close button

Where to eat before a show in Auckland

Auckland Town Hall? Hollywood Avondale? Bruce Mason Centre? We got you.

Where to eat before a show in Auckland

Mar 11, 2020 Food

The Auckland Arts Festival starts today, and there’s nothing that makes you feel more cultured and in control of your life than dinner and a show. Here’s a guide on where to eat before or after.

Three of Metro’s AAF picks: BiladurangCold Blood, Estère Dalton: Into the Belly of Capricorn.

You’re seeing a show at: Academy Cinemas, Auckland Town Hall, Auckland Art Gallery, Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Q Theatre or Aotea Square

BBQ Duck Cafe
My number one recommendation for a quick pre-show meal in this vicinity is always BBQ Duck Cafe, which will get you in and out under 30 minutes, no problem. Just stick to the usual roast duck on rice, and you’ll be golden.
350 Queen St, central city

Federal Delicatessen
So it’s not the closest eatery to the venue, but the Fed always puts you in a good mood for a show. It might be the New York diner vibes, which years of American television have brainwashed into associating with Broadway, or the fact you can skulk in by your lonesome and shovel in a chicken sammie before meeting your perpetually-late friend outside Q Theatre. Great for a post-theatre feed, too.
86 Federal St, central city

Queens Court
Speaking of eating on your lonesome… You can find Queens Court by weaving deep past for-lease shops in this sad, empty retail building; the food court is usually hopping, with people eating from Bombay Chinese, Ha Noi Corner, Bite Brazilian Eatery and more. We recommend Bite Brazilian: unpretentious meat, veg and chips.
368 Queen St, central city

This inner-city Korean favourite is made for a pre-show hustle: busy, vibrant, tasty. Dishes come quickly and individually, so you don’t have to faff around deciding on sharing plates for large groups. It also has a relatively large menu for a Korean restaurant, meaning fussy eaters should be able to find something to love here without much bother.
47 High St, central city

Tanuki’s Cave
I can’t write a pre-show meal guide without including Tanuki’s Cave, which is perfect because you can eat as little or as much as your heart desires. It’s a yakitori bar where you get two sticks per serving, and I’d be careful with this one – it’s remarkably easy for your tab to slowly inch up.
319 Queen St, central city

Le Garde-Manger
Oh, oui, oui. I never feel more French than I do when I eat at Le Garde Manger, which has the vibes right down to the cliche red and white tablecloths. They serve wine by the carafe and savoury crepes (galettes) with hearty – often cheesy – sauces.
466 Queen St, central city

Ah Ssak
Along the Upper Queen Street strip are a handful of nocturnal Korean restaurants which serve soju till the wee hours of the morning, perfect for post-show dissections. Even better – their crazy range of different fried chicken, which, in my opinion, is among the best communal meals you can share.
472 Queen St, central city

?READ MORE: 50 great Auckland restaurants where you can eat well for less than $50?

READ MORE: Metro Top 50 Cheap Eats in Auckland 2019 – 2020

You’re seeing a show at: ASB Waterfront Theatre

Thai Street
This is the OG pre-ASB Waterfront Theatre meal, where food and service are both quick and easy, and spicy means spicy. We enjoy the coconut-laden curries and the fact we’re mostly left more or less alone to let all our chatter out before having to sit quietly for one or two hours.
12 Jellicoe St, Wynyard Quarter

Wynyard Pavilion
If you’re not feeling particularly hungry yet, gather around some drinks and pre-show bar snacks at Wynyard Pavilion. The place is huge so you won’t be fighting for a table, which is music to our ears.
17 Jellicoe St, Wynyard Quarter

There’s always going to be one member of the party that insists on “dining somewhere nice, guys, I only get to go out, like, once a month.” If that’s the case, then I’d recommend Baduzzi. It’s on our Top 50 Restaurants, and the vibe is smart and a little special. It’s easy to make it a long and languid meal or, alternatively, short and speedy.
10-26 Jellicoe St, Wynyard Quarter

Auckland Fish Market
This is my top pick for families. You might get ripped off a little bit, but that’s the price we pay for convenience, and, well, the Fish Market is very convenient. There’s a range of stalls in there and the kids can just have a simple fish and chips, while the adults can get something more sophisticated at Azabu Light.
22-32 Jellicoe St, Wynyard Quarter

You’re seeing a show at: Hollywood Avondale

Barbarino’s Spaghetteria
Call in for some crowd-pleasing food where you can pick and mix the pasta and sauces and not pay any more than $22 (you can even get a dish for $10 if you just want butter and cheese). There’s a particularly tasty dessert, too, the torto ceprese della nonna, which is somehow both rich and light and a recipe from owner Fran Mazza’s own family.
1790A Great North Rd, Avondale

Bunga Raya
If you’re out in Avondale, let’s just say I assume you have a car. Four minutes up the road is Bunga Raya, a Malaysian restaurant that may possibly have the best Hainanese chicken in Auckland, and a great no-nonsense type of approach to their service. I’m a bit of a fan of the Tropical chilli fish, too.
2a/3062 Great North Rd, New Lynn

You’re seeing a show at: Bruce Mason Theatre

Burger Burger
You’re spoilt for choice in Takapuna – which, if you’re a city slicker who rarely ventures over the bridge, has a high concentration of restaurants, actually – but the best place for a quick feed is still Burger Burger, out on Fortieth and Hurstmere, Taka’s infamous dining lane. You’ve been to Burger Burger, so you know the drill.
40 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna

I will never not recommend slurping up a laksa at Mamak, which will get you nice and awake and ready for Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus, which I assume you’re seeing.
6 Huron St, Takapuna


Latest issue shadow

Metro N°442 is Out Now.

In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

Buy the latest issue