Many restaurant recommendations from a Gluten-Free Trip to Auckland, New Zealand,
March 07, 2012
Silver Spring, MD
While Auckland is not the capital of New Zealand, it is and has been for a long time, the largest city in New Zealand. It is also home to my favorite gluten-free ‘supplies’ store, The Gluten Free Grocer (www.glutenfreegrocer.co.nz . I can’t count how many times the Grocer has saved me from hunger pains. This is your one stop shop for all your gluten-free grocery needs. They stock a wide range of gluten-free products including the GF Treets (www.gftreets.co.nz) range which include battered chicken strips, mini hot dogs, battered fish strips and mini donuts – definitely a favorite of mine. You can also stock up on sauces, baking mixes, various breads sourced from all over New Zealand, snack food, pies (hot and frozen), frozen meals as well as fresh baked goods straight from the grocer’s kitchen.
If you want to get out of the inner city, head to the suburb of Onehunga. This is a small suburb by the Manakau harbor port that is attempting to gentrify itself as ‘a place to be’. While it may be a few years before Onehunga is a popular Auckland suburb, there is one little hidden gem. The Library Café (www.librarycafe.co.nz) has set up shop in a beautiful old library building built in 1912 (which is reasonably old for New Zealand!) The Library was originally named Carnegie Library, after the New York philanthropist and industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, who gave a grant for the construction of the building. An American connection! The café is a great place for young children, with a small outdoor and play area and is excellent with dietary requirements. It has a comprehensive menu, a kid’s menu and clearly labels what items are free from gluten, dairy and egg.
One Kiwi classic that should be tried if you’re visiting New Zealand, especially in the summer, is having fish and chips for dinner. One of my favorite things to do on a warm summers evening is heading to The Chip Shop (www.thechipshop.co.nz) and taking our gluten-free fish and chips to the nearby One Tree Hill or Cornwall Park to eat, enjoy the sun and the view of the city. The Chip Shop has a completely separate gluten-free menu, all food is made in a separate fryer and they have won the best chips in New Zealand award many times. You’ll be feeling like a local in no time!
Many visitors to Auckland are likely to take a visit up the Sky Tower (www.skycityauckland.co.nz/Attractions/Skytower.html) to see the panoramic views of the city and harbor. If you’re looking for a much flasher meal than fish and chips in the park, make a reservation at Orbit, a revolving restaurant at the top of the Sky Tower. The staff at Orbit will bend over backwards to accommodate your gluten-free requirements and you are able to go to the viewing platform of the Sky Tower for free before your meal. If you’re a real dare devil, you should give the sky jump a try, a thousand thrills in just a few minutes!
If you’re not keen on heights but still want something a little bit fancy and what I would call simply amazing, head to Eight (http://eightrestaurant.co.nz) at the Langham Restaurant. The concept of Eight is basically a big buffet with eight kitchens, each serving different cuisine and all meals prepared from scratch. The staff is very knowledgeable of what is gluten-free and give you a tour of all the kitchens highlighting what you can and can’t eat. I started on the meat and roasted vegetables with a side of soup. The meat was grilled for me while I watched. I then worked my way around the room, fresh pan cooked fish, sushi, freshly made salad of my choosing, Indian cuisine and the dessert was possibly the best part. Ice cream drizzled in Belgium chocolate from the chocolate fountain, lollies and miniature sized desserts. I left feeling like a stuffed turkey! They even have gluten-free breads and pastries, just ask the staff! Perfection.
Other recommended gluten-free food eateries in Auckland include: The Organic Pizza and Pasta Company (www.organicpizza.co.nz), Mexican Café (www.mexicancafe.co.nz), Fatimas (www.fatimas.co.nz), Te Whau (www.tewhau.co.nz) (on nearby Waiheke Island), Horse and Trap (www.horseandtrap.co.nz) , Mikano (www.mikano.co.nz), Il Buco (www.ilbuco.co.nz), Circus Circus (www.circuscircus.co.nz), Casablanca (www.casablancacafenz.co.nz) and for sweet treats Delish Cupcakes (www.delishcupcakes.co.nz) makes incredible gluten-free cupcakes to order.