Kermadec Ocean Fresh RestaurantViaduct HarbourKermadec is an amazing seafood restaurant with different dining options such as fine dining, tasting room and the bar & brasserie, so there’s something for every taste and budget. Its location in the viaduct overlooking the harbour just adds to the fresh seafood menu.
Squid Row LtdEden TerraceSquid Row is quite a hip and happening little place on Symonds Street with great drinks as well as seafood. I love going here in the winter because they’ve always got the heaters cranked! They have a great range of seafood on the menu, like rock oysters and smoked fish pie.
SwashbucklersWesthavenThis is a really fun, family-friendly seafood restaurant. It sits amongst all the boats in the harbour near the Auckland bridge and has cool, pirate-inspired décor. They do a stand-out seafood chowder, generous seafood platters and it’s reasonably priced.
- 418I would always pass this restaurant on my daily runs, because it’s located along Tamaki Drive looking out over the ocean (and my running route). I was curious about it because it just looked really cool and classy and was always busy. I finally went there with my husband for dinner and we weren’t disappointed. Hammerheads has been in business since 1990 and I’m sure it will stay in business for many years to come. Amazing food with even more amazing views!
The Fish Pot CafeMission BayWhat would a ‘best seafood’ list be without the perfect fish and chips joint? The Fish Pot Café in Mission Bay is just that. You can dine in, but the restaurant itself is not much to look at. The fish and chips, however, are top notch! I’d recommend grabbing takeaways and heading across the street to enjoy them on the beach. Ahhh, summer.
Ponsonby International FoodcourtPonsonbyLet’s start with the obvious. Ponsonby International Food Court is literally a world food tour in one convenient room. From Italian to Malaysian to Indian to Chinese and lots in between. I’ve eaten at every restaurant here and they are all delicious!
Mexico Auckland CentralAuckland CentralI love Mexico! It feels so authentically Mexican from the décor to the music to the food. Lots of tasty tapas and nice, strong cocktails. Just get there early - this place is packed on weekends and they don’t take reservations!
- 325I love me some good Indian food! Rich, spicy and delicious, Oh Calcutta is the best of the best. Everyone who works there is Indian and you feel like you’re getting the real deal with the food. Plus, the naan bread is amazing - not soggy and doughy like some other places in town!
- 412By far the best Thai I’ve had in Auckland. Tucked away in a cozy little nook of Parnell with a very authentic feel and friendly staff. Unlike most Thai joints in town, Blue Elephant is not cheap. But as they say, you get what you pay for.
Gina's Italian KitchenNewtonOh Gina’s. Just thinking about this place makes my mouth water! My dad is Italian, so I like to think I know good Italian food when I taste it. Gina’s is one of my favourite restaurants in Auckland. It’s warm and welcoming with truly delicious food that tastes like it was cooked in your grandma’s kitchen. More than the food though, the experience is worth the trip. You’ll really feel like you’re in Italy!
ProfessioNAIL NewmarketNewmarketFast, cheap, massaging chairs, located in the mall for convenience’s sake and they do a great job. Enough said!
Diamond Nail Salon & SpaPonsonbyDiamond Nail is reasonably priced and they use the tool to scrape the dead skin off your feet (ew, I know. But it leaves your feet amazingly smooth and not many places use it anymore!) The service is not great - the girls who work there are not the friendliest - but if you’re just looking for a good, old-fashioned mani/pedi, this is a great choice.
Nails of ParnellParnellThis is the cutest little salon! It’s in the heart of Parnell village and the manicure and pedicure stations are in two different buildings. The woman who runs the place is really sweet and does a really good job. Plus all the lotions and soaps she uses smell delicious. If nothing else, just go there for the adorable little Victorian building and the lovely atmosphere. You can finish off your luxurious afternoon with tea and a sweet treat at one of Parnell’s many great cafés.
Verdo Nails ParnellParnellThis is the place to come if you really want to treat yourself. Located in Parnell, Verdo has won a few different beauty and salon awards and the boutique itself is beautiful and oh so girly. the technicians can do some really amazing nail art and you can book out the boutique for private girly days, such as wedding pampering or bridal showers.
Nails on RichmondGrey LynnThis salon offers pretty much every hand, foot and nail-related service in the book - from Full Set Overlays, Acrylic, Gel or French extensions, French Fills, Supergloss UV Top Coats, Nail Art, Spa Manicures, Shellac or just a simple File and Paint. the prices range from $10 to $145, so it’s up to you how much your nails are worth!
Blue Dude SwimwearAuckland CentralAs a specialist swimwear shop, you can find pretty much any style, colour and pattern of toggs your heart desires! If you’re in the market for a bikini, you can shop separates or the complete suit. The staff are really helpful and will even help you pick out a suit to flatter your specific body type. They also sell cool cover-ups and beach bags.
BillabongAuckland CentralWhenever I walk past Billabong on Queen Street, the display mannequins always seem to be wearing some super cute bikini that I just HAVE to have! I used to think of Billabong as just a sporty/surfy shop, but it’s actually so much more. Some of the swimsuits (and clothes) are really cute, trendy and feminine.
Westfield WestCity Shopping CentreHendersonIn specific, ‘Hot Body’ in Westfield Newmarket. This is another specialty swimwear store, so it’s great if you’re looking for something really specific. For example, I was looking for a pair of orange bikini bottoms (already had a top) and I came here and they had individual bikini bottoms for sale in pretty much every colour imaginable.
Chances Surf - OrewaOrewaChances carries a lot of Sea Folly bathing suits, which is one of my favourite swimwear brands. I’m not really into the triangle bikini tops of my youth anymore, and Sea Folly has lots of more grown-up styles to choose from. The shop also stocks fun, sporty brands like Billabong, Quicksilver and Roxy.
Glassons Queen StreetAuckland CentralI actually love Glassons for certain things, swimsuits being one of them. Even the very best quality swimsuits don’t last decades if you put them through enough sand, sea, sun and chlorine abuse. So why spend $300 on a fancy designer brand when you can get an equally cute suit for a fraction of the cost from Glassons? It’s especially great if you want to try something really trendy that will probably go out of style by next year - that way you’re not breaking the bank on something that you’ll only wear for one season!
Wise CicadaNewmarketThis is the ultimate organic and vegan health food store and café. Delicious, healthy, meat-free salads, smoothies and nut-butter galore. You’ll feel good about eating here but you’ll also enjoy the food because it is truly delish.
Ripe DelicatessenGrey LynnProbably my favourite healthy-eating spot in the city. This place is packed every single day, and for good reason! Ripe offers a wide range of healthy, vegetarian and vegan choices and now you can even buy their cookbook to recreate the meals on your own. Don’t leave without trying their quinoa cookies!
Raw Power CafeAuckland CentralBurgers, shepherd’s pie… might not sound meat-free but it is! The tofu burger is a standout and even my carnivorous husband enjoys the vegetarian shepherd’s pie. They have a great salad and smoothie bar too and it’s conveniently located in central Vulcan Lane, off Queen Street.
- 436Little Bird has something different on the menu every day, and everything I’ve tried there has been delicious. You’ll forget that you’re eating healthy, organic, vegan food because it’s so tasty! What’s more, everything at Little Bird is raw - I don’t know how they do it! Definitely worth a visit - vegan or not.
Mimco NewmarketNewmarketStatement pieces galore! You’ll find all kinds of cool, unusual necklaces and bracelets along with other accessories like shoes and bags. I bought a chunky, white statement necklace here that entwines rope with beads and other ornaments. I get compliments every time I wear it! Keep an eye out for sales.
Karen Walker PonsonbyPonsonbyQueen of quirky. I love Karen Walker’s classic Runaway collection and you get some affordable and funky costume jewellery here too, not to mention to-die-for sunglasses.
ShellShockPonsonbyThis store is awesome. They have new, seasonally relevant pieces coming in all the time and so much to choose from! Right now the main table is covered in bright colours and funky shapes for summer. You can also find beautiful NZ-made jewellery, including greenstone, and a mix of delicate pieces and costume jewellery.
Michael Hill Jeweller Ltd - Queen StreetAuckland CentralI love Michael Hill for classics. Beautiful sterling silver and gold necklaces, charm bracelets and earrings. Everything in here screams class and elegance. Perfect for every day jewellery and timeless pieces.
Swarovski Queen StreetAuckland CentralWhether you’re looking for delicate, crystal-adorned jewellery or funky ‘Hello Kitty’ inspired garb, you’ll find it at Swarovski. They also have beautiful crystal display ornaments. This is a great place to come for special occasion jewellery – I got all of my wedding jewellery here!