How much delicious veggie food can one girl eat during a 2 day, whistle stop, visit to Auckland… read on and you will find out. 

Firstly I would like to comment on how much fresh, healthy and vegetarian/vegan options were available on the menus of Auckland’s eateries. I am accustomed to ordering dishes, with this, or without that and was pleasantly surprised to be able to order straight off the menu everywhere I visited. I also noticed extensive signage advertising free-range eggs and meats where being served.

One of my first stops was the Little Bird UnBakery which is located at 385, New North Road, Kingsland. This cafe has an extensive menu of raw and cooked vegan food available to eat in or take away. The menu changes on a daily basis and I sat down to enjoy a beautifully simple sprouted bread open sandwich with avocado, sauerkraut and sprouts. This was washed down with an extremely fresh, zesty and nutritious green smoothie.

The cafe doubles as a shop where you can purchase a wide range of fresh vegan cakes and packaged foods. Little Bird have their own range of packaged goods which they sell at other health conscious shops around Auckland. The word on the street is that their raw Macaroons are amazing. You can also pop in for a take away juice already bottled and ready to go.

Next it was time for a coffee and a vegan treat for the uber cool Kokako organic roastery and vegetarian cafe. This retro inspired neighborhood cafe is located at 537 Great North Road, Grey Lynn. The decor is fun and inviting, the coffee outstanding and the variety of healthy vegetarian and vegan meals and snacks on display behind the counter inspirational. Check out the menu items below to get your mouth watering…

The brilliant Winter sunshine faded quickly into a crisp New Zealand night and it was time to go hunting for dinner. Our destination was Ponsonby Road to check out the brand new restaurants in the Ponsonby Central quarter. This upmarket restaurant precinct features it’s very own DJ a wide selection of cuisine from around the world all in the one building complete with “to die for” designer home-wares shops.

On our first evening we experience the culinary delight which is Cantonese Pacific fusion at the Blue Breeze Inn. Impressive to me was the stand alone Vegetables section on the menu from which we ordered the Wok Fried New Zealand native edible weeds with house-made chilli paste and the Fragrant Aubergines stir fried in Sichuan chilli bean paste, garlic and ginger, both of which were delicious. For starters we enjoyed the Candied Walnuts and Cucumber Pickle, Smashed Garlic and Organic Sesame Oil. Our Hawaiian shirt clad waitress explained that the dishes were sharing size, like tapas, but they were very generous in size. For the large quantity of food we received this was a very good value dinner.

My epic, on foot, foodie trail began with Karangahape Rd (K’Road) institution Alleluya Cafe on day 2. This retro shabby chic cafe with it’s mismatched tables and chairs spilling out into the beautiful St Kevin’s Arcade has been in operation for 20 years and has had the same chef for 18 of those, owner Peter told me. Once again I was impressed by the quality of the food and even more delighted to see that 2 vegan options appeared on the Chef’s Special menu board.

St Kevin’s Arcade is home to a great selection of shops including high end boutiques, vintage clothing and home-wares as well as Auckland’s Vegan Cruelty Free Shop.

My walking tour continued the length of K’Road and down Ponsonby Road where I fell into “Food Stylist Heaven”. A large array of vintage and designed home and kitchen wares shops resulted in a serious credit card workout. Ponsonby’s Flotsam and Jetsam is right on trend with all things kitchen chic. This two level corner store at 86 Ponsonby Road is well worth a look if, like me, you enjoy a fashionable home for your veggies.

From here I headed into the centre of the city to Vulcan Lane to check out the Raw Power Cafe. This warm and traditionally furnished cafe offers a killer tofu burger, tasty green juices and a range of menu items to cater for vegetarians, vegans and salad lovers. Their menu is extensive and features raw and cooked meals, a salad bar and vegan cakes.

The last stop on my Veggie Lovers Tour of Auckland was Maldito Mendez back at the Ponsonby Central. This sophisticated but casual eatery describes it’s self as a Latin American Inspired Cantina. The food is fresh, the lighting is romantic and the decor spot on. I ordered the pineapple, mayo-less, coleslaw which was to die for, along with broccoli with pine nuts and a black bean taco. With a couple of glasses of NZ’s finest this meal was the perfect way to end a wonderful culinary adventure.

All in all a great trip… I must check out the “sights” next visit. 🙂