AUCKLAND

Robinson’s Deli and Food Store is an all-vegan delicatessen in Grey Lynn – lots of bulk foods and vegan deli ‘meats’, a choice of plant-based cheeses, smoothies and gourmet goods both local and imported. If you find yourself in Milford, Pym’s of Milford is a new spot on Kitchener Rd that has locals talking – it’s the neighbourhood spot we all wish was on our doorstep. Get yourself to Shortland St to try Fond(ou) for an ace coffee, breakfast or lunch. With lots of pink sparkles and neon, Ghost Donkey brings a fun selection of mezcal, tequila, nachos and other Mexican-inspired snacks to Commercial Bay – they reckon they have the largest selection of mezcal and tequila in Auckland. Craft beer and dumplings – bring it on. Settle into the open-air Midnight Gardener in Ponsonby (nab a fireside spot at this time of year) and stuff yourself with Shanghainese dumplings by Sumthin Dumplin. Lunchtime favourite of this Cuisine team member, Hero Sandwich House has expanded on their original Eden Terrace venue and ventured downtown to the shared workspace- gallery The Tuesday Club. Dropping anchor on Waiheke, superyacht veteran Shantala Tengblad and husband Simon have opened Akitō, a mainly plant-based café in Oneroa village, with the motto ‘go with the slow’. Korean soul food? OK I’m interested. Head to Ponsonby Rd to find Ockhee – its lunchtime stir-fry rice bowls will become a favourite in no time. Add a fresh dinner menu, beer from Sawmill, house-blended soju and cocktails and you’re set. Taking its cue from hawker markets in Malaysia and Singapore, Bang Bang Kitchen in the Auckland Fish Market serves Peking duck, dumplings and, of course, spanking fresh seafood.

WELLINGTON

We bid farewell to Tinakori Bistro after 28 years. But don’t despair, Tinakori Bistro owner Asher Boote, who also owns Hillside Kitchen and The Ramen Shop, is opening the site as Daisy’s, a neighbourhood restaurant that looks to reinvent the bistro and bring the local suburban community together. Also from the Asher Boote camp is Bōl on Victoria St, a salad eatery done right, with healthy salady options that don’t feel like you’re having a salad.

WANAKA

Ode 3.0 has reopened with a more approachable and casual style, offering humble, delicious and affordable hearty meals, all served up with a strong sense of ethics. There’s no stopping Francesca Voza – while we were stuck in lockdown she created a brand-new business, Henrietta’s Chicken, bringing Southern-fried chicken to Albert Town, Wanaka.

DUNEDIN

An intriguing new subterranean bar has arrived at 12 The Octagon. Mr. Fox is a den of cool cocktails and tapas, tucked away below street level with a hidden courtyard space among the heritage buildings. Be sure to try one of the signature ‘foxtails’ to go alongside snacks from the Bacchus kitchen. Burger Plant is an entirely plant-based burger joint in Great King St. The fish burger has battered banana blossoms, there’s a ginger and quinoa patty in the Chinatown burger and the cookie pies are an oozy soft-serve sticky delight. The latest foodie destination in the Blueskin Bay area, Harvey Street Merchants stocks the best artisan goods and fresh produce from Dunedin and surrounds, alongside delicious gourmet ice-cream and hand-cut blooms. The team from Dunedin’s iconic Perc eateries have added their brand of magic to The Swan a new café and bar venue in Bath Street. With retro fittings, a sunny courtyard and live music at weekends, it’s no dive.

X