Airports don't always have the best restaurant options—especially in the fast food courts. Luckily, if you're traveling to or from Auckland Airport, there are a number of restaurant and cafe options, some of which have healthy meals. There are a few to choose from in the international terminal and also some in the shopping areas close by. Most of the latter are within walking distance or a short taxi ride away. When hunger strikes, head to one of these choices.
Auckland International Airport Terminal Restaurants
Most of the eateries are in a central food court area within the terminal building. If you're leaving on a flight, the best selection will be found in the public area before you enter departure security.
Hayama Sushi Bar specializes in Japanese food, including sushi, sashimi, ramen, udon, and donburi. The sushi rolls are made fresh in front of you, and you can also order a Japanese beer like Asahi or Kirin. Or, you can head over to Silk Road for a range of Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Indian, and Thai, and Popo Dumplings for authentic steamed prawn, chicken, beef, and vegetarian dumplings.
If you have a longer layover, consider taking a leisurely lunch or dinner at Aroha Cafe & Bar or 400 Gradi. Aroha features a large seating area overlooking the runway and a healthy menu of smashed avocado toast, brekky rolls, grain salad, and poke bowls. There's also a selection of organic juices and some of New Zealand's most popular local wines and craft beers. Meanwhile, 400 Gradi is an upscale Italian restaurant that specializes in Neapolitan pizzas.
Auckland Airport Lounges
Several airlines have their own lounges for business and first class passengers. However, there is another lounge available for all departing passengers. The Emperor Lounge is located after security and, for a fee of $49 per person, provides buffet meals as well as complimentary Wi-Fi and shower facilities. The Lounge should be booked in advance (preferably at least 24 hours) to guarantee entry. Open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Cafes and Restaurants Near Auckland Airport
Szimpla Gastro Bar is located underneath the Formule1 Hotel, a few minutes from the terminal buildings. It's the best place to eat in the Auckland Airport area, and probably one of the best in the South Auckland region. It's innovative and hearty pub fare, with a South Pacific twist. There's also a good selection of beers, including boutique beers on tap. The kitchen is open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., although drinks are available until later.
Papillon Cafe is adjacent to the Butterfly Creek adventure park, on the left if heading south from the Airport towards Manukau and the southern motorway. There's a good selection of cabinet food and simple meals in a nice setting overlooking the park. Open daytimes only until 5 p.m.