Your Neighbourhood Guide: Where To Eat In Central Auckland

Support your local or try somewhere new – like one of these five fantastic eateries

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Suglaw of crab and pork, crab fat mayonnaise, nero crackers at Bar Magda. Photo / Josh Harvey

Our diverse, finely tuned hospitality industry makes Tāmaki Makaurau a vibrant, exciting place to be ⁠— helping us connect with our community and loved ones, while enjoying delicious food and great service. To inspire Aucklanders to get out and support their local, or venture further afield for the best eats in the city, Viva has picked some of our favourite eateries from each corner of Tāmaki Makaurau – north and west, south and east, and the central city.

Omni, Mt Eden
Stripped back to the bare essentials, compact restaurant and natural wine bar Omni reveres the art of cooking over binchotan (white charcoal). Its pared back menu consists of yakitori celebrating all parts of the chicken, from the wing to the heart, and larger dishes like steak tartare, raw snapper and clams. Omni’s katsu sando has become almost legendary, a ball of fried chicken sandwiched between pillowy white cylinders of bread. They’re flavours that pair beautifully with Omni’s extensive natural wine selection of skin contact white wines, chilled reds and more from New Zealand and around the world. Plus, they have Sawmill Pilsner on tap.
359 Dominion Road, Mt Eden. Atomni.co.nz

Katsu sando at Omni. Photo / Alex Burton

Bar Magda, inner city
The ideal date night spot, Bar Magda is a seductive underground bar and restaurant specialising in modern Filipino food. Located down a staircase on Cross Street behind Karangahape Road, the sophisticated dining room space is divided into zones to suit your mood - opt for the quieter area by the kitchen, or the more relaxed bar area. The interior is the perfect mix of mood lighting, exposed brick, floor length curtains and interesting art, like a nightclub meets speakeasy. Chef Carlo Buenaventura’s food is unique and exciting, with bold flavours separated on the menu as ‘something cold’ or ‘something hot’. Opt for the ‘Magda Feast’ and let the chef choose dishes for you, either a three course or two course option, with wine matching available. The cocktails are also not to be missed here.
25b Cross Street, CBD. Barmagda.co.nz

Bar Magda. Photo / Josh Harvey

Daphnes, Ponsonby
Modern Greek taverna Daphnes is the sort of place you drop in for a drink, and end up staying until closing time. The food is a modern take on Greek cuisine, with a menu of small and large share plates designed to fill the table with flavours and aromas. The saganaki (fried cheese) arrives still sizzling in a little cast iron skillet, drizzled with honey and oregano. There are souvlaki (skewers) and revithokeftedes (Greek falafel), hummus, taramasalata and pita. The restaurant is housed in a chic and inviting space on Ponsonby Road, with navy-painted brick, burgundy booths and plenty of mood lighting. Ideal for a lively family dinner, or an intimate date night.
71 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby. Daphnes.co.nz

Alma, Britomart
Take a seat at the impressive tiled and marble counter near the crackling open fire, or nestle into a leather banquet in the handsome dining area of Alma, an Andalusian-style eatery in the heart of Britomart. Chef Jo Pearson was inspired by the flavours of Southern Spain for her menu, but this is no ordinary tapas bar. The menu is pared-back yet challenging, with dishes described in simple terms (for example crayfish tail, tarragon, samphire butter; anchovy and tomato tostada; lamb, yoghurt, zhoug) but over delivering on flavour and presentation. Much of it is cooked over fire, like the pork pinchitos, strips of charcoal-kissed pork threaded onto skewers, served with flatbread and a seasonal fruit salsa. Considering you can see flashes of the ocean from its corner Britomart site, dining at Alma is the next best thing to a holiday in Spain.
130 Quay Street, Britomart. Alma.nz

Nectarines and burrata at Milenta. Photo / Babiche Martens

Milenta, central city

Chef Elie Assaf’s south American bistro Milenta might just be the hottest ticket in town. Bringing new cachet to the underappreciated Victoria Park Market precinct, this restaurant features an enticing outdoor dining room enveloped by a pohutukawa tree. Milenta specialises in food cooked over coals for optimum flavour and the theatre is on show through the open-air outdoor kitchen, with a warming, fireside display. The menu changes often, but expect dishes like kingfish crudo with aji amarillo sauce and finger lime, pohutukawa smoked oysters or dry aged steak cooked over fire. Eli is committed to working with local suppliers to source fresh seasonal produce, so the flavours are ever-changing. It’s his love of age-old cooking techniques that shines through.
210-218 Victoria Street, central city. Milenta.co.nz

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