It seems like there’s a fresh place to dine every week, and Tāmaki Makaurau has been lucky with its new openings over the last few months. Here are eight new spots to check off your hit list.
For juicy tacos and a killer Margarita: Tacoteca, City Works Depot
Head to the former Food Truck Garage space on Wellesley Street West for this new Mexican restaurant from the La Fuente team that’s getting rave reviews – and it’s easy to see why. We’ve tried the poblano chile chilaquiles with green salsa, the smoky roasted cabbage taco, fish taco and beef suadero taco. Everything’s punchy, moist, crunchy and smoky in all the right places. Seeing as it was a lunchtime visit, the non-alcoholic Margarita went down a treat as one of the best we’ve tried – with or without tequila.
For unimpeachably excellent pastries: Mor Bakery, Remuera
The queue on opening day spoke volumes; Auckland is overjoyed to embrace a permanent Mor Bakery. The new flagship opened just last weekend, and its bespoke wooden cabinet is filled to the brim with all the Mor favourites and many new ones. Pull up at the window seat for a Supreme coffee and an almond croissant – or three. They’re also doing sandwiches on house-made focaccia or Florets bread, and will be using the space to prep catering for events.
For Latin food with soul and a story: Tempero, Karangahape Road
This might be Brazil-born chef and founder Fabio Bernardini’s first New Zealand venue, but he has impressive credentials. Among them: a year as executive sous-chef at Mexico City’s Pujol (currently number nine on the World’s Best 50 list) and head chef at Mr Morris in Auckland. He’s now bringing his knowledge and his food story to Karangahape Road, showcasing high-quality Latin food that takes inspiration from Brazil, Mexico, Peru and beyond in the renovated former Peach Pit space. Start your meal with pao de quijo (cheese bread) that comes as five piping hot, cheese scone-like balls, then try the acarajé – a crispy-shelled black-eyed pea and onion cake that’s a common street food in Brazil – before moving onto octopus with pipian (green sauce with pumpkin seeds) and pico de gallo (fresh salsa). All while sipping on a white tempranillo from Spain, a glass of natty or a limonada (Brazilian lemonade).
For punchy Korean flavours and ranging influences: Aigo Noodle Bar, Newmarket
As of late May, the popular Ponsonby restaurant now has a sibling in Newmarket, with several new dishes that you won’t find at the original – while still blending Korean flavours with Italian techniques. Try the haemul tteokbboki – seafood rice cakes – with cloudy bay clams, a scampi broth, prawn mince, chilli, and an XO crumb; the barbequed cabbage with miso butter and sesame dressing; or linger over a T-bone steak with soy mustard, onion brulee and confit garlic. There’s also a larger wine list to choose from, with natural wines that pair well with the restaurant’s bold, punchy flavours. They range from light, fresh whites and sparkling to rich, textural oranges, juicy chilled reds and complex, powerful drops such as the Terroir Project cabernet sauvignon.
For excellent brews, bagels and vibe: Everyday Coffee, Sandringham
Sandringham’s favourite new neighbourhood go-to opened at the beginning of June, and has won plenty of instant fans for its topnotch coffee (Allpress on the espresso machine, or rotating independent brewers for the filter), its filled bagel menu and warm wooden interior. Founders Sarah and Janusz Choromanski were living in Melbourne and running Coburg’s Good Times Coffee when they returned to Aotearoa after 13 years overseas. Bagel-wise, you might get pisupo (corned beef), which is a Pacific take on a Reuben – or the Stan’s Deluxe, named after Janusz’s Polish father and containing pastrami, cream cheese, pickle and sauerkraut with hot and sweet mustard.
For a food court with a difference: Rose Alley, Grey Lynn
A passion project from two brothers who grew up in the Ponsonby and Grey Lynn area, Rose Alley has been dubbed a “co-op food, drink and office space”. It’s now open, and while there are another couple of vendors still to come between now and summertime, you can head up the stairs from Rose Road and order bubble tea from sweet kiosk Twentea; woodfired pizzeria Pizza Monkey and cocktails, wine and beer (as well as bar snacks) from Bar Beluga in the glass-roofed, courtyard-like space. Founders Greg and Malcolm Campbell have lots of plans for the arcade, so stay tuned as it’s fully realised, and get acquainted with the new food outlets, all of whom are first-time solo operators.
For tasty, affordable dumplings and noodles: Dumpling Hours, CBD
Dumpling Hours was buzzing when we visited on a dreary winter Tuesday, its light pink and white chairs nearly all occupied with students and city workers on their lunch breaks. It comes as no surprise – the Wellesley Street East diner serves an array of warming dishes from pork wontons in chilli oil to steaming xiaolongbao and spicy dan dan noodles. And the best part? Every dish is $12. Some are bigger or smaller than others, but you could feasibly walk away having paid just that for a relatively generous bowl of braised beef noodle soup or mapo tofu. Sharing a bunch of plates is ideal, that way you can chase your crispy popcorn chicken with cucumber salad and a side of egg fried rice. For a refreshing finisher, try the chilled mango sago pudding – almost like a tropical smoothie in a bowl.
For a family-style welcome and great Mediterranean food: The Greek House, Point Chevalier
The meze platters are generous and the shish tawook is tender at the Point Chev village's newest addition. Run by brother and sister duo Amjad and Asma Al Said, The Greek House's menu is more far-reaching than the name suggests with Middle Eastern and wider Mediterranean influences. Amjad worked as a chef for 12 years in Malaysia before coming to New Zealand, and while Asma hasn’t cooked professionally before, she and her brother have been behind the stoves since they were very young. “Our mum taught us well,” she told Broadsheet. Order a mosaic of smooth house-made hummus, tzatziki, chunky baba ganoush, dolma and a punchy fattouche salad (all served with Turkish bread) and explore the barbeque menu, as that’s their pride and joy. To finish, don't miss their knafeh – a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with pastry, syrup, nuts and satisfyingly stretchy cheese.