[...] Unless you’re going to do stacks of research, finding somewhere to eat when there’s so much choice can be daunting. That’s why you need Elle Armon-Jones from The Big Foody Food Tours. Elle relocated from Saffron Walden because of her passion for Kiwi cuisine.

Elle believes that Auckland’s food is special because so many cultures and cuisines have mixed. British dishes feature and are usually done very well. You get great fish and chips with proper chunky chips, not skinny fries. Sunday roasts are very popular and New Zealand actually has roast dinner takeaways. The city also offers excellent Asian fusion and Pacific Rim cuisine as well as South African influenced food. It seems that all nationalities and their respective dishes are on offer.

Over coffee in the British ex pat-operated The Chocolate Drop, Elle talks passionately about the German butcher and French charcuterie she uses. Then the conversation moves to the coffee. After you’ve eaten, you’ll find Kiwi coffee is as good as any from Italy – in fact it was Italian settlers who started the Kiwi quest for the perfect cup. You won’t find Nescafe instant anywhere. The flat whites (milky but not frothy) or long blacks (strong Americanos) are freshly made even in the equivalent of a greasy spoon.

I drove to Elle’s base in the Northshore suburb of Takapuna, just 12 minutes from the city centre across the Harbour Bridge. Takapuna is easy to find because Auckland’s only real skyscraper, the 30-storey Sentinel Building, provides a point to aim your steering wheel at! You’ll find a pleasant, well-to-do beachside community that’s off the tourist trail, which is why I think you should visit. There are bustling streets of canopied shops running alongside a beautiful expanse of sandy beach overlooking the volcanic islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Elle told me that you can swim on one of Auckland’s best beaches and then go for lunch or dinner 150 metres away.

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