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Mimi Gilmour’s Top 9 Places To Eat In Auckland

Mimi Gilmour’s Top 9 Places To Eat In Auckland

“Auckland is one of the most exciting cities in the world right now,” says Kiwi restaurateur, entrepreneur and woman-about-town, Mimi Gilmour. The Auckland region has a lot to offer travellers, like its impressive harbour, Maori culture, volcanoes, Bordeaux-style wines, world-class sailing and nearby islands, but its urban centre is often overlooked as a quick pit stop.

According to Gilmour, however, the city is changing from the inside. “The younger generations are coming through with innovative and refreshing business ideas, making Auckland a creative hub of start-ups” and in the hospitality scene, this creative surge is a cause for pause. Visitors can find an increasing number of value-driven, accessible and design-savvy dining options that satisfy even the pickiest of Instagrammers.

Gilmour’s is an opinion you can trust. Her Mum, Emerald, was considered the doyenne of the Auckland restaurant scene in the ’80s and ’90s, instilling a love of cooking and all things food in Mimi “from the moment I could look over a bench”. Gilmour had a hand in bringing numerous beloved venues to Sydney including Assiette, District Dining and Chur Burger, before taking District Dining back to the Land of the Long White Cloud. She’s also had a turn as the Creative Director of Taste of New Zealand and co-founded the hugely successful Mexico Group. Gilmour currently spends her days at the delicious helm of her latest popular venture, Burger Burger.

The renewed energy in Auckland’s dining scene gives you another excuse to visit, so we asked Mimi for her top foodie picks to help you and your tastebuds navigate the city.

#1 Burger Burger

Where: 4 Brown St, Ponsonby and Osborne Lane, 3B York Street, Newmarket

Burger Burger 7

We have a little burger joint in Ponsonby Central and a more expansive space in an old industrial building in Newmarket – both great places to discover NZ’s incredible fashion offerings too! We are built around the idea that in every city there should be a spot with really delicious burgers made with whole and sustainable ingredients. We also have killer beverages, offering everything from swappa bottles of Kiwi beer ‘Red Lion’, the best milk and thickshakes made with 100 percent organic NZ ice-cream and milk, to bottles of French Champagne! If you feel like something lighter ask us about our famous broccoli and what the frick a ‘bunnuce’ is.

#2 Bird On A Wire

Where: 234 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby and 40 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna

(Photo: Bird On A Wire/Facebook)

I lived in Sydney for a while and a go-to for a quick dinner included my local Chargrill Charlies. When my sister Sophie came to visit, she realised Auckland was missing something Aussies had in spades: free-range chicken shops with beautiful salads. Sophie and her team have since opened Auckland’s first free-range chicken rotisserie, and it’s delicious. The burgers and rolls are incredible but in my opinion, the seasonal salads (all vegetarian) with added pulled chicken are the best. The original store is on Ponsonby Road and there’s a bigger location in the beautiful seaside neighbourhood of Takapuna (just over the bridge), and they have two downtown kiosks as well.

If you’re still peckish you’re a two-minute walk to Auckland’s two raw food stars: Little Bird Unbakery (their macaroons are ridiculous) and The Raw Kitchen (grab a Chocolate Peppermint Smoothie… so good and so healthy!). If you’re feeling really indulgent, pop a few metres further down the road to Little & Friday for the best doughnut you’ll ever have in your life.

#3 Ponsonby Road Bistro

Where: 165 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

(Photo: Ponsonby Road Bistro)

I visit this restaurant so much, it’s basically my dining room. Melissa Morrow and Sarah Conway have created the most welcoming neighbourhood restaurant, with superb food, wine and service. My go-to dishes are the southern clams or the steak, but you can trust anything on the menu. It sits on a great piece of real estate on Ponsonby Road, just a short walk down to SPQR (another favourite and an Auckland institution). Here I like to finish my nights off with an espresso martini and a bit of of cheeky fun!

#4  Apero

Where: 280 Karangahape Rd, Auckland

(Photo: Apero)

Karangahape Road or ‘K Road’ is an eclectic mix of vintage shops, ethnic restaurants, bars and a few phenomenal eateries. Apero is a divine wine bar with a perfectly French-inspired menu and a wine list to match. I rate the brussel sprouts as some of the best I’ve ever eaten. If it’s packed (which it quite often is these days, so get in early), pop down the road to one of my other favourites and K Road stalwart Cocos Cantina. The spaghetti and meatballs are delicious, as is everything on the menu (like the polenta chips).

#5 Depot

Where: 86 Federal Street, Auckland

(Photo: Depot/Facebook)

Renowned kiwi chef Al Brown opened Depot a few years ago and it’s already an institution. Their fish sliders are an Auckland legend – order them and you’ll see why – and I also love their skirt steak with tobacco onions, iceberg wedges and habanero mustard. Their oyster selection is always so fresh and diverse that it’s hard to go past. Al also runs next-door spot, Federal Delicatessen or ‘The Fed’, which is also a must-visit. Favourites from the diner-inspired menu include the schnitzel, poutine and any of the desserts.

#6 Orphans Kitchen

Where: 118 Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn

(Photo: Orphan’s Kitchen/Facebook)

This restaurant illustrates the depth of culinary talent we’re lucky enough to have in Auckland. The young owners Tom Hishon and Josh Helm offer serious food and wines but in a very warm environment. Dinner should be rounded off with a visit to nearby bar Golden Dawn to see some live music. Any excess will be set right back at Orphans the next morning; they have a really unique and delicious brunch menu which is available Wednesday through Saturday.

#7 Baduzzi

Where: Fish Lane, Auckland

(Photo: Baduzzi/Facebook)

One of the city’s best Italian restaurants, this gorgeous bistro is located in the picturesque Wynyard Quater. Work up an appetite with a stroll along our beautiful waterfront and then head in for meatballs and red wine.

#8 Woodpecker Hill

Where: 196 Parnell Rd, Parnell

(Photo: Woodpecker Hill/Facebook)

Mark Wallbank and Che Barrington have revolutionised Auckland’s dining scene with a string of Asian-inspired restaurants (Blue Breeze Inn, MooChowChow and Chop Chop) and their latest project is one of the hottest openings of 2015. Go there hungry and order lots to share! You also can’t go past their fabulously named cocktails.

#9 The Street Food Collective

Where:  Lot 3/130 Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn

(Photo: The Street Food Collective)

Described as Auckland’s new “permanent pop-up”, this is a really awesome collection of food trucks on a once vacant lot. The incredible artist Otis Frizell is here with his famous Lucky Taco truck, as well as other Auckland favourites like Judge Bao, The Roaming Dive, Brooklyn Dogs, The Pie Piper, The Bearded Clam & Sweet Vals. If the lines are too big you could always pop into Miss Moonshines, a “low ‘n’ slow BBQ joint”.

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