The Auckland dining scene is similar to Sydney's with an abundance of dining options based on fresh produce and seafood, but without Sydney's top end of ultra-expensive restaurants. Like most cities in the South Pacific, Auckland restaurants tend to specialize in fusion cooking with an Asian flavor, though all cuisines are represented.
Auckland's famed seaside restaurants are clustered around Mission Bay with others located around the Auckland waterfront at, for example, tourist centers like Queen's Wharf. Alternatively, the major retail and entertainment streets of Auckland are packed with a range of dining options that suit all budgets and appetites.
Traditional Maori cuisine can be harder to find but some hotels and tour groups will provide hungi nights where food is prepared and served in traditional ways for eager visitors. All the major fast food outlets are represented in Auckland and lunchtime sandwich shops proliferate in the plazas and malls.
The tower and casino complex has 11 dining options ranging from the revolving fine dining chamber of Orbit on the tower's top floor to the Spanish tapas house of Bellota and the Chinese restaurants of Ming Court and Fortuna. Or, try the buffet at The Terrace or the quick and easy high rise at the Sky Lounge.
It would be hard not to enjoy a meal at any of the outdoor terraces overlooking the beach at Mission Bay, so it's a pleasant surprise to find that the laidback outfits here offer excellent food and service, to match the views. The Jewel of India is very popular as is the Capri Café and the Ruan Thai restaurant.
Almost every other shop front along Ponsonby Road is a restaurant and the range of dining options here is fantastic. The Soto Japanese Garden is an elegant and subdued space, while the Magnum Dining Bar offers a more robust and noisy experience. Bookings usually aren't required at the restaurants along Ponsonby Road.
277 Glenvar Road, Auckland
Phone: +64 9 473 8677
Set in a grand wooden house and offering cooking classes and a function center is this superb Italian restaurant that, typically for Auckland, offers great food and service without any kind of pretension. In the winter, a wood-fired pizza oven complements a roaring fireplace.
Jewel of India
3/33 Tamaki Drive, Mission Bay
Phone: +64 9 528 3856
This is a friendly and unpretentious restaurant where diners can bring their own wine and beer and enjoy a buffet or a la carte selection of excellent North Indian cuisine. The décor here evokes a sense of Rajasthan and the creamy butter curries are famous city-wide.
Phone: +64 9 363 6000
Here you have a revolving restaurant on the very top floor of the Sky Tower offering incredible views and top-shelf fusion menu with a subtle Asia-Pacific twist. Bookings are usually required for this very busy, tourist-oriented outfit but the dress code and atmosphere is casual.
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