Here are 50 things that are just to die for when it comes to eating in and around Auckland.
Some are dishes or food items that just have to be tried and others are food experiences everyone should have before they die, such as picking your own strawberries out west on a summer's day. These are in no particular order and we recommend you try them all!
1. Grabbing fish and chips from the Fish Pot Cafe in Mission Bay and sitting on the sea wall gazing out at Rangitoto - greasies never tasted so good. Do yourself a favour and take your own plum sauce.
2. Make home-made hokey pokey from the the Edmonds Cookbook - the best science experiment ever for kids, or adults!
3. Piako passionfruit yoghurt - so creamy you'll find it hard to stop. Stocked at Farros, Nosh and Waiheke Thyme Out.
4. Pizza slices from Il Buco at 113 Ponsonby Rd (opposite SPQR). Traditional Roman pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) and baked to order. Try the patate (potato and rosemary) or puttanesca (tomato, garlic, chilli, olives, capers, anchovies); both are sensational. But then again, so are the other 25 toppings. Ph (09) 360 4414.
5. Roasted beetroot and grilled haloumi salad from Richmond Rd Cafe. Add a side of pork and fennel sausages and you've got the perfect meal for any time of the day. 318 Richmond Rd, ph (09) 360 5559.
6. Visit specialty shops to buy seriously good spices from knowledgeable staff. Try Khyber Food & Spices at 528-530 Sandringham Rd, ph (09) 815 2307, and Mahadeo's at 14 Virginia Ave, Eden Terrace, ph (09) 377 4553.
7. Stock up on a jar of Castaing Coq au Vin - the best standby dinner to have in the cupboard. Genuine rooster in red wine, ready to heat and eat. Don't be deterred by the $33 price tag, it's worth every dollar. C'est Fromage, 5 McColl St, Newmarket, ph (09) 524 8524.
8. Piha RSA for great pub meals and incredible views. Meals are served Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5.30pm. If you're still there at 9pm, observe the minute's silence for our fallen heroes. 3 Beach Valley Rd, Piha, ph (09) 812 8138.
9. The laksa at Selera, 487 Khyber Pass in Newmarket. It's really too big for one but once you start slurping, this spicy noodle soup becomes addictive. Go for the prawn and chicken combo.
10. Anything from the Little Cake Kitchen at 46 Upper Queen St - divine. Hummingbird cupcakes and savoury tarts with the best shortcrust pastry this side of France. Easy parking makes it too tempting to drive past.
11. The rich and aromatic lamb tagine from Sahaa. 475 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, ph (09) 523 4578.
12. Feijoas when they're in season - take a bowl, a knife and a spoon out to the backyard (or your neighbours') and start eating.
13. Pick your own strawberries in summer and pay by the kilo. Check foodlovers.co.nz for addresses. It's a great family outing - families who pick together, stick together!
14. Gula melaka - the amazing Malaysian sago pudding with chilled coconut cream and palm sugar syrup. Try it at Mutiara Malaysian at 66 Ponsonby Rd. Sweet and cooling after a spicy curry. Ph (09) 376 2759.
15. Pies from Fridge in Kingsland- old fashioned mince, beef and mozzarella. Always at the right temperature from the warmer.
16. Banh Mi Bale Vietnamese on Lorne Street for their French stick sandwiches. Pate smeared, chunks of BBQ pork, lettuce and mayo. Too good.
17. The Canton Cafe in Kingsland has heaps of great dishes but we reckon the standout is chilli ginger prawns, closely followed by their salt, pepper and chilli hapuka. 477 New North Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 846 7888.
18. Chawarmas from Middle Eastern Cafe in Wellesley St - still the best with their tender spicy lamb and soft pita bread pockets. 23 Wellesley Street West, ph (09) 379 4843.
19. Visit the Avondale Markets at the Avondale Race Track for your vegetables on Sunday mornings. $2 coin for parking, fab fresh flowers and bins of fruit and veges overflowing with bargains.
20. Clevedon Farmers' Market for anything - it's all good! See clevedonfarmersmarket.co.nz.
21. Pork chops from Pokeno Butcher - 100 per cent NZ pork and cut thick. Patiently BBQ these and serve with beetroot and apple coleslaw and you won't know yourself.
22. Revive for amazing vegetarian lunches - salads and hot food. A real energy boost for a workday lunch. Not just for vegetarians - more than 80 per cent of their customers are not - but the food is irresistible. Check them out at either location - 33 Lorne St or 16 Fort St, City.
23. Award-winning fresh buffalo mozzarella from Clevedon Valley Cheese. You won't believe the milky, delicate freshness of this cheese. Feast on this with fresh basil and sun-ripened tomatoes and you will know what Italy tastes like. See clevedonbuffalo.co.nz for stockists.
24. The almond croissants at Deus ex Machinas Shed 5 Cafe in Wellesley St. Seriously flaky and moreish. 90 Wellesley St.
25. Brunch at Bennetts of Mangawhai - divine chocolates and now a fantastic cafe with the best courtyard ambience.
26. Takapuna Cafe and Store for the best location to drink coffee, lick home-made gelato or order quality fish and chips to eat on the beach. Store 22 The Promenade, Takapuna, ph (09) 484 0002.
27. The Hungarian fry-bread that has begun to make an appearance at markets around Auckland. Try the real thing at Ostend Markets on Waiheke Island.
28. For authentic Chinese cuisine at rock bottom prices go to Fong Mei Cafe in Meadowlands, Howick. You know you're in the right place when you struggle to get a seat between 12pm and 2pm. The chicken fried noodle is unrivalled, the beef and black bean on rice perfect and the barbecue pork egg foo yung - with a massive omelette covering the entire dish - a real eye opener.
29. Queenies Lunchroom for soldier, soft boiled egg and the most iconic NZ mural in Auckland. 24a Spring St, Freemans Bay, ph (09) 378 8977.
30. Visit Chancery in the CBD on a summer's evening and dine in the fairylit courtyard - you'll feel as though you're in Europe.
31. For those wanting to pick up a few ingredients for an Asian meal, the Tai Ping Trading store is one of the better stocked Asian grocers. 911 Dominion Rd, Sandringham, ph (09) 629 0340.
32. The roti curry at Sri Penang on K Rd - yummy roti bread to gratuitously dip in a spicy Malaysian curry sauce. Not health food, but not to be missed. 356 K Rd, ph (09) 358 3886.
33. Fish Finger Fridays rock at Sliced on Richmond Rd. Brilliant FF sandwiches, only on Fridays. Or try their sarnie of bacon, fried egg, mushroom and relish for a brekky on the run. 104 Richmond Rd, Ponsonby, ph (09) 360 8947.
34. For the freshest sushi go to Victoria Sushi, 142 Victoria St West. Made fresh? Always!
35. Seafood chowder from the little takeaway stand at the Auckland Fish Market, 22-32 Jellicoe St, Auckland. Chunky and creamy.
36. The home-made pate served with onion jam and a cheeky pint of Kronenberg at Pastis, the French joint opposite TVNZ. With its red check tablecloths this feels like an old school traditional Parisian brasserie in central Auckland. 128 Victoria St West, ph (09) 309 4264.
37. For all the wheat and gluten intolerant people who have been deprived of a decent burger - go mad at Burger Fuel with their gluten free buns.
38. The baked fruit and filo at Meola Kitchen, Garnet Rd. Melt in your mouth. 184 Garnet Rd, Westmere, ph (09) 360 6184.
39. The Engine Room in Northcote Point for goat cheese souffle, schnitzel and churros con chocolate - all you need to be happy. 115 Queen St, Northcote Point, ph (09) 480 9502.
40. Roast mushrooms, crisp bacon, hollandaise and hash brown potatoes at Cafe 39, Ponsonby Rd. May not look great, but the combination is tremendous. Ask for the hollandaise on the side to attempt some healthiness.
41. If you ever pass a road-side fresh smoked fish stall, it's always worth the stop - if you're lucky it'll still be warm.
42. Hand-made ice blocks from The Little Grocer at corner of Richmond Rd and Peel St. Takes you back.
43. Hearty mince on toast for brunch from Flax Cafe in Henderson Valley - true comfort food in great surrounds. 308 Henderson Valley Road. Ph (09) 838 1055.
44. Takeout meals from Voila in Sandringham - slow-cooked pork belly on white beans, authentic French cassoulet, beef bourguignon - or dine in for their galettes and crepe suzettes. Divinely authentic. 573 Sandringham Rd.
45. Sorbets at Jimmy Wong's. Mysterious flavours but oh so tasty. 5B Lorne St, City, (09) 300 6381.
46. Parmesan chicken at Altura, served with broad beans when in season. And for $18, it's absolutely worth the trip across the bridge for city-siders. 23 Douglas Alexander Parade, Albany, ph (09) 448 1416.
47. The stuffed olives at the Ostend Market, Waiheke, on Saturday mornings. Expensive but worth it. 48 Yum cha on a Sunday with family or friends is a frantic and fun experience. Grand Harbour at the Viaduct or Dynasty at 57 Wakefield St are good.
48. Yum cha on a Sunday with friends or family is a frantic and fun experience. Grand Harbour at the Viaduct or Dynasty at 57 Wakefield St are good.
49. Do an olive oil tasting at Rangihoua Estate on Waiheke. The Sayles family know a thing or two about producing internationally award-winning olive oil. 1 Gordons Rd, Rocky Bay, Waiheke Island. Ph (09) 372 6214.
50. And last of all, go to the French Cafe for dinner to see what all the fuss is about. You will soon become a believer. Try the roasted French goats cheese tart with red wine syrup. 210 Symonds St, Newton, ph (09) 377 1911.
* Agree or disagree with our heavenly list? Send your favourite foodie treat to email@example.com
Here are 50 things that are just to die for when it comes to eating in and around Auckland.