Trelise Cooper BritomartAuckland CentralTrelise Cooper's gorgeous Britomart store is all kinds of wonderful. It perfectly showcases her expansive ranges in a light and airy space that is modern and fresh. Conveniently her Boardroom store also adjoins her main store so you can shop for workwear, daywear, one of her fabulous party dresses or any kind of outfit at the same time. The staff there are also really lovely and super knowledgeable about the collections so you can trust that you are getting expert fashion advice and will walk out with a sublime new outfit.
Storm PonsonbyPonsonbyContemporary fashion that helps you look and feel confident is Storm's speciality. They design stellar collections that include many pieces that transition from day to night so you can be assured that you will always look great in their outfits. They excel in well-tailored blazers, pants and shirts, not too mention their chic evening outfits which have just the right amount of sensual allure. Storm also do regular drops of new styles so there is always something to discover in their stores and their friendly retail assistants will be able to advise you on choosing the best look for you.
TK Store PonsonbyPonsonbyClothes that drape perfectly and make you feel like a goddess are what TK Store does oh so well. Designer Turet Knuefermann has mastered the art of creating the most flattering shapes that beautifully flatter the female form. Her slinky evening dresses are especially popular for their sultry glamour and it's not hard to see why. She uses luxurious fabrics like silk to make the wearer look and feel amazing which is a pretty addictive thing. Her chic day wear is also very popular and it's brilliantly complemented by her fabulous range of accessories too. Service is everything at TK Store and you will more often than not find yourself greeted with a fresh coffee on arrival and expert help to choose a great outfit for you.
Kate Sylvester BritomartAuckland CentralKate Sylvester creates the clothes that pretty much every kiwi woman wants to wear. She has nailed that wonderful mix of feminine and elegant yet still practical and very wearable. Her collections consist of pieces that update your look each season while still being timeless and very flattering. She has a more intellectual take on fashion too and it's not uncommon for her range to reference literary inspiration with her own sometimes quirky take on history and pop culture. KS stores are some of the most beautiful I have encountered and her Britomart one is my favourite for it's spacious nature and gorgeous displays. The staff here are very friendly and helpful, nothing is too much trouble to help you find the right KS piece to add to your wardrobe. With such wonderful service and charming garments, you'll want to come back to Kate Sylvester over and over again.
HailwoodNewtonIt's impossible not to love Hailwood's unique designs which combine the creativity of his graphic design background with his sharp eye for tailoring and construction. His collections are always a fantastic mix of everyday wearable pieces, especially his cool printed t shirts, and evening wear which is seductive and oh so glamorous. Hailwood's K'Rd store is also occasionally manned by Adrian Hailwood himself as he likes to stay in touch with what his customers are after and provide the best possible service. Anything you buy from Hailwood you will definitely treasure.
Ollies Burgers & Ice CreamRoyal OakIt's definitely a huge achievement to be consistently awesome for 40 years, but Ollie's has done it and what I love best about this place is the ice cream. Known as the cheapest in Auckland, Ollie's has huge serves of ice cream at great prices and the sundaes are the retro kind you remember from your childhood. It's always worth a trip out to Royal Oak to visit Ollies.
Kapiti StoreAuckland CentralKapiti Ice Cream is simply all kinds of awesome and I was so excited to find out they have a store in central Auckland that serves up all the varieties of their delicious ice cream. My all-time fave is the gingernut ice cream which is made of gingernut biscuits and crystallised ginger, it has the most divine taste and perfect texture. The serves from this store are huge too, the four scoop is almost too big to eat and they're great value for money, especially considering the quality of the ice cream.
Blue Ice Cream CafeMatakanaIf you're driving north through Matakana you must stop at Blue Ice Cream Cafe which is the home of the amazing OOB Organic Ice Cream. OOB is off the charts as far as ice cream goes, it's made from real fruit and is so delicious, their flavours are really creative too. Blueberry is a personal favourite of mine and you can see and taste the real blueberries which is awesome, I also love the licorice flavour which is much more delicious than you would think, the licorice flavour translates really well into ice cream. This place is super popular in summer though so make sure you allow enough time for a visit. The prices are really good too and you can buy tubs to take away with you.
Pokeno TakeawaysPokenoPokeno Takeaways is a place you must stop in summer when you're driving south from Auckland. They have a huge selection of ice cream flavours scooped into a cone just like I remember from being a kid. Their prices are pretty laid back too and great value. I'm a fan of the old-school favourites like rum & raisin and hokey pokey of course, but they do have lots of other cool varieties including peanut butter. This place is also famous for their 15 scoop ice cream so if you're feeling like an ice cream fest it's well worth a try, although you might need some help from your friends!
Rangitoto SupretteTakapunaAs a shore kid I've been coming to this place for an ice cream after a visit to Takapuna beach for as long as I can remember. It's so cool to go to a local dairy by the beach that still serves fresh ice cream in a cone. They have a great range of flavours, although being a classics fan myself I usually go with hokey pokey or chocolate, but the serving sizes are really generous and good value. Always nice to have a cool down with some great ice cream after a hot day in the sun.
Little & Friday North ShoreBelmontThere are many delicious reasons to visit Little & Friday but very high on the list is their amazing doughnuts. They've brought back the classic jam and cream doughnut covered in icing sugar and it has the most sublime taste and texture, exactly like the ones you remember from your childhood, except even better. The also bake a few other doughnut varieties and I'm always torn on choosing between chilli chocolate, banana caramel and cinnamon, each one is perfectly soft on the outside with just the right amount of crispiness on the outside. To top it off they will deliver a box of doughnuts to your doorstep - work morning tea anyone?
Scratch Bakers HQAuckland CentralScratch Bakers is a must-visit if you're in the mood for a treat, they have some of the freshest and most delicious baking in the city. Among their impressive list of delights is their amazing doughnuts and the flavours list is pretty impressive including the likes of lemon curd, kiwifruit, cherry vanilla and cranberry. I love the chocolate espresso doughnut although it has quite a caffeine kick so go for the mini version if you want to try its tastiness but don't want the kick in the pants. Scratch is a CBD doughnut heaven and worth multiple visits.
Little Sister CafeHendersonOrder a cream doughnut from Little Sister Cafe right now because this is one of the best places in Auckland to indulge in this classic Kiwi treat. I like to pull up a pew, get my laptop out and make the most of their free Wi-Fi while indulging in these incredible sweeties. Following on from the amazing doughnuts created at Salvation Kitchen, the owners have brought their unique blend of cream, homemade raspberry jam and doughy delectable, chewy, sugar 'n' cinnamon sprinkled goodies that are their delicious doughnuts. I love them because they are lip-smackingly good and one is never enough!
Bluebells CakeryHillsboroughBluebells excel at baking that reminds you of your grandmother's best sweets but even better, and it's no surprise that their sublime cakes and treats have gained a huge following. Although if you haven't tried them yet make sure you sample the long cream doughnuts which are just like the old ones you remember growing up and perfectly baked to be fluffy on the inside with just the right amount of crispiness and sugar on the outside. They do quite a few varieties too, with salted caramel my definite fave.
Al's DeliAuckland CentralOh Al's Deli.. I've had your doughnuts on my mind all week! I must warn you, if you aren't decisive when it comes to choosing your sweet treats, you may be at Al's deciding on your dessert for a while. I walked away with three doughnuts - a snickers, nutella and black forest. I can't choose a favourite, but I will be back to try others and give the cronuts a go!
The Oyster InnOneroaDon't you just love the ferry trip to Waiheke? It's like leaving Auckland without really leaving Auckland since it's such a quick trip but a great way to unwind and leave the city behind you. The Oyster Inn is the perfect place to treat yourself to some luxury, whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just want to treat yourself. The kitchen is open all day and they serve beautiful artisanal food with an emphasis on local produce and seafood. Fresh oysters are a speciality (hence the name). I love the elegant feel of this place, it's so simply decorated but is still luxurious in every way and if you visit for a meal, it's really tempting to stay in one of their chic rooms. Definitely a must-see on Waiheke.
Twisted TomatoPoint ChevalierI went here on a recommendation from Localist's Ed and foodie who knows all the best spots out west and has been here several times. Twisted Tomato is a delightful place with great food, that didn't disappoint. I chose the mushroom risotto with pea pesto truffle oil which was perfection and just the right consistency. I followed it up with the chocolate mousse which was mouth-watering and a delectable chocolate hit. I loved the pretty presentation of the food and the service was friendly and efficient, would definitely go back.
Provenance Matua ValleyWaimaukuI love finding eateries that focus on organic, locally grown produce so was delighted to discover Provenance, which is elegant enough for a special occasion and set against a beautiful West Auckland backdrop complete with well-tended produce gardens. The food here is delicious and since the menu showcases their current garden crop you're guaranteed to get a fresh meal and time to unwind in a lovely location. I'm particularly fond of their wonderful zucchini flowers and the apple crumble is divine. Well worth the trip out west.
The Engine RoomNorthcote PointIf you're after an outstanding meal, you can't go past The Engine Room. The food is top-notch, the service is stellar and the location means that you can go for a walk with a view after dinner and have little trouble finding a park. I totally recommend the Veal Schnitzel, it's mouth-wateringly good and as a sugar fiend I love the Churros con Chocolate which are simply divine. This is a wonderful place to treat yourself or someone else.
Penang Cafe & RestaurantOtahuhuPenang has quite a reputation, given that celebrity chef Simon Gault rates it as his favourite Malaysian place in Auckland. It's interesting that quite a lot of people make the trip out to Otahuhu for it and after not getting around to it for ages, I finally made the effort and found it well worth the drive. Funny how sometimes it's the unremarkable looking places that have food that's sensational, this little restaurant makes authentic Malaysian food that is inexpensive and the portion sizes are particularly generous. Make sure you try their chicken dishes as the flavours are superb.
Bamboo KitchenEden TerraceBamboo Kitchen has a great combination of fresh Asian meals cooked wok-style and traditional takeaway options of burgers and fish and chips so you can please everyone with one order. I think it's great that the offer all the usual favourites and some healthier options too, you can opt to have a smaller portion or have your dish without rice if you wish. And if you live within 3kms of their store your home delivery is free which is awesome and means you can spend that saved cash on dessert or a dvd.
Jess' Underground KitchenHerne BayYou would have to have been hiding under a rock the past year or so to not have heard of Jess' Underground Kitchen, it's the Herne Bay based kitchen which offers a pick up or delivery service of dinners and freezer food that are homemade and delicious. The menu changes every week and you can order online, the best part is you can choose the serving size depending on how big your appetite is and she also does Paleo options for those following that diet trend. Having tried her dishes several times now I'm definitely keen to try more and if I had a more normal schedule I'd be tempted to order from her every night of the week - definitely a must try, especially if you're a busy person or prefer someone else to do the cooking for you.
Tomette LtdKohimaramaIt's no secret that French food is incredibly delicious, even more so if it's made by an actual French chef who knows how to get the balance of flavours just right and tasting authentic. Tomette is a clever idea by a group of French friends based in Auckland who produce fresh handmade French meals then deliver them chilled to your door so you can reheat them in the oven or microwave yourself. Sounds good right? Well, their meals are every bit as mouth-watering as you could hope for, the Chicken Cassoulet is a favourite of mine and I love the Lamb Provencale too. They're such a great option for lunch or dinner when you're short on time but still want to eat something tasty and nutritious.
Naturally OrganicAlbanyGetting hold of reasonably priced, good quality organic produce can take quite a bit of shopping around so I was really grateful to discover Naturally Organic. Their online store delivers organic fresh fruit and veggie boxes amongst their other organic offerings. The boxes are a really good size and have an excellent range of produce. I love that the delivery is the same day to the city or the shore and it's free if you spend more than $35. Definitely a great way to save the hassle of organic produce shopping.
Soul ThaiGrey LynnYou can't really go wrong with Thai food, it's pretty healthy and nutritious, although the best thing about Soul Thai is that you can also get it delivered to your door for free. The quality of the food is restaurant standard and I love their curries, the flavours of the green curry are particularly delicious. My problem is always deciding what to choose as there are so many tasty options and I'm always tempted to add in extras like satay skewers and fish cakes - yum!
Revive Lorne StreetAuckland CentralRevive is salad heaven, as this cafe truly elevates the humble salad to the next level, and with a menu that changes weekly there is always something new and tasty to try. Although Revive serve a lot more than salad, with their hotpots and frittatas firm favourites too and they are constantly experimenting with new vegetarian and vegan dishes that often end up in their popular cookbooks as well. The best part is they're open until 8pm Monday to Thursday so you can easily stop on your way home to get a healthy dinner.
Wise CicadaNewmarketWise Cicada is the place to go if you want to eat and shop healthy, with a fantastic range of fresh fruit and veges and every health food ingredient you can think of on the shelves. Their cafe is super popular and has an ever changing menu that includes; salads, wraps, curries and a great selection of treats. I love the raw brownie and can't resist getting a delicious smoothie to take away either. This is the perfect place to treat your vegetarian or vegan friends too.
Zest HealthDevonportA delicious healthy haven on the North Shore, Zest is a fantastic vegetarian find that serves some of the freshest salads and juices in town. The cafe and store stock all kinds of organic and healthy treats including some tasty bliss balls and raw cupcakes, they cater for a range of dietary needs too. Once you're done shopping, grab a wrap or a smoothie and go for a walk around Devonport's scenic little village.
Little Bird OrganicsGraftonLeading the way in the local raw food movement is Little Bird. Everything that comes out of the kitchen here is made of raw, organic ingredients that make you feel good, not to mention the food is really delicious too. If you're in a rush grab a takeaway salad or if you're there early get a great breakfast bowl, which is the perfect way to start the day. I can never resist grabbing some handmade macaroons or cheesecake either, they're unbelievably tasty and you feel much less guilty for indulging in something that is still good for you. If you're keen to try raw cooking at home they do a fantastic cookbook with everything you need to know about their style of food and it has great recipes too.
Bird On A Wire - PonsonbyPonsonbyIt's no surprise that Bird On A Wire has built up a cult following in the two and a half years it's been on Ponsonby Road, their chicken is just that good. Although they do great burgers and sandwiches, it's the fantastic fresh salads that you can have with or without chicken that are a stand out for me. I love the Japanese slaw with miso dressing and the beetroot and carrot salad with maple dressing, although all of their salads are delicious. I usually choose a mix of my favourite three salads on the day and add a little of their tasty chicken for a perfect lunch or dinner takeaway.