With sparkling panoramic views of Auckland Harbour, some of the most sun-drenched spots around, and a crowd of all sorts of people–To make it as an establishment in the Viaduct, you’ve got to be on top of your game. Whether it’s a warm balcony you’re after (with a cocktail in hand, of course), the freshest seafood around, or some of the most innovative offerings on the Auckland culinary scene–It’s safe to say that the Auckland viaduct breeds some of the best places in Auckland and as consumers, we definitely reap the benefits.
With the most difficult choice being which one of these stellar spots best meets your needs, we’ve done the hard yards for you. Read on for our location round-up, Viaduct style–So you can spend less time deciding on the place and more time securing the table with the best view.
It’s hard to say Viaduct without also uttering “roof-top bar.” Well, at least it is after a visit to Dr. Rudi’s. The biggest risk of Dr Rudi’s is that there are very few reasons to leave once you’re inside. Amazing views of the harbour-front, an onsite brewery with matching extensive beer list, and free bowling lanes to all customers. Yes, you did hear that last one right. There’s something at Dr Rudi’s for everyone. Bustling and busy, this is the perfect spot for some brews in the sunshine and banter with your best friends. With a kitchen and bar open until the early hours of the morning, Dr Rudi’s makes for the perfect start or end to a night out.
Now you’ve been introduced to Dr Rudi’s, its time meet his sophisticated older sister, Saint Alice. Run by the same crew as her boisterous younger brother, Saint Alice is a little more dining focused and relaxed. Still offering exceptional views of the waterfront and a bright open layout, the restaurant boasts a fresh local menu for sharing with your nearest and dearest, designed by none other than ex-Depot chef Maia Atvars. Bridging the gap between bar to eatery to brasserie, Saint Alice marches to a beat of its own. Did we mention their beefeater 24 gin infused with basil, blueberries, and grapefruit is one of the best gins with a twist in Auckland? As if you weren’t already convinced to spend your entire evening there, Saint Alice offers oysters from 3pm–5pm weekdays for just $1 and $10 Espresso Martinis from 10 p.m, so really it’d be rude not to.
Soul Bar & Bistro
An Auckland institution, Soul Bar & Bistro is a must-visit for both locals and tourist alike. Soul is the place you need to see, and be seen. Leaning towards bistro and fine dining, more than a bar atmosphere, Soul’s crisp white tablecloths and cascading greenery make this a spot to remember. Operating for nearly 20 years, Soul is the perfect location for something special. Whether it be an important business lunch, a first date to impress, or an afternoon of cocktails for a special occasion. Don’t mistake this for old and stale though, Soul effortlessly takes you through from afternoon to evening with live musicians and DJ’s keeping things fun. With a menu that emphasises fresh seafood, while Soul may not be the most experimental of the bunch–It does classic with a twist extremely well.
Despite its original creation as a pop-up for the America’s Cup, two years down the track there’s no sign of movement from HeadQuarters–And we’re glad. Occupying one of the most idyllic spots on the viaduct, HeadQuarters is undeniably a staple for those seeking out the best view–Pop-up or not. With plentiful outdoor seating for those wishing to lay-back with a beverage in the sun, as well as a large warm welcoming indoor space, it’s safe to say that HeadQuarters can put it on year-round. Keeping with its origins, HQ is still definitely a go-to spot for a big sports games with large LED screens allowing viewing for all and its crowd-pleasing pizza and tacos. But with live music and a bustling vibe all nights of the week, HQ is definitely no one-trick pony.
Oyster & Chop
As the name suggests, if it’s oysters or steak you’re after, look no further than Oyster & Chop. Often declared as Auckland’s best oyster bar (and we’d have to agree,) Oyster & Chop has up to 10 fresh varieties of oysters available at any one time, fresh from the Auckland Seafood Market. But, if seafood isn’t your thing, Oyster & Chop’s fresh take on classic steak dishes such as steak tartar and beef wagyu have you covered. Literally bringing to the table a beautiful view looking out over the boats, just enough hustle and bustle, and some of New Zealand’s freshest seafood–This is the place to go to indulge in some of the greatest things Auckland has to offer the world.
One of these things is not like the others, and it’s definitely Holey Moley. Definitely one of the more niche spots on the viaduct, Holey Moley is what would happen if your favourite bar and mini-putt course had a love child. The spot offers the choice of either a 9, 18 or 27 holes all with fun pop-culture references–As well as a private karaoke room available for booking. In between holes you can hit the in-house Caddyshack for refreshing beverages and crowd-pleasing pizza, hotdogs, and burgers–And if you’re feeling in the viaduct mood, they do a great seafood po-boy. Open ‘til midnight weeknights and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Holey Moley is the spot to begin your night–Or just opt for the 27 holes with a side of karaoke and make it the main event! Bookings are essential here, especially on Friday and Saturdays, but the bustling environment just adds to the ambience. It’s time to dust off your putters!
With bright open décor and colourful art adorning the walls, Hello Beasty is a breath of fresh air to the Auckland viaduct. The creation of Chef Stuart Rogan who travelled and cooked his way around the world, Hello Beasty just does things a bit differently. With menu items such as KFC (Korean Fried Cauliflower), Kaipara lamb cutlets, and cocktails named ‘Bloody Kimchi’ Hello Beasty perfects the balance between Asian and fusion.
The Lula Inn
Even if you haven’t been to Lula Inn, you’ve probably seen it on Instagram. Located in a prime spot oceanside, Lula Inn is a bright, playful, and tropical. With offerings like bottomless brunch every weekend, bottomless beer and dumplings, and Auckland’s only on-water deck–Lula’s is the spot to round up your friends for some fun. Perfect for larger groups or even just a couple of cocktails after work. Get to Lula’s and get snapping.
White + Wongs
Self-described as ‘East meets West’ cuisine, White + Wongs takes the best street-food across China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Thailand and brings it to the Auckland viaduct all in one colourful buzzing spot. The menu covers classics like Bang Bang chicken, Tom Yum Soup, as well as the freshest shucked market oysters adorned with chilli jam, lime and shallots. Dishes are made to share and come out as ready, making for a fast-paced fun dining experience so you can try a bit of everything.
Parasol & Swing
An ode to all things alcoholic throughout the ages, Parasol & Swing is your new local for cocktails and delicious bites to share. A rooftop bar looking out over the boats, it’s hard to think of a more picturesque setting for when you’re feeling like something a bit different. There is truly a cocktail here for everyone, whether you’re after a classic or from their ‘Spot of Creativity” menu for something a little more left of centre. Open till late Monday–Sunday, there’s not many reasons why you wouldn’t visit.
Home-grown is the name of the game at Simon Gault’s latest restaurant, Giraffe. Aiming to provide a snapshot of the best our country has to offer in an innovative and delighting way, we wouldn’t expect much else from a top-notch MasterChef judge. With an interior that is simultaneously cool and welcoming, Giraffe captures that perfect laidback Kiwi vibe while still pulling out the necessary stops to impress. Gather a big group up, head in, and get the suckling pig to share–You won’t be disappointed.
Style is what makes Euro special. The waterside location mixed with traditional techniques and new flavours make every visit to Euro one to remember. Think crisp white tablecloths, warm wood finishes, and attentive service–Simon’s Gault’s Euro is an Auckland institution. If it’s a showcase of Auckland’s freshest seafood, items such as the Yellowtail Kingfish and Glory Bay Salmon have you covered. But with crowd-pleasers such as agria potato puree with truffle gravy and crispy skin pork belly, there really is something for everyone.
The Viaduct Grill
Heading into its 15th year in the viaduct basin, there’s a reason The Viaduct Grill has been a constant presence in a competitive waterfront location. Marketing itself as a Steak House, The Viaduct Grill is casual enough for family dining yet still keeps it upmarket with its raised terrace and stunning views. Of course, despite the Steak House title, New Zealand seafood features heavily here–And the prices are competitive. Book it in for a relaxed family lunch with unbeatable views.