Around the world in Takapuna

Over the years, the streets of Takapuna have become enriched with a vibrant mix of cultures and varied cuisines. Authentic, made with love and passed down through generations, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite restaurants from around the globe and their signature dishes that you must try…

Nanam’s ‘taco pao’ has been their signature dish since they first started out in a tiny stall at the Auckland Night Markets. Inspired by siopao (steamed buns), the vibrant beetroot pao is made fresh in house and served with ‘humba’ – a Filipino braised pork dish – and house-made condiments and pickles. “Our customers love it because it’s an example of our simple but creative approach to the dishes we do at Nanam,” says co-owner and chef Jessabel Granada. She says they use locally-grown, organic ingredients as much as possible, marrying them with unique Filipino-Spanish flavors. Throughout Taste of Takapuna they will take this same approach, creating a three-course Italian-Filipino menu, where diners can expect to see dishes such as pasta negra cooked with adobo squid and octopus, all made using spring produce grown at Kelmarna gardens.

On the menu at Mamak Malaysian Street Food you’ll find all the classic hits such as nasi lemak, mee goreng and beef rendang, but what you should really come for is the Sarawak laksa. This version of the noodle dish is hard to find in restaurants throughout Auckland and differs from the more commonly known curry laksa. The soup base is moreish and piquant with hits of lemongrass, tamarind and belachan, it’s served with rice vermicelli noodles and abundantly topped with prawns, chicken, beansprouts, egg and coriander. To round off your meal with something equally rare, try the Cendol – an icy layered dessert of varied textures and flavours such as shaved ice, pandan jelly, red beans, palm sugar syrup and coconut milk.

Tokyo Bay prides itself on “keeping it real”, serving modern Japanese cuisine without ever straying too far from authenticity or tradition. With expansive views over the water it’s the ideal setting to enjoy the freshest  sushi and sashimi platters. They’re pretty, plentiful and expertly prepared by Chikara Sato, a fugu blowfish licensed sushi chef. During Taste of Takapuna try their seafood sharing platter with panko grilled Kaikoura crayfish, wild akaroa salmon, oysters with wasabi tomato dressing, and chilli soft shell crabs.

Pizza purists will all agree that you can judge the skill of a pizzaiolo on their margherita pizza. With only a handful of ingredients there is nowhere to hide; the dough, cheese and sauce all have to be of the highest quality to pass the test. At Dante’s it’s all about the ingredients which are sourced from all over Italy to make sure the experience is as truly Italian as possible. The Regina Margherita is made with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil, on a fluffy sourdough crust that is beautifully charred from the wood fired oven. The lively atmosphere only adds to the experience, with an emphasis on sharing good food, conversation and laughter with your loved ones. 

You won’t find any jarred spice mixes or pre-made curry pastes at Big Tikka. Here, all the spices are toasted and ground on site, tomato paste is made fresh each day, and meats are marinated for up to 24 hours to ensure tenderness. The perfume of the tandoor greets you as you enter and the dishes that follow are packed with flavor, putting a bold spin on traditional Indian food. We love the Hyderabadi dum biryani rice, made with bone in chicken, aromatic spices and slow cooked with basmati rice that is cooked to fluffy perfection; and the Murgh Makhani, a lighter, more traditional take on butter chicken made with cashews and fresh tomato.

Once a hidden gem known only to locals, people now travel over the bridge for the mouth-numbing bowls of springy noodles; punchy broths; and plump dumplings swimming in spicy sauce served up at Basu Lounge. The Dan Dan noodles are a popular drawcard, laden with a creamy peanut sauce and tongue tingling Szechuan spice. The space is small so be prepared to wait at certain times, but it won’t be long as the service is swift and bowls of noodles this good go down quickly.

So head into Takapuna and try some of these amazing dishes from around the world, right at your doorstep!

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