Gemmayze Street

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Tuesday6:00 – 9:30 pm.

Wednesday6:00 – 9:30 pm.

Thursday6:00 – 9:30 pm.

Friday5:30 – 10:00 pm.

Saturday5:30 – 10:00 pm.


Shop 16, St Kevin's Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road, Poynton Terrace, Auckland CBD, Auckland

Something magical happens at St Kevin’s Arcade in Auckland at night. The space down the end, framed by a huge bay window, transforms from Bestie Café into Gemmayze Street, the Lebanese-inspired restaurant owned and operated by chef Samir Allen. The tables are the same, but otherwise, the vibe couldn’t be more different from the café.

Gemmayze Street, which first opened in 2016, was one of the first of a new generation of owner-operated restaurants on and around Karangahape Road, that was fast becoming the centre of Auckland’s culinary scene. 

Samir’s family have lived in New Zealand for over 130 years, and kept their culture alive through the food they ate at family gatherings. Gemmayze Street was Samir’s way of bringing Lebanese food to a broader audience, giving it the same respect as more mainstream restaurant cuisines, like French or Italian. 

The best way to enjoy an evening at Gemmayze Street is the Jeeb. Jeeb means “to bring” in Arabic, and it gives control over your meal to the restaurant’s team, so you can enjoy and share their warm service and delicious food. Take their instruction on the drinks, too. They may not have a Marlborough Sauvignon, but Lebanese wine tastes better with the food, plain and simple.

The menu takes Lebanese flavour combinations and techniques and reflects them through Samir’s unique food style and Aotearoa’s local and seasonal produce. The hummus will have you wondering what it was that you’ve been eating from those plastic containers at the supermarket all those years.

Don’t head here looking for something you’re familiar with, go to be taken somewhere completely new. 

Words by Reilly Hodson & Photography by Anna Briggs

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Shop 16, St Kevin's Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road, Poynton Terrace, Auckland CBD, Auckland

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