Pop into Matakana Smokehouse’s new shopette and stock up on its delicious, sustainably farmed and caught fish, smoked to perfection.


Madame George has a sophisticated new dining room so shimmy on over for a look – worth it for the decor alone! Auckland’s first plant-based patisserie is serving up the goods in Grey LynnMaison des Lys Pâtisserie on Great North Road has the perfect plant-based croissant (and other viennoiserie) baked lovingly by Drissilla David. Watda Dumplings, in Ponsonby Central, has the team from Gaja piling up loaded dumplings – Korean-style dumplings with definitely not-usual toppings, think the flavours of mac n cheese, prawn sushi or banana custard and oreos. Forest is moving to a new spot on Dominion Rd, so head on over for their signature gorgeous and inspiring vegetarian dishes. Duo Eatery in Birkenhead already has an enthusiastic following for its daytime service and now, from Wednesday to Friday, you can go for dinner, too. For an impressive cheese toastie with your coffee (or as the day goes on, your espresso martini) head to Inwards Goods, on the ground floor of Imperial House on Imperial Laneway between Fort Lane and Queen St. More proof that toasties are a thing (especially with coffee by eightthirty), Takapuna is the latest destination for the purpose-built Cheese On Toast food truck, parked up at the Hurstmere Road roundabout. Already a favourite in Takapuna and Hobsonville, Tok Tok is set to open its next Asian-fusion spot in Greenlane. For a hidden Ponsonby bar with a secret password head to the Broken Lantern on Ponsonby Rd, find out the watchword and climb the stairs to ACS. Smoothies go sophisticated at 186 Specialty Drinks Bar, a partnership between the Williams Eatery team and Les Mills at the Victoria St gym – so think pick-me-up smoothies, sodas and tonics (and coffee) and you can even amp it up with matcha, mushroom or protein powder. When we hear of David Lee (The Candy Shop, Pōni and Gochu) getting together with Tom Hong and Jaeho Cho (both from The Candy Shop) our taste buds prick up – say hello to their new venture Aigo, a delicious new noodle joint on Ponsonby Rd. Duck Island’s third Auckland store is on Takapuna’s Hurstmere Road for all your favourite flavours and loads of dairy-free and vegan options, too, all bathed in a pretty pink fit-out (pictured).

Duck Island’s interior

What’s better than a day at the beach? A day at the beach with beer by Brothers Beer and low and slow BBQ by Juke Joint – relax in 70s splendour on the top floor of the Piha Surf Lifesavers Club on South Beach. A tasting room and bar are among the features of a brand spanking new distillery and brewery by award-winning Waiheke Whisky, set to open this summer. Burger joint Shake Out has a new location in Commercial Bay’s Harbour Eats precinct where they continue with what they do so well – spot-on burgers, fries and thick shakes, just to get you started.


We’re pegging that Bivacco will be the place this summer as what’s not to love about its Viaduct Harbour location, spacious waterside terrace, luxurious fittings and a casual Italian menu by chef Ryan Moore (ex-The Grove). St Kevin’s Arcade on K Rd continues to come up with the best gastronomic goods as it welcomes Underground Bistro a new tiny and eclectic seafood bar. Executive Chef Shaun Dowling is in charge at plush Italian newcomer Bossi on the ground floor of The Pacifica building. Welcomed to the Stonefields neighbourhood, Huddle is a bright and light newbie café with a subtle sporty vibe.


Watch out for Solera After Dark, a late-night drinking spot coming soon from the successful Solera team.


As well as the Ōkato Hotel there’s now another (two) reasons to stop off for a while – the Trencherman restaurant is now open for weekend brunch and dinner and Little Trench café has you covered for coffee, a scone or something delectable from the cabinet.


Can’t get enough of chocolate, right? So get yourself to the new outpost of the Wellington Chocolate Factory on Chaffers St for divine treats including a mocha made with java from Rich Coffee Roasters. Check out newcomer Kākāriki on Custom House Quay for coffee, fresh and feisty vegan bowls, big brekkies and a loaded cabinet. Whether you’re up for a champagne brunch, a bubbly high tea, an around-the-world sparkling flight or just want to check out Wellington’s only bar dedicated to champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world, it’s all there, and more, at The Champagnerie in Courtenay Place. We bake, we caffeinate – enough said by Lunch Money on Ghuznee St. A neighbourhood dive bar where high-end-meets-low-brow snacks accompany quirky cocktails to a heavy-metal soundtrack – that’s Humdinger and its onsite food outlet Turnspit, the latest venture in Te Aro from Hannah Wells (Puffin), Sean Golding (Golding’s Free Dive, Shepherd Restaurant, Concord and Shepherd Elliott (Leeds St Bakery, Shepherd Restaurant, Concord).


Welcome to Norka Mella Munoz who joins the team at Wharekauhau Country Estate as executive chef.


Toby Stuart becomes the new chef at Jack’s Raw Bar at Cloudy Bay. Toby will also be working with chef Henry Bonning- Snook at the Shed in Central Otago and will oversee private dining at The Shack.


Moonlight Creek Whisky has a brand-new distillery and it’s now officially open – so drop in and say hi.


In the shiny, new Kaikōura Sudima, right on the Esplanade, is Hiku, an all-day eatery with local fare and views so stupendous you’ll struggle to tear your eyes away. The Craypot invites you to ‘sit long, talk much, laugh often’ – sounds like a good reason to visit.


The team behind Story has a new venture, Odeon – there’s not a lot of info yet, but expect an Andalusian-inspired restaurant near New Regent Street.