If you are looking for vegetarian or vegan food in Auckland then you will find there are several options. As the largest city in New Zealand (and with nearly one third of the entire population of New Zealand) you would expect Auckland offers some choices and that is definitely the case.
In saying that, whilst vegetarian food is not hard to find, finding places that cater for vegans is a lot more challenging.
Still, they do exist.
Vegetarian and Vegan Dining in Auckland Restaurants
Most restaurants in Auckland are now aware of the need to offer vegetarian menu items. Depending on the theme of the establishment, it will often consist of a pasta or salad dish. If the choice is too limited for you then the other thing to do is to ask the waitress for the chef to suggest something he or she could prepare. Most places will be accommodating and provide something simple (and hopefully tasty!).
The best places to find vegetarian (and often vegan) dishes are Asian-themed restaurants and cafes, as vegetarian is usually a natural part of their cuisine (the exception to this is Chinese food; most Chinese restaurants in Auckland are heavily meat based).
Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines all feature a good deal of vegetarian food, often with dishes centered around tofu (bean curd) and vegetables. Indian and Turkish food are other good options.
Specialist Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Auckland
There are only a handful of restaurants in Auckland that cater exclusively for vegetarians and vegans. Some of them are a little hard to find and might require a drive from the center of the city to get to them. Here are the ones that I have discovered.
I will update the list periodically, and if you happen to find one in your travels that is not listed here then please do let me know.
The Blue Bird Vegetarian Cafe
This is my pick as the best vegetarian restaurant in Auckland. It is quite small, with about 14 tables spread over two levels. There is a mouth-watering selection of vegan and vegetarian (several also gluten-free) dishes, all expertly prepared. In addition to salads and hot dishes there are desserts, cakes and slices. Beverages include smoothies, cold drinks, teas and coffees.
Closed on Sundays, the cafe is open for lunch the other days and in the evening on some days.
The Blue Bird is run by the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Center (they also have another restaurant in Christchurch) so there is a lovely atmosphere without being too 'New Agey'. There is also a small selection of books and gifts for sale.
The Blue Bird Vegetarian Cafe Contact Info:
- Address: 299 Dominion Road, Mt Eden
- Phone: 09 623 4900
- Website: www.thebluebird.co.nz
This cafe is part of an interesting business which also includes a natural and wholefoods shop, organic vegetables and fruits and a spiritual book shop. The emphasis in the cafe is on raw food and there is an interesting and frequently-changing menu.
Some of the raw desserts (such as vegan cheesecake) are particularly delicious.
Wise Cicada Vegetarian Cafe Contact Info:
- Address: 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
- Phone: 09 5299 529
- Website: www.wisecicada.co.nz
- Open: 9am - 6pm, 7 days
Golden Age Vegan Restaurant
Also in a central city location, opposite the Sky Tower, the Golden Age is an Asian-style cafe with an emphasis on "not-meat" dishes. This is a very small (just 7 tables) and casual cafe and will appeal to those who like meat look-alike food. Friendly atmosphere.
Golden Age Vegan Restaurant Contact Info:
- Address: 61 Victoria Street West, Auckland City
- Phone: 09 303 2531
Although not a restaurant as such, this is actually a great option if you have a hankering for delicious vegan food. Kawai Purapura is actually a retreat and meditation center in Albany, just to the north of central Auckland.
It offers accommodation in peaceful bush surroundings, yet is only fifteen minutes north of the Auckland harbor bridge.
The communal kitchen offers a catered vegan meal every evening for the price of just $6 per person. It's nothing flash, but it's very, very tasty, prepared by people who obviously know and appreciate vegan food.
There are a number of permanent residents living at Kawai Purapura who are friendly and who add to the welcoming atmosphere. This place is a well-kept secret!
Kawai Purapura Dining Room Contact Info:
- Open: Dinner at 6pm, 7 days (not necessarily every night and must be booked in advance so phone to check)
- Phone 09 415 9468
- Website: www.kawaipurapura.co.nz/
Little Bird Unbakery
This small cafe specialises in raw and organic food, including a wide selection of cakes and slices. Everything is raw and gluten, dairy and sugar free with a surprising range of delicious and innovative items.
Little Bird Unbakery Contact Info:
- Address: 385 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland City
- Phone: 09 550 6377
- Website: www.littlebirdorganics.co.nz