I had a bit of an odd time in Auckland. I would swing from good to average to boring places. However, I'm glad I made the effort to try a few various places.
There is great yakatori at both Tanuki's and Ken's and I recommend both these places. In the coming days, I'll write a review of Ken's. Conversely with a plethora of "sushi" places and japanese dining options I assumed that a the Sushi Train in Viaduct would be OK. Boy, was I wrong. Lifeless sushi but at least the Kirin Lager was cold!
Sal's NY Pizza was disappointing. I really was expecting an ethereal pizza experience. I suppose it is hard for a place to live up to such hype, especially when you are a Melbourne pizza veteran. Crust was good and crisp but the meatball had a very shallow flavour and the vegetarian was overpowered by the capsicum. Not to mention no beer because there was no duty manager; unforgivable.
Dizengoff in Ponsenby. Boring! Boring! Boring! This is supposed to be the cafe. I think Melbourne has spoilt me; cibi, de Clieu, seven seeds blow this place out of the water. Coffee was less than passable for Melbourne's mid-range. It's sister cafe Sheinkin was better with coffee, worse on breakfast. The hipster level was low too as I was only able to spot one pair of tortoiseshell glasses!! Waitresses were cute, though. Federal & Wolfe (on the corners of the respective street) was a much better cafe option; nice environment, friendly staff, better food options. I also drank coffee at Ben (on Fort street), was pretty good with strong cocoa flavours.
Murder Burger; yes I'd murder someone to get one. It's a burger joint so what else but rock (ZZ Top) on the stereo. Up there with Tokyo's Golden Brown for my number one burger spot. My only complaint was the bun was a little dry. Bargain price of 10.90NZD; so about $8.50AUD.
Clooney was an excellent meal to finish on in Auckland and definitely in my top 5. I'll write a full review soon. Class act from start to finish.