All posts tagged: Auckland Restaurant Month

Where I really want to go for American Express Restaurant Month

Restaurant Month is just around the corner. August is going to be an eating extravaganza. There are over 150 participating restaurants are offering special menus.  There are three price brackets and you can browse by budget: $25, $40 and $55+. There have been a bunch of new openings since last year so it’s a great time to head to the central city restaurants you have been meaning to visit. Last August I enjoyed 9 menus. Cassia, Clooney, Culprit, Soul, O’Connell Street Bistro, Gusto, Odettes, Giraffe, and Le Chef which set me back just over $400. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if dining out 9 times in a month for $400 is a good deal or not. I know I have no regrets. We’re celebrating Matariki right now (Māori New Year) and I enjoyed two Matariki events last week. With that in mind, the menu I am most excited about for next month is the “Taste of New Zealand” menu at The Cut on Federal. It’s a hotel restaurant offering Māori potato gnocchi, …

Auckland! Prepare your waistbands.

This is not a sponsored post. Sorry if I get gushy…I just get easily excited about food and I love a bargain. It’s almost August which means Auckland Restaurant Month starts next week. A great time to visit all the CBD restaurants you have been meaning to visit. There are special menus starting from $25 (some including wine!) there is something for all tastes and budgets. Below is my 10 picks for the month. I’ve curated this list from over 100 offerings. Some are set menus and others have options to choose from.Hopefully this helps you make some decisions or entices you to check out the other menus for the month. Full disclaimer, this list is purely self indulgent. They are all places that were already on my wish list or places I’ve wanted to get back to. I’m unlikely to get through them all but a girl can dream. Have a nosey and if you are hungry for more, check out the rest of the offerings here. IMPORTANT! Make sure you read the terms …

Auckland Restaurant Month and a Street Eats giveaway

August is Auckland Restaurant Month and this year, Street Eats on the first Saturday of the month (Saturday 6 Aug 2016). Huzzah! I love Street Eats which I view as a walking, build-your-own degustation. Browse, graze, have a drink, and enjoy the atmosphere. There will be over 80 dishes, usually priced between $5 to $12, covering many different cuisines from restaurants, cafes and food trucks around Auckland. With games for kids, a bar for grown ups and live music for everyone, there will be plenty to keep you amused. Entry is $5 for adults and free for supervised kids. Gates open 10.30am and close 8pm, though I highly recommend an early visit as many of the best dishes sell out. Check out the menus here if you’re like me and like to have a browse before the event. Here’s a few pics I’ve snapped of past Street Eats to get your appetite going…   There are lots of other foodie events on this month, with serious and novel themes. Events include Dinner in the Dark (sold out), Dessert Degustation Walking Tour …

Auckland Restaurant Month 2015 – Events

Auckland Restaurant Month starts this weekend! I’ve picked out a few budget-friendly events for those foodies who can’t quite make the $200 pp events that are happening across Auckland (as much as we’d love to). Check back over the next few days as I share restaurant promotions in different price brackets ($25, $40 and $60) as well as Q&A with chefs, owners, food writers and food bloggers throughout the month. Foodie Films If you missed the two food documentaries at the recent Documentary Edge festival, here’s your chance to see both of them for free. Deli Man is playing this Saturday and For Grace next Saturday. Seating is on a “first in” basis. Deli Man Saturday 1 August, 12pm Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium (FREE) For Grace Saturday 8 August, 5pm Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium (FREE) More info here: http://www.documentaryedge.org.nz Street Eats Saturday 29 August, 10.30am – 8pm Shed 10, Queens Wharf $5 entry (Free entry for supervised children) Immensely popular gourmet market with street food from central city restaurants. Beer, wine, kids’ entertainment and live music. …

31. Welcome Eatery

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… A big space with business customers and very cheery staff. Their mantra is “Fast, Fresh & Friendly”. Some nice graphic elements (hand painted lettering) if you are into that sort of thing (I am). Come here for… Big smiles and a big feed. A good place to take clients to for a bite, coffee and a little work. The most interesting thing on the menu… Polenta with bean ragu and goats cheese Unexpectedly wonderful… Braised beef cheek sandwich, juicy and tender. I would come back to try… Some of the nice looking cabinet food. Client meetings with good food. Catering to… Breakfast and lunch office workers. The menu is short but evolving. Healthy and raw options. Heaps of cabinet food. Plenty of vegetarian options. Expect to spend… $10-$20 per person The service is… Overwhelmingly friendly. Very attentive. Avoid if… Friendly strangers frighten you. Welcome Eatery Orion Building, 181 Grafton …

30. Ortolana

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe.   The atmosphere is… An airy, light-filled conservatory space with a bistro/cafe inside. Beautifully designed, the space reflects the food. Ortolana is your cool cousin who went away for a year to study in Italy and came back with big words and designer clothes that made people either roll their eyes or immediately worship her. Come here for… Fancy European style food using fresh ingredients. They claim their food is simple I feel it’s verging on pretentious. The food has a lightness to it that will appeal to clean eaters. A menu worthy of it’s own Google Search or culinary dictionary. Some words feel like they’re made up. Best to close your eyes, point at something and hope it’s a good one. Could be a good place to impress someone. The most interesting thing on the menu… Things I cannot pronounce such as: Nooch Escabeche Stracciatella Gnudi Olio nuovo Fazzoletti Pillus Cotoletta Pangritata Unexpectedly wonderful… …

29. Besos Latinos

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Latin American art and motifs set the scene: flowers, candles, a water fountain and religious motifs. A big space with exposed brick walls and high ceilings. A hacienda courtyard comes to mind. Mexican artist Cecilia Mijangos, partner Executive Chef Luis Cabrera and their crew bring a uniquely authentic Latin American experience. The music is spot on. A lot fancier than your average taqueria (taco shop). Come here for… South American inspired food. Traditional dishes from Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Uruguay, Jamaica , as well as Latin American cocktails, wines and beers. Great for both groups and intimate dinners. The most interesting thing on the menu… Foot long tacos Palitos de Queso – Fried Blue cheese sticks wrapped in pastry stuffed with dried cranberries Venezuelan Arepa – Venezuelan corncake stuffed with cheese and beef or chicken Unexpectedly wonderful… Their classic margaritas Flan Frida Kahlo (creme caramel) …

28. Cafe People

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Gorgeous artwork by local artist Flox at the entrance. The cafe decor itself is all clean lines and white chairs. Pretty minimal.  Mostly families having brunch when we visited. Come here for… Brunch or lunch. The most interesting thing on the menu… Breakfast salad Croque Monsier Unexpectedly wonderful… Coffee Their baked beans I would come back to try… Moroccan lamb Catering to… Omnis and vegies. Vegetarian and gluten free options available but unmarked. Business lunch crowd, they have a boardroom that can be hired out. Expect to spend… $20-30 per person The service is… Friendly. Avoid if… You have another favourite brunch spot. This place won’t scratch that. Cafe People 38 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby Open 7 days http://www.cafepeople.co.nz  

27. Antoine’s

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Hushed but homely…if your home is an expensive house in Parnell. Feels posh but comfortable. Music playing at an almost inaudible level. On the evening we visited, there was more staff than diners. Come here for… Nostalgic (1970’s) fine dining with table service. We came to find out why Antoine’s has been in business for over 40 years. The most interesting thing on the menu… Sautéed lamb brains with leek tartare, black pudding, tempura snails and teriyaki vinaigrette Antoine’s tripe served in a cream, sherry, onion and green peppercorn sauce The specials of the day included a dish with a beef tendon spring roll Unexpectedly wonderful… The complimentary bread roll. The hushed, attentive service. Huge portions of meat which were very tender. I would come back to try… Their Chicken, leek and wild mushroom pie…if someone else was paying. I love pies so I’m just curious what a …

26. Maldito Mendez

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Strangely European for a South American/Latin spot. Come here for… Lots of small tasty snacks to be shared. Fresh food with bright flavours. The most interesting thing on the menu… Confit duck mole Unexpectedly wonderful… Tacos – they are not your average taco I would come back to try… Their ceviche Catering to… The Ponsonby crowd. Omnis and vegetarians. Vegetarian options unmarked. Vegan options available on request. Gluten free status unknown. Expect to spend… $30-$50 per person The service is… Good. Well oiled. Avoid if… You are on a budget. The dishes are small and you’ll probably want 2 or 3 dishes per person. Maldito Mendez Ponsonby Central, 4 Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland Open 7 days http://www.mendez.co.nz

25. Ironique

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Busy with unique decor to the Ironique theme. Lots of ambience. The small front opens up to a seating out back and even more seating outside. Come here for… Breakfast, brunch or lunch. All the usual suspects. They also serve dinner. The most interesting thing on the menu… Fried porridge Marinated squid salad Unexpectedly wonderful… Good coffee I would come back to try… Vegetarian big breakfast Catering to… Everyone. Gluten free and vegetarian options available. Eggs are free range. Expect to spend… $20-$30 per person. The service is… At the counter only. Avoid if… You want something a bit more unusual. Ironique Open 7 days http://ironique.freeiz.com/

24. Masu

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… A warm, honey interior with interesting architecture, several open kitchen areas and bar. Gets busy fast. There has been a lot of hype about Masu so understandably the place is humming. Come here for… 2014 Metro Magazine Restaurant of the Year Supreme Winner 2014 Metro Magazine Best New Restaurant 2014 Metro Magazine Best Smart Dining 2014 Metro Magazine Best Drinks List Finalist 2014 Metro Magazine Best Chef Finalist The most interesting thing on the menu… o-toro (fatty tuna) ise ebi no taco (crayfish, spicy miso taco) 100% japanese black wagyu beef sirloin – $100 per 150 grams Unexpectedly wonderful… Master stock baby back pork ribs, cashew nut, sancho salt. Tiger Tanaka – ginger-infused shochu, salted lychee and fresh ruby grapefruit, softened with sparkling sake. I would come back to try… More cocktails. Catering to… Japanese food lovers. Find diners. There is a dedicated gluten-free menu. Not many …

23. Lot23

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe.   The atmosphere is… Light and airy, though in a “hard to find, you’ll never find it if you didn’t know it was there” spot. A small covered outdoor area out front. Come here for… Amazing coffee and unusual cafe food. The most interesting thing on the menu… Island style raw fish with kumara crisps Unexpectedly wonderful… Mushroom Ragout I would come back to try… Island style raw fish with kumara crisps Catering to… Creatives mostly due to the other businesses in the building. Vegetarian options abound. Gluten free options might be available but not marked on menu. Expect to spend… $20-30 per person The service is… Friendly. At the counter. Avoid if… You need to be seen when you go out. Lot23 23 Minnie Street, Eden Terrace Open Monday to Saturday http://www.lot23.co.nz     

22. The Fridge

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… A busy neighbourhood cafe. Small in front, walk down the stairs, through their humming kitchen to more seating downstairs and outside. Come here for… Pies. Really good pies in a range of flavours. Some lovely cabinet food and sweet treats. The most interesting thing on the menu… Beef & Guinness pie Moroccan lamb pie Steak & mozzarella pie Unexpectedly wonderful… Pies of course! I am also addicted to their Chicken and bacon caesar wrap. The anchovy mayo is amazing. I would come back to try… All the pies. Catering to… Ominis and veges. Not much for gluten free diners but gluten free toast available on request. Expect to spend… $15-$30 per person The service is… At the counter, friendly and efficient. Kitchen and coffees a bit slow when they are busy. Best to stick to pies and cabinet food if you are hungry or in a hurry. Avoid if… …

21. Thirty Nine Cafe

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Front, typical cafe, out back in their outdoor area, it is bit more arty and funky. Could do with a reno though. Come here for… We have been coming here for a decade just for the bacon hash. I’ve tried a few other things on their menu but their bacon hash is just wonderful. When I go with friends, we order a table’s worth of bacon hash. The most interesting thing on the menu… The bacon hash. Unexpectedly wonderful… The bacon hash. I would come back to try… The bacon hash…again. Catering to… People who love honey bacon, roasted portabello mushrooms, a big hash brown, and shit-tons of hollandaise. Vegetarian options and gluten free options available. I dare you to swap the honey bacon for eggs to create a vege version of the bacon hash. Expect to spend… $20 per person The service is… At the counter. Friendly most …

20. Mamak Malaysian Restaurant

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Chancery Chic meets Malaysian street food. If you haven’t been to the Chancery, when it first opened, the cobble-stoned centre was very fancy. Now most of the stores have changed hands though the architecture remains. Very limited space inside so most of the seating is outdoors, they have heaters and big umbrellas for cold, wet nights. Come here for… Home made style Malaysian street food. A small selection of Malaysian main courses, drinks and appetisers. All at a food hall prices. Lots of tasty appetisers which are great for sharing. The most interesting thing on the menu… Nasi Lemak with ikan bilis (fried anchovies) Spicy soft shell crab Unexpectedly wonderful… Roti – made on site Beef Rendang Satay Chicken I would come back to try… Their laksa – These steaming bowls of spiced noodles are are huge and popular. I must see what the fuss is about. Catering to… Omni, …

19. DeBretts Kitchen

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… An expansive atrium that is brightly lit and surprisingly warm. A bit posh with bright coloured furniture and arty decor. What you might expect for an upmarket hotel restaurant. Come here for… Date night, special occasions, fine food and drink. The most interesting thing on the menu… Welsh rarebit souffle with quail egg, caramelised onion, rye Roasted hapuka, spiced pumpkin, wild rice, yoghurt Roasted quail with butter milk, baby beetroot, puff grain, sour cherry Unexpectedly wonderful… The artistic, thoughtful desserts Both pink breast and tender confit in their duck dish I would come back to try… The pre-show dinner ($45 for 2 courses and a glass of wine). The $35 lunch special which includes an entree, main and dessert served in one course and a glass of wine. Catering to… Limited menu catering to most appetites. No allergy info marked on menu.  Only one vegetarian starter and one …

Anticipating Street Eats 2014

A highlight of Auckland Restaurant Month is Street Eats this Saturday. Once again in the covered Shed 10 on Queens Wharf, this is a free, family-friendly event. See my review of the first Street Eats last year here. Last year, my friend Coco and I sampled five different $5 dishes between us for $25 plus a $6 beer each making it less than $20 per person. Staying pretty true to street food, we ate deep fried food, food on sticks and pizza. This year I might splash out with $30 or $40 so I can try a few more dishes and perhaps another tipple. I hope they have the deep fried milk again (pictured top row, middle). It’s been a year since I had it and I’m hoping I can eat it again. If you have never tried deep fried milk, you are missing out. It’s like eating the silkiest deep fried custard. It’s magic. Worth burning your mouth for. Tips for Street Eats Bring an appetite Bring a friend to share dishes with Bring cash (the EFTPOS line …

18. Ima Cuisine

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Warm and cozy. Bookshelves full of books, a welcoming mural, beautifully patterned lit ceiling and low light make for lovely ambience. On the quiet end of Fort Street, once you are inside you feel like you’ve stepped into another world. The smallish dining area can feel a bit noisy and full though so be prepared if you’re looking for a quiet night out. Come here for… Middle Eastern, Israeli and North African inspired healthy and hearty food. Ima means mother in Hebrew and family-style dining is celebrated here. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The most interesting thing on the menu… Brik – North African delicacy. A crisp fried parcel with fresh tuna preserved lemon and a soft cooked egg The range of vegetarian sides Unexpectedly wonderful… Mezze – especially the spice roasted cauliflower Arab rice – lentil pine nuts almonds pistachios and caramelized onions I would come back to try… …

17. Cereal Killa

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe. The atmosphere is… Busy, airy and light but located in a crappy part of Dominion Road. Come here for… Not your average brunch. Eating on the way to/from weekend morning errands. The most interesting thing on the menu… Coconut porridge with pear, ginger and rhubarb. Unexpectedly wonderful… Their coffee. I would come back to try… Pancakes with bacon, banana, vanilla mascarpone & blueberry caramel Creamy herbed mushrooms on sour dough Catering to… Everyone. Plenty of vegetarian options and gluten free bread available on request. Kid friendly: there are 6 items on their kids menu. Expect to spend… $20-$30 per person The service is… Friendly and efficient. We had a few different servers but we were watered, coffees and fed in quick succession. Avoid if… You don’t like people experimenting with your breakfast. Cereal Killa 360 Dominion Road, Mt Eden Open 7 days http://www.cerealkilla.co.nz