In 2012, Ponsonby Central sprang from a creaking warehouse on weed-riven vacant lot to become the new heart of this much-loved inner-city suburb. It’s now home to some 30 cafes, eateries, bars, restaurants, and retailers, which means it's a must-stop for everything from groceries to cocktails. The cuisines range from Argentinian barbecue to excellent French crepes, but for a Kiwi experience, visit the Dairy for its selection of New Zealand artisan cheeses. Make sure to taste the Mahoe Very Old Gouda, which is made several hours north in Kerikeri by a family with Dutch heritage—they know what they're doing. For a casual evening out, start with a cocktail at Maldito Mendez, followed by a burger = next door at Burger Burger. A side order of kumara fries adds a tasty local touch.