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Good Places To Eat

Want to find the healthiest restaurants and cafes to dine out at? We give the hot spots a taste test to find good places to eat from Auckland to Los Angeles.

RABBIT CAFE, EDEN TERRACE

Claire Chitham

For many years in my early magazine career, I used to have Friday breakfast once a fortnight at an Auckland cafe that almost always had street parking available outside and served up a delicious eggs bene.

Fast forward a decade and I'm standing outside Rabbit Cafe - the vegetarian eatery that's moved into the same famous premises on St Benedicts Street. Angel Food has kindly offered to take me to lunch to try out their new plant-powered menu. When I walk in, the place is transformed. Rabbit is a patchwork of colour and cosiness, paying homage to nature with hand-painted leaves on the tables.

Pull Up The Quilt: Rabbit Cafe's interior helps cocoon you away from the worries of the world.

 

From the moment you enter off the windy St Benedict's Street, it feels like you've walked into a homely haven - one fuelled by a very good-looking cabinet of vegan baking (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free) and salads and soups to go. The other really cool thing about Rabbit? They cater to those with very specific food tastes. In fact, you can D.I.Y a dish with anything from their menu. 

But today, we're all ears for the main event - their all-day breakfast or lunch menu.

V For Vege: There's a whole lot of plant power on the menu at Eden Terrace cafe, Rabbit.

While I'd normally dig the D.I.Y concept, I'm dining with a local vegan business owner, who has already worked her way around their menu. She recommends the creamy walnut mushrooms on The Midnight Baker's seeded gluten-free loaf with a zesty gremolata. I go with her vegan and gluten-free recommendation. And the dish? The definition of dreamy. The mushrooms give it a rich and earthy undertone while the walnuts provide texture and the gremolata, the mouth party. Alice, my lunch date, opts for the Tunisian spiced lentils (which you can also order D.I.Y) with roasted carrots and coconut yoghurt on toast. 

Big props to the clever couple who created Rabbit for also allowing diners to select from a wide range of uncomplicated, healthy options. Got children with allergies? This Eden Terrace cafe will cater to their specific needs. You can choose from yoghurt, coconut yoghurt and cow's milk feta, as well as homemade peanut and cashew butter.

Good For... vegans, vegetarians and people who are gluten-free or dairy-free

Good For... doing business with a healthy bite 

Good For... a good-for-you treat

Yours In Health and Happiness, KB xx

Discover Rabbit Cafe at 30 St Benedict's Street, Eden Terrace, Newton

 

 

 

 

MAJOR SPROUT, AKL CBD

Claire Chitham

 

We enjoyed an awesome night at Auckland eatery Major Sprout with Australian chef and clean living expert Luke Hines. We love his book Eat Clean With Luke Hines because it shows you how to use lots of lovely ingredients to create tasty food that's really good for you. It's all gluten-free, dairy free and refined sugar-free and Luke proves that eating this healthy should be not only nutritious but also really, really delicious.

We were stoked to enjoy a three-course meal at Major Sprout - a chic, botanical-filled cafe in Graham Street in the Auckland CBD. Their smoothies (did someone say activated charcoal-meets-blueberries and the as-ridiculously-good-as-its-name-sounds Peanut Buttercup, hell yeah!) were absolutely next level. In fact, their smoothie action is so smooth that Major Sprout is now a regular fuel spot for the GFU crew.

Luke's main course of grilled ginger trout with kale salad was fresh-as, followed by an out-of-this-world, too-good-to-be-true blackforest cake topped with coconut cream. The healthy dishes left us feeling clean and energised afterwards and are the perfect example of why eating food that's really good for you can also taste pretty darn incredible too. We were also stoked to be joined by our first-ever Good For You winners and to listen to the inspirational words of both Luke and Wellington-based functional nutritionist and "health detective" Shelley Gawith, who has an amazing story to tell about her road from ill health to optimal wellness. 

We've also been back to Major Sprout numerous times since that first, heady date. We love the fact it's a little nook of goodness, tucked away on Graham Street, in an unassuming corner of the city. 

Good for... Smoothie lovers (try their peanut butter one - it's basically a meal!)

Good for... Feeling fresh and clean air. The whole place is full of indoor plants that help purify the space, making it a perfect oasis from the city's hustle and bustle. 

Good for... Eating with the seasons. The chefs here are inspired by nature and serve up dishes that are locally grown.

Yours in Health and Happiness, CC and KB x

Looking for more awesome clean living tips on cooking, training mindfulness and easy 'n' quick recipes? Go no further than the clever, charming yet perfectly practical Luke Hines.

For Shelley's amazing transformation and her inspirational road to recovery, check out her story

Discover Major Sprout at 21 Graham Street, Auckland CBD.

 

ORPHANS KITCHEN, PONSONBY

Claire Chitham

I don't travel into town much these days but recently I went on a dining expedition with great expectations. You see, Orphans Kitchen has been the Ponsonby Rd restaurant that's been popping off with praise ever since it opened its doors in mid-2013. The brainchild of two good mates - chef Tom Hishon and sommelier Josh Helm, who works front of house - Orphans has become known as Auckland's ultimate paddock-to-plate experience. It's a place where regulars rave about the "things Tom does" with more unusual cuts of meat such wild boar, ox cheek and tuna belly.

Buzzed Up: Owner and head chef Tom Hishon keeps bee hives on the roof to create honey for the restaurant and more bees round his local. Photo credit: Lottie Hedley

Buzzed Up: Owner and head chef Tom Hishon keeps bee hives on the roof to create honey for the restaurant and more bees round his local. Photo credit: Lottie Hedley

The reason I was so keen to try Orphans, however, was because of the pair's passion for bringing sustainable, seasonal and local foods to Auckland's table. In fact, Tom's so keen to cut food miles and source sustainably that the Ponsonby restaurant even has its own beehives on the roof. I also love the fact that Tom and Josh have created an establishment that while uber-hip also feels welcoming, like your neighbourhood local.

This vibe pays homage to the Christmas dinners the pair used to host for their friends with no family when they were both living in London. In fact, it was during one of those dinners that they came up with the idea to open Orphans Kitchen.

Needless to say, my mouth was watering as soon as walked through the doors of this comforting, healthy hot spot and my senses weren't at all disappointed. We enjoyed a fish entree and lamb main. But in true Orphans style it was the veges that stole the show, with a simple side dish of broccoli that was both so good and really good for you. 

Plating Perfection: Tom lets the honeycomb straight from the hive steal the show.  Photo credit: Lottie Hedley

Plating Perfection: Tom lets the honeycomb straight from the hive steal the show. 
Photo credit: Lottie Hedley

I also love the fact that the team are masters in serving up real New Zealand food in clever and unique ways. When I close my eyes, I can still taste the fresh, clean finish my favourite dish -  a kahawai ceviche with avocado, radish, watermelon and dill - on my tongue. No wonder, this will be the first of many great dates with this Ponsonby Rd pearler.

Sustainably Sensational: Orphans kahawai ceviche is a light, delicate, healthy mouth party. Photo credit: Kylie Bailey

Sustainably Sensational: Orphans kahawai ceviche is a light, delicate, healthy mouth party. Photo credit: Kylie Bailey

Open for brunch from Monday to Friday from 7.30am and dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 4.30pm, bookings can be made online at Orphans Kitchen 

(PS. Don't miss their sweet-as open test kitchen deal - the first Tuesday of every month pay just $60 for 4 courses).

Good For... Ethical eats

Good For... Indulging in fine wines

Good For... Live music on a Friday arvo.

Yours In Health and Happiness, KB

Discover Orphans Kitchen at 118 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby.

 

BIG SUR, GREY LYNN

Claire Chitham

good_for_you_big_sur.jpg

In amongst the huddle of the cute West Lynn shops is a café that’s become a favourite hang of mine of late. Named after the Jack Kerouac novel (and thus its Californian coastline namesake) Big Sur was opened at the beginning of this year and has quietly been growing a loyal following.
 
Offering a vegetarian menu that’s more colourful and diverse than a non-veggie might assume, I still haven’t made it through everything on the list here. My brekky/brunch desires are taken care of with delish granola, seeded toasts, free-range eggs options (the Portobello Bene is great) and the always enticing Cacao Crepes. However, I always have a hard time deciding between that and their lunches - like Vietnamese Coconut Crepes,  Kimchi Bowl,  the vege ‘meatballs’ with courgette noodles or the yellow split pea ‘Upma’ with poached egg.  Big Sur in Grey Lynn also comes up trumps for organic options with awesome organic juices. I also love their locally made almond milk in my flat white. 

Like the drinks, the vibe is just as chill. Cali cool. There’s a beautiful big bookcase stocked with secondhand books (many from the personal shelves of Elliot, the tall, humble owner who’s probably serving you from behind his shy smile at the counter) and you're welcome to take one to read or borrow while you’re there. 

There’s wifi available, excellent taste in Spotify playlists and a gorgeous courtyard out the back with some umbrella coverage for killer sunny days. It's perfect for the ‘peace and quiet’ vibe - whether you want to get some work done or just hang in the sun, read a book and watch the Grey Lynn world wander by. 

Good For... vegetarians

Good For... book-lovers

Good For... sitting in the sunshine

- Yours In Health and Happiness, CC

Discover Big Sur at 423 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn