Picturesque waterfront views at Wynyard Pavillion on Wynyard Quarter's North Wharf. Photo / Supplied

Where To Find The Best Outdoor Dining Spots In Auckland

Relish long, languid lunches and lazy dinners at these Auckland restaurants with the best outdoor seating and courtyards

Prego 
It’s no wonder there’s often a line to nab a seat at Prego’s leafy courtyard come lunchtime. The Ponsonby stalwart is a veteran at serving up simple, delicious Italian fare, with over 30 years of top-notch service under its belt. We say go for the classics — you can’t go wrong with linguine alla mariana bursting with prawns, mussels, cockles and tuna or one of their ever-popular pizzas. 226 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

READ: Where To Find Auckland's Best Rooftop Bars For A Drink With A View

Clay
Natural wine bar Clay is already on its way to being a firm favourite since opening its doors in December. A mammoth natural wine list, available by bottle or glass, complements an exciting selection of dishes such as stone fruit with burrata and a selection of tasty puffed-to-perfection 'pizzetes'. Pull up a stool at the 10-metre-long communal table forming the centrepiece of the long, narrow space, or head out back to the roomy, sun-soaked courtyard to enjoy a glass or two. 366 Karangahape Rd, Auckland City

SPQR 
Score the best seat in Ponsonby when you post up pavement side at SPQR. Indulge in some serious people watching behind your oversized designer sunnies, as you make your way through oysters, crayfish ravioli and plenty of Champers, darling. 150 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby 

Picturesque waterfront views at Wynyard Pavillion on Wynyard Quarter's North Wharf. Photo / Supplied

Hoppers Garden Bar 
Newcomer Hoppers blurs the lines between bar and restaurant, with the food described as ‘brilliant’ by Viva dining out editor Jesse Mulligan. Tuck yourself among the palm fronds and take your pick from sharing plates like Malaysian fried chicken and sticky pork ribs or larger offerings like baked red Thai curry salmon or vegan jackfruit tacos. You’ll be spoilt for drink options, with 18 craft beers on tap and a menu full of botanical gin cocktails. 2 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn

Non Solo Pizza
All the pizza and pasta you could want and an extremely lush courtyard is the highlight of the place. Sit among vine-covered walls, a crackling fireplace, and pretend you're in little Italy. 259 Parnell Rd, Parnell 

The Tasting Shed
Take a trip out to Kumeu and enjoy the open spaces surrounding The Tasting Shed. Try the fresh seafood (like fish crudo with lemon binaigrette, and onion), comforting potatoes or mushrooms, or lamb with carrot, creme fraiche and pinenut. 609 State Highway 16, Kumeu

Tuck yourself amongst the palm fronds with a cocktail at Hoppers Garden Bar in Ponsonby. Photo / Supplied

Hallertau Brewery and Restaurant 
Hallertau's beer garden in Riverhead has become a firm favourite for craft beer lovers out North-west. The brewery is also satisfying the thirst out in Clevedon with a second open-air, undercover beer garden opening in November. Find plenty of Hallertau beer including limited-release seasonal brews on tap, and a pub-style menu, at both lofty outposts. 1171 Coatesville-Riverhead Highway, Riverhead and 26 Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd, Clevedon

READ: Where To Find The Best Platters In Auckland

Takapuna Beach Cafe
A hit with locals, the bustling Takapuna Cafe's large deck looks right over the beach and dishes up the best big breakfast in town, as well as inventive brunch classics and epic fish and chips. Don't leave without a scoop of the house-made gelato to take away, or go for a wander down to the beach - you can't go wrong. 22 The Promenade, Takapuna

Conch Kitchen & Bar 
From its roots as a record store, Ponsonby's Conch has evolved into a go-to spot for happy hour beersies, great South American inspired food and courtyard dining. Head out back for a sun dappled space with wooden tables and cosy leather booths. It's the perfect place to pile in with friends for a round of pizzas or tacos, and also a relaxed first date venue115A Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

Hallertau Brewery and Restaurant's beer gardens in Riverhead and Clevedon. Photo / Supplied

Cibo 
Sophistication oozes out of Cibo's leafy courtyard which features a big fish pond and white linen tables. The elegant restaurant, located in an old chocolate factory, delivers excellent food, top-notch service, and always a fun, boozy time. 91 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell

Soul Bar & Bistro 
Undeniably the best posy for waterfront dining in the city. Soul Bar's elegant terrace offers views across the Viaduct Harbour and its outdoor tables pile up with loud long lunch crowds. Order a platter of oysters, a glass of Champers, and you'll fit right in. Viaduct Harbour Ave, CBD

Swashbucklers
With an unbeatable sunny deck and ocean views, Swashies is a gem nestled within Westhaven Marina. Given the location, seafood takes centre-stage here, and it's one of the best places in the city to enjoy fish and chips. Order a beer and you've got the perfect summer session. 23b Westhaven Dr, Westhaven

Cibo's sophisticated outdoor courtyard featuring a fish pond. Photo / Supplied

Auckland Fish Market 
The refurbed Auckland Fish Market now features plenty of upmarket foodcourt options, with standouts including the new Lobster & Tap, Little Azabu — from the same Ponsonby team — and Tiki Thai. Order from the counter to wait for your meal and then head to the upbeat outdoor eating area. There are loads of tables under a high, clear ceiling with a fully stocked bar running along one wall. 22-32 Jellicoe Street, CBD

Coco’s Cantina 
For those craving a convenient dash of sun without leaving the city, take yourself along to K Rd favourite Coco’s Cantina. The menu includes spaghetti and meatballs and slow-cooked pork belly, but it's the prosecco happy hour and heavenly polenta fries that keep us coming back. Sit outside on one of the checkered-linen clothed tables and watch the world go by. 376 Karangahape Rd, Auckland City

Wynyard Pavillion
This bright and big new addition to Wynyard Quarter's North Wharf will be a hotspot this summer. The massive shed-like restaurant features several different dining zones with ocean views out the front, and a garden bar tucked out back to catch the last rays. A large cocktail menu kicks off a good time, before moving onto fresh salads (like grilled stone fruit with prosciutto) whole flounder, and beef carpaccio, and more from the bistropub menu. It's also dog friendly with dedicated 'Dog Days' on the first Sunday every month, starting January 5, with canine treats on offer. For owners there's Little Creatures Dog Days beer on tap with a portion of every Dog Days beer sold going towards Pet Refuge. 17 Jellicoe Street, CBD

A juicy lobster roll from new Lobster & Tap at Auckland Fish Market. Photo / Supplied

Bracu
For an elegant affair in the country Bracu is an absolute winner for weekend lunch. The beautiful villa is both refined and comfortably rustic nestled in the Simunovich Olive Estate amid the Bombay hills. Feast on bistro-style mains and local tipples. 49 Main Rd, Bombay 

READ: Where To Find Auckland's Best Bar Food

Elmo's Pizza Bar 
Taking over the former Mr Toms in Ponsonby earlier in the year, Elmo's Pizza Bar is in a prime position with outdoor tables spilling out on the footpath. The lively and popular spot dishes up classic Italian with a twist on traditional pizza toppings such as slow-cooked brisket with peanuts. There's also a dedicated burrata section on the menu. 151 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

Bracu's elegant and comfortably rustic dining setting amongst olive trees. Photo / Supplied

Fantail & Turtle
A great venue on the Shore with a large outdoor decked area set amongst gardens. Two bars boast 28 taps of beer alongside a large gin and tonic offering. A crowd-friendly menu includes sharing plates such as fried chicken and fries, salads, pizzas and impressive platters. There's DJs on Friday and Saturday, plus you can sit in the sun and enjoy live music every Sunday afternoon. Goodside, Smales Farm The Boulevard, Takapuna

 Also On Our Radar
• Orphans Kitchen
• Augustus Bistro
• Ortolana 
• Villa Maria
• Jam Organic Cafe 
• The Grove 
• We haven't featured any of our favourite Waiheke outdoor dining spots such as the brilliant Man O'War, Casita Miro, Mudbrick, and The Oyster Inn. Stay tuned for a separate round up.  

HAVE WE MISSED ANYTHING
Please let us know your favourite outdoor dining spots in Auckland by emailing our team at viva@nzherald.co.nz 

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