Auckland Travel Guide
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RESTAURANTS

ANTOINE'S
333 Parnell Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/379-8756
Over $25
Parnell
Contemporary
Owners Tony and Beth Astle have run this stately institution for more than a quarter century, and it still enjoys a reputation as the special-occasion spot in town. The decor is old-style stately, the service immaculate, and the food classy. Tony is still at the stove, and his menu reads as if it were designed by a chef half his age. You'll find classics such as braised lamb shanks and creamy tripe along with inventive dishes such as seaweed and garlic flan topped with oysters, whitebait, and flying-fish roe, or a tuna trio presenting the rich red flesh sliced thinly as carpaccio, chopped as tartare, and sliced, seared, and tucked inside a spring roll. The wine list is extensive and international. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. No lunch Sat.


ATOMIC CAFÉ
121 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/376-4954
Under $15
Ponsonby
Eclectic
Chris Priestley was a Ponsonby pioneer, and he still runs one of the best coffee bars on the strip. There's food for vegetarians, vegans, macrobiotics, meat-eaters, and even children. Young ones are catered to in the outside courtyard, where scattered toys and other distractions keep them amused while you nibble on rice bowls or eclectic salads, followed by coffee made from beans roasted on the premises. The decor is bohemian, and the service is supercasual and friendly. No credit cards. BYOB. No dinner Sat.-Wed.


BURGER WISCONSIN
168 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/360-1894
Under $15
Ponsonby
American/Casual
Traveling Americans consistently rate Wisconsin's five Auckland outlets the best burger joints in town. The bunned delights include chicken breast with cream cheese and apricot sauce, Malaysian satay (marinated, grilled meat skewers), bacon and beef with coconut mayonnaise, and a vegetarian soy and sesame-seed burger. At this branch you can order your burger to go, then wander over to nearby Western Park. AE, DC, MC, V.


CIN CIN ON QUAY
Auckland Ferry Bldg., 99 Quay St., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/307-6966
$20 to Over $25
city center
Contemporary
Auckland's original seaside brasserie is still one of the best. Look for innovative pizza -- tandoori chicken with avocado-mango chutney and red onion has been here since day one -- and clever selections like rare, peppered yellowfin tuna with a green-tea noodle salad and sesame dressing. The wine list includes several vintages of local icons like Kumeu River Chardonnay and Stonyridge Larose. If you're in town on the weekend, reserve an outside table overlooking the harbor for the good-value breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V.


DIZENGOFF
256 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/360-0108
Under $15 to $20
Ponsonby
Israeli
The food is Jewish, though not strictly kosher, and with owner-chef Brendan Turner at the helm, it's right up to the minute. The most popular breakfast dish is a combination of eggs, lox, and butter sauce on a brioche. At lunch try the beet salad -- Brendan mixes baby beets with fava beans in a balsamic dressing, then layers on extra flavor with pesto and shaved Parmesan. AE, DC, MC, V. No dinner.


GPK
262 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/360-1113
$15 to $25
Ponsonby
Pizza
The initials stand for Gourmet Pizza Kitchen or Gourmet Pizza Konnection -- take your pick. This corner eatery was the city's pioneer posh-pizza place and soon afterward spawned a sister establishment at 234 Dominion Road, Mt. Eden. Some of the toppings would make a traditionalist squirm (tandoori chicken with banana and yogurt), but there are plenty of offerings more typically Italian. The wine and beer list is impressively comprehensive. Reservations not accepted. AE, DC, MC, V.


HARBOURSIDE SEAFOOD BAR AND GRILL
Auckland Ferry Bldg., 99 Quay St., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/307-0486
Over $25
city center
Seafood
Overlooking the water from the upper level of the restored ferry building, this sprawling, modish seafood restaurant is great for warm-weather dining. Some of the finest New Zealand fish and shellfish, including tuna, salmon, snapper, pipi, and tuatua, appear on a menu with a fashionably Mediterranean accent. Lobster fresh from the tank is a house specialty. Non-fish-eaters have their choice of cervena (farmed venison), lamb, and poultry. On warm nights, reserve ahead and request a table outside on the deck. AE, DC, MC, V.


IGUAÇÚ
269 Parnell Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/309-4124
$15 to Over $25
Parnell
Eclectic
With flares blazing near the entrance, a terra-cotta tiled floor, enormous mirrors in Mexican metalwork frames, a glass ceiling, and a pair of chandeliers made from copper tubing, the decor borrows from several cultures, and the vast menu follows suit. The kitchen goes nationalistic with fritters based on tuatua (shellfish) and kumara, served with mayo flavored with kina (sea urchin) roe. Or you might find yellowfin tuna, crusted with sesame seeds, seared, and arranged over Malaysian noodles and a papaw salsa. Locals come to see and be seen as much as to enjoy the food. AE, DC, MC, V.


KERMADEC
1st floor, Viaduct Quay Bldg., Quay and Lower Hobson Sts., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/309-0413 brasserie; 09/309-0412 restaurant
$15 to $25
city center
Contemporary
This complex's two restaurants are owned by a major fishing company, so naturally, the chefs lean on seafood. Both places have harborside views and dramatic Pacific-theme decor. In the more casual brasserie, start with shellfish, and then seek the kitchen's advice on the best way to enjoy the catch of the day. The adjacent Ocean Fresh restaurant prepares great sushi and sashimi, or you could try herb-crusted orange roughy (a mild fish) on citrus and kumara rösti (sweet potato fritters). Can't decide? Share a platter -- it will probably include smoked salmon, scallops, prawns, mussels, smoked eel, scampi, John Dory, and snapper. Desserts are equally imaginative. AE, DC, MC, V.


MEXICAN CAFÉ
67 Victoria St. W, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/373-2311
$15 to $20
city center
Mexican
The worn red paint on the steps leading to this lively favorite says it all. Get to this restaurant at least half an hour ahead of time and join the crowds at the bar. Over the years, this spot has grown from 24 seats to 140. People go as much for the noisy, friendly atmosphere as they do for the food -- though the dishes aren't chopped liver. The menu is packed with traditional choices such as nachos, tacos, and enchiladas. Don't get tucked away in a corner table unless you want to linger and soak up the atmosphere. AE, DC, MC, V.


NON SOLO PIZZA
259 Parnell Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/379-5358
$15 to Over $25
Parnell
Italian, Pizza
The name means "not only pizza," and that tells it like it is. This uncompromisingly Italian eatery offers pasta as a single serving or in table-sharing bowls that feed four or more. Try the eggplant, panfried and layered with mozzarella, tomato, basil, and Parmesan, or look for spaghetti with fresh cockles. And there's always pizza with traditional toppings followed by a masterfully prepared green salad. The same team runs Toto, on the other side of town, so if you can't get a seat here, ask if the sister restaurant is also full. AE, DC, MC, V.


NUMBER 5 WINE BISTRO
5 City Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/309-9273
$15 to $25
city center
Contemporary
The sign outside declares "Life is too short to drink bad wine." Accordingly, the New Zealand wine list here is equipped to prevent such a mishap, with a vast selection by the glass as well the bottle. Unlike most high-end restaurants, they're happy to serve just a small dish with a glass of wine if that's all you feel like eating. But there are some tasty main courses, too, like the veal with rustic potato salad and marinated tomatoes. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. No lunch.


PROVENCE
44 Ponsonby Rd., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/376-8147
$15 to Over $25
Ponsonby
French
You'll think you've swapped continents when you step into this small but perfectly formed restaurant. Chef Laurance Brunacci's food is thoroughly Gallic. Snails, brains, rabbit, pig's trotters, duck -- you'll find them all in various guises, and they will all be delicious. The wine list, too, has French leanings, but nationalism is sensibly suspended to give New Zealand bottles pride of place. AE, DC, MC, V.


SBF
Sheraton Auckland Hotel and Towers, 83 Symonds St., Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09/379-5132
Over $25
city center
Contemporary
Once called the Steam Biscuit Factory, this restaurant kept the initials and now offers one of Auckland's most diverse buffets. At the centerpiece noodle bar, you can select the raw ingredients, give them to the chef, and watch him stir-fry your choices with a touch of ginger, chili, and soy. Take a do-it-yourself approach with a Caesar salad, or choose from sushi or other fish dishes. You can finish up with a cool sorbet or New Zealand cheese and fruit. AE, DC, MC, V.

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