News and Views

Christmas Day Restaurants

Posted by Website Admin on December 09, 2018

Auckland Christmas Day Restaurants

If you’re visiting Auckland over the Christmas break, here’s a selection of top restaurants serving up festive fare on 25th December. Visitors (and smart locals) can relax and celebrate Christmas Day in style at any of these five top Auckland restaurants. Bookings essential. 

Hotel Grand Windsor - Queen St, City

This luxury hotel on Queen Street serves up an exclusive Christmas menu in the Cooke’s Restaurant & Bar, with the options of a Christmas Day High Tea, a Champagne Christmas Breakfast or a traditional Christmas Day Lunch.  Lunch features a five-course menu filled with traditional festive food like turkey and gingerbread ice cream with wine pairings.

Eight Restaurant - Cordis Hotel, Symonds St, City 
On Christmas Day, you don’t just eat, you feast at  Eight Restaurant located at Cordis Hotel. Eight’s year-round buffet will be spruced up for Christmas Day to feature leg of ham and all the Christmas classics New Zealanders love to eat. 

The Sugar Club - Sky Tower, City

Enjoy Christmas Day in style at Sky Tower’s The Sugar Club .
Head chef Josh Barlow is showcasing an innovative four-course set menu for the day featuring New Zealand’s freshest and finest produce.  Includes both lunch and dinner sittings with an incredible views of course!

DeBrett's Kitchen - High Street, City

Book into DeBrett's Kitchen for a delicious four-course meal and a Christmas-themed cocktail. The menu features insalata caprese, cranberry glazed roast turkey and traditional Christmas steamed pudding with brandy butter.  What better way to celebrate the day than to indulge in the classy ambience of this boutique hotel.

Grand Mercure Auckland - Customs Street, City

The Grand Mercure Christmas menu  is designed by Chef Daniel Na and showcases the traditional Christmas eats but with a modern twist. Enjoy freshly shucked oysters, cured salmon, fresh sushi followed by roast turkey stuffed with sweet Medjool dates and honey glazed ham.  

No matter where you dine, have a wonderful Christmas and book a small-group walking tour to enjoy the festive lights and city highlights. 

Reproduced in part from Urban List

Auckland's best beef and lamb

Posted by Website Admin on December 05, 2018

Auckland’s best beef and lamb

New Zealand is renowned for its world-class meat and a question we often get asked is ‘which Auckland restaurants serve up the best beef and lamb?’ The New Zealand Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards have just been announced for 2018. The Gold Plate award recognises the city chefs transforming tender meat cuts into lip-smacking fine cuisine.

As a taster, imagine waterfront bistro Giraffe’s eye-fillet steak served with beetroot, shiitake mushrooms, hollandaise and duck fat chips.  Or their rack of lamb accompanied by kumara toast, lamb croquette, mint sauce, and mountain yoghurt.

If you’re a meat lover, look for the restaurants displaying the Beef and Lamb Excellence Award gold plate on their wall.  It’s here you can expect tasty, skillfully composed and superbly presented beef and lamb dishes.

Auckland Beef and Lamb Excellence Winners for 2018

Cibo Parnell - Parnell

Knights on Albert, Stamford Plaza Hotel  - Central Auckland

MASU - Central Auckland

Giraffe - Central Auckland

The Square, Novotel Auckland - Airport Auckland

Mr Toms - Ponsonby

Queen's Head Bar & Eatery, Four Points by Sheraton - Central Auckland

Oyster and Chop - Central Auckland

Jervois Steakhouse - Herne Bay

Pilkingtons - Central Auckland

Ampersand Eatery - Central Auckland

Our Taste Auckland walking tour includes recommendations on the top spots to eat, shop and go. So bon appetit and put your best foot forward as our small-group or private walking tours are the best place to start.

Source: Restaurant Hub Dec'18

 

Auckland’s Top Vegan Cafes

Posted by Website Admin on November 15, 2018

Auckland’s Top Vegan Finds 

Auckland’s vegan visitors are now spoilt for choice for plant-based eating in New Zealand’s largest city. Vegan’s don’t eat any products sourced from animals including honey. Basically anything that uses an animal’s time, flesh or energy is off the table. Not just meat, chicken or fish but eggs and diary too. Which means you'll need to milk an almond to get a latte coffee!
This years' Google Trends analysis of New Zealand-based queries for ‘vegan’ were double those for ‘vegetarian’ or ‘gluten-free’. Vegan eating is riding a wave. 
Fortunately supermarket’s like Countdown Grey Lynn have clicked onto supplying vegan customers. They stock a wide range of vegan products like meatless-meat made from pea protein, vegan ice cream, coconut yoghurt, almond milk and diary-free cheese.

Luckily plant-based cafes and restaurants have spouted in central Auckland. Here's the top vegan cafes and bakeries we've sampled in the city. 
 

Tart Bakery - St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Rd
Try Tart’s plant-based brilliance in the shape of a warm almond croissant with its flaky almond-crusted outer and gooey centre.  Or select from vegan-made danishes, cronuts, ‘meat’ pies, ‘sausage’ rolls, sandwiches and their famed (coconut) cream doughnuts. All of this and a freshly brewed coffee (frothed with your choice of nut milk) and you’ll understand why Tart was named New Zealand bakery of the year by NZ Herald readers.

Rabbit Cafe - St Benedicts St, Newton
A wonderful curated menu of core dishes and the flexibility to add sides like their awesome creamy mushrooms. This uptown cafe is worth the walk and is also popular with non-vegans. Don’t miss the divine cakes at the counter like their chocolate peanut butter slice, sticky orange-almond cake or coconut ice.

The Butcher’s Son - Jervois Rd, Herne Bay
New v-kid on the block, this ironically named cafe opened recently with a daytime vegan menu which includes bowls and burgers. Not a butcher’s steak or sausage in sight, we love their arancini mushroom balls and pakora bites. The dessert cabinet features chocolate cheesecake and a Kiwi-classic, the jellytip slice.

Misters - Wyndham St, Auckland CBD
City worker bees head to Misters for plenty of vegan, vegetarian and grain free choices. Smoothies, juices, coffee, breakfast and lunch options made from the best local, seasonal organic produce, Everything from their kitchen is 100% gluten free and dairy free. We also like their takeaway packaging too which is entirely compostable.

Hector’s at the Heritage, Hobson St, Central Auckland
This major hotel has jumped into vegan dining with a plant-based menu offering items like pumpkin nut ravioli toasted hazelnuts, cashew nut ricotta, with sage “butter”. Their Monday night vegan-degustation menu is proving popular as you dine under a canopy of palms in a dramatic seven-storey atrium. The restaurant sources most of their produce within a 50-kilometre radius from local growers and suppliers and a section of the kitchen is entirely animal-product free, right through to the coffee machine using only non-dairy mylks.

Unbakery Cafe - Little Bird Organics - Customs Street East, downtown Auckland 
Everything in their cabinet is vegan,gluten-free, dairy-free, refined cane sugar-free, soy free and tastes amazing.  We can’t go past their raspberry cacao brownie, ferrero ‘rawcha’ or famous green-hued matcha cheesecake. If you’re visiting Auckland, check it out and take a flick through the pages of their recipe books too.

We happily recommend these eateries and more to vegan visitors on our Hello Auckland walking tours because everyone deserves a great meal out!

Auckland's best Fish and Chips?

Posted by Website Admin on October 15, 2018

Auckland's best fish and chips?

One of the most common questions we get asked by visitors is ‘where can we try some really good Kiwi fish and chips?’

It’s widely known that New Zealand produces some of the best seafood or kaimoana in the world and Friday night ‘fish’n’chips’ is a long time tradition in many Kiwi households. But many of the takeaway joints or seafood restaurants the locals’ frequent are out in the ‘burbs which is inconvenient for visitors. So here’s our list of the top five fish and chip places in central Auckland, based on our genuine independent and unbiased opinion. 

Oceanz at North Wharf

Set alongside the Auckland fish market, you can be assured of fresh fish here.  What the outdoor eating area lacks in ambience is offset by the knowledge that Auckland’s commercial fishing trawlers offload the catch of the day right out front. Also it’s where the locals line up most weekends for their take away fish and chips. Grab a single-serve box of battered or crumbed fish, slather your chips with tomato sauce and head for North Wharf. Savor your lip-smacking takeaways while dangling your legs over the wharf’s edge and admire the Harbour views. Watch out for the greedy seagulls though!

The CrabShack at Princess Wharf

A cross between a waterfront pub and seafood shack, this eatery specialises in seafood. Crabs, fish, mussels, tuatuas and much more. But we’re focussed on their ‘fush’n’chups’ as us Kiwis say. And the CrabShack doesn’t disappoint especially as the fish comes beer-battered with tartare sauce and their specialty ‘Shack slaw'. Your table comes with enjoyable views across to Queens Wharf, the Cloud and Auckland’s ferry terminal. 

The Seafood Kitchen - Elliott Stables, Elliot Street

One of the few midtown eateries serving Kiwi-style beer battered fish and chips.  But also so much more from pan-fried fish in lemon butter to coconut-marinated Kokonda to crispy-skinned Hapuka. Don’t be put off by the food court setting, this place is seriously good, blending Pasifika flavours with craft-style cooking. The Head Chef is a Kiwi who was trained in New Zealand and has over 20 years of craft food experience in Australasia.

Jack Tar - North Wharf

Set in a heritage red shed, the last remaining one on North Wharf, you can enjoy views of the bustling waterfront while you await the restaurant’s top selling lightly beer battered fish and chips. This place also does amazing fish tacos and herb-dusted calamari.  Jack Tar is a popular Sunday lunch spot with locals keen to enjoy a brew on two at the sunny tables outside. You could even cast a hand line over the wharf’s edge while you wait for your order to arrive. Why not? It’s the Kiwi thing to do. 

Harbour Side - Ferry Building, Quay Street

Market fish, hand cut chips, mushy peas, baby cos, lemon and tartare sauce. This is Harbourside’s signature fish and chips. Arguably Auckland’s best located seafood restaurant, Harbourside showcases the freshest seasonal produce and the best views of the harbour. It’s where local seafood lovers go for a special occasion or to take visitors they wish to impress. Highly recommended for a slap-up meal and excellent service.

Of course, this Kiwi classic meal features on many restaurant menus around the city. But we like the fact that all the featured eateries are also within walking distance of the popular city hotels where visitors stay. We love recommending great places to eat and drink on our Hello Auckland walking tour so hop on board to discover where the locals' go.

Top picks for Auckland Heritage Festival

Posted by Website Admin on September 26, 2018

Top picks for Auckland Heritage Festival 2018
From 29 September to 14 October

This is one of our favorite festivals as the colourful characters and diverse cultures of Auckland are bought to life by the city’s historians, commentators and social anthropologists over a magical two weeks of walks, talks, exhibitions and market days. 

Explore the secret gardens of Government house, the sacred spaces of the beautiful Bharatiya Mandir Hindu temple or marvel at Gottfried Lindauer’s majestic Maori portraits. Tour Eden Park with historians, stroll across the Museum's rooftop or join a guided walk along K’Road to celebrate Pasifika settlement. There’s such a vibrant programme on offer and something to suit all ages. 

We revel in the fascinating heritage stories and secrets behind our vibrant city and have highlighted a few events which have captured our eye. Many of the events are free to the public.  

Maori Art in the heart of the city
Saturday 6 October, 10.30am-12 noon. Helen Clark Room, Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place
Join leading art historian and curator Linda Tyler for a public talk and a guided walk of city centre artworks created by reknowned Maori artists. The modernist movement emerged in 1960s, with Maori artists forging a new national identity of indigenous art. The city centre has a significant collection of legacy public works made by five Maori artists including Ralph Hotere, Fred Graham, Selwyn Muru, Paratene Matchitt and Arnold Manaaki Wilson. Their works are part of the city centre public art collection. Photographs of the artists and their art will be on display at the Ellen Melville Centre.

Auckland Museum rooftop tour
Monday 8 to Friday 12 October, 11am and 12 noon, Auckland Museum, Parnell
Cost  $15

We just love a good rooftop stroll and this one affords spectacular views. Auckland Museum's South Crescent rooftop will be open for special tours during the Heritage Festival.Take advantage of this rare chance to get up high and learn more about a beloved heritage building, the people who built it and the ongoing role of kaitiaki (guardians), working to restore and preserve its features.

Government House Garden Walkabout
Saturday 13 October, 10am-11.30am.  Entry is through the Savannah Street gate (near the entrance to Eden Gardens), off Omana Ave.

Not sure if the Governor General will be in residence, but this tour provides a rare opportunity to get behind the security gates of this elegant residence and learn about some of Auckland’s finest trees. The Tree Council is presenting guided walking tours of the heritage trees planted by early settlers in the historic setting of Government House.Leading the tour are the Government House Auckland Garden team and Dr Mike Wilcox, author of Auckland's Remarkable Urban Forest.
 

The path of Karangahape: Te ara o Karangahape 
Thursday 4 and 11 October, 11am-1pm. Pigeon Park, south-eastern cnr of 120 Symonds St Cemetery

Join Pita Turei to explore the history of Karangahape and the significance to Maori of the city's strategic ridge line, now a busy uptown retail strip.
Until the middle of the 20th century Karangahape Road was the only street in central Auckland with a Maori name as it predated the European settlement.
The Symonds Street and Karangahape Road ridges are part of the walking route used by Maori to reach the Manukau Harbour. This track was known as Te Ara o Karangahape or The Path of Karangahape.

For the full Auckland Heritage Festival kicking off from September 29, click here . Or book onto any of our small-group Auckland walking tours to discover more about the city's history from a professional local guide.