This is where the locals love to eat in Auckland

Local flavour in Auckland means sophisticated gastronomy in a relaxed, unpretentious setting. Don't miss dining at these restaurants which have perfected this vibe down to a fine art.

Amano is perfect for a gourmet breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Gwen McClure
  • March 2019

Some restaurants simply stand out as the ones that you could visit again and again and never get tired of. For residents of Auckland, these favourites include long-established institutions as well as newer eateries that have created a buzz. Here are a few to tick off your list according to an Aucklander…


In just a few years, Amano has cemented its place in the city’s dining scene. Come for the chic warehouse interior, stay for the melt-in-your-mouth burrata and the pasta made from flour milled onsite. Bonus: it opens early from 7am and serves until late, making it perfect for a bite during those in-between hours.

The Oyster Inn

Oysters from Waiheke Island are good but oysters on Waiheke Island are even better. The kitchen at The Oyster Inn is bright, airy and stays open all day, drawing daytrippers and locals alike. When you’re looking for respite from the sun in the form of a cool glass of local sauvignon blanc, stop on by. You’ll struggle to peel yourself away from the terrace when you’re finished.


Chef Al Brown is a Kiwi mainstay and his original Auckland venue, Depot, deserves its regular spot near the top of the country’s best-of lists. With an industrial interior – think wooden tables, exposed ducts and white tiling – the atmosphere is upscale but relaxed and it’s the city at its finest. For dinner, the hapuka sliders are a must, as are the cumin and paprika lamb ribs. If you can’t make it in the evening, swing past for breakfast – they’re open from 7am, toasting bacon and egg sandwiches and frying beignets.

Depot has been adored by locals for years.
Depot has been adored by locals for years.

Coco’s Cantina

The vibe at this Karangahape Road Italian bistro is something like your cooler cousin’s dinner party. Staff wear what they want – like torn denim and crop tops – and have perfected the delivery of sharp service and great food in a seriously un-stuffy environment (think gingham table cloths and shelves full of curios). Start with the house-cured fish or chicken liver parfait and follow with spaghetti and meatballs – Coco’s Cantina is the best in town, if not the country.

Trendy Coco's Cantina offers unpretentious food and drinks.
Trendy Coco's Cantina offers unpretentious food and drinks.


This Auckland institution exemplifies what this city does so well: high-end gastronomy without the formal air that so often comes with it. Whether you’re sitting indoors surrounded by patterned walls and chandeliers or dining alfresco on the patio, you can expect an excellent meal from Cibo. Choose from the degustation, set, express menus or à la carte, and feel free to ask for help with the exhaustive wine list – your hosts will happily oblige.

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