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Auckland - CBD recos needed

We need recos for three dinners next month (Feb). We're staying at the CityLife Hotel on Queen St. so it would be good if the places were within 15 minutes walking distance. We're quite adventurous, so pretty much anything goes.

Come to think of it, probably need a breakfast place too as the hotel's resto doesn't get good reviews.

Thanks in advance

Toronto, Canada

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  1. John:

    I visit Auckland every two years. You can do a search on this board for common responses to your question. When I was there in January 2010 I had a very nice meal at Soul Bar and Bistro in the Viaduct Basin (easy walk from your hotel). I generally hit Kermadec (basically next door to Soul) which has great seafood. If you are interested in mussels (and you should try the NZ green-lipped mussels at some point) go to The Occidental on Vulcan Ln, right off lower Queen St. For cheaper fare, go to Food Alley on Albert St (parallel to Queen) for a wide selection of Asian food (don't let the name fool you). I have also enjoyed Euro on the Princes Wharf. Although it is probably further than 15 minutes away, Clooney is supposed to be great. All of the places I have mentioned have websites. I really like the gelato at the shop in the Ferry Building although the shop near the movie theaters on Queen St. is also good. If you want a quick burger you can try Burger Fuel also next to the theaters. You can see restaurant reviews on the New Zealand Herald website and you can pick up a copy of Cuisine magazine to get the latest. I can't really help much with breakfast since I usually just grab a muffin at one of the cafes.

    1. Vulcan Lane and surrounds is good for breakfast options.

      1. Thanks folks. I am looking for recos near the hotel as we probably won't be going too far with limited time.

        Keep 'em coming!

        1. Hey John,
          I just posted about a really nice meal at Foodstore at the Viaduct (it's opposite Kermadec, which looks great).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Matthiasb

            Thanks Matthias. Looks like we will be off to the Viaduct then as there are several places there.

          2. No disrespect to the previous advice .. The viaduct is okay, but a lot of the restaurants there are overpriced and a bit touristy.. Kermadec does have good seafood and Soul bar is an institution but both are on the higher end of the scale price wise.. Don't go to Portafino etc. or you will be disappointed. Grand Harbor is fantastic for some of the best Yum Cha in the world (and I live in Asia!) If you want a quick interesting meal at a good price the Mezze bar is great and just a short hop from your hotel, http://www.mezzebar.co.nz/menu.htm For breakfast Shenkin is fantastic and very close to your hotel again, http://www.menumania.co.nz/restaurant... And I think someone else recommended Occidental hotel in Vulcan lane for Mussel pots - this is a must do if you like the mollusk.
            I would suggest venturing to Ponsonby one evening, it is literally a 7 - 10 min cab ride, Ponsonby Bistro and Prego are both worth checking out, and if you end up there during the day Bambina is fantastic for breakfast or lunch.

            If you want to grab healthy take out there are a bunch of sushi places in the city which are pretty good as well as lots of little Asian and Middle Eastern places too.
            Hope this helps!

            2 Replies
            1. re: brigide

              I'm heading to Auckland on Thursday. Any tips for Sushi?

              1. O'Connell St Bistro for dinner, 5 minutes walk from your hotel. Amazing. Kitchen at Hotel DeBrett for Breakfast, 5 mins away as well (very close to O'Connell St). Vulcan Lane is across the road and two minutes down from the Queen St entrance of your hotel and is great for a variety of decent breakfasts and lunches. High Street has a couple of places as well, Cima was a haunt in my student days, but I'd probably only go there for a fry-up and coffee now (and did last time I was home). I'd also avoid the Viaduct, because I'm a biased Aucklander - unless you were planning on a high-end seafood restaurant. Take the short trip up to Ponsonby Road for more amazing cafes and great dinners - SPQR is an old favourite of mine, especially when someone else was paying.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ultimatepotato

                  I'm in Auckland on Thursday, any other breakfast recommendations?

                  1. re: kersizm

                    If you can travel my favourite places were Orvieto (well out of the CBD into the suburbs, so only if you have a car, because our buses are rubbish) or cafe 39 on Ponsonby Road (not that bad from Queen St, Ponsonby Road is walkable, or a short cab ride or a link bus from the centre of town). Alleluya Cafe in St Kevins Arcade on Karangahape Road (known locally as K Road if you need to ask for directions) is good, but not open super early (I think it usually opens about 9).

                    I see above you were looking for Sushi - my pics would be Bian Sushi on Symonds Street (also a place up there called Banzai that I never tried). Also Tanuki - Sushi and Sake upstairs, downstairs in the cave is yakitori and donburi etc. Soto in Ponsonby is more of a restaurant, but does platters. Shochiku is a great place high on Queen St for teppan-yaki mainly (their sushi is ok, but it's not their specialty). If you want a quick, cheap lunch rather than a sit down place or theatrical dinner, their is a great tiny hole-in-the wall sushi place in the aforementioned Vulcan Lane, a Sushi Train tucked away obscurely in the viaduct and (my secret food court shame) a great counter in a mall called the Atrium - one side-street back from Queen St.

                    1. re: ultimatepotato

                      I was trying to remember OConnell Bistro - their hare ragu with papardelle is fabulous. And isn't there a wine bar opposite that is the offspring of a more famous restaurant (Number 5?)