A culinary exploration of Auckland with Lucy.
Many of our clients enjoy, taking their escort out for dinner to a fine restaurant before ending up somewhere else. 😉 What better way to show off your flirting skills and get to know each other and than over dinner? Why not enjoy a sophisticated conversation with one of our breathtakingly beautiful Fleurs, while tasting the finest of food that Auckland has to offer. But the choice of the right restaurant can be hard sometimes and help is often much desired. Let us introduce Lucy to you, our very own gourmet at La Fleur. She has been to them all and knows the Auckland food scene in and out. That’s why our lovely Lucy listed her favourite restaurants exclusively for you. Without further ado, here are Lucy’s recommendations:
Whether you’re a foodie or just someone who likes a good meal Auckland has a restaurant for everyone. A wonderful way to get to know your Fleur as well as have a great night out is to try a tasty restaurant. I myself, know that the quickest way to my heart is with good food, great company, and a cheeky cocktail. Here are my top restaurants for a night out in Auckland:
Ahi – 2 hats
Ahi, opened by Ben Bayly is arguably my personal favourite restaurant in town. Located in Commercial Bay with a beautiful view overlooking the harbour, Ahi is the perfect blend of sophistication and innovation while also popping off. The menu is focused on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients from all over New Zealand; think Tahr from Southland made into a tartar or Butterfish spearfished from Barrier Island. The menu is broken down into snacks, entrees, and mains. Perfect for either a drink and a snack or a full meal. Definitely don’t miss dessert either. With two Cuisine Good Foot hats, The restaurant really is Bayly’s opus, His dishes, built around expert technique, look good and eat well. If that’s not enough the cocktail and wine lists are extensive and sure to excite.
Must Eat: The Scampi Corndog
Must Drink: Maiden of Fire
Cost Point: $$$
Ideal night: A lovely dinner out designed to excite and go for a night out with your date.
Cocoro – 3 hats
Located in Ponsonby, with an intimate vibe, Cocoro is one of Auckland’s finest restaurants. With three Cuisine Good Food Hats, Cocoro is firmly one of the best restaurants in NZ. The menu is designed as a multi-course degustation with a Japanese focus on locally sourced, sustainable produce and seafood. Chef’s blue pāua chawanmushi is legendary while the Hokkaido scallop gratin is a treasure. The drinks list is impressive while the detailed elegance of every dish elicits involuntary ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ upon delivery. If you’re looking for some of the most beautifully presented and elegant seafood then look no further.
Must eat: Cocoro Sushi & Sashimi Course
Must drink: Their extensive Sake list
Cost Point: $$$$
Ideal night: The perfect romantic date night.
Pasture – 3 hats
Have no doubts, Pasture does what no other restaurant in town does. Seating only six people per sitting, Ed Verner’s restaurant dares to challenge our concept of food and dining as a whole. His 20-course menu might seem unfeasible but in fact, with every course, you are transported to a completely different reality and experience. When you eat here you’re not simply having dinner, you are in fact coming for a three-hour dining experience/extravaganza that will have you questioning every dish you try. From distilled on-premise spirits made from Strawberries and Rhubarb to a shaved ice machine paired with salmon roe, Pasture promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Must eat: You only have one option (the degustation menu) but rest assured you won’t be disappointed.
Must drink: Get the drinks paired with the dinner. It is not the same without it.
Ideal night: For those who are seeking the ultimate dining experience and wishing to treat their lady to a night she won’t forget in a hurry.
Pici – Metro Top 50
Sometimes you don’t want to spend three hours at dinner but you still want a delicious meal. That’s where Pici comes in. Pici, located in Saint Kevin’s Arcade on K Road, is an Italian restaurant specializing in homemade fresh pasta. However, that might seem simple but their pasta might just be the best in town. Known for their Cacio e Pepe, Pici takes simple dishes and makes them just perfect. With no plate over $22 ish, it’s easy to get stuck being unable to decide what you want to eat (so why not just order the whole menu?). With a cosy vibe, in a restaurant that only really seats 2 or 4 people tables, and a natural wine list to die for, Pici is the perfect place to come and have a quality but casual meal. Due to the small nature of their restaurant but definite popularity I do recommend booking in advance if you can.
Must eat: Cacio e Pepe
Must drink: Three Fates Cab Franc
Price Point: $
Ideal night: For when you’ve only got an hour or two and you want a good cosy meal with your lady.
Milenta – Metro Top 50
Milenta’s the new kid on the block and it sure did come out swinging. Located in Victoria Park Market, Milenta is a South-American-inspired open-aired restaurant with chefs cooking over an open fire and a members-only club next door called Shy Guy. Perfect for those warm sunny nights, the dining room is primarily outside with wood, terracotta, and rattan dominating the space. Milenta’s menu showcases the best of South American cuisine with menu items like Pao de Quijo, an aged rib-eye steak with bone marrow cooked over the BBQ pit, and ceviche. Their drinks list features cocktails primarily made with spirits from South America (think Pisco Sours, and Margaritas). Milenta brings a new sense of sophistication yet relaxed vibes to the Latin food scene that we’ve been so desperately craving. Definitely book in advance as this place is all the rage especially when it’s warm.
Must eat: Dry aged ribeye steak
Must drink: Cachacha Cocktail
Price Point: $$
Ideal night: For those summer evenings when you want to drink and feel like you’re in Brazil.
Bar Celeste – Metro Top 50
Bar Celeste is the place you go when you want to feel cool but like you didn’t try at all. Located on K Road, (just around the corner from our apartment), Bar Celeste is the perfect place to go for a drink and to people-watch. Half bar, half phenomenal Neo-French NZ bistro, Bar Celeste is the epitome of what the Auckland dining scene is trying to offer. With a menu that changes constantly, think small plates perfect for snacking that is light and fresh (Oyster Happy Hour on Saturdays) but also perfectly cooking main meals like whole flounders doused in a buttery caper sauce or duck-liver parfait with beautiful chunks of sourdough. Their wine list focuses on Natural Wines from around the world and if you like a bottle enough you can pop next door to Star Superette and take a bottle home. If that’s not enough to tempt you they have both a beautifully decorated interior restaurant or you can sit outside and people-watch all the wonderfully unique people of K-Road. Effortlessly chic, and yet to ever disappoint, Bar Celeste might just be our best neighbourhood watering hole.
Must Eat: The whole flounder or the Jerusalem artichokes
Must drink: Their happy hour Aperol Spritz
Price point: $$
Ideal night: When you want to pop out for some drinks and snacks and watch the world go buy
Tantalus – One hat
Last but not least, our list would not be complete without a special mention of a destination restaurant. Winner of the Metro Best Destination Restaurant Award, located on Waiheke Island (a short 45-minute ferry away from downtown), Tantalus has everything you could ever want from a day out. From primarily being a winery, as well as a brewery, orchard, and olive grove, the restaurant is really the reason to come. From the minute you walk in you’re struck by the beautiful lightness and rusticness of the place. Eat outside on the terrace amongst the grape vines to feel like you’ve been transported to Southern Italy. The menu you might ask consists of both an a la carte option and a three-course set menu option showcasing local produce sourced from around the Island and the estate. The wine list may be half the reason to come as it consists of wines made on-site at the Tantalus winery. Come for lunch and stay for a wine tasting, you will most definitely not be disappointed. If you’re more of a beer drinker, pop downstairs to Alibi to sample some of the best beers made in Auckland.
Must Eat: Truffle french fries (and the pork belly)
Must drink: Tantalus Merlot / Cabernet
Price Point: $$$
Ideal day: For when you just want to get away from it all and have a lovely day out and about enjoying the sunshine!
Now that you know all the best spots to dine in Auckland, why don’t you pick one of our Fleurs to accompany you? We highly recommend our Amourettes Experience for a nice dinner and some fun afterwards.