It’s everybody’s worst nightmare: Getting your team to unanimously agree on a spot for dinner. Well, thankfully, The Attic team are here to help you narrow the field with our favourite Auckland ‘hot spots’ or ‘foodie hubs’ found in and around the City, within a short hop, skip and jump from us here in downtown Auckland. It’s a pain picking just one restaurant or venue, so we’ve thrown down our top 5, where you’ll find 5 restaurants or more in close proximity from each other.
We know there’s bags more great restaurants out there, so check out our Top 5 best Restaurants in Auckland guide found here.
Elliot Stables $$
Epicurean Village, fancy food court or converted stables?
Elliott Stables, as you may surmise from its name used to house thoroughbreds, Welsh and Shetland ponies. These days the smells emanating from this delightfully renovated epicurean village are much more pleasant, with several independent restaurants and eateries found downstairs on the ground floor of the T&G building which is also home to The Attic Backpackers!
Eating alone, or with a group? The variety of food on offer here is varied in both it’s origin – Italian, Japanese, Philipino, Indian, New Zealand, you name it – it’s probably available; and of course varied in price. It’s perfect for the casual solo diner or the indecisive group, with an upmarket food-court style setting. Because why pick from just one restaurant when you can have something from up to twelve different diners under just one roof?
Fancy a cheese covered, double patty brioche burger? head to Smash Bros. How about Spicy House Mongolian Beef Baos or Korean fried chicken? hit up Bao Baby Bao. Real italian style prosciutto pizza? De Niro Ristorante has you covered. Not in the mood for food? Wedge Juice Bar and Double Double cafe have your back.
We recently tried Homecooked Filipino, ordering their Pork Sinigang, Pancit Canton and Grilled Pork-Belly. Having been to the Philippines, our team were really impressed to find such great quality Filipino food available right on our doorstep! The sinigang was sour as it should be, the grilled pork belly was tender and flavourful, with the garlic rice packing a punch and garlicky as hell!
Open from sun-up until late, Elliot Stables has something for everyone! Grab an early coffee and french croissant for breakfast.
All the Elliot eateries offer regular lunch specials, available from as low as $10 a person. Evening meals are going to set you back about $35-60 per person, which is decent value for the fab location and full table service that the Stables team offer.
Federal Street $$$
Fancy, frivolous, foodie fun found on Federal Street…
Federal Street, found just a moments walk uphill from The Attic backpackers, is encompassed by the SkyCity mega complex, which includes, amongst many other things; The Skytower, Sky casino, Auckland’s Grand Hotel and a variety of casual, contemporary and fine dining restaurants firing out anything from deluxe deli sandwiches to premium Wagyu beef tataki.
There are restaurants to suit any palate or preference; The Grill, who’s chefs fire out premium cuts of high quality meats and seafood.
Masu, by Nic Watt lauded by many, serving minimalist Japanese dishes, locally sourced sushi, BBQ dishes & veggie options.
Huami specialising in high end Chinese and Cantonese dishes (with a great happy-hour on their premium gin range).
Federal Delicatessen, one of our team’s top 5 restaurants in Auckland, The Fed’s team are magicians, churning out their famous reubens, poutine and pickle-centric dishes, amongst other deli-style delights.
Depot, who were awarded one hat from Cuisine NZ’s Good Food Awards. Serve a selection high quality contemporary New Zealand & European dishes. Their nostalgic decor draws from a New Zealand of yesteryear with rugged maritime vibes and features an open kitchen.
Additionally on Federal Street you’ll find Andys Burgers, specialising in (you guessed it) juicy gourmet burgers in a sports-bar style venue. And, last but not least, there’s Fortune on Fed which is a recent addition to Aucklands craft beer scene. There’s not much in the way of food but do offer a fantastic beer selection across their taps.
…That was just Restaurants on street level! Further afield, there are two more restaurants to experience. Standing a dizzying 220 metres above the glittering lights of Federal Street, take a short ride up the Skytower’s rapid elevator.
As you rise above the 50th floor, the elevator doors will open out onto either Orbit 360 or The Sugar Club. Both restaurants offer finer dining experiences, and both have a revolving floor. Soak up panoramic and breathtaking views of the Auckland CBD and whole Hurakai gulf basin as you tuck into the best meal you’ll eat all year.
With literally so many options to choose from, we’re extremely glad Federal Street is only a 2 minute walk away.
For travelers on a budget we’d suggest heading to the Fed, where a meal for two will set you back about $60-70. For those looking to splash out head to either Depot, The Grill, Masu, dining for two will easily top $120. And for those wanting an experience of a lifetime, a trip for two up to Orbit 360 or The Sugar Club will easily surpass the $200 mark.
Lorne Street $-$$
Head east of Queen Street for an asian adventure…
Running parallel to Queen Street, Aucklands main commercial thoroughfare, Lorne Street is ground zero for Aucklands’ authentic Asian foodie experience, where you’ll find heaps of eastern eateries within a short 5 minute hop from The Attic Backpackers. Whether you’re in the mood for Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese; be it dumplings, noodle bowls or just a flask of bubble tea… Lorne Street is absolutely the place to be.
Starting your culinary adventure at the corners of Wellesley St East and High Street, you’ll find
Number One Pancake, who’ve been flipping the best sweet and savory Korean pancakes since 2004. Lighter and fluffier than a western pancake, the team at Number One fry up the perfect light street-food bite to keep you going. Their savory options are heavy on the cheese and the sweet choices cover all your sugar cravings, with chocolate, cinamon, sugar or red bean fillings to go for.
Slightly hidden and down the stairwell at 40 Lorne Street, you’ll find Chom Na, wander down here for a truly terrific Thai experience. Their decor may be a little behind the times but the food on offer at Chom Na is nothing but the best, authentic Thai.
We recommend heading back upstairs and ordering to take-away, find a bench or pack a blanket and relax in Albert Park, just around the corner.
Desperate for dumplings? Wanting wontons? Or going bonkers for gyoza? There are so many options around Lorne Street for steamed or fried parcels of happiness, with our top picks being the offerings from Sumthin Dumplins – for the best takeaway outlet. Alternatively, try Sunny Town for a great sit-down experience. Both options are praised city-wide for the rich flavours found throughout their menus and the team’s attention to autheticity. A take away for two from many Lorne Street outlets will set you back between just $15 to $30.
For the best restaurant experience we thoroughly recommend The Kimchi Project, who thankfully offer a lot more than just kimchi. This cute little restaurant surprises you as you walk into the narrow, bright entry area and then out into a truly fantastic back courtyard. With just a glass ceiling between you and the sky you feel you’ve stumbled upon the city’s latest secret garden, comfortably enclosed, with heaters and plenty of pot plants and cute furnishings.
The Kimchi Project have a very good fusion menu, with plenty of spicy & fried goodies – which works great with their hoppy, craft tap beer selection. Our favourite was their BBQ pork rice, kimchi waffle cut fries and tempura chicken bun. Their actual kimchi is just perfect, with just the right acidity, crunch and kick.
City Works Depot $$-$$$
Industrial vibes, cool concrete & steel styled refurbed units selling everything from bagels to beer.
Found just outside of Aucklands main CBD, just a short 5 minute walk up and over the hill, from The Attic backpackers. The City Works Depot started life as Auckland city council’s workshop spaces, before falling into disuse. Over the last 50 years the Depot has survived, diversified and now thrives as a trendy industrial workspace, home to heaps of creative and talented hospitality groups and several independent venues & restaurants. City Works Depot is also home to beauty, fashion and home décor boutiques, and also serves as a creative hub for several advertising agencies. In terms of food, there’s a massive range of options to suit all budgets, palates and drink preferences, from Brunch to BBQ, continental breakfast to craft beers, you could quite easily wander down to City Works Depot at sunrise and not stop eating and drinking until sundown.
Starting your adventure with brunch. It’s decision time; Do you opt for quick grab’n’go bougie bagels, or baronial breakfast of champions?
If it’s the former, then hit up Best Ugly Bagels. Prettier on your plate than they sound, Best Ugly has chained up, and taken the nation by storm with their yummy sweet and savory, spread or filled bagels. Team Attic absolutely love their Yodi Bagel filled with thick cuts of pastrami and smothered in habanero mustard & melted grilled swiss cheese, all topped off with a pickle. Bagels start from just $7 and go up to $18 for the full works.
For a little more substance, style and oppulence, head over to city-famous Odettes Eatery, A popular spot for brunch, lunch or dinner. Arriving at their front entrance, in the centre of the Depot, you’ll find yourself instantly transported from the concrete jungle of City Works Depot into a lush, green paradise. Odettes does a fantastic job in evoking the inviting and warm atmosphere that you would expect to find in any meditteranean family home. With tabboulehs, Koftas, lamb & fish dishes and north African spices featuring heavily on their menu. Their decor, service and meal costs are geared towards the flashier end of the market, with a meal, including drinks, costing around $60 per person.
For other quick bites and lunch options there’s;
Food Truck Garage, which you may have seen on TV; the Garage is all about fast food that doesn’t have to be calorific. With healthy ‘burger bowls’ and classic burgers, wraps and tacos available to chow down on.
&Sushi is another great place to grab everybody’s favourite japanese culinary export; With Sushi, noodle bowls and salads also available.
The Raw Kitchen had its beginnings as a weekend hobby of making raw cakes, but has now grown to two stores in the city centre. While salads and breakfast cups make perfect healthy meal options, the treats in the cabinet are what will really wow you. Even without refined sugar in them, the raw sweets will satisfy your sweet tooth – try their famous caramel slice or Snickers cake.
Lastly, if booze and BBQ is more up your alleyway, then be sure to visit Brothers Brewery and Juke Joint for all your craft brew needs. We’ve covered these guys and their juicy cuts of marinaded meats more extensively in our Top 5 Craft brew bars guide. We love their Pork ribs. seasoned with Juke’s house spice rub, hot smoked & glazed. All washed down with a 5 glass tasting paddle from one of the many taps across the Brothers’ range.