The long lunch is something we often associate with the carefree days of summer – but not in Takapuna, where the year-round beachside vibe will have you feeling like you’ve taken a mini break from it all, even in the middle of winter. We’ve rounded up some of our top picks for a leisurely lunch, places where you can cosy up with warming food before a bracing stroll along the beach.
The Strand, Takapuna
With a laidback seaside feeling and a perfect vantage point to take in views of the water, it’s easy to relax in to a long lunch at Regatta. There’s a bounty from the ocean on the menu here, such as oysters; seafood chowder with toasted focaccia and seaweed butter; and pan-fried market fish with celeriac veloute and braised fennel. For something that will really see you through till dinner try the beef cheek: slow-cooked and tender it is served with caramelised onion puree, broccoli and hazelnut cream.
20 The Strand, Takapuna
With ocean views and authentic Japanese food, Tokyo Bay is an idyllic spot to retreat on a brisk winter’s day. The lunch menu boasts an impressive selection of bento boxes so you can try a bit of everything, but we also love their Japanese twist on fish and chips with tempura fillets and a trio of mayo, paired with a crisp Japanese beer. If you are after a cocktail to help you defrost, try the Red Hot, a mix of warm plum and brandy wine, and drunken Japanese umeshu plum.
Takapuna Beach Café
22 The Promenade, Takapuna
The Hip group’s focus on sourcing seasonal, self-made and ethically-produced ingredients means everything on the Takapuna Beach Café’s menu is of the highest quality. They do the classics well here: a great burger with provolone, pickles and truffle mayo; crispy chicken cotoletta; and scampi spaghetti with fennel, preserved lemon and chilli. You’d be wise to finish off with one of their house hot chocolates, which are an indulgent winter treat – best enjoyed gazing out the huge windows at uninterrupted views of the Hauraki Gulf.
129 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna
For a warming winter lunch we love the idea of getting a few curries to pass around the table at Tok Tok. Try the yellow vegan curry with roasted pumpkin, oyster mushroom and peashoots; and the green lamb curry with kumara, courgette, coconut and mint. Their little neck clams are also delicious, wok-tossed with kailan, smoked bacon and fragrant chilli. Riesling and Pinot Gris both pair well with curry and they have some great ones on the list here from vineyards such as Peregrine, Pegasus Bay and Waiheke’s Man o’ War.
138 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna
Nothing brightens up a dreary winter day quite like a traditional pub lunch, which is why on rainy days you’ll find us tucked away at Florrie McGreal’s, where the wooden interior; jovial staff and comforting classics are as Irish as it gets. We can’t go past a pint of Guinness served alongside one of their pies – with classic flavours such as chicken and mushroom; and steak and Guinness – all served with peas and colcannon, an Irish dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage. Complete the experience with an old-fashioned Irish coffee alongside an apple and rhubarb crumble.
4 The Strand, Takapuna
Gather your friends, don some bright colours and throw yourself a mid-winter fiesta at Mexico, where you can order rounds of tacos and margaritas by the carafe – for the cooler weather, we recommend the black plum and cinnamon; and pomegranate hibiscus flavours. Great for groups, the menu changes seasonally so expect comforting fare such as cumin roasted pumpkin and kumara dip with chilli oil; slow-cooked lamb quesadilla; and cinnamon spiced churros to finish.
486 Lake Rd, Takapuna
At Madam Woo they serve renditions of Malaysian street and soul food that is great for spicing up any lunch date, and the fragrant dishes will transport you to warmer climes. We like the beef rendang with kaffir lime and galangal served with coconut rice; a soothing bowl of laksa; or twice-cooked eggplant with wok fried greens, sambal and curry leaves. They’ve got a great selection of beer here which is a perfect accompaniment to the food; we also love their Vietnamese coffee.
4 The Strand, Takapuna Beach
If it’s a long, lazy brunch you are after Zomer is where you want to be. Serving beautiful breakfast classics such as french toast, eggs benedict, and creamy mushrooms all day long they also have a winter lunch menu that celebrates the season’s best. If you like to wash down your brunch with a tipple, Zomer has small but great selection of wine.