Auckland for hipsters

by Nicola Heath

Ponsonby’s chic boutiques, Britomart’s trendy dining scene and the artisan produce on offer at La Cigale French Market are among some of the hippest places to eat, drink and shop in Auckland.


A thriving trading zone from the nineteenth century, harbourside hub Britomart fell out of favour and into disrepair by the 1990s. An ambitious regeneration has transformed the waterfront suburb into one of Auckland’s most exciting neighbourhoods, offering great shopping plus a huge array of places to eat and drink. Contemporary bistro Ortolana, modern Middle Eastern restaurant Beirut and cosy but cool Xuxu Dumpling Bar are among the standout options. 

Image: Ortolana/

La Cigale French Market

Each weekend foodies flock to the historic suburb of Parnell to feast upon treats procured at La Cigale French Market. This Auckland institution offers up a smorgasbord of food: everything from seasonal fruit and vegetables, cured meats, fresh baked bread, locally pressed olive oil, to sauerkraut, tea, raw honey, and fresh pasta. If you are feeling particularly French, you’ll be happy to discover a creperie, a pâtisserie, and a chocolatier among the stallholders. Once you have finished stocking up on supplies, it’s time for lunch. Try a wholesome salad from Musical Knives Food or a ham and chutney baguette from Fiona’s Fabulous Foods.

Open Saturday 8am - 1.30pm, Sunday 9am - 1.30pm

Image: La Cigale French Market/


Brimming with boutiques, bars and cafes, the inner-city suburb of Ponsonby has a reputation as one of Auckland’s most fashionable locales. First stop should be a caffeine fix at any one of the many fantastic cafes; try Good One on Douglas St, or Dizengoff, a popular Ponsonby Road cafe affectionately known as ‘Dizi’ that serves reliably excellent coffee day in, day out. Next, hit the shops. Flotsam and Jetsam is a treasure trove of antiques and vintage curios, Good As Gold stocks high quality kit from local and international designers, while The Market NZ is full of one-of-a-kind pieces created by local artists. Finish the day with a well-earned tipple from one of Ponsonby’s many bars. Mea Culpa, Golden Dawn and Conch are all fine establishments worth a visit.

Image: Good as Gold


If you’re after a little more grit after the sophistication of Ponsonby Road, head to Kingsland. The coffee is still good, especially if you visit the Atomic Coffee Roaster HQ on New North Road. On a budget? Sit down to a meal at Petra Shawarma, a modest, brightly lit Kingsland restaurant serving delicious authentic Jordanian fare, before enjoying a nightcap or two at Portland Public House, where you’ll find craft beer on tap and a fine roster of live music most nights of the week. 

Image: Atomic Coffee Roasters, Kingsland/Atomic Coffee Roasters

City Works Depot

Craft beer enthusiasts will feel right at home at Brothers Beer, an Auckland brewery that operates two sites, one in Mount Eden and the other located in the City Works Depot precinct in the CBD. With 18 craft beers on tap and over 100 types of bottled beer available, Brothers Beer is a perennially popular spot. Pick a brew, order a pizza, and settle into one of the retro lounges for an afternoon of relaxation. Brothers Beer’s neighbouring eateries in the City Works Depot are worth checking out too; try Best Ugly for the incredible wood-fired Montreal-style bagels, Odettes for the succulent beef cheek fritters, or The Botanist for super salads and great coffee.

Image: Brothers Beer

>> Check out other things to see and do in Auckland

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