Vivien - Java $$
Talking about nostalgia, my restaurant recommendation takes me to my Indonesian roots. Located on K' Road, Java brings the taste of Indonesian Street Food to you (plus it’s a BYO, so a good chance to branch out for your Friday night catch ups). It’s a feast for not only your taste buds, but your eyes and your soul. A kaleidoscope of colours and packed with South-East Asian family-owned excellence. Tender meats, spicy sambal, sweet drinks and crispy treats. What more can you ask for?
Ig: @itsjava_nz; 322 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD
Sam - Lokānta $$
Hidden just off Richmond Rd, Lokānta is a quick jump from the CBD and the perfect way to tie off an afternoon strolling through Grey Lynn Park. You’ll find Mediterranean specialties like chargrilled octopus with fava puree, pulled cumin lamb, and braised goat with barley risotto. Lokānta translates to ‘Local eating house’ in Turkish - and it rings true. It has a warm atmosphere, with options to dine inside or outside. The walls are filled with photos of scenes of the Mediterranean and posters of Zorba the Greek. For those with a sweet tooth, try their
baklava - filo pastry filled with pistachios and soaked in honey overnight. 137A Richmond Road, Grey Lynn
Briar - Eden Noodles Cafe $
You’ll regularly see laptop bags and notebooks at Eden Noodles Cafe. For one, its location is a stone's throw away and for two, less than $20 will have you chowing down like kings. Eden Noodles Cafe is famous for their spicy wonton soup and dumplings and when they say hot spicy, they mean it, so take heed and work your way up to top level hotness with each visit. 105 Dominion Road, Eden Terrace
Charlie - Mezze Bar $$
Now an icon in Auckland City, Mezze Bar first opened its doors in 1992. Still serving its unpretentious menu of simple tasty morsels (tapas and mezze), to full meals. You’d find me here celebrating (or drowning my sorrows) after an assignment hand-in, with a jug of sangria to share and a bowl of polenta chips to fiercely guard.
Pricier than Vesbar for their hand crafted wine and beer menu, but they make up for it with a warm, convivial and Mediterranean atmosphere. 9 Durham St East, Auckland CBD
Justin - Bentto $
Bentto is my go-to for a quick and affordable Japanese fix near city campus — especially with their delightfully filling $11.50 crispy chicken donburi! Service is pretty quick and water is self-serve, though eating inside is cosy if you're in a group. Bentto is tucked away just next to the backpackers on Wellesley Street East. 8/290 Queen Street, Auckland CBD