Takapuna Beach Cafe and Auckland, the pretty city

When researching places to eat in Auckland, breakfast at Takapuna Beach Cafe came up frequently, along with their award-winning gelato. Breakfast and gelato sounded pretty good to me. And a walk on the beach – I didn’t have to work hard to convince Jac.

When we arrived, all the outside tables were taken, so we grabbed a seat inside. We started with a virgin Mary (NZ$8) for Jac and an iced house lemon, ginger and honey brew (NZ$5) for me.

The cafe’s got a great all-day menu. As you’d expect of a beach-side cafe, seafood features prominently – there’s a beer-battered fish burger or fish and chips, and grilled seafood – a yellow fin tuna burger (in a squid ink bun), grilled squid and grilled snapper. Like most of the places we ate at on this trip, we wished we were staying longer in Auckland so we could return for another meal.

Both our dishes were enormous. Jac chose the The Big Healthy (NZ$24.50), a bountiful plate with house-cured salmon, fresh cottage cheese, poached free range eggs, baby horror tomatoes, Waihi avocado and toasted pain cereales. The “baby horror” tomatoes made me laugh but funny name aside, they were beautifully sweet and juicy babies, easily Jac’s favourite item on the plate.

The Big Healthy (NZ$24.50) - house-cured salmon, fresh cottage cheese, poached free range eggs, baby horror tomatoes, Waihi avocado and pain cereales The Big Healthy (NZ$24.50) – house-cured salmon, fresh cottage cheese, poached free range eggs, baby horror tomatoes, Waihi avocado and pain cereales

I chose the oyster and Swiss brown mushrooms, ciabatta and pangrattato (NZ$19, with bacon NZ$24). “You know it’s oyster mushrooms, not oysters, right?” our waiter asked when I ordered. Simple solution to avoid potential confusion: instead of “oyster and Swiss brown mushrooms” on the menu, flip it around to be “Swiss brown and oyster mushrooms” and never feel the need to clarify again!

It was an imposing food mountain. The bacon and mushrooms-not-oysters were piled on top of toasted ciabatta and sprinkled liberally with crisp, golden breadcrumbs (the pangrattato). The mushrooms were a touch oily, the garlicky breadcrumbs deceptively rich, the mountain irresistible. I tried my best but failed to get through it all.

Oyster and Swiss brown mushrooms, ciabatta and pangrattato (NZ$19, with bacon NZ$24) Oyster and Swiss brown mushrooms, ciabatta and pangrattato (NZ$19, with bacon NZ$24)

My seat faced the sweets table – an enticing feature of the cafe which drew the attention of more than one child passing by. What did most of them want? A meringue!

The sweets table

With that very filling breakfast, there was absolutely no way we could manage gelato immediately afterwards, so we paid the bill and went for a walk along the beach.

Takapuna Beach

Jac made friends with a couple of happy dogs and tossed their slimy old tennis ball for them to chase and catch.

Dogs playing

The sky was gloriously bright blue. A great T-shirt and shorts day, no need for a jacket at all.

Takapuna Beach

We walked along the rocks, passed on the way by sure-footed local walkers and joggers, who were probably laughing secretly at the silly tourist stepping gingerly along the rocky path, holding on to a camera with a very cumbersome zoom lens.

Takapuna Beach

Takapuna Beach

After our exercise, we were ready for gelato. You can order gelato in the Takapuna Cafe Beach Cafe or get a takeaway cup or cone at the Store next door.

Gelato at Takapuna Beach Store Gelato at Takapuna Beach Store

We had a taste of the award-winning salted caramel gelato. The smear of gelato on that tiny tasting spoon was intensely rich and I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat much of it.

Instead, I chose espresso, which was like sweet iced coffee in gelato form.

Espresso gelato (NZ$4.50) Espresso gelato (NZ$4.50)

Jac chose the vanilla lemon curd. It was a gorgeously creamy vanilla gelato but the lemon flavour was very mild; I think we’d have both preferred a much tangier lemon curd.

Vanilla lemon curd gelato (NZ$4.50) Vanilla lemon curd gelato (NZ$4.50)

I love to eat ice cream or gelato at the beach. I really should make the effort to do it more often. Where’s your favourite ice cream/gelato beach?

DSC_2460 Takapuna Beach Cafe

The Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store are not right on the beach – the building is set back a little bit, but the sand and waves are a short stroll away.

Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store
22 The Promenade
Takapuna, Auckland
Cafe open daily 7am to late
Store open daily 7am to 8pm

We jumped on a bus back to the ferry terminal at Auckland where we caught the ferry to Devonport, just for fun.


We kept seeing these large brown birds, like tawny seagulls, hanging out among the more typical grey and white seagulls.

Skua Skua

We found Devonport Chocolates, where we sampled handcrafted chocolate truffles and Jac bought some to take home.

Devonport chocolates

Devonport chocolate shoes

We walked around the village, checking out the shops and restaurants, then got on a ferry back to Auckland.

The Esplanade Hotel at Devonport The Esplanade Hotel at Devonport

Auckland’s a pretty city, especially when viewed from out on the water.

Approaching Auckland (on Devonport to Downtown ferry) Approaching Auckland (on Devonport to Downtown ferry)

This is Queen’s Wharf, and the white structure is called The Cloud. I don’t see a long white cloud, I see a long white worm. What do you think?

Approaching Auckland (on Devonport to Downtown ferry)


Auckland’s a pretty city at night too. Holidays are good for noticing these things.

Auckland at night

New Zealand trip – blog series

There’s more to come from our trip.
Posted so far (in reading order):

This trip to New Zealand was planned by Jac and me. We paid for all meals, accommodation and activities; the exception was 1 x return premium economy flight Perth to Auckland, which I received at an Air New Zealand launch event last year.Everything I blog about the trip is based on our experiences and all opinions are our own.

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  • All the food looks super yummy.

  • Craig Hind

    I liked your mountain of a breakfast!

    Auckland looks like a lovely place, and yes I see a worm, or caterpillar rather than a cloud. :-)

    • Craig, Auckland was great. I say worm but it’s probably more like a monster bloodsucker with ‘mouth’ open for sucking (eww!)

  • Jon N

    Maybe the building would look like a cloud at a different angle? I may have skipped the breakfast for the gelato; it looks incredibly yummy.

    • Jon, maybe… but my first thought was “worm” and after that I couldn’t see anything else! I suppose we could’ve had no breaky but more gelato. That would’ve worked…

  • I want to eat all the food in this post right now. How good does that egg yolk look?

    • Christina, it was a terrific breaky and a very nice setting. You’d love it there, I’m sure.