New Zealand has the freshest sea food on the planet. Most Kiwis love nothing more than catching their own supper, but if they've not been "lucky" or want more variety they head to the Fish Market. Just a short walk from the Viaduct Harbour (soon to be on a tram line) the Fish Market stocks a wide variety of live, fresh and frozen sea food. For you tourists though there are several cafes and bistros that serve fresh seafood at reasonable prices. If you are visiting in the summer and are lucky you might be able to go to the annual Seafood Festival, which takes over the whole area for a weekend.
Forget Atomic Cafe, just a few metres down the road is the uber cool, but totally unpretentious cafe Agnes Curran.
It serves great java and sells art, antiques and homewares making it really classy and very quirky.
There's something really special about Agnes Curran. It is full of character and a real find; not only that but it is renowned for the Kiwi delicacy Lamingtons: a wedge of sponge soaked in dark chocolate, coated in coconut and served with raspberry jam and cream. The staff are lovely too. What's not to love?
181 Ponsonby Road, Auckland. Tel: 464 9 3601551
The best eggs benedict on Ponsonby Rd, cheap and set in rather odd surroundings at the Freeman's Bay end of the street. A great place to laugh at the Sunday Star Times of an afternoon. Flat whites are excellent too.
Ponsonby Road, Auckland
Head to one of the classic longstanding cafes on Ponsonby Road - good options include Bambina, SPQR or Dizengoff. Order a flat white and discover why millions of Kiwis and Aussies are devoted to it. Steering clear of the excess milk of the latte and shunning the fluffy froth of the cappucino, it's an altogether more serious milk coffee. Order a double flat white (extra shot) and you'll never want your coffee made any other way again.
Find loads of cafes (along with bars and shops) on the excellent interactive website www.ponsonbyroad.co.nz.
Mission Bay, St Heliers and Kohimarama are all lovely beaches to swim in, only 10 mins from central Auckland with loads of cafes to relax in afterwards.
Avoid swimming immediately after rain, but these beaches plus the North Shore's Milford and Narrowneck are world class beaches which have nice clean, warm water and golden sand.
They roast their own coffee, brunches are fabulous, the atmosphere laid-back, and there's a good newsagents with a wide range of imported magazines and newspapers (including the Guardian Weekly) just a few doors away. Open air seating out back with a small sandpit for the kids. The Atomic has been around so long that it's become a bit of an institution and so a wee bit shabby. But then shabby is part of the NZ experience.
121 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland; Tel:09 376 4954
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