pp. Note: The restaurant isn’t open on Sundays. saan.co.nz/bookings. 160 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby.
Cafe Hanoi’s Valentine’s Day Menu
Indulge in modern Vietnamese at Britomart’s Cafe Hanoi, where a special menu that heroes its legendary dishes — kingfish with lemongrass, and a half roast duck with a spiced orange sauce — will set a lush scene. $55pp, with the option of cocktails on arrival and a glass of bubbles or still wine for an additional $25pp. cafehanoi.co.nz/bookings/the-main-dining-room. 27 Galway Street, Briotmart. 99 Halsey St, Auckland CBD.