Want to woo your other half? Rekindle the flame? What better way to do it than treating them to a night on the town, a lovely dinner out, and a long chat over a bottle of wine. Here’s our picks of the most romantic restaurants in Auckland.
If you want somewhere cosy with good, honest food, and an award winning wine list to match, look no further, Apero will be your jam. The wine list will be your first port of call, put together by Mo, who has selected his favourite wines from New Zealand and abroad, you’ll come across theAlta Cima 4.090 Carménère 12 from the Lontué Valley and delicious Valencian wine from Spain. Try as many wines as you can handle the next day. The food menu is just as personal, designed by Leslie, it has all the classics you know and love, including melt in your mouth, cheesy goats cheese croquettes with Kamahi honey. If you want, nibble away at the amazing bread basket along with a charcuterie platter. However, if this is somewhat of a special date, go all out and devour the ribeye of beef. If you do take your other half here, we’ll be pretty jealous, so make sure to tag @resdiarynz on insta of you indulgent date night, thanks.
“Nestled away in an old chocolate factory is one of Auckland’s best kept secrets” – Cibo, you must know it? The slightly eccentric restaurant is a haunt for those who know where to go. Visit on a sunny evening and relax with friends, and chat over a bottle of wine under the twinkling lights on the courtyard. A Metro Top 50 restaurant, Jeremy Turner has kept this place going by topping up your Sauvignon Blanc and chatting away making sure the front of house is equally as good as the kitchen. Head chef, Kate Fay, has curated a long, Asian inspired menu with hints of New Zealand wondering in and out. If you go to their website, the menu is simplified with ingredients grouped together to describe a dish, not quite your usual fish and chips for example: CO2 fish / chips / gribiche / vinegar. If you’re a wine fan, you need to try Cibo, their wine list has A LOT of wines, 15 of which are just Sauvignon Blanc. Take your nearest and dearest and get yourself down to Cibo.
If you live in Parnell, and you’re looking for a new local bistro, Rosie is the one. Just opposite the rose gardens, this contemporary and elegant neighbourhood restaurant will be your new haunt. Trust us. One of the best days to go is Rosie’s “cork and fork” Mondays, you can bring your own wine (corkage is free), and there’s always an off-menu chef’s special to try. Chef Mike de Vries is always cooking up something different. With just as long a vegetable (vegetarian) menu as the meat menu, with dishes such as fried eggplant, black sesame, date, and labneh. The meat menu has dishes with beef tartare, beef short rib, lamb, black pig, and duck (not altogether may we add). There’s always a line caught fish of the day available, and good ol’ scampi, which you may remember eating from frozen and breaded back in the day. However, these aren’t the breaded morsels you’re used to, this dish is entirely different, served with chitarra pasta, bisque, fermented chilli, tomato, and chorizo. Book yourself in and try all the dishes.
Have you tried Mulan yet? It’s pretty new on the Auckland restaurant scene. With the same name as the cult classic disney film, and with just as much punch and personality, this Southeast Asian family restaurant located in the center of birkenhead in Northshore is the place to go for a bit of indulgence and a dinner full of flavour. “Chef James Balakrishnan has spearheaded a menu that elicits all the delightful flavours of his homeland, Malaysia.” If you want to go romantic but also try somewhere new, as new experiences can often get few and far between with a long term squeeze, we recommend Mulan. Try one of the signature dishes, the penang curry kapitan, which is boneless chicken and agria potatoes cooked in lemongrass, coconut milk, galangal (tropical rhizomatous spices), roasted belachan (shrimp paste) served with coconut rice.
Before we even begin talking about the Tantalus estate, you’re gonna need to book it, it’s gets booked out fast. “Tantalus Estate sits on eight hectares of free-draining sandy soil over weathered clay and rock, in the heart of Waiheke wine growing country.” Make a trip of it, and surprise your other half/first date with a table here for a romantic date,. Get yourself some Te Matuku Bay shucked oysters (insert information about oysters being an aphrodisiac here), order whatever you fancy for your main course, and if the date is going well, order dessert, the milk caramel has our name on it. If it’s going really well, get the cheese board and devour the cheese while you gaze lovingly into each others eyes (or the cheese, you can trust the cheese). Get booking!
The Hunting Lodge
Inspired by the seasons, and serving some of the best wine and food this side of Waimauku, The Hunting Lodge is an escape where you can enjoy a glass of wine and their delicious charcuterie sharing plate, which includes their own house-made terrine, parfait, rillettes, and salted aged meats, mustard, and fermented and pickled vegetables. The setting is just as romantic as you would imagine, with doors surrounded by leafy trees, and beautiful shrubbery, and if you both want to enjoy a drink, they even offer a complimentary shuttle back home (just make sure you mention this when you book). The Sutton family have been at the helm since 2016 turning The Hunting Lodge into the culinary destination it is now. Award winning head chef Des Harris heads up the kitchen, giving you a fresh dining experience where you can relax, and just enjoy your evening with your other half.