Auckland is the icing on the cake when it comes to New Zealand’s foodie scene. With so many different cultures and nationalities converging in one city, it’s no wonder why there’s so much variety here, especially when it comes down to sweets, treats and desserts. Whether your go to sugary snack is cheesecake or chocolate, donuts or dairy-free; We’ve narrowed down Auckland’s numerous pastry popups and creative dessert kitchens down to our Top 5 must-visits. Diabetics beware, as you read on for our Top 5 Dessert spots in Auckland central…
- Tart Bakery
Aucklanders are truly a blessed people. It all started at 555 Great North Road in Grey Lynn, back in 2012. Tart Bakery, otherwise known as a Vegan Paradise, headed by born-again vegan, mother of five – Philippa. Tart has been churning out utterly delicious vegan, plant-based pies, pastries, donuts, cakes and sandwiches to the masses for nearly ten years. The team were also winners of NZ Herald’s readers’ choice for Best Bakery in Auckland back in 2017.
You wouldn’t know it from first bite to last, by the taste nor texture, but all of Tarts products are dairy and animal product free. Thats’ right, no eggs, milk or butter, Meaning that whether you opt for a Pain Au Chocolat, Panini or Pie, it’s sweet for you, and sweet for the planet!
Thankfully for Auckland city folks, Tart opened an outlet in the brand spanking new Commerical Bay food court, found near Britomart station and just a 10 minute walk from The Attic Backpackers. Head up to Harbour Eats on level three of the Commerical Bay complex, where you’ll find a whole host of other amazing eateries, restaurants, bars and cafe’s, which we cover in more depth here.
I’m no vegan myself, but my partner unfortunately suffers from lactose/dairy intolerance, so we decided to visit. I have to admit, I was rather sceptical about our trip to Tart. Although I had eaten vegan food before, I had always assumed the worst – “no butter, no bueno”. Fortunately my first bite into a Tart filled donut – their Caramel creme – decimated any concerns I might have had. The Donut was soft, yet had that little bit of crispness to the exterior, with the sugar coating being just right. The donuts interior was creamy and sweet without being overpowering, delicious, with the amount of filling more than adequate. A large portion of it ending up smeared across my face. Since then I reguarly visit for their sausage rolls, glazed donuts and (if they aren’t already sold out) their prized almond croissants – which are extremely popular.
Baked goods from Tart range between $5 to $12, which we find extremely good value for both your wallet and planet Earth. Tart Commerical Bay is open 9:30am-4pm, though get in early as they usually sell out of the goodies way before 2pm
Simply put, we love Amano.
Amano is consistently rated amongst Aucklands best restaurants, and we agree. Found an easy 10 minute walk from The Attic backpackers, Amano is housed in the historic Altrans and Quay heritage buildings near Britomart Station. This upscale Restaurant and bakery uses the aged framework, exposed bricks and high ceilings of the original port building to create a beautiful dining space. Whether you’re popping in for a late night dessert and cocktail, three course meal, coffee and cake or just grab-and-go you will enjoy fantastic quality, sustainably sourced goodies that will leave you wanting to come back again and again.
As the restaurant team clear their last tables of the evening, the Bakers come out to play. They spend the wee hours of the night fluffing, rolling and churning out delicious deli delights and prized pastries ready for the morning rush. Along with artisan breads, sandwiches, paninis and yoghurt pots, you should grab yourself Aucklands best pain au chocolat and a fabulous flat white to start the day,
Return later in the day for lunch, or in the evening for a divine dining experience. Finish your slow roasted lamb shoulder for two, or award winning pasta dish, with an ever changing roulette of flavours from their dessert menu. Amano does have one steadfast menu stalwart in their Espresso & mascarpone trifle, which has yet to be replaced, and I hope it stays that way! There’s really nothing better to satisfy the soul than a late night trip to Amano, taking a high chair at their bar for a classy cocktail (mine’s an old fashioned) and pairing it with a bowl of their terrific trifle.
A dessert from Amano’s menu as part of a dining experience falls between $10-$16 per person, with their Bakery offerings costing significantly less than this. Amano offers great value for money considering the fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients and skill that goes into crafting every bite.
You’ve heard of craft beer, ever heard of craft ice cream?
Making their stamp on the Auckland dessert scene is Giapo. For twelve years these milky magicians have been pushing their ‘third narrative’ of ice cream. From their perspective, Giapos innovative offering of the cold stuff extends well beyond the plain old American style ice creams and Italian gelatos, forming something bold and entirely new.
With absolutely wild, sensual and limited edition flavours and creations and frequent one-off collaborations with some of Auckland’s best restauranteurs. Giapo is undoubtedly like no other ice cream you will ever try. Their most recent team up with Nic Watt of the impressively rated restaurants Masu and Inca, had the team experimenting with black sesame paste and vanilla, topped with golden dusted black sesame seeds sitting ontop of a purple kumara dough waffle cone. Just wow.
If you’re in the mood for a tasty tuesday treat or have the monday munchies then you’ll sadly be disappointed. Giapo’s elusive opening times only add to its exclusivity, with their team opening just Friday evenings and through Saturday & Sunday afternoons from their Britomart base.
The highlight of Giapo’s menu is undoubtedly the irreplaceable Colossal Squid Cone, which is bizarrely exactly as it sounds. Their team sculpt this formidable monster-shaped ice cream into an actual squid, tentacles and all, atop their house-made cones. All this is done with the help of a 3D chocolate printer and a whole lot of skills.
Additionally, you also have to try their Selfie Cone ice cream – frame yourself and your mates inside the perfect ice cream – all for the ‘gram, obviously!
For Giapos full menu of wacky creations, limited edition specials, ice cream by the slice, and even a dessert degustation menu – head over to their website. Prices start at around $6 for a kiddie cone right up to $23 for their colossal creations.
4. The Pie Piper (K-Road)
No trip up to the famously alternative area of Karangahape road, or as it’s more locally known – K-road, is complete without a stop in at The Pie Piper. Whether you’re pie-curious, craving the sweet stuff or just chasing those route 66 dreams, then this is your stop.
The Pie Pipers team of Pipers and Donuteers have been happily baking away from their K-road bakery since 2017. Their mantra “Pie and Happiness” is spot on, as you certainly get those warm & welcoming American vibes oozing from their team. This tiny little bakery is adorned with Americana and road-side truck stop decor and is fab to sit in and watch the world rush by. Otherwise grab a take-away box and head down to the secluded Myers Park for a quieter slice of life.
Pie Piper started life back in 2014, hopping from market to market and selling out of favorites such as Key Lime, Banoffee, Lemon Meringue or blueberry pies as fast as the team could bake them. Since then, their award winning exploits have expanded into all manner of North American nosh. The Pipers have added delicious donuts (their standard glazed is amazing.) crazy cakes, and all manner of sugary, flaky and crumbly cabinet goodies. The team have even started offering up archetypal american diner classics; Think big shakes, crispy fries, gooey mac’n’cheese, spicy buffalo wings, huge hoagies and breadcrumbed fried chicken. YUM.
Their massive range of cabinet and baked to order goodies starts with bite sized donuts at $3, to slices of pie and regular sized donuts from around $6. In need of a sugar rush? grab a great value four-box of donuts from only $18. And lastly, if you have a super special occasion coming up, don’t settle for a plain old cake, go wild and get the donuteers to create your own custom shaped, filled and topped donuts!
5. Duck Island Ice Cream (Ponsonby)
Taking the nations freezers by storm is the indomitable Duck Island Ice Creamery. Growing quickly from their Hamilton base, Duck Island opened their Ponsonby creamery back in 2019 to much fan fare at the time, and even today, you’d better be prepared to wait in line for some of the best ice cream in New Zealand.
Found on the main Ponsonby stretch, a casual 25 minute stroll out of the city, away from The Attic backpackers. Duck Island’s store fits in well with the youthful, yuppie vibes of the Ponsonby area with a bring pastel pink aesthetics and heaps of natural greenery that contrasts well with chic, bright tiled and wooden decor.
Duck Island is renouned and loved nationwide for their use of only the best, seasonal and premium ingredients, along with their use of organic milks and cream to give their Ice cream that standout flavour and quality. And, with 24 different flavours to choose from at their creamery you are literally spoilt for choice. These guys absolutely nail the classics, with salted chocolate brownie and cookies and cream being my absolute favs. However, Duck Island isn’t about the classics, so for you intrepids out there this is the spot for you; Think Roast White Miso, Fairy bread, Black sticky rice and Lolly bread… whaaaat?
Select Duck Island flavours are available from pretty much any of Auckland’s supermarkets, but lets face it, nothing beats a hand scooped cone straight from the parlor. A Single scoop cone starts at $6, with doubles from $8 and sundae’s between $8-$12. Well worth the wait, with vegan options, floats and shakes also available.
This article is part of our Team Attic Top 5 blog series, showcasing The Attic Backpackers team’s Auckland favourites, including everything from dining experiences to dive bars, nature walks to nightclubs. Non of our Top 5 series blogs are written in conjunction with any paid advertisments or product sponsorships. All information is correct at the time of writing.