Take Your Tastebuds To Vietnam: The Best Spots For Vietnamese In Auckland
We’ve combed through the city’s bustling food scene to bring you a handpicked selection of the absolute best Vietnamese eats that won’t disappoint.
Full of fresh, zingy flavours and deeply satisfying tasty dishes, Vietnamese food really hits the spot.
With a perfect dish for every season, there’s never a bad time for Vietnamese cuisine. Fresh summer rolls on a hot sunny day, crispy banh mi loaded with juicy hot pork on a brisk autumn afternoon, or a steaming hot bowl of pho on a chilly winter evening. Whatever the weather or dish, you’re never left hungry or dissatisfied.
We’ve combed through the city’s bustling food scene to bring you a handpicked selection of the absolute best Vietnamese eats that won’t disappoint. Whether you’re a pho-fanatic or a banh mi devotee, you’re in for a real treat!
Words by: Nicola Amy Hinman
Photos by: Jerome Warburton and Anna Briggs
Best Spot for a Weekday Lunch Fix
When you’re in need of a quick lunch that's equal parts tasty, nourishing and satisfying, Vietnamese cuisine is an obvious choice. Whether you need a banh mi to eat on the run, a heartier meal like Bun Cha, or a light lunch of fresh summer rolls, there’s always the right option to suit your mood.
With five locations around the inner city and lunch-friendly hours, Hello Mister is well set to nail your lunch cravings. Serving up all the classics alongside seriously good Vietnamese iced coffee, they’ll fix you up with a midday pick-me-up that’ll leave you buzzing. Other great city spots include Top Rolls and TEM on Elliot St for some first-rate banh mi. Nam Nam down in Commercial Bay is excellent for tasty fresh rice paper rolls, and for an authentic bowl of beef or chicken pho, pop into Hanoi Eatery on Queen St.
Thankfully a quick and tasty lunch is not limited just to central city workers, the suburbs have some terrific Vietnamese spots too. Nam Nam has a Takapuna branch for those Vietnamese lovers on the shore, and Viki Vietnamese in Glenfield has some super tasty hot dishes on their lunch menu. In the south, you’ve got Mr T’s Eatery serving up delicious versions of all the classics alongside glorious French pastries for the sweet tooth who likes a little dessert after lunch.
The Banh Mi Boy food trailer in Mangere dishes out perhaps the best classic rolls in all of Auckland. In fact, they usually sell out long before closing time. West Auckland is also blessed with two spots for super tasty banh mi, with both Banh Mi Delight and Rolls of Vietnam delivering top-notch goods. Lastly, for the east siders, Zeke in Botany does a mean banh mi and Vietnamese iced coffee lunch deal.
Best Spot for a Cute Date Night
For those who enjoy their Vietnamese with a touch of elegance and a fabulous cocktail in hand, Cafe Hanoi is our top pick for date night. Effortlessly blending the vibrancy of Vietnamese street food culture with a touch of modern sophistication, Cafe Hanoi is the place to go if you’re looking to impress your date with an unforgettable dining experience.
In the Ponsonby neighbourhood, you’ll find Mekong Baby - a vibrant Asian-fusion dining experience with a big personality and a predominantly Vietnamese-influenced menu. It’s a great spot for a more casual date night that’s big on vibes and fantastic cocktails. We’re also big fans of Sen Kitchen in Mt Eden for an authentic yet elegant, classic Vietnamese menu in a charming and intimate setting.
Devonport is home to an enchanting little eatery named Cafe Hung Viet. The cosy atmosphere, soft lighting and rustic decor make it just the right place for a cute date night. Specialising in northern-style cuisine from Hanoi, the menu is authentically Vietnamese and absolutely delicious in every way.
You’ll find another wonderful date night destination over in East Auckland. Zeke in Botany imbues a modern and sophisticated mood but with a pop of colour and a touch of fun. A menu that’s chock full of Vietnamese classics with a southern Saigon-style twist, alongside fun and flirty cocktails, makes Zeke a very cute date spot indeed.
Where to Find the Tastiest Bun
AKA Vermicelli Noodle Bowl
For those new to the bun scene, get ready to dive headfirst into a super satisfying bowl of rice noodles, fresh herbs and veggies, topped off with tender grilled meats and a good dose of nuoc cham (sweet and salty, tangy dipping sauce).
Our top pick for tasty bun would have to be Mr T’s Eatery with their Bun Cha Gio. Topped with grilled prawns, crispy spring rolls and a nice little punch of pickled daikon, this bun makes for a dream lunch situation. Add to this some freshly baked French pastries in an adorably quaint setting, and you’ve got yourself quite the stellar foodie experience.
Sen Kitchen is another lovely dining spot with particularly tasty (and nicely spicy) lemongrass chicken or beef bun style salad bowls on the menu. And for bun with an abundance of choice, Hello Mister seals the deal with ten different options of meat, seafood and crispy spring rolls.
Where to Find the Ultimate Banh Mi
Banh Mi Boy; TEM; Mr T's and Mrs 3 Banh Mi
210 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga, Auckland
The overwhelming consensus is that Banh Mi Boy carves it up with the best banh mi in all of Auckland. Thursday through Sunday, the tiny caravan in Mangere churns out traditional banh mi loaded with juicy fillings to savvy foodies who know where to find the best goods. Be warned: they usually sell out long before closing hours, so be prepared to get in line early or you'll miss out. Don’t be fooled by its modest digs - Banh Mi Boy is the real deal.
We’re also big fans of the banh mi from TEM, made with soft organic bread rolls and succulent grass fed meats. Mr T’s also make the list with their crispy rolls baked fresh in house, slavered in homemade pate and stuffed full of juicy pork with a nice little kick from their well-loved pickled daikon. Lastly, for the cheapest, tastiest banh mi in central Auckland, with a huge range of choices, head to Mrs 3 Banh Mi in Newmarket
Where to Find the Best Pho in Town
Viki Vietnamese; Mr T’s Eatery; Nam Nam & Mug ’n’ Bowl
The beauty of pho lies in its simplicity. Rich flavorful broth, silky rice noodles, tender beef and fragrant herbs make an irresistible and perfectly balanced combination. Could there possibly be another dish so uniquely satisfying to the soul? The ritual of customising one’s pho also adds to its charm, and first time tasters inevitably become lifelong fans.
Viki Vietnamese and Mr T’s Eatery make our top picks for Auckland’s most exceptional pho, largely due to their use of the finest top-quality beef. You’ll find only prime Wagyu beef in bowls of pho at Mr T’s, while Viki Vietnamese source their succulent, tender, melt-in-your-mouth Ruapehu Angus from Awhi Farms. Both places serve a northern-style broth with a satisfying savoury flavour.
If it’s the sweeter, richer, southern Saigon style pho you’re searching for, then Mug ’n’ Bowl in Three Kings is going to be your go-to. This cute little joint grows their own Vietnamese herbs for ultimate freshness, so the flavour is hard to beat. Lastly, for vegan pho enthusiasts out there, hit up Nam Nam in Takapuna or Commercial Bay for a bowl of outstanding vegan tofu and mushroom pho with a lovely fragrant broth.
The Queen Of The Rice Paper Rolls
Sen Kitchen; Viki Vietnamese; Le Vietnamese Kitchen & Cafe Hanoi
Enjoyed as an appetiser or devoured as the main event, rice paper rolls are that uniquely satisfying food creation that you just can’t pass up. Auckland has no shortage of spots for a summer roll fix, and these are a few of our favourites.
The artful balance of flavours and textures makes Sen Kitchen’s fresh summer rolls a real taste sensation. Colourful and beautifully presented rolls, served with housemade dipping sauces, are a must try appetiser at Sen. Meanwhile, over on the shore, Viki Vietnamese are serving up equally vibrant and enticing fresh rice paper rolls with a little sweet and juicy pineapple addition.
There are also a few spots serving up some unique flavour pairings that you won’t be able to resist getting your hands on. The cured salmon and pickled fennel summer rolls at Le Vietnamese Kitchen are exquisite, as are their pickled veg with crispy eggplant rolls. Cafe Hanoi’s tofu with pineapple roll is also worthy of a try.
Where to find The Best Vietnamese Pancake
Nem Vietnamese; Sen Kitchen; Cafe Hung Viet & Cafe Hanoi
If you’ve never tried crispy, savoury Banh Xeo (translation: ‘sizzling pancake’), boy are you missing out! Typically made from a rice flour batter with turmeric and coconut milk and filled with pork, prawns and bean sprouts, this quintessential street food is as delicious as it is unique.
For a classic southern style banh xeo, hit up the adorable Nem Vietnamese in Parnell. The twinkling fairy lights and warm, attentive service make Nem a cosy spot for solo dining, and their pancake is top notch too. Sen Kitchen in Mt Eden and Cafe Hung Viet in Devonport are also fabulous spots to try your first Saigon-style banh xeo. Slightly less authentic, but arguably at least every bit as delicious, Cafe Hanoi serves up a duck version of the savoury filled pancake, as well as a tofu option for the vegetarian folk.
Where to Find Excellent Vietnamese Coffee
Cafe Hanoi; Viki Vietnamese; Mug’n’Bowl; Nam Nam & Hello Mister
For a uniquely Vietnamese caffeine experience, head to Cafe Hanoi or Viki Vietnamese for a velvety cup of rich egg coffee. Yes, you read that right. Egg coffee. The silky, sweet, oh-so-decadent concoction will have you questioning everything you knew about coffee and coming back for round two. This unconventional pairing may just become your favourite new way to caffeinate, so don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
Neighbourhood café, Mug’n’Bowl, has mastered the traditional Vietnamese style iced coffee. Very strong with a nice sugary hit from the essential ingredient: sweetened condensed milk. Nam Nam is also well known for their first-rate classic Vietnamese iced coffee. Whereas Hello Mister has taken it up a notch with their deliciously refreshing coconut iced coffee - an excellent addition to any workday lunch.
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