Hugo Baird (Lilian, Honey Bones) has transformed Ponsonby’s beloved Post Office building to become Hotel Ponsonby, with way-above-average gastropub grub, an impressive bar, a cosy fireplace and a sunny courtyard. Get along to the lower level of Parasol & Swing in the Viaduct Basin, to find Brolly – a pop-up with just 20 seats that will be here all summer for long days of sunny indulgence. In the heart of Ponsonby Rd, Khu Khu has vegan Thai food covered, with all your favourite Asian classics done the vegan way; curries jam-packed with flavour, crispy salads, toothsome noodles – hungry yet? Mumm Yacht Club lets you in the front row of the action in style – sip Champagne on the deck while enjoying all the America’s Cup racing from the heart of the Auckland Viaduct team village. We’ll take any excuse to visit Waiheke, so news of Waiheke Distilling Co’s new garden bar in gorgeous Cowes Bay is fab – in fact, let’s stay and make a weekend of it. Part of Nelson St’s new Sudima Hotel, East is a modern Asian-inspired restaurant presenting regional Asian flavours with a plant-based approach and an extensive 100% organic and vegan wine list featuring both New Zealand and Italian vintages. We told you Mt Albert was cool, and Bar Martin is another little neighbourhood bar that backs it up – pared-back chic inside and with a lovely courtyard out back. Watch out for Daphne’s, a modern Greek bar and taverna about to land on Ponsonby Rd. K Rd is shaping up to become one of Auckland’s most exciting dining strips and Candela, a new eatery and wine bar rocks the flavours of Spain, Peru, Argentina and Mexico, all done with  top Kiwi produce. An English garden- inspired bar, The Pavilion G&T Garden pop-up in Wynyard Pavilion has all the cool you’ll need for summer. Sunnybrae is not bursting with great cafés so we’re happy to welcome Patch, a quirky little spot with an all-day menu and an airy vibe. Pop-up farm-to-table dining returns to Grey Lynn’s organic community farm Kelmarna Gardens, courtesy of chef Plabita Florence of plant-based eatery Forest – it’s only for 17-20 February so be very quick. Pay a visit to Andalusia without leaving Britomart at Alma, which has Spanish sherries and vermouth, Spanish wines and New Zealand-grown Spanish varietals alongside flame-licked food. We just can’t keep up with the Daily Bread bakers, now with another branch on the shore, at Eversleigh Rd, Belmont.


Brave Brewing Company have great new digs in the old Herald-Tribune building on Queen St with 12 taps, guest craft beers, wine cider and food by Brad Simpson.


Black Barn Bistro have enticed chef Regnar Christensen (formerly of The Grange in Auckland) to Hawke’s Bay – can’t wait to see what is coming up.


There’s hospitality in the bones of Amok, newly opened by Thom Millott and Natasha Piper in Marjoribanks St, in the site formerly occupied by Frenchie, Slim Davey’s and the Roxburgh Bistro. Drop by Egmont Street Eatery to say hi to new head chef Taylor Annals.


From the team at Inati, Hali is a new bar and bistro opening very soon at The Crossing promising social dining inspired by the ocean – can’t wait. Love your laddu and kaju barfi? Then get along to Novelty Sweets on Wordsworth St, Sydenham where all your favourite Indian treats can be found. On the rooftop of the Public House Building on Oxford Terrace is Mr Brightside Rooftop Bar where they say the sun is streaming, the drinks are cold and the view is amazing. C1 Espresso Café has new owners as former employee, Dale Palea’ae and her fiancé Nick Annear take the reins.


Right next to the beautiful Arrow River Reserve, The Dishery has a restful garden setting to complement the day-long menu from executive chef Ainsley Thompson (ex-Sherwood).


Become a restaurant reviewer for a night – Ode’s Test Kitchen Tuesday series returns giving you a chance to taste the latest creations and tell the team what you think.


Rose sangria at Margo’s – yep you heard right, it’s now open for a Mexican-vibe weekend brunch.


Light, bright and airy and close to the beach in Waitaki, that’s Del Mar a new eatery and beach bar from the team behind Cucina and Tees St Café.