Picture it: It’s a Friday night, you’ve spent hours picking out the perfect outfit, and there’s not a hair out of place. Finally, it’s time to go out and meet that Tinder date or the mutual friend you’ve been crushing on for months. That’s right, we’re talking those nerve-wracking first dates!
One thing that could make it easier is, of course, the food. Below is a list of the best first date restaurants in Auckland that will calm your nerves and ensure your night is one to remember.
Never fear: if your date isn’t enough to salvage the night, these restaurants definitely will!
Starting off the list is one of Ellerslie’s best restaurants, Union Post. The vibe is chill, the food is delicious, and there’s a jam-packed drinks menu. The cuisine consists of bar food, but in a more upscale style. Where else would you go for a double Wagyu cheeseburger or a peking duck roll in a classic bar setting? If you’re too consumed by those first date jitters to eat too much, there are bar snacks available. With the dim lighting, dark furnishings, and modern atmosphere, this is the perfect first date restaurant for you to try.
If you’re after a menu full of a wide range of foods, look no further than The Cav. Situated in Freemans Bay, Auckland’s inner-city suburb, the versatile menu includes salad bowls, tacos, burgers, lambs chops, and plenty more. Again, this menu includes bar snacks, such as dill pickles and fries, perfect for a light meal. There’s even buffalo wings if you don’t mind getting messy! Beyond that, the restaurant itself looks more like a fancy dining room and less like a bar, adding to the atmosphere’s homey feel. The Cav would be difficult to disappoint you and your date, that’s for sure.
Dice & Fork
So, you love food, board games, and going out on the town? Now imagine being able to have all three at the same time. That’s right - you can now visit Auckland’s first board game bar and restaurant. Dice & Fork offers an extensive list of games including 5 Second Rule, Boggle, Chess, Guess Who, Jenga, and many more. The food menu offers the likes of burgers, tacos, summer bowls, and pasta. The staff are friendly and welcoming, happy to give you recommendations of food and games alike. The only two conditions are that you have to order food/drinks to play games, and that you spend a minimum of $25 if you wish to play for longer than 2 hours. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us!
Are you or your date craving all things Mexican? Marina Cantina has you covered. Tucked away in East Auckland, Marina Cantina is lively and upbeat, offering an authentic Mexican feel to your dining experience with an array of decorations that will make you feel like you hear in the heart of Mexico. The food will also make you feel as though you have been transported to another country entirely, with a wide selection of burritos, quesadillas, and nachos, complete with a rotating sangria. There’s plenty of seating in and out, and the ambience is energetic and bright - perfect for an amazing first date.
If you want a unique spot to impress your date, Cazador is the place for you. Cazador plays around with weird and wonderful decor, as well as a fresh, mind-opening menu including the likes of bone marrow and venison. There is also a feast option for the two of you share as you bond over a glass of wine. If you're looking for something a little more casual than a full blown candle-lit dinner, stop by the newly opened Delicatessen by Cazador next door and pick up some deli goodies for a gourmet picnic. So, if you or your date would like something a little different, Cazador is it! Bookings are preferable, so get in quick.
In the heart of the lively and upbeat Mount Eden lies Kiss Kiss, an equally lively and upbeat restaurant that will ensure your first date is a definite success. The authentic south-east Asian inspired-theme is achieved by the large umbrellas, palm trees, and neon lighting. The menu mirrors contemporary food from south-east Asia, with options including bao buns, noodles, rice bowls, and much more.
While putting their own spin to it, Fed Deli is a NYC-inspired eatery, subtly mimicking diners from some of your favourite old American films; think Grease or When Harry Met Sally. From the waitresses dressed in old-school green uniforms to the snug booths, this is the perfect place to enjoy a wide range of delectable food, including sandwiches, bagels, burgers, salads, and their fan-favourite poutine fries. The atmosphere is cozy and warm, setting the tone for a fun and breezy first date.
If having a cute stroll hand-in-hand under Britomart’s fairy-lights doesn’t make for a romantic first date, then we don’t know what does. Right in the heart of this adorable little spot in town is Ortolana, an Italian-inspired restaurant with a cozy, romantic feel. With a range of fresh, seasonal choices from a wide selection of pizza to mouthwatering pasta dishes, Ortolana is a picture-perfect spot to see sparks fly.
XuXu Dumpling Bar
One word that comes to mind when we think Xuxu Dumpling Bar? Romance. The dim lighting and dark furnishings compliment each other beautifully, creating a charming and dreamy atmosphere for your date night. The menu is predominantly dumplings & cocktails, perfect for some loosening up and getting ready of those first date jitters. Complete with delicious desserts (dessert dumplings!), Xuxu Dumpling Bar will have you raving for weeks, no matter how the date goes.
White + Wong's Newmarket
What better way to enjoy Newmarket Westfield's rooftop dining area than paying a visit to White + Wong's? The rooftop alone is romantic and cozy, with displays of waterfalls and plush greenery. If the atmosphere isn’t enough to impress your date, then the food at White + Wongs definitely will! This snazzy establishment has taken some of your favourite street food from the likes of Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand and put it all in one mouthwatering menu. Think dumplings, noodles, soups - the works! Better still, the rooftop houses the cutest ice-cream shop just below, so you can treat your date to some delicious dessert after you’ve enjoyed a fabulous meal.