My favorite places in Auckland

Friday 14 January 2011
I decided to compile a list of my favorite places in Auckland. We'll have to start with food as I seriously can't contemplate doing anything on an empty stomach *grin*

Favorite cafes
I guess you can call me a creature of habit or perhaps, loyal to businesses that provide me with exceptional service. I've been going to Bambina at Ponsonby for years and pretty much stick to my regular order of breakfast salad. It consists of lettuce, rocket leaves, shavings of parmesan cheese, pieces of ham, a poached egg and a slice of toasted ciabatta bread. There's a large communal table right in the middle of the cafe with the latest magazines which I devour along with my meal. Ahhh, perfect day to spend a lazy Saturday.

Or, if I prefer a more substantial meal, I head over to GPK which is a mere 2 minute stroll from Bambina for yummy wood-fired pizzas.

Favorite Yum Cha restaurants
THE place to go for ambiance and the best yum cha in town is either Grand Harbour at the Viaduct or their sister restaurant, Grand Park at Greenlane. I promise you that the yum cha is just as good as what you'll get in Hong Kong (their chefs are from there) and the service is speedy too. However, a word of advice, book in advance or better still, get there by 11am or else you'd better be prepared for a long wait.

Best Fine-Dining Restaurant
The French Cafe. I've written about it here. There's only one word to describe the food. WOW.

Favorite shops
When it comes to shopping, I avoid malls like the plague. The only mall I'm not allergic to is Selfridges where everything is laid out systematically and it's easy to navigate from one department to the next. Don't get me started on Harrods......

I adore catching up with a girlfriend and strolling down Ponsonby Rd to check out the local designers. The food scene is pretty darn good too. Uh oh, I'm back to talking about food. My apologies. You've got the likes of Superette, Karen Walker, Widdess, Natalija Kucija and more. Adorno stocks all the popular international brands such as K Jacques, Phillip Lim, Hanii Y, Velvet by Graham and Spencer etc. Next door, MeiMei used to stock the only Jimmy Choos in town but they've moved to more edgy brands since.

Newmarket is another staunch favorite of mine. No visit to the area is complete without checking out the largest Karen Walker store in Auckland. The service is always terrific. I've been going there for a decade and bought my wedding dress there which was originally an evening dress.

Best Vietnamese Restaurant
The best Vietnamese restaurant which goes by the strangest name I've heard " Try It Out" which I guess it's better than the Flying Horse, Golden Horse, Golden Phoenix or worse, 888. It is located in Otahuhu, not a particularly nice suburb and the decor is rather tatty BUT boy, do they have the best pho and banh mi in town! Their clientele consists of mostly Vietnamese so you know you're in the right place for a decent meal.


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