If you've ventured out for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks in Auckland City lately, chances are you've noticed your fair share of brand spanking new establishments. From traditional tapas bars to minimalist coffee spots, we've sipped, sampled and savoured our way through the city to decipher this month's best new kids on the block, well worth your consideration come date night.
1. Annabel's, Three Lamps
If you're after: an unassuming drink
Ponsonby's Three Lamps is home to an adorable new locale. Annabel's is the brainchild of Rochfort Rees wonder kid Oliver Scutts and local hospo innovator Henry Temple. This charming, stripped-back space is the perfect little nook to swing by after work and enjoy a killer cocktail, the kind of place you'd "call in to on the way to wherever it is you're going."
We love the fact the team here are doing Spanish tapas authentically, offering traditional bites in a no-nonsense kind of way.
2. Honeybear, Ponsonby
If you're after: Burmese-fusion to feed a sizeable group
With accomplished restaurateur Mark Wallbank at its helm (think Blue Breeze Inn, Woodpecker Hill, Chop Chop Noodle House) you know you're in for a nice surprise. Ponsonby's Honeybear is a refreshing addition to an already thriving neighbourhood. Here, executive chef Che Barrington curates a menu that calls on elements of Chinese, Indian, Sri Lankan and Southeast Asian cuisine, while embracing a hearty focus on traditional street food.
3. Honey Bones, Grey Lynn
If you're after: a shot of coffee
For those based in Grey Lynn, consider yourself fortunate that yet another caffeine corner spot has sprung up in your neck of the woods. Honey Bones is the latest venture of cafe minimalist Hugo Baird (think Crumb Grey Lynn), and boasts a well-rounded menu of breakfast, brunch and lunch staples, alongside beautifully brewed Coffee Supreme. If you're simply looking for a welcome respite to leaf through your Saturday morning newspaper, with your morning cuppa firmly in hand, Honey Bones has you covered.
4. Happy Boy, Royal Oak
If you're after: a relaxed vibe
When you combine neon, a killer beer list and Asian steamed buns packed with flavoursome burger fillings, you know you're on to a winner. The team behind Kiss Kiss – a Balmoral favourite we're already well-acquainted with – have brought their retro super-future flair to Royal Oak, with Happy Boy – a casual-cool new eatery that's bound to delight even the pickiest eaters.
5. Hugo's, Auckland Central
If you're after: an after-work tipple
It's no secret that Auckland's Shortland Street has been calling out for a chic and understated eatery for quite some time. Enter Hugo's, an architectural marvel that's single-handedly satisfying the punters with a fresh, innovative seasonal menu and classic wine list. With sister restaurant Odette’s Eatery a mere five minutes away at Auckland's City Works Depot, husband and wife owners Clare and Joost van den Berg have refined the art of contemporary-cool dining once again.
6. Madriz, Auckland Central
If you're after: a taste of Northern Spain
When it comes to authentic Spanish fare, the Dish team are an easy sell. We love the idea of Madriz, an authentic tapas bar in the heart of the city. Here, you'll find an impressive line-up boasting all the classics – think pintxos, paellas and Slow-Cooked Roast Lamb. Salivating yet?
7. Ain't No Taco, Eden Terrace
If you're after: Mexican with a twist
Craving a taste of Mexico? You'll be pleasantly surprised with this tasty new inner-city taqueria. Here you'll find a casual line-up of tacos and salad bowls, with owners Peter and Pene Barton drawing inspiration from Californian, Korean, Mexican and traditional Jamaican cuisine. Think funky fillings like jerk tofu and pork bulgogi.
8. Jess's Underground Kitchen, Remuera
If you're after: something healthy to-go
We've been waiting patiently for this little gem to open its doors, so naturally welcomed Jess Daniell and the team with open arms when they finally did. Following on from a wildly successful opening in Herne Bay in 2016, Jess' ready-to-heat take-home meals, baking, seasonal salads, cabinet food, artisan deli goods and great coffee have made her a fast-favourite among hungry locals. The team's second space, located on the corner of Bassett and Remuera Road, boast all the deliciousness you'd expect from Jess plus plenty of inspired new foodie offerings.
Spotted something so fresh and so new in your neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments below.