For many in Tāmaki Makaurau the grind of daily food prep and dishes multiple times a day, buoyed only by poorly made coffee, is wearing thin.
Today marks an end to the strain. Whether it’s the ritual of having a favourite coffee shop to walk to so you can leave the house with purpose, or the promise of a household meal that wasn’t made with underlying tension, may you enjoy this relief.
And in the hope that you spend your money on local businesses who are really doing it tough, we asked some friends with excellent taste for recommendations (though we are not fans of takeaway shaming which reeks of classism and privilege; if your family wants to go through a drive-thru, that's okay!).
This is also just a taster of some of the many Auckland spots open in level 3 (and we know that it’s very Central focused; there are amazing options out South/West/East/North) - you can find some other great options here, and here.
We’d love to hear all your recommendations, too (knowing you are also people of tremendous taste). For your ease we have Instagram templates that will allow you to share, and that we can in turn share back. Happy (safe) eating!
Chloe Swarbrick, Green MP for Auckland Central
Kanoa Lloyd, broadcaster
For breakfast I’m having a B&E from Hare & Turtle. Sure it looks like a normal bacon and egg sandwich, but the soft, hot brioche bun and the spicy tangy sauce really make it something special.
For lunch, a pan au raisin with custard from Little French Pastry Cafe. The crispiest, creamiest most beautiful treat to go with a coffee.
And for dinner, anything and everything from Green Jade Takeaways. Maybe add some veges to my fried rice, they’re always super fresh and chunky and crisp. I’m no food scientist, but I’m pretty sure that cancels out all the carbs from the day?
I had a lu’au pie from Blue Rose cafe for the first time this year, and it was just… brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before - he most delicious pie I’ve had in my life. Taro leaves, coconut cream, onion and cream cheese enveloped in puffy, fresh pastry; wow. I cannot wait to get one or three. I love Blue Rose! Take my money!
Elle Pugh, owner of cashmere brand Elle & Riley
I’ll be having an Allpress coffee first thing and either Prego’s market fish risotto or a prosciutto and grape pizza from Lillian! If one of them could sneak a margarita in for me that would be a dream come true.
Ingrid Starnes, fashion designer
My household is pretty excited about Hare & the Turtle, their eggplant parmigiana is so good! And also Curry King on Avondale, the Aloo Gobi is the best. The kids are pretty excited for Xi’an Noodle Bar in Mt Albert - the Szechuan hand pulled vege noodles for the win.
Ella Mizrahi, founder of HER Festival
I'm dreaming of Ockhee and will be ordering 12,000 portions of their dak gang Jeong spicy chicken with a side of their zucchini chips. My mouth is on fire/watering just thinking about these. Can. Not. Wait.
Rob Tennent, photographer, stylist, model, writer
This week I will be eating from Aroma Indian Cuisine, a spot located in the Rialto Centre in Newmarket. The dinner combo is a curry, naan, rice and a drink for $10. In Level 1 I used to go and eat alone because it’s such a good spot. Also - Mr Zhou’s Dumplings in Mt Eden. 20 egg and chive dumplings, a spring onion pancake and a vegetarian fried noodles. Oh I have missed this spot!
Lula Cucchiara, photographer and filmmaker (Lula's debut feature Fiona Clark: Unafraid is premiering at NZIFF next month)
I will definitely be making an order at Coco’s Cantina! Their takeaway menu for level 3 looks so great and I cannot wait to order some yummy things.
Rickie Dee, founder and co-owner of Superette
Azabu - I’m craving fresh Asian flavours
Juliette Hogan, fashion designer
Will be grabbing lunchtime grilled sandos (the pork is my fave) from Young George just down the road from home round the back of Mt Albert - they are just the best. And desperate for Tiffin Indian in Kingsland - I tried to make a Palak Paneer during this lockdown and even though it was tasty it was nothing compared to theirs!
Roxie Mohebbi, actor and model
I am so utterly keen for a traditional Persian Kabab-Koobideh on homemade Sangak Naan Bread from Ziba in Henderson! Given how desperately I’ve been missing my Maman’s food, Ziba never misses (if you’re reading this Maman.. it’s only a temporary fix... promise). I’ve also had a vivid dream about the banoffee pie at Peaches in Panmure.
Hannah Barrett, company director at Me Today
I'll be eating a Hawaiian pizza from Meadowbank Pizzeria (literally the BEST Hawaiian pizza in NZ, huge call but I've tried most), and ginger beef, stir fried chicken cashew and a green chicken curry from Thai Village (accompanied by a generous side of roti).
Emily Miller-Sharma, designer Liam
I live on Newton Road and am fixated on making the area around me one that can feed the people who live around it (PLEASE SOMEONE OPEN A GREEN GROCER ON SYMONDS STREET), so mine are all just a lil hop skip and a jump away from me: Cinnamon Cruffin from Benedict’s – honestly, when these are first out of the oven they sends shivers up my spine. Salmon Avocado Don from Bian – most ultimate dinner alongside a Martini.
Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder and Stuff style editor
I’ll be banging down the door of my Herne Bay local Bacio, where Doris and her team offer friendly banter (and most days, very good loud music) and the absolute best cheese scones in Tāmaki. I’ve been dreaming about them, and a good flat white, throughout lockdown.
For a sweet treat, something from Mizu Bread. For a level 3 takeaway dinner we’ll be ordering pasta and dessert from Pici, and pizza from Epolito’s (so basically, just level 3 carbs...). Also hoping/praying/crossing my fingers/manifesting that my favourite restaurant Omni will be offering takeaway or delivery too.
Hercules Noble, chef
Ok so man’s been craving a burger for a wee while now. I don’t even eat burgers that often. Like I’m sure I’ve gone for far longer periods of time without eating a burger. But it’s what my heart desires most! Homemade burgers never quite hit the same. So I’m thinking either Burger Burger or Hotel Ponsonby.
Oh and Hero Sandwich House. They open back up on Friday. And I cannot wait to get my hands on one of their fillet o fish. The mental thing is that I've never been a fillet o fish’ kinda guy, but they said it was their crowd pleaser and I’ve never looked back since. It’s a smoked fish patty with heaps of aioli and capers. They don’t hold back. It’s proper ace.
I make sweet breads and things like that at home, but when it comes to biscuits and cakes, not so much. And I’m craving a cake… Pretty difficult to look further than The Caker.
But one of the most exciting things will be going for a stroll tomorrow morning and getting a coffee from Rise Bistro and Cafe in Parnell. They use Ozone coffee, the finest of all, in my humble opinion.
Grace Palmer, actor (and co-writer and star of the excellent Good Grief on TVNZ on demand)
First on the list - Five Loaves Herne Bay, for the bestest hot drinks, cabinet food, and good vibes. The staff are sensational. My next port of call is Ramen Takara, for their vegetarian Tan Tan ramen 🍜 It’s such a comforting dish. And oh how I’ve missed Krung Thep Thai Street Food on Karangahape Road - affordable, efficient and DELICIOUS 🤤
And for dessert, whatever Hotel Ponsonby is serving. Their desserts are to die for! All this talk is making me hangry…
Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder
I’ve already pre-ordered Ralph’s for tonight and Gochu for Saturday night at the request of my children (these are absolute family favourites and I’m so looking forward to enjoying a meal we haven’t cooked ourselves to reward the boys for coping with lockdown so well). As someone who doesn’t love going out but does love food, level 3 holds a certain place in my heart as it’s the only time some of my favourite restaurants (Lilian, Gemmayze St, Cassia, Azabu among them) offer takeaways. I’ll be sure to try and pace myself.
Chelsea Winstanley, filmmaker
As I reflect on the ‘takeaway’ I think about being a kid growing up in Mount Maunganui and it was only ever one thing… Friday night fish n chips (lack of choice in the sleepy surf town to be fair but a luxurious change from meat ‘n’ three veg). But right now I’m thinking about all those in need and I’m donating my takeaway money to women and children who wish they could be taken away from their domestic violent situations and giving it to Women’s Refuge so they can have a safe place to sleep tonight and treat their kids to a Friday night feed one day. Ngā mihi nui Women’s Refuge. Kia Kaha Tāmaki Makaurau, L3 is one level closer to freedom and for some freedom is a luxury. ♥️