Because of its size and ethnic diversity, Auckland tops the country when it comes to dining options and quality. Lively eateries have sprung up to cater to the many Asian students, and offer inexpensive Japanese, Chinese and Korean staples. If you’re on a budget, you’ll fall in love with the city’s food halls.
You’ll find large supermarkets in most neighbourhoods: there's a particularly handy Countdown at the bottom of town and a New World by Victoria Park. Self-caterers should consider the Otara Flea Market and Avondale Sunday Markets for cheap, fresh vegetables, and La Cigale for fancier fare and local artisan produce.
The city's hippest new foodie enclaves are Britomart (the blocks above the train station) and Federal St (under the Sky Tower), and recent openings have resurrected and reinforced the culinary reputation of Ponsonby. The Wynyard Quarter and the former City Works Depot on the corner of Wellesley and Nelson Sts are also up-and-coming areas. Easily reached by train, Orakei Bay Village in the city's eastern suburbs is another emerging precinct.
Aucklanders demand good coffee, so you never have to walk too far to find a decent cafe, especially in suburbs like Ponsonby, Mt Eden and Kingsland. Some double as wine bars or have gourmet aspirations, while others are content to fill their counters with fresh, reasonably priced snacks.
Ponsonby & Grey Lynn
Auckland’s busiest restaurant-cafe-bar strip is so damn cool it has its own website (www.iloveponsonby.co.nz).
Karangahape Rd (K Rd) is known for its late-night clubs, but cafes and plenty of inexpensive ethnic restaurants are mixed in with the vintage clothing stores, secondhand boutiques, tattooists and adult shops.