Bar Magda

Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Monday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

TuesdayClosed.

Wednesday5:00 pm – 12:00 am.

Thursday5:00 pm – 12:00 am.

Friday5:00 pm – 1:30 am.

Saturday5:00 pm – 1:30 am.

Sunday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

25b Cross Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

021 127 9377

Tucked away on Karangahape Road is Bar Magda. Somewhat inconspicuous, it’s polished, vibrant, and literally underground, helping Auckland’s much-wanted big-city international vibe. As its name suggests, Bar Magda has an excellent drinks menu: you’ll find everything from colourful cocktails (a specialty) to a carefully curated wine list, championing organic and low-intervention winemakers. Food is not forgotten, though: the menu features a wide range of snacks, small plates, and larger dishes for sharing. Think modern Filipino meets fresh New Zealand produce, and you’ll land somewhere near the mark.

Amongst the exposed brick and wooden seating, there are three distinct spaces to relax: a bar; an open kitchen with a more intimate dining area; and then a mixed space, offering both bar leaners and tables. Wherever you sit (or stand), you are guaranteed friendly, knowledgeable service and an enjoyable experience where maybe (hopefully) you’ll try something new.

Bar Magda is the product of a couple of friends (Matt and Carlo) who were dreaming about a post-pandemic life back in 2020. With the help of some incredible mates, from helping to build Magda, making art, lending equipment and assisting Matt and Carlo in finalising the lighting and interior colour schemes, fast forward six months to June 2021 when Bar Magda opened its doors (for a short two months before Auckland plunged back into lockdown). Since then, Bar Magda has had some great successes. From being named one of Metro’s Top 50 restaurants and having one of the country’s Top 3 drinks lists (Cuisine), it’s no wonder there is optimism for the future.

The food menu changes seasonally based on a few key staples. Carlo’s parmesan custard (his take on a Filipino cheese dip) and the lamb ribs with green sambal have been on the menu since day dot, with the lamb ribs recently being recognised as one of Auckland’s ‘Top 100 iconic eats’. The best dishes are those where Carlo works his magic with a Filipino sauce, matching it to locally sourced produce and meat (thanks to Grey Lynn Butchers). While the drinks are designed to enhance the food offerings, they’re a reason to visit in their own right. It’s hard to go past the seasonal sours (try flavours like pistachio and peach or cherry and tarragon) although the most popular cocktail is the Magdarita, inspired by local elderflowers to create an elderflower, agave and mezcal margarita.

Offering a delicious night out, different to what you would typically experience in Auckland, Matt and Carlo’s goal of establishing Magda as a quality go-to option for people dining out is definitely on track.  

Words by Nicole Mudgway & Photography by Jerome Warburton

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Location

25b Cross Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

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