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.Read More