Aucklanders may be forgiven for thinking they have it all. Blessed with not one but two harbours, Auckland’s other inviting playgrounds include island retreats, sandy beaches, elegant wineries and lush forests. Throw in some happening bars, restaurants and neighbourhoods, and you have a city that offers plenty of ways to have fun.
Yes, Sidart is Auckland’s most expensive restaurant, but no one else in New Zealand is doing cutting-edge food quite like it. There’s the seven-course, $145 degustation, which may start with rare tuna and artichoke puree served in a cloud of manuka smoke and finished with Parmesan ice-cream boosted with pear, raspberry and walnut. And Tuesdays are experimental nights, when chef Sid Sahrawat serves up works-in-progress.
Perched high on a hill in the CBD, Depot Eatery’s casual vibe and fabulous food has won it a devoted following. It is open for breakfast and lunch, but the action really heats up once the sun goes down. Start with freshly shucked oysters, then move on to a couple of share platters, and perhaps a serve of bone marrow with crostini and a shallot salad, or a pile of tender gnocchi with pumpkin and cavolo nero.
Michael Meredith is one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed chefs, and the degustation at his Mount Eden restaurant, Merediths, is one of the best dining options in town. Ask for a table in the middle room to watch the kitchen team at work. Get set for some thrillingly unpredictable dishes, such as paua abalone served with lemon curd, smoked eel and chickpeas.