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.
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.
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!
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.
Jac made friends with a couple of happy dogs and tossed their slimy old tennis ball for them to chase and catch.
The sky was gloriously bright blue. A great T-shirt and shorts day, no need for a jacket at all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
Cafe open daily 7am to late
Store open daily 7am to 8pm
We kept seeing these large brown birds, like tawny seagulls, hanging out among the more typical grey and white seagulls.
We found Devonport Chocolates, where we sampled handcrafted chocolate truffles and Jac bought some to take home.
We walked around the village, checking out the shops and restaurants, then got on a ferry back to Auckland.
Auckland’s a pretty city, especially when viewed from out on the water.
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?
Auckland’s a pretty city at night too. Holidays are good for noticing these things.
New Zealand trip – blog series
There’s more to come from our trip.
Posted so far (in reading order):
- New Zealand trip – sneak peek
- The Big Foody Auckland Tastebud Tour
- El Faro, Elliott Stables, Auckland
- Takapuna Beach Cafe, Auckland and ferry ride to Devonport – this post
- The Kapiti Store, Auckland
- Food Alley, Auckland
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.