The vegetarian banh mi at L’Oeuf is one of life’s simpler pleasures: marinated tofu and pickled, julienned vegetables are tossed with coriander and sandwiched inside a crisp baguette. Feeling fancy? Add a fried egg and a drizzle of house-made ‘gong’ sauce. We also like ‘The Nest’ – one of Auckland’s most Instagrammed breakfasts – two crumbed eggs in a pastry nest atop a mesclun and beetroot salad. Oui, oui! 4A Owairaka Rd, Mt Albert
The almond croissants at this French deli-cafe are so buttery that eating more than one may cause you to have heart palpitations; my god they’re delicious. For Europeans missing a taste of home, this bakery also doubles as a small food market with luxury items such as terrines, pates, jams and a large range of French cheeses. 256 New North Rd, Mt Albert
For grocery shopping
Lim Supermarket Centre
There are so many happy quirks to Mount Albert’s mighty Lim Supermarket: the weird smell, hilarious miniature trolleys and a great selection of unusual cold drinks to name just a few. Walking up and down the dinky isles, you never know what you might find. The range of international products is unparalleled, the barbecue pork from the stall by the door – helmed by a cleaver-wielding elderly man – is some of the juiciest in town, and the deals on produce are unbeatable. In fact, Lim’s Facebook page claims they’re the cheapest store in Auckland and with end-of-summer-deals like 39-cent avocados and watermelons at two for $5, we’re inclined to agree.
Lim Supermarket Centre, 949 New North Rd, Mt Albert
Mt Albert Market
Twice a week in the warmer months, the Mount Albert Market takes over the Sprout cafe car park.
On Friday evenings there are long, wooden trestle tables for communal dining, centred inside a circle of ever-changing food trucks. Temaki Truck, Pork ‘N’ Beans and Napoli Central are all regular attendees, but check the Mount Albert Market Facebook page for the weekly offerings. On Saturday mornings, a little farmers’ market appears and is always packed with locally-grown produce from George’s Garden. Highly recommended, too, are the freshly-made dips, olives and breads at the Turkish deli stall, owned by Tahsin Ozturk. Oh, and try the massive pork and apple cider pies made by Scratch Bakers.
847 Great North Rd, Friday 5–9pm, Saturday 9am–1pm
For after work drinks
This trendy little bar and eatery features Asian fusion and Taiwanese street food. Sit down and order a little at a time – waiters will bring food as it’s ready. Cocktails are as bright as you could hope for with inventive twists – a little coriander here, blood orange juice there. Food is a selection of filled bao (steam buns) and a range of sides; the pork spare ribs, and fries with wasabi mayo are particularly good. If it’s busy inside – and it can be on a Friday or Saturday night – just throw on one of the restaurant’s colourful kimonos and sit outside. 4A Owairaka Rd, Mt Albert
Chinese Dumpling King
The service at Chinese Dumpling King is often hilariously brisk. Luckily, three bags of house-made frozen dumplings are $15 to take away; we recommend beef and carrot or the wontons with pork and prawn. Look out for the old-school, glossy photo of the owner Chura Jhao with Helen Clark next to the till when you pay. Lim Supermarket Centre, 949 Great North Rd
Xi’an Food Bar
A dish of Xi’an style steamed noodles with sauce is a steal here at $6.50, as is a Chinese braised pork burger at $4.50. The first dish, comprised of cold noodles in a chilli-laden dressing with cucumber and gluten shreds is sure to unblock a stuffy nose. The second is a great hangover cure – braised sweet and spicy meat in a Xi’an style pita bread; so wrong, it’s right.
11/945 New North Rd, Mt Albert
Typically a daytime affair, Parkside Cafe is open for dinner on Thursday to Saturday evenings. It swaps its conventional cafe menu of eggs bene and pancakes, for traditional Vietnamese food, including steaming bowls of pho, shaking beef with oyster sauce, and bun cha (marinated pork and glass noodle salad).
775 New North Rd, Mt Albert