Ahhh Karangahape Road. One of the most vibrant, creative, and bangin’ precincts in all of Tāmaki Makaurau. Take a wander and you’re sure to come across toe-tappin’ beats, tasty kai, and a fabulous drag queen or two. So you can get straight down to treating yo’self, we’ve rounded up the best of the best when it comes to drinking, dining and vibing on the legendary K’ Road.
So in no particular order, here are the best restaurants, cafes and bars on Auckland’s Karangahape Road.
The Best Restaurants On Karangahape Road
Underground Bistro | A pescatarian-based menu and good vibes paired with natural wines and Cassells Beer await you at this bistro in St Kevin’s Arcade. Look for the mermaid.
Pici | Stripped back, rustic, handmade Italian fare you’ll dream about for weeks. The best cacio e pepe in the land.
Madame George | This welcoming, modern Peruvian is always packed with punters and the numbers don’t lie. This spot is fire making it one of the best restaurants on Karangahape Road.
Apéro Food and Wine | Another of Karangahape Road’s best restaurants is this cosy spot with all the wine. Apéro is the sophisticated simplicity we crave on a regular basis, and you will too.
Candela | Whether you’re on the lookout for some cheeky tapas and a cocktail or three, or a full-flung Menu of the Day, Candela’s Spanish and Latin American-inspired dishes will go down a treat.
Lowbrow | Droolworthy generously-sauced Sandy’s, deep fried chicken wings and decadent desserts combine with low-intervention wines, cocktails and craft beers.
Ziggle | This cult-fave Karangahape Road restaurant serves ridiculously good Korean Fried Chicken as is or stuffed inside a burger. Colonel Sanders who?
Sri Pinang | Top-notch Malaysian food and BYO that won’t break the bank. Their beef rendang is world-famous.
Atelier | A favourite haunt renowned for its exquisite French-inspired food, beautiful cocktails and warm, friendly team.
Bar Céleste | French fare but not as you know it. One of the best restaurants on Karangahape Road? Oui.
Alta | Transcendental eats in an intimate setting.
Bar Magda | Filipino-inspired hot and cold plates and tipples in a secret speakeasy-style bar and bistro on Cross Street.
Java | Deftly delivering a flavour bomb of Indonesian cuisine in neon surrounds, plus it’s BYO. Eat everything.
Cotto | Indulge in their sensational spinach, goat’s cheese and sage dumplings while sipping on a full-bodied red.
Gemmayze St | A Lebanese institution tucked into St Kevin’s Arcade. Opt for a phenomenal four-course ‘jeeb’ or mouthwatering ‘mezza’, with something sweet to finish.
The White Lady | The spot for a dependable toastie when you’re deep into a night of debauchery, The White Lady food truck now has permanent digs in St Kevin’s Arcade,
Carmen Jones | Moreish, uh, Moorish tapas in a boho, cosy setting with loads of scope to cater to specific dietaries.
Uncle Man’s | Stop by for utterly delicious, authentic Malaysian street food that doesn’t cost the earth.
Coco’s Cantina | This Italian eatery feels like home. It’s atmospheric and has killer Happy Hour specials (which include gluten-free and vegan pasta dishes). You might just want to live here.
Satya Spice And Chai Lounge | Delve into Southern Indian street food in this edgy, hessian-rich setting.
JoyBong Thai Restaurant | Bring the crew and soak up the vibes at this longstanding K’ road institution. The pad Thai is a must.
The Best Cafes On Karangahape Road
Little Algiers | Down-to-earth Algerian soul food to feed mind and body. A firm local favourite.
PieFee | Home to the internet-breaking pie-coffee hybrid (yep, that’s a coffee served in a pie, complete with chocolate coating and sprinkle rim).
The Pie Piper & Doornuts | We will happily skip along to The Pie Piper, no enticing tunes needed. Think scrumptious American-style treats with bold colours and vibrant flavours.
Bestie | Your friendly neighbourhood cafe is aptly named. Head along for laid-back, honest food and leave with a spring in your step.
Fort Greene | For the most legit sandos in all the land (and a whole lot of other things), where practically everything is made from scratch, dig into Fort Greene.
The Lebanese Grocer | Authentic Lebanese food with a small selection of fresh menu available all day. Big yes.
The Best Bars On Karangahape Road
Sly Bar | You’ll have a ball at this grungy yet sumptuous spot… if you can find the way in.
Barcita | Make a beeline for the back of Spanish/Latin American-inspired eatery and wine bar Candela and you’ll happen upon a macking bar and balcony called Barcita, and you’ll be utterly stoked.
Caluzzi Cabaret | If dazzling drag and all-round fabulousness is a bit of you, your night will be well-spent at Caluzzi.
Eagle Bar | Fun, friendly vibes and offkey singing on Thursday’s iconic karaoke nights. Good times.
GGx | Sensational drinks in a refreshingly relaxed setting. Always say hell yes to the curry fries.
Whammy Bar, St Kevin’s Arcade | Our favourite dive bar, Whammy is a lil’ kooky, and always vibey, with a fistful of grunge glitter for good measure.
Bozo | Linger a while at this cool gin and craft beer oasis and it’ll always be time well spent.
Acho’s, St Kevin’s Arcade | Refreshing drinks with all the boujee bites. Think kushikatsu, edamame and lotus root.
The Wine Cellar, St Kevin’s Arcade | A subterranean watering hole with live music and a pinball machine.
Verona Cafe & Bar | One of the oldest and best bar and eateries on Karangahape Road.
Bamboo Tiger | Head here for jazz music and creative cocktails.
Tomfoolery, St Kevin’s Arcade | Unwind with a bloody good drink in your hand at this semi-hidden establishment.
Honourable mention: The Caker | Okay, so The Caker isn’t a cafe, restaurant or bar, per se, but we couldn’t leave them off our list of Karangahape Road greats. With a myriad of mouth-watering cakes (with gluten-free and vegan varieties too), this is cake done right and you just have to get amongst.
Downtown more your vibe? Check out all the best places to feast in Auckland CBD.
Image credit: Acho’s, Candela, Atelier, Cotto, Coco’s Cantina, Bestie, Sly by Wono Kim, GGx, Verona Cafe & Bar.