Deciding where to eat in Auckland can be a daunting task at the best of times, but when it comes to breakfast, the sheer scale of options can feel overwhelming. It seems every corner you turn, you spot another stylish, quaint or quirky cafe that’s serving up incredible food and top notch coffee. So if you’re only in town for a weekend, how do you choose where to find some of the top places to eat in Auckland? (Other than extending your time away with a couple of extra days, that is). While it’s hard to go wrong in the City of Sails, here are just some of the best cafes in Auckland. Now the only decision you need to make is deciding what to order. Tip: always get pancakes for the table.
Open since 2014, Odettes Eatery has established itself as a local favourite. The bright, airy and greenery-infused cafe is owned by husband and wife team Joost and Clare van den Berg, and boasts a menu that is built around local and seasonal produce. As such, the menu is always changing, but the kitchen’s dedication to Mediterranean flavours imbued with Levantine and African spice remains constant. Expect fare such as lemon crepe with ANZAC crunch; heirloom carrots and beetroot hummus; burnt eggplant and almond tahini; and savoury crepes with lamb shoulder.
City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley St West, CBD
If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast and killer cup of joe that’s served in a super old-school setting, then the Fed is for you. Modelled after a classic NYC deli, Federal Delicatessen offers an American diner experience with all the trimmings — including excellent service and bottomless cups of coffee. It’s also one of the best spots in the city for solo dining: pull up a stool at the counter and it becomes all too easy to while away the morning with a book, a coffee and an excellent feed. Early birds can make the most of a breakfast menu served from 7am to 11.30am – griddle cakes, salmon latkes, smoked hash – or turn the most important meal of the day into a leisurely midday feast, thanks to brunch offerings covering bagels, sandwiches and poutine.
86 Federal St, CBD
Sophisticated without being snooty, Ortolana is a hero of the farm-to-table movement. With a name that translates to “market gardener” in Italian, Ortolana is dedicated to sourcing ingredients from their own farm and other local growers. What this means is that their menu is always fresh and flavoursome, championing some of the incredible produce the North Island is known for. Tuck into a pastured egg omelette with scamorza and goats cheese; halloumi with shittake, portobello and swiss browns; smashed egg and chive piadina. Food aside, their cafe is also a joy to behold, located as it is in a charming, sun-filled conservatory in the Pavilions at Britomart.
33 Tyler St, Britomart
The best advice we can give you about Orphans Kitchen is not to get attached to any dish, because it’s more than likely that the next time you visit, it will be gone. But that’s just how things work here. Previous plates to feature on the menu range from buckwheat granola, to pulled pork and sauerkraut, slow-poached eggs with anchovy and Meyer lemon, and kumara (sweet potato) loaf with burnt coconut. The experimental chefs are constantly challenging themselves to up their game in terms of the dishes they produce. It’s also the kind of eatery that you can feel good about dining at from an environmental perspective, as the team are committed to championing sustainable approaches to how they source their ingredients.
118 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
The name says it all, really. Small in size but huge in character, Chuffed is the perfect way to start your weekend. The coffee, for starters, is roasted in house and is deliciously smooth. Then there’s the menu, which offers a number of gourmet grab-and-go sandwich options for those on the move. However, if you have the time, it really is worth grabbing a table and ordering off the menu – crumpets with ginger-poached pear or gin and citrus-cured salmon; banana porridge; mixed mushrooms with cashew puree and smoked pecorino. Not to state the obvious, but you’ll be positively chuffed that you did.
43 High St, CBD
In your search for the best vegetarian places to eat in Auckland, look no further than Postal Service, an outpost of Kōkako Organic Coffee. Previously known as Kōkako Cafe, Postal Service is a highlight of the Grey Lynn area. Vegetables hero every dish here, and are used in such a creative way that even the most steadfast meat-eaters are sure to have found their new favourite breakfast spot. Need proof? Three words: beetroot rice porridge. However, people don’t just come here for the food; Kōkako also serves some of the best coffee in Auckland, with their certified fair-trade and organic brews the absolute star of their show.
537 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn
Get the warm and fuzzies once you arrive at Winona Forever. This unpretentious cafe is all about a welcoming atmosphere, top service and doing good by the planet – it is one of the most environmentally-friendly cafes in Auckland. With a name that is a cheeky nod to Johnny Depp’s now-altered tattoo, you can expect a menu with dishes that boast similarly quirky names – Magical Mushrooms, Daddy’s Sandwich, K Pop Pork Benedict and The Eton Rifle. The beans in the espresso machine are from Coffee Supreme, and non-coffee drinkers are taken care of with organic kombucha, Hakanoa chais, and hot chocolates. If you can’t carve out an hour or two for a sit-down breakfast, it is still worth paying a visit even just to look longingly at the cake and pastry creations in the fridge.
100 Parnell Rd, Parnell
Little Bird Kitchen
Feel smug about your superfood-boosted start to the day when you grab breakfast at Little Bird Kitchen, the eatery offshoot of Little Bird Organics. Diners will have no problem meeting their daily quota of fruit and veg thanks to the plant-based menu. Although plates change with the season, prepare to tuck into fare such as one of four types of sprouted granola (playfully dubbed “grawnola”), as well as golden tumeric porridge with saffron-poached pear; chickpea and kimchi pancakes; or raw bagels, a house speciality. And for something to wash it down with? The drinks menu at Little Bird Kitchen is a multi-page epic, covering everything from smoothies and shakes, to bespoke coffee, matcha concoctions, cold-pressed juices and kombucha.
Cnr Summer St & Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
With its Instagram-friendly dishes and casual vibes, it is little surprise Dear Jervois has cemented itself as a go-to with die-hard breakfast and brunch crowds. The menu is filled with fare made from locally-sourced ingredients and there are a number of dishes that suit vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners. Tuck into classics such as eggs benedict, smashed avocado or zucchini fritters, or broaden your breakfast horizons by ordering a savoury herb waffle with donkatsu pork; kimchi fried rice, or a satiating egg-and-chorizo-filled taco. Embrace new-age lattes with ginger, matcha, beetroot and turmeric variations, or look to one of the organic smoothies – peanut butter blueberry, activated charcoal, cacoa maca – to put a pep in your step for the rest of the day.
234 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay
Find cheap flights to Auckland on Webjet for your next holiday, and have the best start to the day with a visit to one of these places to eat in Auckland.