Stella Artois and Metro present a celebration of Auckland's finest - a diverse list of 50 restaurants and dishes, featuring 10 from the city centre! 

Metro have done a fair few of these best 50 things — restaurants, cafes, bars, under $25s — and though the categories may differ, they all revolve around the same central theme: food they like to eat. Putting this list together meant thinking a lot about that. They thought about what’s craveable, what they keep going back to, and, most importantly, what kind of dishes make Auckland, Auckland. Bon Appetit! 

Photographs by: Vanessa Wu

Mozzarella focaccia di recco, $17 (pictured) | Amano

A circular pie of thin olive oil bread, this focaccia di recco is a thing of blistered beauty – and beautifully cheesy, too. It’s a testament to how our brain tends to crave simplicity: something we can eat again and again without getting sick of it. Which is definitely the case here. 

King salmon, cucumber, shiso and tamarind, $30 | Mr Morris

There is obviously a delicate complexity at play in this dish, served up as an entree at Michael Meredith’s Britomart restaurant Mr Morris. It’s not one of the flashier or signature numbers, but it’s something that will linger in your mind after you eat it: fish (sometimes salmon, sometimes not) in a slightly sour-tart tamarind liquid that lights up the parts of your brain that wants to eat more food (hence, its role as entree). 

Alma Metro Top 50 Eats

Olive Oil semifreddo, sea salt, $15 | Hugo's Bistro

A deceptively simple dessert, Hugo’s semifreddo is smooth and silky; dreamy and indulgent, with lashings of quality olive oil that make you want to bathe in the stuff. The sprinkling of sea salt lifts the whole thing to stratospheric.

Al pastor tacos, $16 | Mr Taco

Life is good when you have an arrangement of three al pastor tacos from central-city taqueria Mr Taco. With none of that distracting Tex- Mex-style lettuce, the al pastor pairs pull-apart pork with fresh, vibrant herbs, chopped onion and spicy salsa, ready to be picked up and devoured, with juices licked off right at the end.

Beef tongue, olive, preserved lemon, $36 | alma

We can’t think of another restaurant in Auckland that serves up anything quite like this. The winner of our Best Dish in last year’s Restaurant of the Year Awards, alma’s beef tongue is grilled on the open fire to a just-so tenderness, laid out with a blanket of thinly sliced olives.

Mr Taco
Hugo's Bistro Metro Top 50 Eats
Alma Metro Top 50 Eats

Turkish egg, $24 (pictured) | Homeland

Most people who’ve heard of Peter Gordon, the head chef and co-owner of Homeland, will have also heard of his Turkish eggs, or cilbir. It’s a simple brunch dish of a couple of perfectly poached eggs in a bowl of yoghurt, drizzled with chilli butter and some fresh herbs. Add a couple of slices of sourdough to mop up, and it’s just the kind of hearty thing you want to start the day with.

Dry-aged ribeye steak, bone marrow, chimichurri, $120 | Milenta

The deliciousness of Milenta's steak makes sense when you think about the elements that go into it: excellent dry-aged meat, a hunk of rich, gelatinous bone marrow topped with a swipe of herbaceous chimichurri, and an open fire. It's the method of cooking, charred over the flame until that all-important crust forms, that makes us love it so.

Homeland Metro Top 50 Eats

Charred chicken, gochujang, comté, $38 | Gochu

There's not a single person we've told to try this dish who hasn't come away loving it. It comes to the table sizzling, covered in bright spicy gochujang, which then gets slathered in a comté and leek oil sauce, a layer of moreish savouriness that alchemises perfectly with the other components.

Macaroni and cheese, $30 | Soul Bar & Bistro

It feels somewhat crazy to pay $30 for macaroni and cheese, except you’re not really getting just macaroni and cheese. It’s oozy, creamy, decadent, made with a drizzle of truffle oil that saves it from the wrong side of cheesy, and pushed even further into luxury with some pieces of ham, sliced off the bone. Plus, you’re eating it at the Viaduct, by the water, which makes everything a little nicer.

Oyster pakora, $7ea | Cassia

A trip to Cassia, a modern Indian restaurant in the city, is not complete without downing a few oyster pakoras before the main event. Crunchy batter around creamy oysters -- need we say more?

Metro Top 50 Eats Gochu
Media Name: Cassia_Moana - Te Matuku oyster pakora with sorrel and marigold_Credit_Cassia.jpg
Soul Bar and Bistro
Last updated: 28 April 2023