Three Aucklanders share their go-to spots in the city.
Chef/TV host/owner of Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar
“Some of my favorite places to eat: Coco’s Cantina ($$$), in the CBD, has great food—risotto balls, bruschetta, and polenta fries; it’s casual to a fault, but super fun. Barilla Dumpling (571 Dominion Rd.; 64-9/638-8032; $) is for down-and-dirty late-night snacking—wobbly tables and fluorescent lights set the stage for house-made dumplings from another stratosphere. On Waiheke Island, I love to go saltwater fly-fishing for large snapper off the rocky outcroppings.”
Interior designer and owner of Everyday Needs housewares boutique
“In the suburb of Ellerslie, Mexican Specialities ($$) is a well-guarded secret; it’s only open for lunch Thursdays through Saturdays, and is slightly off the beaten track, but worth the trek. The Golden Dawn ($$) has the best seasonal food, craft beer, and natural wines in Auckland, not to mention great live music. On summer afternoons, I like to walk on the black-sand Bethells Beach, take a quick dip in the sea, then grab a West Coast burger with kumera chips at the Bethells Café (64-22/384-0500; $).”
“I’m a big fan of Michael Lett’s gallery, in Newton; one of his top artists is Michael Parekowhai, who was New Zealand’s entry for the 2011 Venice Biennale. Sunday Painters ($$$), in Ponsonby, is my go-to restaurant; there’s an old record player—you can grab a Wham! album and just put it on—and the chef serves elevated French home cooking. About halfway between Milford and Takapuna Beach, there’s a little cove I like to visit on weekends called Minnehaha. It’s private and relaxing.”