Auckland's Oyster Scene

Chef Al Brown's Depot Oyster Bar and Eatery // Photo by Josh Griggs/Depot Eatery

Seafood lovers likely already know that New Zealand is a must-visit destination for anyone who likes kai moana – or seafood as it’s called in the Maori language. But in recent years in particular, Auckland, New Zealand has been abuzz with an up-and-coming oyster scene, featuring a growing number of restaurants and bars that are quickly becoming go-to spots for anyone craving oysters while visiting the City of Sails.

Located right in the heart of Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, Oyster&Chop is known for serving up 10 different varieties of freshly shucked, prepared or cooked oysters. To top it off, the restaurant has partnered with Wine Consultant Cameron Douglas, who is actually New Zealand’s first and only Master Sommelier, to help restaurant guests find the perfect wine pairing with their selection of oysters.

Another new oyster hot spot is the Rockefeller Champagne and Oyster Bar. The Bar prides themselves in kiwi-fying the oyster, bringing out a new, distinctive New Zealand taste. As for the champagne side, the bar is well-known for its over 45 champagnes offered, each of which pairs well with any of the oysters on its menu.

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Of course, a few tried and true oyster hot spots still remain staples in Auckland. The award-winning Depot Oyster Bar and Eatery is spearheaded by celebrity chef Al Brown. Brown is known for using ingredients that are in season, beautifully cooked and always to be enjoyed with friends.

Harbourside Bar and Grill offers bluff oysters which can be served with a mignonette style sauce, made of cabernet vinegar and shallots or battered in buttermilk. Back in Viaduct Harbour, another spot you’ll likely hear about is Soul Bar. The seaside staple hosted an all-you-can-eat lunch at the beginning of March 2016, further solidifying its popularity among oyster connoisseurs.

For the really invested oyster-lover, make sure to take a trip to near-by Waiheke Island and stay at the Oyster Inn. The luxury boutique is exactly what you think it is; just a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland, the Onera Beach accommodation offers a variety of oysters from its kitchen. The hotel only offers three rooms, but is an easily accessible day trip from Auckland if you choose not to stay there. The kitchen is open all day, so no need to rush to get your oyster fix.

If you’re looking for an oyster infused road trip, we recommend checking out The New Zealand Oyster Trail, featuring inner-city bars, seafood festivals and roadside stalls. Tourism New Zealand has got a plethora of information on which spots can’t be missed. Bon appetit!

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