Restaurant Reviews

New Zealand North Island

La Porchetta51 Hobson Street, Auckland Central

La Porchetta has decent pizza at a reasonable price. This is a chain restaurant and I have found a lot of locations throughout Auckland. As a New Yorker, good pizza is hard to come by but this place had an extensive menu and their pizzas were thin and flavorful. I was told the pasta is pretty good, but I am very skeptical about believing anyone’s pasta is good besides my mothers and grandmothers’. I was also told to avoid their salads because it is just a bed of lettuce with a piece of chicken (or not) on top. If you go here, go for pizza. I had the Chicken Pizza which was made of tomato base, mozzarella, chicken, pineapple and a tangy BBQ sauce. It was good my only critic would be to add a touch more BBQ. I am also the queen of trades so I was able to taste an American Slice and an Aussie slice. The American was made with tomato base, mozzarella and hot salami. The hat salami was good but the pie was nothing to brag about. The Aussie slice was made with tomato base, mozzarella and ham, topped with an egg. This pizza was also very good, but after having Tarry Lodge’s (Tarrytown, NY) egg pizza, this does not compare.

Rating: 2

The Bakehouse CafeHobbiton

Again, this is another chain restaurant but they have very good meat pies. You can get any meat pie for under $5. The meat pies are very filling and come with all different meats and ingrediets. I had the steak, bacon and egg meat pie, which was good but I think I would have enjoyed the chicken much more. The chicken meat pie was very similar to a personal chicken pot pie with peas, corn, carrots and broccoli inside.

Rating: 2

Fat Dog 1161 Arawa Street,  Rotorua, New Zealand

Fat Dog has a great atmosphere, a colorful environment and a creative/unique menu. I ordered the Chicken Panini which came with chicken, red onion, and mango and peach cream cheese.  It was very good but did not have a lot of chicken on it and it was a little more on the expensive side for such a small sandwich. Everyone really enjoyed their lunch and if you are really hungry I suggest you order the Dogs Bollox Burger. This burger comes with 2 beef patties, fried egg, lettuce, coleslaw, a whole roast tomato, onion rings, caramelized onion and is served on a sesame bun with fries. The burger with all of its toppings was about a foot tall.

Rating: 4

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McCarthy’s Irish Pub196 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland

This local pub has a great atmosphere and great lunch deals. On Tuesday nights there is a pub quiz and many other nights of the week they have live music. I only ate the Kumara Chips (sweet potato fries) here and they were very good. They were served with mayo and a tangy sauce for dipping. They also have a great deal for a St. Patrick’s Day brunch.

Rating: N/A at this time

Burger Fuel187 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland

This is a great burger joint with large portions and reasonable prices. Except they charge 70 cents extra for ketchup. They are located directly across from McCarthy’s Irish Pub and is another chain throughout New Zealand. I indulged in the Third Pounder with Cheese which is made of 1/3 pound 100% pure NZ grass fed beef, melted cheddar, bread & butter pickles, dijon mustard, relish and fresh natural BF aioli. It was great and I will definitely go back whenever I am in the mood for a sizable burger for under $10.

Rating: 4

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The Corner Kebab115 Queen Street, Auckland

One of my new favorite restaurants. The Corner Kebab is a small Turkish Restaurant that specializes in Kebabs, Burgers and Rice Dishes. They provide a 20% discount to New Zealand Students and it is very reasonably priced for the portions. Burgers, Lamb Burgers, Chicken and Cajun Chicken Burgers are all $5 and come with lettuce, tomato, onion and your choice of 3 dressings. Kebabs are $8 and are huge. Definitely a place to try, highly recommended.

Rating: 4

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No. 1 Pancake Intersection of Wellesley St. and Lorne St., Auckland Central

For the price, this is the tastiest and most filling restaurant I have been to thus far. No. 1 Pancake is a Korean Restaurant that specializes in different types of Pancakes. They have both savory and sweet pancakes. Some include chicken and cheese, beef and cheese, potato and cheese and then chocolate, red bean and cinnamon. The employees are very friendly and accommodating. This is not a sit down restaurant, rather a stand on the corner of Wellesley St. and Lorne St. where you take your food on the go. It is a block away from Albert Park and that is where I have been enjoying my pancakes. I have tried the beef and cheese and chocolate and both were delicious. The savory ones are larger in size than the sweet ones and can be enjoyed as a meal, whereas, the sweet ones are a snack. The dough is very soft and fresh, but also tastes quite buttery, which could turn some people away. The savory pancakes range from $4-$5 and the sweet pancakes are $3. This is a must try!

Rating: 4

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Town and Country Food- Thames

Town and Country Food has prepared food like sandwiches, fried chicken, cakes, pastries etc but you can also order off of a menu. I enjoyed a burger, fries and a soda for under $10. I was very satisfied with my meal. Everyone else enjoyed different milkshakes and smoothies and said they were good but not as thick and flavorful as they are in the States.

Rating: 4

Vinnies– 7 Wainui Rd, Raglan, Waikato District

Vinnies has a great selection of burgers, pizza, and sandwiches. Meals are priced around $20 and are very filling. The atmosphere is very nice, they had live music and I recommend sitting upstairs. I got a BBQ chicken sandwich with an apricot topping, it was great. Another dish that was great was a spinach and pear pizza, also very tasty and light.

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The Shack19 Bow Street, Raglan

This is the best restaurant I have been to in NZ. It was very busy and the portions are huge. If you are in Raglan, eat here! I ordered “The Brat” with chicken and it was unbelievably good.

Rating: 5

Soul Bar– Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland

Located in the Viaduct, directly on the water, Soul Bar has a great outdoor seating area and delicious food. We tried a bunch of different things and everything was unique and flavorful. The Salt and Pepper squid was served with saffron and a roasted garlic mayonnaise. I usually do not like fish in pasta but the squid ink pappardelle pasta with squid, scallops, prawns, chipped chilli, garlic and lime was mouthwatering. The pasta was not overcooked and the fish was very fresh.We also tasted the Char-grilled Hawkes Bay lamb cutlets, which was my least favorite dish. The lamb was cooked well and had flavor but lamb is not one of my favorite meats. As a side we had the creamed feta spinach with fried almonds and it was a very creative and interesting vegetable preparation.

Rating: 4

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IMG_2003The Grill by Sean Connolly90 Federal Street, Auckland

Very delicious steakhouse located in the SkyCity Hotel across from the Sky Tower. I tried the Savannah Angus Eye Fillet, it was tasty but not as good as Morton’s (White Plains, NY). For sides we ordered a wedge salad and the tomatoes. Both were very fresh, had a nice taste and were definitely the healthy option and complimented the steak nicely. We also ordered duck fat fries which were not anything special and I would not order them again. The lighting was very dim and by the time we were finishing the restaurant was packed. I would recommend making a reservation.

Rating: 4

The Esplanade Hotel1 Victoria Road, Devonport, New Zealand

This hotel, located in the heart of Devonport, directly across from the Ferry Station had the ambiance of a European mansion. We sat in the entry way with windows all around us and it was very quiet and romantic. The restaurant was surprisingly empty even though the food was phenomenal. I ordered the snapper and it was the best piece of fish I have ever had. Over the fish was walnuts and underneath was a bed of potatoes, it was delicious. Gianna and my mother enjoyed the bouillabaisse, but I felt mine was much tastier. Devonport is a short twelve minute ferry ride from Auckland and was well worth the trip for this meal.

Rating: 5

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Non Solo Pizza259 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland

Non Solo Pizza is an absolutely beautiful Italian restaurant on Parnell Road. It is hidden because it is located behind a fancy bar and has both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating is on a brick patio and I personally enjoyed sitting inside on the luxurious black leather booths. We started with the Prosciutto crudo and rucola pizza. The pizza was very thin and perfectly cooked. The only thing that was missing was a little salt and we overcompensated for this by putting extra parmesan cheese on top. We then shared two homemade pasta dishes, a ravioli and the gnocchi. The ravioli ai quattro formaggi leggeri was filled with ricotta, mascarpone, mozzarella and parmesan and was my favorite out of the two. The gnocchi di pomodoro con crema di melanzane e stracciatella was served under an eggplant puree and melted mozzarella. Both were delicious and it was nice to have pasta for the first time since I have been in New Zealand. This restaurant is known to be one of the nicest Italian restaurants in Auckland and the prices were quite high. It was a great meal and I hope I have another opportunity to dine here again.

Rating: 5

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 Little and Friday12 Melrose Street (inside Martha’s Fabrics), Newmarket, Auckland

A small café on an “off the beaten path” side road in Newmarket. The café was very small and only had two large communal tables for all guests to sit, eat and enjoy their coffee. The assortment of frittatas, small sandwiches, and sweets all looked delectable. It was very hard to choose what I wanted and someone recommended the roast beef sandwich and described it as “ridiculous” so I could not pass that up- it was just that! I will definitely go here again! This café is definitely a hidden gem!

Rating: 5

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Baker Boy- 83 Broadway, Matamata, New Zealand 

The best jelly doughnuts in New Zealand. Baker Boy is a little cafe along the main street in Matamata with great meat pies, sandwiches, breads and pastries all at very low prices.

Rating: 4

Ken Yakitori Bar 55 Anzac Avenue, Auckland

If you like Yakitori check this place out. The service was not good and I did not really enjoy the food. The scallops were disgusting. The dessert was by far the best part of the meal: the ice cream sundae is the way to go.

Rating: 1

Shippey’s Fresh Fish & Chips- Next to the Waitangi Bridge on the way to the Treaty Grounds, Paihia, Bay of Islands

Great fish and chips and a very cool experience. This resturant is on a docked ship and if the weather is nice you can sit on the deck. I recommend the fish burger but everything on the menu looks great!

Rating: 3.5

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Alfresco’s Restaurant Bar Paihia– 6 Marsden Road, Paihia, Bay of Islands

A little more on the expensive side (not a student budget) but well worth it! Food was delicious for breakfast and lunch. The ambiance is terrific and the outdoor seating is great. Service is very slow but the food is really great.

Rating: 4.5

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International Food Court- 233 Queen Street, Auckland CBD

The International Food Court is the place to go if you are very hungry and not sure what you are in the mood for! They house Chinese, korean, Japanese (no sushi), Malaysian/Thai, Middle Eastern and Indian food. This is very authentic food and there is a wide variety, just walk around and see what fancies you. This food court is below ground so it is often warm and you will leave smelling like you food. Although the food is not cheep, it is not overpriced but beverages are so bring your own water!

Rating: 3.7

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Spice LoungeState Highway 1, Kaiwaka New Zealand 

At this Indian restaurant, I only had the naan and it was delicious. My friend thoroughly enjoyed their curry dishes. This was a good road stop to grab a quick bite on the way to Bay of Islands.

Rating: 3

Ima Bistro 57 Fort Street, Auckland, New Zealand 

Delicious for traditional Mediterranean/Israeli food. We had a wide variety of options but I loved the carrot salad, the spinach and feta filo and the hummus selection.

Rating: 4

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The Coffee Club305 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland 

The Coffee Club has great early morning and lunch specials and prices greatly go up for dinner. I enjoyed the Chicken Club sandwich and this is a great restaurant to sit down and hang out while doing work. They offer free wifi and the chairs are very comfortable.

Rating: 3.5

photo 2Crust Pizza363 Parnell Road, Parnell, New Zealand 

Has the best pizza and calzones in all of Auckland. Prices are a little high but much more reasonable than any other pizza place. They have a huge menu and I don’t think you can go wrong with anything!

Rating: 4.5

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Cafe TascaUpper Vulcan Lane, Auckland, New Zealand 

The only reason we went here is because we had a GrabOne deal for Tapas and Sangria. The place is clearly struggling it is the absurdly overpriced menu and very small tapas portions that turns people away. The food was delicious and the sangria was great but I would never go back if I had to pay full price for the dishes. If you see a GrabOne for this place, snatch it because the tapas were very tasty!

Rating: 3

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Food Truck Garage 90 Wellesley St West, Auckland, New Zealand 

Their slogan is “Serving New Zealand’s Healthiest Fast Food” and they do this indeed! I was surprised when I arrived because the line was out the door of this very small “Food Truck” located in a parking lot off of Wellesley Street. I was unsure of what to order so I asked my waiter what he recommended: the Prawn Tacos and Beefroot Burger. The Prawn Tacos were out of this world good- I will be going back to get these again. The Beefroot Burger was very tasty and very different from any burger I have ever had. There was just as much beet in the burger as there was meat, if you like beets this is for you. The bun was filled with sunflower seeds, poppy seats and oats and was very unusual. I enjoyed my dining experience here greatly and I am looking forward to trying more of what they have to offer!

Rating: 4.5

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Chocolate Boutique323 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand 

This beautiful Botique chocolate store offers 100 Gourmet chocolates, truffles, pralines, cookies and more. They have cakes, ice cream, hot chocolates and coffees; the menu is very extensive and all delicious! Definitely worth a try if you are a chocolate lover or in the mood for a good dessert.

Rating: 4.5

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Sierra Coffee71 Fort Street, Auckland, New Zealand 

Great coffee and breakfast/lunch selection. It is very hard to find reasonably priced eggs in Auckland so I would recommend this place for their breakfast egg specials and omelets.

Rating: 4

Domain & Ayr Cafe492 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand 

I expected this place to be much better than it was, especially for the price. Eggs Benedict are $18.50 and the hollandaise sauce was not good at all. Would not have the eggs again but might try the 20 minute pancake at a later date.

Rating: 3

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Sweet Mother’s Kitchen

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Wholly’s Bagel

Joe’s Garage

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The Waterfront

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Excel Cafe

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New Zealand South Island

Cafe Neve- Main Road, Fox Glacier, Westland National Park, New Zealand

Cafe Neve is a cafe in Fox Glacier right across from the building where Fox Tours leave from in the town. The food was good, I only had a pizza and it was very flavorful but very expensive. The desserts looked very good even though I did not try one.

Rating: 4

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Fergburger42 Shotover Street, Queenstown

Hands-down, the best burger I have ever had in my entire life. I went here 4 times in three days, that is how good it is. It is a very small shop in the center of Queenstown and the line is always out the door. It can be tricky to find a seat, because seating is very limited but there is no shame in sitting down on a bench in town and enjoying this burger. I tried the Southern Swine and what makes this so delcious is the large home made bun, cooked to perfection and the very flavorful aioli and tomato relish that tops this burger off. I also had The Dawn Horn which is a breakfast sandwich and is way too big for one person to eat on their own. Just ask them to cut it in half, they have no problem doing so, and share with a friend! Lastly I tried Chief Wiggum which was a slow roasted New Zealand pork belly sandwich. Also very flavorful and delicious but I am not sure if I would order it again. All burgers are extremely large, and although look expensive you will be full for an entire day. You cannot go to Queenstown and no have Fergburger!

Rating: 5

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Fergbaker- 40 Shotover Street, Queenstown, New Zealand 

Located right next to Fergburger, this is the place that makes those delicious buns that is used on the Fergburgers. Fergbaker has a great selection of pastries, cakes, breads and coffees. They are also open until 4:30am!

Rating: 4

Devil Burger5/11 Church Street, Queenstown, New Zealand

Very good burger. Not as good as Fergburger but less expensive. They have $10 Tuesdays where any burger is $10, a very good deal. The burgers are huge and there is a wide variety of choices. They also have wraps, sandwiches and a lot of sides! They have very good aioli!

Rating: 4.5

Fat Badgers Pizza Bar- 27 Shotover Street, Queenstown, New Zealand 

This is a pizza place that also serves the largest beer in Queenstown in a trophy mug sort of cup. The record for drinking out of this was 4.3 seconds but I won’t believe that until I see it myself!

Rating: 3

Hirari- 5 Beach Street, Queenstown, New Zealand

This place is full of locals and has very good sushi. It is a little pricey (there are no sushi rolls under $10) but they do have good lunch specials which include tempura, salad, chicken and a piece or two of sushi.

Rating:2.5

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Flame Bar and Grill- 61 Beach Street, Queenstown, New Zealand

Flame is a hidden gem in Queenstown and is great for lunch. Every day they have $15 lunch specials which includes their signature ribs which are priced at $35 for dinner. All of the specials come with chips and are very large portions. These may have been the best ribs I have ever had. This is a must try!

Rating: 5

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Blue Duck Cafe and Bar- Across from the Cruise ship yard

The cafe is great for lunch, I had a very tasty tomato soup and a sandwich. The bar also has great nachos and chips. It is the only place around to eat in Milford so if you are looking for something to do check it out.

Rating: 3

Ironic Cafe and Bar- 9 Anzac Ave, Dunedin, New Zealand

Delicious brunch! A little pricey but the quality of the food is top notch! The steak sandwich, pancakes and eggs Benedict are to die for.

Rating: 4

Etrusco- 8 Moray Place, Dunedin, New Zealand

Rated the best Italian restaurant in Dunedin! Great pizza and pasta and the atmosphere is great. Located in the Octagon, it is in the perfect location and is always buzzing with people. Don’t forget to make a reservation!

Rating: 4

Dunedin Farmer’s Market- Next to the Dunedin Railway Station

The Farmer’s Market in Dunedin is one of the largest and best I have been to. Every shop has better food than the next. Make sure to taste a crepe, some dumplings, the cheeses, hummus and the list goes on. Great prices, great food. It is only on from 8am-12:30pm on Saturdays so don’t miss it!

Rating: 5

Australia

The Wayzgoose Cafe174 Leura Mall, Leura, Australia

A small café in the town of Leura midway between the Blue Mountains and Featherdale Wildlife Park. The prices are very inexpensive and the portions are large. I ordered the BAM, a Bacon avocado melt on sourdough bread which came with a side salad. My sandwhich was very good and I also tried the pumpkin soup which was very creamy and rich. The soup came with a side of toast. The restaurant is most famous for their flowerpot scone which looked appetizing from afar. The restaurant was very small but packed and service was quick.

Rating: 4.5

Hurricane’s Grill Steakhouse130 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

A wonderful location but one of the most expensive burgers I have ever had. I ordered the Monkey Gland Burger, which is a beef burger served with a Monkey Glad (barbecue sauce with onions), which came with a side of chips, fries or a baked potato. Although I was not entirely pleased with this very overpriced burger, the rack of ribs seems to be a very frequently ordered item on the menu and they looked and smelt great.

Rating: 3

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Pancakes on the Rocks- 4 Hickson Road, The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Hands down the best pancakes in the world. If you go to Sydney and do not enjoy at least one breakfast here, you will regret it! I enjoyed the Mexicana savory crepe; made with Mexican style beef, tomato salsa, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and shallots, I was in heaven. Gianna loved her Jaffa Orange pancakes which were chocolate pancakes topped with orange segments in grand marnier sauce, chocolate sauce and chocolate chips. Usually I am skeptical about chocolate battered pancakes, but these were to die for! My mom ordered the pancakes served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, walnuts and a grilled banana  another great choice. I do not think you can go wrong with anything on the menu! They are open 24 hours a day and serve all three meals but the pancakes are truly spectacular!

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The Cut Bar and Grill16 Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Is said to be the “best steakhouse in Sydney” but my experience has me feeling differently. Extremely overpriced and the wait for our food was unbelievable. I ordered the scallops, which were lacking in taste and were very small.

Rating: 2

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