Dinner and a Show? Race you to Takapuna!
Takapuna has long been the cultural Mecca of the North Shore, but with the Bruce Mason Centre hosting everyone from the Russian Ballet Company to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The Pumphouse putting on a fantastic series of everything from creative talks to aerial burlesque shows, and Berkeley Cinema generously rewarding their members’ loyalty on the regular - Takapuna has secured the top spot on our list of go-to places for an evening’s entertainment anywhere in Auckland.
We suspect this is due to an influx of fantastic flavour to the Takapuna ‘hood over the last few years. You can be forgiven if you blinked and missed the Takapuna food scene’s rise to ‘hospitality heavy-hitter’ status, so we’ve put together a short list of our favourite spots from our recent visits to encourage ‘city-side’ dwellers to jump on the bridge and enjoy the spoils.
Burger Burger in Fortieth & Hurstmere is fast, friendly and full of fun! With a well-earned cult following among young Aucklanders, the menu has something delicious for everyone in the family. The kitchen is open all the way through from 11 am, so it’s a perfect spot for movies and shows that fall in between meal times.
Tok Tok is a local favourite with a fantastic Asian fusion menu, a stone’s throw from Berkeley Cinema and the Bruce Mason Centre. The food here is authentic, fresh and memorable. We loved the Yellow Chicken Curry and the Crispy Half Duck, with a bowl of rice and a roti for the table. If you’re short on time, you’ll have to come back for the delicious Matcha Molten Chocolate Fondant, as it needs 20 minutes to cook!
El Humero – this Columbian wood and charcoal-fired BBQ joint, also in Fortieth & Hurstmere, is every meat lover’s dream. Perch up at the bar with a glass of wine and make your way through the waiter’s recommended cuts of meat with a variety of their tasty sauces and sides and you’ll be dreaming about the flavours for weeks to come. Yum!
When Nanam brought authentic Filipino cuisine to Takapuna in 2018, locals couldn’t have been more thrilled. Hospitality here is unmatched as the staff warmly run diners through this unique cuisine in a way that makes it feel like home. We highly recommend their pre-theatre menu, designed for Bruce Mason patrons and includes three courses (tapas, main and dessert) for $40 at rapid pace upon presentation of your ticket. Allow at least an hour, add a glass of wine for $10 and use the time to plot your next visit, like we did.
If you’re in a rush and you’re looking for something tasty & takeaway that can be ordered ahead – Ramen Lab has legions of fans, and the Curry Laksa at Mamak Malaysian is, we think, the best in Auckland. The Lamb Chawarma at Fatima’s is a lifelong favourite of my generation, and well worthy of mention too.
If you’re after for some late night snacks or prefer to eat after your movie or show, the hospitality of the team at The Elephant Wrestler is unmatched. The food well exceeds pub-food expectations and the attentive team make sure your glass is never empty. This lively and cosy venue could convert the least enthusiastic of rugby fans to enjoy the game too!
The exceptional quality of Takapuna dining must be contagious because it’s spreading far and wide. North Shore patrons are being spoiled for choice with the very recent arrival of Goodside at Smales Farm and Milford’s very own natural wine bar Cavavin. There is much to celebrate, so buy some tickets, book a meal, and you won’t look back – you heard it here first!
(Written by: Sophie Gilmour - Delicious Business)