The 38 Essential Restaurants in Tāmaki Makaurau

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A lounge with couches and low seats overlooking a sky-high view of the city and water.
The Sugar Club at Sky City.
Sky City Auckland

Try gochujang octopus carpaccio at an island vineyard, smoked Japanese quail with a skyscraper view, and cacio e pepe in a former red light district

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The Sugar Club at Sky City.
| Sky City Auckland

Tāmaki Makaurau (the Māori name now used interchangeably with Auckland) is a relatively small city by global standards, with 1.6 million people. But the metropolis — spread along a spit of land on the North Island of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and encompassing several nearby islands — is the largest city in the nation, and it’s a diverse hub for cuisine from across the Pacific, Asia, and the Antipodes, from the buzzing modern eateries in the Britomart waterfront area to the nightlife scene on Karangahape Road, a former red-light district affectionately known as K’road.

To eat across Tāmaki Makaurau is to experience a dining scene happily in flux. The city has gone through a substantial amount of change over the course of the pandemic, reshaped not only by external forces (the complete loss of tourism, disruptions to the international agriculture trade), but also inward forces. The city has welcomed the return home of overseas New Zealanders, who bring new culinary prowess to Indigenous flavors and flora. Restaurants also increasingly look to Māori culinary heritage for inspiration and guidance, so these days you’ll often see menu items listed in te reo Māori in place of, or in addition to, English. But even as a slew of up-and-coming owner-operators have carved out burgeoning scenes on the city’s coolest streets, local hearts have never been fuller for nostalgic institutions and old-faithful neighborhood spots.

Hillary Eaton is a food & travel writer living between Auckland and Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in Food & Wine, WSJ, Bon Appetit, Los Angeles Times, VICE, Travel + Leisure, and more. Leisha Jones has worked in hospitality for much of her life. She writes about food, restaurants, and the people behind them from a place of passion.

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If you want to experience the charming hospitality of chef-owner Jason Kim at Tokki, be sure to secure a seat at the chef’s counter. Diners can observe him plating dishes, but he’ll also pour your beer and torch the marshmallow meringue on your melona s’more, a playful riff on the popular Korean popsicle brand. All the cooking happens in a tiny kitchen, where freezer tops act as counter space, and a small charcoal grill gives the bo ssam a smoky hit. The best way to eat here is on the house menu, a prix fixe for an incredible value including savory egg custard with anchovy broth, raw fish with Korean mustard, and chewy flat noodles dressed with chile pork and gochujang. — Leisha Jones

Four pieces of chicken wing, stuffed with a ground mixture and topped with chives, beside a glass of wine.
A crispy chicken wing stuffed with prawn and mushroom.
Tokki

While Josh Emett’s Onslow gets most of the media attention (for good reason), the Gordon Ramsay-trained chef’s Waiheke Island outpost is an equally great classic. The Oyster Inn oozes Instagram-worthy beachy vibes. Pull up a chair on the white picket-fenced porch to dig into fish-and-chips or a dozen briny oysters, paired with a glass of local wine from a nearby vineyard. — Hillary Eaton

A four-top on a patio overlooking the water.
A table with a view.
The Oyster Inn

The Shed, the restaurant of the Te Motu vineyard on Waiheke Island, provides a rustic backdrop for Korean-born chef Yutak Son’s food, with large open windows offering views of the vines that produce Bordeaux-style reds. An on-site garden, partnerships with island-based producers, and a nose-to-tail philosophy all contribute to the fresh ingredients on the plates here. Throughout the menu, there’s a beautiful marriage of Asian ingredients with local produce, such as octopus carpaccio with gochujang, garlic, and grapefruit from the orchard, as well as dry-aged kahawai with kaffir lime oil and soy cream. — LJ

A dining room overlooking rolling hills.
The view from the Shed.
Rory Dunleavy

Everything about Williams Eatery is sunny: the family-run team who graces the floor, the corner site in Wynyard Quarter, the plates of adventurous brunch fare that stream from the kitchen. Head chef Arjay Soneja hails from Manila and peppers the brunch menu with touches from home. Enjoy longanisa sausage with your eggs; bone marrow, clam, and papaya salad with your toast; or mushroom congee with chile and fried tofu. There’s a small, local list of natural wines, breakfast cocktails, and really (really) good coffee. — LJ

A ceramic bowl filled with orange-tinted congee, topped with fixings.
Oyster mushroom congee with chile, fried tofu, and chive.
Williams Eatery

Part cooking school, part restaurant, and part food embassy for Aotearoa and the Pacific, Homeland is chef Peter Gordon’s (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Kuri) welcome return after years abroad in London. The cooking school bridges the gap between consumers and small producers, educating the general public on how to use lesser-known cuts and other sustainable practices around kai (food). Whether you sit in for a cooking class about making fish heads into fragrant curry or stop by quickly to grab one of Gordon’s cult-favorite cheese scones, there are many ways to experience the multipurpose space. Find a spot out on the deck for lunch among the plants with a bowl of Gordon’s famous Turkish eggs. — HE

A bowl of boiled eggs in red sauce, served with slices of toast.
Turkish eggs.
George Bates

Housed in Commercial Bay, Ahi (te reo Māori for “fire”) celebrates the produce and flavors of Aotearoa as imagined by revered chef Ben Bayly. The kitchen utilizes a sprawling off-site garden to produce dishes such as miso-barbecued octopus with papaya gazpacho or hot-smoked Japanese quail with garden seeds and mousetrap cauliflower (a take on the homey dish of toast topped with cheese and Marmite). Outside the garden, local foraged and fished ingredients take shape as the seasons change, like the kina (urchin) kilpatrick with pikopiko (mother spleenwort) ferns. The snacks are some of the most delicious items on the menu, so be sure to stock up; no order is complete without the scampi (langoustine) corn dogs or wallaby tartare. — HE

A chef pours sauce over a large clam covered in herbs and fixings.
Clam chowder.
Tez Mercer

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When she worked at Amano, chef Jo Pearson made the churning Britomart location into the reliable dinner stalwart of Auckland. After the sale of the restaurant to Savor group, Pearson has made a new name for herself with Alma, a Spanish-inspired spot with touches of Moorish flavors. From gildas with cucamelons to crispy, ribboned pork skewers tucked into little house-made flatbreads, Alma’s sophisticated Spanish fare rides a delicious line between approachable and interesting. With a wide variety of vermuts and special attention to cocktails, it’s just as great for a drink and a couple bites as it is for a full dinner. — HE

If Amano had a nickname, it would be old faithful. Often credited as one of the most reliable restaurants in the city, the place impresses just by the sheer number of customers served each day. With an Italian bent, the menu stars pastas like capitelli with leek and wild mushroom or chitarra with scampi (langoustine) and fermented chile. The pasta shapes and sauces change with the seasons, so there’s always a reason to come back to the Britomart classic. — HE

From above, a plate of stuffed pasta in oily sauce with breadcrumbs.
One of the pasta shapes bringing customers back.
Amano

Grand Harbour is a jewel in the city’s crown of Cantonese cuisine and an Auckland institution for its bustling yum char service. Every weekend the sprawling dining room is packed with patrons picking out har gow and barbecue pork buns from steaming trolleys. Celebrate a special occasion with an opulent meal of oversize live abalone cooked in black bean sauce or catch up with friends on a quick Saturday afternoon over pork and chive dumplings. — HE

Following the closure of Meredith’s in 2017, Mr. Morris represents the long-awaited return of chef Michael Meredith to the Aotearoa dining scene. With touches of Meredith’s Samoan heritage and lots of local ingredients studding the menu, Mr. Morris brings a unique take on modern Aotearoa cuisine to Britomart. For those wanting to feel part of the action, sit up at the central U-shaped bar to peer into the kitchen. On most nights, you’ll find Meredith front and center, sending out a brisk clap through the room to signal the arrival of chicken liver parfait topped with chicken skin bites or crispy quail with mandarin and curry leaf. — HE

A chef and cooks preparing dishes in an open kitchen.
Chef Michael Meredith and team.
Mr. Morris

At Paris Butter in Herne Bay, chefs Nick Honeyman and Zennon Wijlens form a tasting menu from New Zealand ingredients and French techniques. Wijlens has largely taken the reins of late, bouncing between harvesting edible flowers at a local urban farm and celebrating young chefs at his Tuesday night “next generation” collaboration dinners. The style of service and atmosphere  are classic French fine dining, but Wijlens keeps the food fun and surprising by incorporating unique flavors and ferments, like roasted chicken garum and sourdough-miso butter. For the full experience, saddle up for the menu du chef, a seven-course menu that changes with the season. — HE

A variety of ornate dishes.
Welcome bites.
Tez Mercer

Sid and Chand Sahrawat are two of the most notable players developing Auckland’s particular blend of modern Indian cuisine. Cassia, the couple’s modern Indian bistro, boasts classic flavors reimagined and refined in a moody space just off Queen Street. Te Matuku oyster pakoras or Malabar-style fish with curry leaf deliver deep flavors alongside bubbling and blistered naan. Eight years in, the duo are still as sharp as ever. — HE

A low-lit dining room with an array of exposed bulbs on the ceiling and tables against a long banquette.
Inside Cassia.
Babiche Martens

Since its opening in 2003, Xi’An has woven its hand-pulled noodles into the tapestry of the city across a growing number of locations. Known as biangbiang, for the sound that’s made when the noodles are slapped against the counter as they’re pulled, these chewy threads are among the best in the city. The ever-popular number 23 on the menu, noodles with deep red braised pork, is a classic, but there is more to explore, like the rou jia mo (a sandwich, sometimes called a Chinese burger, that’s stuffed with spiced pork) or paomo (an intoxicating lamb soup flavored with star anise and cinnamon, and dotted with torn bits of flatbread). — HE

One of the city’s quintessential hangouts, Hugo’s Bistro is considered by insiders to be one of the most underrated restaurants in town, especially given the thoughtful cooking coming out of chef Alfie Ingham’s kitchen and wife Sophie Ingham’s service up front. Open all day in the CBD, Hugo’s is a great stop for a simple breakfast of smoked salmon on seeded bread, or a bottle of wine with the uber-popular, impossibly crispy confit potatoes alongside Fiordland wapiti elk covered in bone marrow, chestnuts, and elderberry. To top it all off, the olive oil semifreddo is a fan favorite for a very good reason. — HE

A curl of octopus on a bed of roasted vegetables.
Octopus at Hugo’s.
Josh Griggs

After taking over from Sid Sahrawat, chef-owner Lesley Chandra has breathed fresh life into Sidart’s fine dining with a Fijian Indian twist. Thoughtful tasting menus, which range between four and seven courses, show Chandra’s adept understanding of how the subtleties of Fijian Indian cuisine can work magically alongside unexpected flavors like lemon verbena, bonito, and wakame. The chef has managed to transform Sidart into something that’s genuinely exciting and entirely different. — HE

There’s a festive holiday feeling at Milenta that’s hard to put your finger on. Maybe it’s the alfresco dining room set under a canopy of lush trees, or the South American-inspired fare by chef Elie Assaf, who takes pride in sourcing unique ingredients from local shores and cooking them over fire and coals in the open kitchen. But it’s most likely the fact that Milenta was conceived by some of the city’s most seasoned party planners, who know how to set the mood for a good night out. Stick around long enough and you might gain access to the adjoining members-only club — the Shy Guy — where you can dance off your dinner. — LJ

A few bright dishes, including slices of sashimi in a deep red sauce.
Dishes at Milenta.
Luke Foley-Martin

The iconic thousand-foot-tall Sky Tower is a beacon for visitors in the center of the city. The tower draws customers to the Sky City casino, but they should really come for the complex’s food purveyors. The place is home to bluefin tuna nigiri and crisp sake at Masu by Nick Watt, snapper sliders at Al Brown’s famed Depot, drinks high above the skyline at the Sugar Club, the decadent Reuben at the Fed Delicatessen, and crispy-skinned peking duck at Huami. — HE

A lounge with couches and low seats overlooking a sky-high view of the city and water.
The lounge at the Sugar Club.
Sky City Auckland

You’ll see decades-old Italian institutions like Prego in many major cities; it’s the type of place that seems to steal a whole day, as one bottle of rosé turns to two on the sunny patio. Equal parts see-and-be-seen and family favorite, Prego keeps Aucklanders coming back for oversize plates of shrimp and mussel pasta marinara and crispy-crusted pizzas. The star is the classic Prego Pie, a flaky pastry filled with fish or lamb (depending on the season) that’s best enjoyed on said patio beneath an oversize umbrella. — HE

Minkyu (Paul) Lee and his wife, Lisa, offer a taste of Korea at Ockhee, a small restaurant on Ponsonby Road with a whole lot of soul. There’s excellent Korean fried chicken and crispy potato jeon to go with the natural wines on tap and soju cocktails; while the rest of the menu is brimming with Korean dishes, the couple learned from Lisa’s mum, such as chun sa chae (steamed seaweed noodle salad with garlic mustard sauce); sticky barbecue dak gui chicken, which goes great with black rice and seaweed balls; and hearty bowls of jeon gol, made with broth that’s been simmering all day. Don’t leave without copping some of the restaurant’s sought-after merch. — LJ

From above, diners dig into a variety of Korean dishes.
A spread of dishes at Ockhee.
Dan Bali

Alpha is a bakery — and so many other things. Yes, you can leave with a warm loaf of sourdough, dense Danish rye, or Japanese shokupan from Alpha’s head baker, Ben Conway (Ngāti Te Ata), tucked under your arm. But the space also acts as the test kitchen for chef Ed Verner’s team from next door’s Pasture and Boxer, and a space for pop-ups and collaborations with young chefs. On the weekends, there’s fresh and unexpected brunch fare: oysters with elderflower, mimosas with passionfruit and shiso leaf, and a hot fish sandwich that is not to be missed. And in the evenings, candles are lit and lush interpretations of classics are served, such as grilled cheese cooked over fire and jeweled with caviar, or hand-rolled trofie suspended in an airy sauce of white almond and parmesan. Everything is accompanied by elegant, unexpected drinks from the team at Boxer. — LJ

To say too much would be to ruin the magic of an evening spent at Pasture and Boxer, two distinctly different venues that offer the country’s most unique eating and drinking experiences. Pasture is a six-seater restaurant helmed by chef Ed Verner, where diners watch from barstools as the kitchen creates memorable tasting menus over open fire. Next door, Boxer offers a range of complex, seasonal drinks concocted by the chefs of Pasture, based on spirits distilled in-house using a rotary evaporator. Beverages are accompanied by a lavish tasting of snacks that are often fresh, raw, and Japanese-leaning. Look for the signature tuna (eel) and tītī, an endemic seabird with an anchovy-like flavor that’s harvested by Māori hunters on Rakiura (Stewart Island), usually preserved in salt but here cooked fresh. Every element of Pasture and Boxer — from the soundtrack to the bespoke interiors — is carefully curated by the creative team. — LJ

Note: Hillary Eaton has a personal affiliation with Pasture and did not author elements related to Pasture, Boxer, or Alpha.

A jelly-like bright green slice of fish over dark rice topped with a dollop of caviar.
Paua nigiri with caviar.
Jay Manic Photography

From the starched tablecloths to the precision in every morsel, there’s a sense of occasion at Cocoro that feels truly special. Chef Makoto Tokuyama finesses local seafood into jaw-dropping plates of sushi and sashimi. The set menus often incorporate local flavors such as manuka honey, Cloudy Bay clams, kina (sea urchin), and paua (abalone), with plate after plate of artfully prepared dishes parading to the table. There’s not a better way to celebrate in the city. — LJ

From above, beautiful, highly composed pieces of sushi on a decorative platter.
Sushi platter.
Manja Wachsmuth

Named for the pasta shape, Pici has quickly become a city-wide favorite since opening in a snug space in K’road’s iconic St. Kevins Arcade in 2021. With chef Jonny Thevenard at the helm, the restaurant celebrates Italian simplicity with a concise offering of natural wines and freshly made seasonal pastas. As you’d imagine of a restaurant that names itself for a dish, the namesake pasta isn’t to be missed, especially when dressed in a perfectly biting cacio e pepe. Whatever you choose, be sure to add the focaccia to your order to sop up any extra sauce. More recently, the team has branched out into pizza at their new concept, Ooh-Fa, where they bring the same flair and precise cooking to pies. — HE

A chef grates cheese onto a dish in a warmly lit kitchen.
In the kitchen at Pici.
Pici

Lesley (Les) Hottiaux and Ismo (Mo) Koski’s intimate Apéro is the sort of place you can (and should) happily let the hours slip by, whether you’re enjoying an aperitif with friends after work or a cozy date night. Between Koski’s adept selection of wines by the glass and Hottiaux’s famously delicious terrines and sausages, the K’road French bistro continues to be a favorite after seven years. — HE

A charcuterie board.
Charcuterie at Apéro.
Aaron McLean

Bar Céleste on Auckland’s Karangahape Road is equal parts grungy and chic. You can eat ice-cold oysters on the street, or dine on luxuriously simple food that changes often: superior cuts of meat, asparagus with hollandaise, or brown butter-drenched sole. Owners Nick Landsman and Emma Ogilvie have a penchant for unfussy French food and natural wine, and they know how to throw a party. From time to time you’ll find a DJ posted up in the window, smash burgers being served late into the night, or the crowd spilling out onto the sidewalk to enjoy German wines with schnitzel sandwiches. — LJ

Thinly sliced crudo in a pool of oil.
Fish crudo.
Alex Mc Vinnie

The covered courtyard out the back of Alta acts as a hothouse for the restaurant’s herbs, but it’s also a delightful spot to sip on a smoked grapefruit spritz and down a few oysters, surrounded by tumbles of nasturtiums that might later grace your plate. Chef-owner Georgia van Prehn finds inspiration in a no-waste approach to food, conceiving elegant and interesting dishes that are beautiful to look at and to eat. Look for beetroot ravioli filled with pumpkin seed ricotta, covered with a velvety sauce of beetroot juice, ricotta whey, and brown butter. And don’t pass on the seafood platter — paired with a clam martini — which is always changing and celebrates local seafood in unexpected ways. — LJ

A semicircle of bright orange tartare, sliced by large wavy potato chips.
Carrot tartare.
Josh Harvey

Coco’s Cantina plays an important part in the story of K’road. Opened in 2009 by sisters Damaris and Renee Coulter (Ngāti Kahu), this rustic Mediterranean-inspired eatery was one of the first buzzy restaurants on the colorful street, paving the way for the area to become the hotbed of young and diverse owner-operators it is today. While Renee now runs the operation on her own, more than 13 years later, Coco’s is cemented as a beating heart of the lively strip. Duck in for drinks or a plate of spaghetti and meatballs before browsing the surrounding thrift shops and bars. — HE

Carlo Buenaventura is a well-known figure in Auckland’s hospitality scene, having worked all over the city’s kitchens, bars, and dining room floors before opening his own venue last year. Bar Magda is a bar and bistro where he cooks boundary-pushing food that references his Filipino heritage. Some of the offerings are raw, cold, and acerbic; some are comforting and cooked over charcoal. The through line is his use of local flavors and ingredients to create “seasonal dishes through a Filipino lens,” such as green-lipped mussel escabeche with green garlic and fennel. The cocktails here are given as much consideration as the food, and the subterranean location — down a long flight of stairs, with low red lighting and billowing curtains that divide the room — creates a romantic vibe that’s ideal for a date. — LJ

From above, ribs topped with greens.
Lamb ribs pyanggang with green sambal and soft herb salad.
Josh Harvey

With warm dark wood, maroon banquettes, and worn walls, Lilian is a humming neighborhood osteria that feels like it’s been there forever. Arrive at the opening to sip a blood orange margarita in the sun’s final rays, and order wood-fired puff bread to mop up spreadable small plates, such as pickled mussels with chile and aioli. Local shellfish pops up elsewhere on the menu too. There are Cloudy Bay clams with ’nduja, preserved lemon, and leeks, plus some of the best pizza in the city topped with briny tua tua clams, fennel cream, fried garlic, and pecorino. Expect to wait for a table, ideally while grabbing a drink at Freida Margolis on the corner, an equally fantastic neighborhood bar. — LJ

A white pizza slides into a dark wood-fired oven.
Tua tua and fennel cream pizza.
Lilian

Auckland restaurateurs Sid Sahrawat and his wife, Chandra, took over an Auckland institution, the French Café, just as the restaurant turned 20 years old. That was in 2018, and today it is still one of the city’s most loved fine dining destinations, with staff who are proud to work there, crisp interiors, and a manicured courtyard and garden, where you can now eat in a unique private dining space with an open kitchen. New head chef Tommy Hope, previously of Melbourne’s Attica and the Town Mouse, recently took over the kitchen and hopes to bring a slightly more relaxed vibe to the menu. — LJ

A bright cafe interior, with a light blue banquette, long mirror on the wall, white tablecloths, and metallic pendant lights.
Inside Sid.
Josh Griggs

Every neighborhood needs a bakery like Florets, which sells small-batch wholemeal sourdough loaves of sandwich bread, focaccia, and poppy seed-dusted buns. Along with nutrient-dense breads, founder Maya Handley produces sweet treats that go great with coffee, like spiced ginger and tangelo cake with chai-soaked raisins, or salted dark chocolate rye cookies. There’s a small sandwich and toast menu to be enjoyed in the quiet of the upstairs dining room, often made using Pomona Deli products, which can also be found in the fridge; look for wild trevally pastrami, smoked kahawai rillettes, and marinated littleneck clams with paprika. — LJ

Bean-feta mash on toast topped with greens, served with a charred lemon wedge.
Whipped macadamia feta with broad beans and spring greens.
Zoë Dunster

Ask anybody what to order at Eden Noodle and they will no doubt tell you to get the dumplings in spicy sauce, cucumber salad, and dan dan noodles topped with fried pork mince and bright purple pickled cabbage. All great suggestions, but there’s much more to love on the menu: Try crunchy wood ear fungus salad with numbing pickled pepper sauce or dense hand-cut noodles with tripe bathed in a vibrant red-slicked soup. This ever-popular purveyor of Sichuan food recently opened two more venues to keep up with demand: one in the city center and one in Albany on the north shore. This isn’t a place to linger; beware of hungry diners circling your table waiting for you to slurp your last noodle. — LJ

From above, diners dig into a range of noodles, dumplings, and meat dishes.
So many noodles.
Eden Noodle

The open stainless kitchen blends seamlessly with the minimal dining room at Omni, making a meal feel like dining at a friend’s house — if your friend had a sick kitchen kit and had mastered binchotan coals. Owners John Yip and Jamie Yeon are at the restaurant for every service, adding to the homey vibe, and the food comes out at a leisurely pace, allowing you to make your way through the low-intervention wine list. Dishes show a Japanese influence, with yakitori chicken parts, whisky highballs, and sake on offer, but where Omni really shines is in its playful renditions of much-loved classics from around the globe: Think boujee prawn toast, cumin lamb skewers on flaky roti, and udon noodles tossed in a “miso e pepe” sauce. — LJ

A meatball-looking katsu patty in between slices of rounded off, crustless white bread.
Katsu sando.
Brianna Kirkham

Over the years, Paradise has built a mini empire, taking over a small block with a dine-in restaurant, takeaway shop, and a “party house” for private group bookings of up to 90 people. Find it by the throngs of people outside on any given night, bathing in the light of a neon chile pepper, waiting for a table or queuing for takeaway, which can be ordered ahead or selected from bains-marie filled with rich, aromatic Mughlai curries. Anything from the tandoor is good, particularly the whole fish, and don’t miss the Hyderabadi dum biryani with tender goat on the bone, saffron-studded rice, boiled eggs, and raita. — LJ

Orange-tinted stew presented in a skillet.
Lamb pasinday.
Paradise

It would be difficult to find someone in Auckland who doesn’t hold a special place in their heart for Cazador. The second-generation, family-owned Dominion Road haunt, run by Dariush Lolaiy and Rebecca Smidt, has harnessed a special sort of warmth within the rustic space outfitted with taxidermied animal heads. Known for his affinity for meat cookery and for making some of the best charcuterie in town, Lolaiy leans on rich flavors of pan-fried quail hearts and beautifully braised boar to create his uniquely bold offering. If the food wasn’t enough, front-of-house fixture Simon Benoit brings in customers with a thoughtful collection of sherry and effortless service. Hot tip: Cazador Deli, next door, offers some of the best pies in the city. — HE

A restaurant interior with textured white walls, taxidermy, and other assorted decorations.
Inside Cazador.
Cazador

Possibly the best thing about Bunga Raya is “Aunty” Rita Lim, who owns this popular Malaysian restaurant with her husband, John. She’s always on hand to offer advice, flitting from the kitchen to the tables and pulling her pad and pen from her back pocket like a quick-draw cowboy. Overload the lazy Susan on your table with XO chicken; king prawns with crunchy butter coating; silky egg tofu in tropical sauce; and wok hei-heavy wat tan hor, fried flat rice noodles. Or plan ahead and order one of the specialty dishes in advance, such as the Nyonya fish head curry: a monster head of snapper surrounded by an aromatic curry of okra, beans, eggplant, and fresh curry leaves. — LJ

A decorative dish loaded with a chunky fish head curry.
Fish head curry.
Malcolm Campbell

Try It Out is adorned with little more than tourism posters of Vietnam sunsets and palm trees etched in the frosted glass on the windows, giving the sparse room a feeling of being somewhere far away. The large round tables are big enough to accommodate families, who you’ll often find filling the space on the weekends. The menu is vast and covers all of the country’s regions with banh mi, bún bò huê, and light and crispy bánh xèo stuffed with huge prawns and bean sprouts. It opens at 10 a.m., should you fancy pho for breakfast. — LJ

Bánh xèo served with salad and dipping sauce.
Bánh xèo.
Leisha Jones

Slinging comfort dishes from the Cook Islands, Tanz Ktchn makes all of your combo plate dreams come true. Though the menu changes depending on what’s available that day, chop suey, steak on rice, minus (aka mainese, a type of potato salad), and poke are all winners here. No matter the order, don’t forget to grab a few keke, traditional Cook Islands-style doughnuts, on the way out. At 50 cents a pop, it’s silly to pass them up. — HE

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If you want to experience the charming hospitality of chef-owner Jason Kim at Tokki, be sure to secure a seat at the chef’s counter. Diners can observe him plating dishes, but he’ll also pour your beer and torch the marshmallow meringue on your melona s’more, a playful riff on the popular Korean popsicle brand. All the cooking happens in a tiny kitchen, where freezer tops act as counter space, and a small charcoal grill gives the bo ssam a smoky hit. The best way to eat here is on the house menu, a prix fixe for an incredible value including savory egg custard with anchovy broth, raw fish with Korean mustard, and chewy flat noodles dressed with chile pork and gochujang. — Leisha Jones

Four pieces of chicken wing, stuffed with a ground mixture and topped with chives, beside a glass of wine.
A crispy chicken wing stuffed with prawn and mushroom.
Tokki

While Josh Emett’s Onslow gets most of the media attention (for good reason), the Gordon Ramsay-trained chef’s Waiheke Island outpost is an equally great classic. The Oyster Inn oozes Instagram-worthy beachy vibes. Pull up a chair on the white picket-fenced porch to dig into fish-and-chips or a dozen briny oysters, paired with a glass of local wine from a nearby vineyard. — Hillary Eaton

A four-top on a patio overlooking the water.
A table with a view.
The Oyster Inn

The Shed, the restaurant of the Te Motu vineyard on Waiheke Island, provides a rustic backdrop for Korean-born chef Yutak Son’s food, with large open windows offering views of the vines that produce Bordeaux-style reds. An on-site garden, partnerships with island-based producers, and a nose-to-tail philosophy all contribute to the fresh ingredients on the plates here. Throughout the menu, there’s a beautiful marriage of Asian ingredients with local produce, such as octopus carpaccio with gochujang, garlic, and grapefruit from the orchard, as well as dry-aged kahawai with kaffir lime oil and soy cream. — LJ

A dining room overlooking rolling hills.
The view from the Shed.
Rory Dunleavy

Everything about Williams Eatery is sunny: the family-run team who graces the floor, the corner site in Wynyard Quarter, the plates of adventurous brunch fare that stream from the kitchen. Head chef Arjay Soneja hails from Manila and peppers the brunch menu with touches from home. Enjoy longanisa sausage with your eggs; bone marrow, clam, and papaya salad with your toast; or mushroom congee with chile and fried tofu. There’s a small, local list of natural wines, breakfast cocktails, and really (really) good coffee. — LJ

A ceramic bowl filled with orange-tinted congee, topped with fixings.
Oyster mushroom congee with chile, fried tofu, and chive.
Williams Eatery

Part cooking school, part restaurant, and part food embassy for Aotearoa and the Pacific, Homeland is chef Peter Gordon’s (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Kuri) welcome return after years abroad in London. The cooking school bridges the gap between consumers and small producers, educating the general public on how to use lesser-known cuts and other sustainable practices around kai (food). Whether you sit in for a cooking class about making fish heads into fragrant curry or stop by quickly to grab one of Gordon’s cult-favorite cheese scones, there are many ways to experience the multipurpose space. Find a spot out on the deck for lunch among the plants with a bowl of Gordon’s famous Turkish eggs. — HE

A bowl of boiled eggs in red sauce, served with slices of toast.
Turkish eggs.
George Bates

Housed in Commercial Bay, Ahi (te reo Māori for “fire”) celebrates the produce and flavors of Aotearoa as imagined by revered chef Ben Bayly. The kitchen utilizes a sprawling off-site garden to produce dishes such as miso-barbecued octopus with papaya gazpacho or hot-smoked Japanese quail with garden seeds and mousetrap cauliflower (a take on the homey dish of toast topped with cheese and Marmite). Outside the garden, local foraged and fished ingredients take shape as the seasons change, like the kina (urchin) kilpatrick with pikopiko (mother spleenwort) ferns. The snacks are some of the most delicious items on the menu, so be sure to stock up; no order is complete without the scampi (langoustine) corn dogs or wallaby tartare. — HE

A chef pours sauce over a large clam covered in herbs and fixings.
Clam chowder.
Tez Mercer

When she worked at Amano, chef Jo Pearson made the churning Britomart location into the reliable dinner stalwart of Auckland. After the sale of the restaurant to Savor group, Pearson has made a new name for herself with Alma, a Spanish-inspired spot with touches of Moorish flavors. From gildas with cucamelons to crispy, ribboned pork skewers tucked into little house-made flatbreads, Alma’s sophisticated Spanish fare rides a delicious line between approachable and interesting. With a wide variety of vermuts and special attention to cocktails, it’s just as great for a drink and a couple bites as it is for a full dinner. — HE

If Amano had a nickname, it would be old faithful. Often credited as one of the most reliable restaurants in the city, the place impresses just by the sheer number of customers served each day. With an Italian bent, the menu stars pastas like capitelli with leek and wild mushroom or chitarra with scampi (langoustine) and fermented chile. The pasta shapes and sauces change with the seasons, so there’s always a reason to come back to the Britomart classic. — HE

From above, a plate of stuffed pasta in oily sauce with breadcrumbs.
One of the pasta shapes bringing customers back.
Amano

Grand Harbour is a jewel in the city’s crown of Cantonese cuisine and an Auckland institution for its bustling yum char service. Every weekend the sprawling dining room is packed with patrons picking out har gow and barbecue pork buns from steaming trolleys. Celebrate a special occasion with an opulent meal of oversize live abalone cooked in black bean sauce or catch up with friends on a quick Saturday afternoon over pork and chive dumplings. — HE

Following the closure of Meredith’s in 2017, Mr. Morris represents the long-awaited return of chef Michael Meredith to the Aotearoa dining scene. With touches of Meredith’s Samoan heritage and lots of local ingredients studding the menu, Mr. Morris brings a unique take on modern Aotearoa cuisine to Britomart. For those wanting to feel part of the action, sit up at the central U-shaped bar to peer into the kitchen. On most nights, you’ll find Meredith front and center, sending out a brisk clap through the room to signal the arrival of chicken liver parfait topped with chicken skin bites or crispy quail with mandarin and curry leaf. — HE

A chef and cooks preparing dishes in an open kitchen.
Chef Michael Meredith and team.
Mr. Morris

At Paris Butter in Herne Bay, chefs Nick Honeyman and Zennon Wijlens form a tasting menu from New Zealand ingredients and French techniques. Wijlens has largely taken the reins of late, bouncing between harvesting edible flowers at a local urban farm and celebrating young chefs at his Tuesday night “next generation” collaboration dinners. The style of service and atmosphere  are classic French fine dining, but Wijlens keeps the food fun and surprising by incorporating unique flavors and ferments, like roasted chicken garum and sourdough-miso butter. For the full experience, saddle up for the menu du chef, a seven-course menu that changes with the season. — HE

A variety of ornate dishes.
Welcome bites.
Tez Mercer

Sid and Chand Sahrawat are two of the most notable players developing Auckland’s particular blend of modern Indian cuisine. Cassia, the couple’s modern Indian bistro, boasts classic flavors reimagined and refined in a moody space just off Queen Street. Te Matuku oyster pakoras or Malabar-style fish with curry leaf deliver deep flavors alongside bubbling and blistered naan. Eight years in, the duo are still as sharp as ever. — HE

A low-lit dining room with an array of exposed bulbs on the ceiling and tables against a long banquette.
Inside Cassia.
Babiche Martens

Since its opening in 2003, Xi’An has woven its hand-pulled noodles into the tapestry of the city across a growing number of locations. Known as biangbiang, for the sound that’s made when the noodles are slapped against the counter as they’re pulled, these chewy threads are among the best in the city. The ever-popular number 23 on the menu, noodles with deep red braised pork, is a classic, but there is more to explore, like the rou jia mo (a sandwich, sometimes called a Chinese burger, that’s stuffed with spiced pork) or paomo (an intoxicating lamb soup flavored with star anise and cinnamon, and dotted with torn bits of flatbread). — HE

One of the city’s quintessential hangouts, Hugo’s Bistro is considered by insiders to be one of the most underrated restaurants in town, especially given the thoughtful cooking coming out of chef Alfie Ingham’s kitchen and wife Sophie Ingham’s service up front. Open all day in the CBD, Hugo’s is a great stop for a simple breakfast of smoked salmon on seeded bread, or a bottle of wine with the uber-popular, impossibly crispy confit potatoes alongside Fiordland wapiti elk covered in bone marrow, chestnuts, and elderberry. To top it all off, the olive oil semifreddo is a fan favorite for a very good reason. — HE

A curl of octopus on a bed of roasted vegetables.
Octopus at Hugo’s.
Josh Griggs

After taking over from Sid Sahrawat, chef-owner Lesley Chandra has breathed fresh life into Sidart’s fine dining with a Fijian Indian twist. Thoughtful tasting menus, which range between four and seven courses, show Chandra’s adept understanding of how the subtleties of Fijian Indian cuisine can work magically alongside unexpected flavors like lemon verbena, bonito, and wakame. The chef has managed to transform Sidart into something that’s genuinely exciting and entirely different. — HE

There’s a festive holiday feeling at Milenta that’s hard to put your finger on. Maybe it’s the alfresco dining room set under a canopy of lush trees, or the South American-inspired fare by chef Elie Assaf, who takes pride in sourcing unique ingredients from local shores and cooking them over fire and coals in the open kitchen. But it’s most likely the fact that Milenta was conceived by some of the city’s most seasoned party planners, who know how to set the mood for a good night out. Stick around long enough and you might gain access to the adjoining members-only club — the Shy Guy — where you can dance off your dinner. — LJ

A few bright dishes, including slices of sashimi in a deep red sauce.
Dishes at Milenta.
Luke Foley-Martin

The iconic thousand-foot-tall Sky Tower is a beacon for visitors in the center of the city. The tower draws customers to the Sky City casino, but they should really come for the complex’s food purveyors. The place is home to bluefin tuna nigiri and crisp sake at Masu by Nick Watt, snapper sliders at Al Brown’s famed Depot, drinks high above the skyline at the Sugar Club, the decadent Reuben at the Fed Delicatessen, and crispy-skinned peking duck at Huami. — HE

A lounge with couches and low seats overlooking a sky-high view of the city and water.
The lounge at the Sugar Club.
Sky City Auckland

You’ll see decades-old Italian institutions like Prego in many major cities; it’s the type of place that seems to steal a whole day, as one bottle of rosé turns to two on the sunny patio. Equal parts see-and-be-seen and family favorite, Prego keeps Aucklanders coming back for oversize plates of shrimp and mussel pasta marinara and crispy-crusted pizzas. The star is the classic Prego Pie, a flaky pastry filled with fish or lamb (depending on the season) that’s best enjoyed on said patio beneath an oversize umbrella. — HE

Minkyu (Paul) Lee and his wife, Lisa, offer a taste of Korea at Ockhee, a small restaurant on Ponsonby Road with a whole lot of soul. There’s excellent Korean fried chicken and crispy potato jeon to go with the natural wines on tap and soju cocktails; while the rest of the menu is brimming with Korean dishes, the couple learned from Lisa’s mum, such as chun sa chae (steamed seaweed noodle salad with garlic mustard sauce); sticky barbecue dak gui chicken, which goes great with black rice and seaweed balls; and hearty bowls of jeon gol, made with broth that’s been simmering all day. Don’t leave without copping some of the restaurant’s sought-after merch. — LJ

From above, diners dig into a variety of Korean dishes.
A spread of dishes at Ockhee.
Dan Bali

Alpha is a bakery — and so many other things. Yes, you can leave with a warm loaf of sourdough, dense Danish rye, or Japanese shokupan from Alpha’s head baker, Ben Conway (Ngāti Te Ata), tucked under your arm. But the space also acts as the test kitchen for chef Ed Verner’s team from next door’s Pasture and Boxer, and a space for pop-ups and collaborations with young chefs. On the weekends, there’s fresh and unexpected brunch fare: oysters with elderflower, mimosas with passionfruit and shiso leaf, and a hot fish sandwich that is not to be missed. And in the evenings, candles are lit and lush interpretations of classics are served, such as grilled cheese cooked over fire and jeweled with caviar, or hand-rolled trofie suspended in an airy sauce of white almond and parmesan. Everything is accompanied by elegant, unexpected drinks from the team at Boxer. — LJ

To say too much would be to ruin the magic of an evening spent at Pasture and Boxer, two distinctly different venues that offer the country’s most unique eating and drinking experiences. Pasture is a six-seater restaurant helmed by chef Ed Verner, where diners watch from barstools as the kitchen creates memorable tasting menus over open fire. Next door, Boxer offers a range of complex, seasonal drinks concocted by the chefs of Pasture, based on spirits distilled in-house using a rotary evaporator. Beverages are accompanied by a lavish tasting of snacks that are often fresh, raw, and Japanese-leaning. Look for the signature tuna (eel) and tītī, an endemic seabird with an anchovy-like flavor that’s harvested by Māori hunters on Rakiura (Stewart Island), usually preserved in salt but here cooked fresh. Every element of Pasture and Boxer — from the soundtrack to the bespoke interiors — is carefully curated by the creative team. — LJ

Note: Hillary Eaton has a personal affiliation with Pasture and did not author elements related to Pasture, Boxer, or Alpha.

A jelly-like bright green slice of fish over dark rice topped with a dollop of caviar.
Paua nigiri with caviar.
Jay Manic Photography

From the starched tablecloths to the precision in every morsel, there’s a sense of occasion at Cocoro that feels truly special. Chef Makoto Tokuyama finesses local seafood into jaw-dropping plates of sushi and sashimi. The set menus often incorporate local flavors such as manuka honey, Cloudy Bay clams, kina (sea urchin), and paua (abalone), with plate after plate of artfully prepared dishes parading to the table. There’s not a better way to celebrate in the city. — LJ

From above, beautiful, highly composed pieces of sushi on a decorative platter.
Sushi platter.
Manja Wachsmuth

Named for the pasta shape, Pici has quickly become a city-wide favorite since opening in a snug space in K’road’s iconic St. Kevins Arcade in 2021. With chef Jonny Thevenard at the helm, the restaurant celebrates Italian simplicity with a concise offering of natural wines and freshly made seasonal pastas. As you’d imagine of a restaurant that names itself for a dish, the namesake pasta isn’t to be missed, especially when dressed in a perfectly biting cacio e pepe. Whatever you choose, be sure to add the focaccia to your order to sop up any extra sauce. More recently, the team has branched out into pizza at their new concept, Ooh-Fa, where they bring the same flair and precise cooking to pies. — HE

A chef grates cheese onto a dish in a warmly lit kitchen.
In the kitchen at Pici.
Pici

Lesley (Les) Hottiaux and Ismo (Mo) Koski’s intimate Apéro is the sort of place you can (and should) happily let the hours slip by, whether you’re enjoying an aperitif with friends after work or a cozy date night. Between Koski’s adept selection of wines by the glass and Hottiaux’s famously delicious terrines and sausages, the K’road French bistro continues to be a favorite after seven years. — HE

A charcuterie board.
Charcuterie at Apéro.
Aaron McLean

Bar Céleste on Auckland’s Karangahape Road is equal parts grungy and chic. You can eat ice-cold oysters on the street, or dine on luxuriously simple food that changes often: superior cuts of meat, asparagus with hollandaise, or brown butter-drenched sole. Owners Nick Landsman and Emma Ogilvie have a penchant for unfussy French food and natural wine, and they know how to throw a party. From time to time you’ll find a DJ posted up in the window, smash burgers being served late into the night, or the crowd spilling out onto the sidewalk to enjoy German wines with schnitzel sandwiches. — LJ

Thinly sliced crudo in a pool of oil.
Fish crudo.
Alex Mc Vinnie

The covered courtyard out the back of Alta acts as a hothouse for the restaurant’s herbs, but it’s also a delightful spot to sip on a smoked grapefruit spritz and down a few oysters, surrounded by tumbles of nasturtiums that might later grace your plate. Chef-owner Georgia van Prehn finds inspiration in a no-waste approach to food, conceiving elegant and interesting dishes that are beautiful to look at and to eat. Look for beetroot ravioli filled with pumpkin seed ricotta, covered with a velvety sauce of beetroot juice, ricotta whey, and brown butter. And don’t pass on the seafood platter — paired with a clam martini — which is always changing and celebrates local seafood in unexpected ways. — LJ

A semicircle of bright orange tartare, sliced by large wavy potato chips.
Carrot tartare.
Josh Harvey

Coco’s Cantina plays an important part in the story of K’road. Opened in 2009 by sisters Damaris and Renee Coulter (Ngāti Kahu), this rustic Mediterranean-inspired eatery was one of the first buzzy restaurants on the colorful street, paving the way for the area to become the hotbed of young and diverse owner-operators it is today. While Renee now runs the operation on her own, more than 13 years later, Coco’s is cemented as a beating heart of the lively strip. Duck in for drinks or a plate of spaghetti and meatballs before browsing the surrounding thrift shops and bars. — HE

Carlo Buenaventura is a well-known figure in Auckland’s hospitality scene, having worked all over the city’s kitchens, bars, and dining room floors before opening his own venue last year. Bar Magda is a bar and bistro where he cooks boundary-pushing food that references his Filipino heritage. Some of the offerings are raw, cold, and acerbic; some are comforting and cooked over charcoal. The through line is his use of local flavors and ingredients to create “seasonal dishes through a Filipino lens,” such as green-lipped mussel escabeche with green garlic and fennel. The cocktails here are given as much consideration as the food, and the subterranean location — down a long flight of stairs, with low red lighting and billowing curtains that divide the room — creates a romantic vibe that’s ideal for a date. — LJ

From above, ribs topped with greens.
Lamb ribs pyanggang with green sambal and soft herb salad.
Josh Harvey

With warm dark wood, maroon banquettes, and worn walls, Lilian is a humming neighborhood osteria that feels like it’s been there forever. Arrive at the opening to sip a blood orange margarita in the sun’s final rays, and order wood-fired puff bread to mop up spreadable small plates, such as pickled mussels with chile and aioli. Local shellfish pops up elsewhere on the menu too. There are Cloudy Bay clams with ’nduja, preserved lemon, and leeks, plus some of the best pizza in the city topped with briny tua tua clams, fennel cream, fried garlic, and pecorino. Expect to wait for a table, ideally while grabbing a drink at Freida Margolis on the corner, an equally fantastic neighborhood bar. — LJ

A white pizza slides into a dark wood-fired oven.
Tua tua and fennel cream pizza.
Lilian

Auckland restaurateurs Sid Sahrawat and his wife, Chandra, took over an Auckland institution, the French Café, just as the restaurant turned 20 years old. That was in 2018, and today it is still one of the city’s most loved fine dining destinations, with staff who are proud to work there, crisp interiors, and a manicured courtyard and garden, where you can now eat in a unique private dining space with an open kitchen. New head chef Tommy Hope, previously of Melbourne’s Attica and the Town Mouse, recently took over the kitchen and hopes to bring a slightly more relaxed vibe to the menu. — LJ

A bright cafe interior, with a light blue banquette, long mirror on the wall, white tablecloths, and metallic pendant lights.
Inside Sid.
Josh Griggs

Every neighborhood needs a bakery like Florets, which sells small-batch wholemeal sourdough loaves of sandwich bread, focaccia, and poppy seed-dusted buns. Along with nutrient-dense breads, founder Maya Handley produces sweet treats that go great with coffee, like spiced ginger and tangelo cake with chai-soaked raisins, or salted dark chocolate rye cookies. There’s a small sandwich and toast menu to be enjoyed in the quiet of the upstairs dining room, often made using Pomona Deli products, which can also be found in the fridge; look for wild trevally pastrami, smoked kahawai rillettes, and marinated littleneck clams with paprika. — LJ

Bean-feta mash on toast topped with greens, served with a charred lemon wedge.
Whipped macadamia feta with broad beans and spring greens.
Zoë Dunster

Ask anybody what to order at Eden Noodle and they will no doubt tell you to get the dumplings in spicy sauce, cucumber salad, and dan dan noodles topped with fried pork mince and bright purple pickled cabbage. All great suggestions, but there’s much more to love on the menu: Try crunchy wood ear fungus salad with numbing pickled pepper sauce or dense hand-cut noodles with tripe bathed in a vibrant red-slicked soup. This ever-popular purveyor of Sichuan food recently opened two more venues to keep up with demand: one in the city center and one in Albany on the north shore. This isn’t a place to linger; beware of hungry diners circling your table waiting for you to slurp your last noodle. — LJ

From above, diners dig into a range of noodles, dumplings, and meat dishes.
So many noodles.
Eden Noodle

The open stainless kitchen blends seamlessly with the minimal dining room at Omni, making a meal feel like dining at a friend’s house — if your friend had a sick kitchen kit and had mastered binchotan coals. Owners John Yip and Jamie Yeon are at the restaurant for every service, adding to the homey vibe, and the food comes out at a leisurely pace, allowing you to make your way through the low-intervention wine list. Dishes show a Japanese influence, with yakitori chicken parts, whisky highballs, and sake on offer, but where Omni really shines is in its playful renditions of much-loved classics from around the globe: Think boujee prawn toast, cumin lamb skewers on flaky roti, and udon noodles tossed in a “miso e pepe” sauce. — LJ

A meatball-looking katsu patty in between slices of rounded off, crustless white bread.
Katsu sando.
Brianna Kirkham

Over the years, Paradise has built a mini empire, taking over a small block with a dine-in restaurant, takeaway shop, and a “party house” for private group bookings of up to 90 people. Find it by the throngs of people outside on any given night, bathing in the light of a neon chile pepper, waiting for a table or queuing for takeaway, which can be ordered ahead or selected from bains-marie filled with rich, aromatic Mughlai curries. Anything from the tandoor is good, particularly the whole fish, and don’t miss the Hyderabadi dum biryani with tender goat on the bone, saffron-studded rice, boiled eggs, and raita. — LJ

Orange-tinted stew presented in a skillet.
Lamb pasinday.
Paradise

It would be difficult to find someone in Auckland who doesn’t hold a special place in their heart for Cazador. The second-generation, family-owned Dominion Road haunt, run by Dariush Lolaiy and Rebecca Smidt, has harnessed a special sort of warmth within the rustic space outfitted with taxidermied animal heads. Known for his affinity for meat cookery and for making some of the best charcuterie in town, Lolaiy leans on rich flavors of pan-fried quail hearts and beautifully braised boar to create his uniquely bold offering. If the food wasn’t enough, front-of-house fixture Simon Benoit brings in customers with a thoughtful collection of sherry and effortless service. Hot tip: Cazador Deli, next door, offers some of the best pies in the city. — HE

A restaurant interior with textured white walls, taxidermy, and other assorted decorations.
Inside Cazador.
Cazador

Possibly the best thing about Bunga Raya is “Aunty” Rita Lim, who owns this popular Malaysian restaurant with her husband, John. She’s always on hand to offer advice, flitting from the kitchen to the tables and pulling her pad and pen from her back pocket like a quick-draw cowboy. Overload the lazy Susan on your table with XO chicken; king prawns with crunchy butter coating; silky egg tofu in tropical sauce; and wok hei-heavy wat tan hor, fried flat rice noodles. Or plan ahead and order one of the specialty dishes in advance, such as the Nyonya fish head curry: a monster head of snapper surrounded by an aromatic curry of okra, beans, eggplant, and fresh curry leaves. — LJ

A decorative dish loaded with a chunky fish head curry.
Fish head curry.
Malcolm Campbell

Try It Out is adorned with little more than tourism posters of Vietnam sunsets and palm trees etched in the frosted glass on the windows, giving the sparse room a feeling of being somewhere far away. The large round tables are big enough to accommodate families, who you’ll often find filling the space on the weekends. The menu is vast and covers all of the country’s regions with banh mi, bún bò huê, and light and crispy bánh xèo stuffed with huge prawns and bean sprouts. It opens at 10 a.m., should you fancy pho for breakfast. — LJ

Bánh xèo served with salad and dipping sauce.
Bánh xèo.
Leisha Jones

Slinging comfort dishes from the Cook Islands, Tanz Ktchn makes all of your combo plate dreams come true. Though the menu changes depending on what’s available that day, chop suey, steak on rice, minus (aka mainese, a type of potato salad), and poke are all winners here. No matter the order, don’t forget to grab a few keke, traditional Cook Islands-style doughnuts, on the way out. At 50 cents a pop, it’s silly to pass them up. — HE

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