Winter and salad might not be the perfect match for everyone, but let’s just say you spent the last two weeks eating pasta and pizza nearly every day (for research, kay guys) and now you need to detox. Or you actually just really like salad. Even if you’re not in the shamed gluttony camp or a member of the Salad Enthusiasts, I have a secret for you:
You DO win friends with salad!
Or at the very least, you’ll keep the friends you do have if you invite them to tuck into one of the below goodies with you. These salad selections aren’t your stock standard Caesars or Greeks. They have a bit of imagination, play with seasonal ingredients and all the places I’ve listed have a good sense of ambiance while you’re tucking into your healthy greens. So enjoy, veggie heads.
Corner Ponsonby Road and Summer Street, Ponsonby (open: 7am – 4pm)
385 New North Road, Kingsland (open: Mon – Fri 8am -2pm, Sat – Sun 8am – 3pm)
15 Custom St East, Britomart – takeaway only, limited selection – (open: Mon – Fri 6:30am- 6:30pm, Sat- Sun 9am – 5pm)
Winter Bird Bowl – a tasting bowl of the best seasonal produce and flavours. ($19.50)
- mixed grain pilaf with celeriac and leeks
- Maori potato and rocket salad with herbed red wine vinaigrette
- pumpkin tamal with a sesame-tomatillo sauce and cavalo nero
- mixed sprout slaw with preserved lemons
- half avocado, beetroot kraut, pumpkin seeds and tahini dressing.
Man, I’m glad I don’t live on Summer Street anymore. That part of Ponsonby used to be a bit quiet, but the street is chock full of cars and parking is as sparse as the rest of the suburb now, thanks mostly to Little Bird. First opening in Kingsland and quickly realising their raw vegan menu was a hipster’s paradise, they opened their second shop in Ponsonby. Honestly though, it’s just really, really good food. And you don’t feel like you need to be rolled out when you’re done eating. Also try the sprouted bread which is glorious even if the name suggests otherwise.
Open: Mon – Fri (7am – 4pm), Sat- Sun (8am – 4pm)
13 St Mary’s Road
Power Salad – ($20.00)
- Baby kale/ rocket, tomato, mushroom, avocado and halloumi, topped with a poached egg
St Mary’s Bay has finally got it’s own cafe, and it’s so good. From the team who brought you Benediction, Jaffa and Shore Rd Cafe, their newest edition has taken over the old fire station where Soto used to be. The service is so friendly, and if you’re feeling a bit naughty their daily risottos are also delicious.
Open: 7 days, morning and noon. 5 nights Tuesday – Saturday. Weekdays from 7am, weekends from 8am.
Shed 5, City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley Street
Heirloom Tomato Salad – ($19.00)
- Heirloom tomatos, casaro burrata, Israeli couscous, saffron and rose vinaigrette
Odette’s is such a fun place to dine. I love the interior fit out but sitting in the garden-y area is the best, and you don’t even realise you’re kind of dining in the carpark. They’re open brunch, lunch, dinner – and this salad is really great value if you consider the burrata on it’s own will cost you over $12 at the supermarket. The combination of flavours is so unusual and yummy. I could eat this every day.
Open: Mon – Sun (11:30am – late)
248 Jervois Road, Herne Bay
Blackened Tuna Nicoise Salad – ($29.90)
- With new potatoes, olives, green beans, red onion, vine tomatos, soft boiled egg and salsa verde
This dish took us totally by surprise. We reserved a table to watch the rugby awhile back, and half heartedly ordered a few mains as we were hungry. Imagine our surprise when this came out – a generous portion of perfectly cooked tuna, and all the accompaniments done well. It is a fantastic salad, and goes to show – pub food doesn’t always have to be brown and deep fried.
Ponsonby – 234 Ponsonby Road, Open: Mon – Sun (11am – 9pm)
Takapuna – Fortieth & Hurstmere, 40 Hurstmere Road, Open: Mon – Sun (7am – late)
Box of Bird Commerce St – 12 Commerce St, Open: Mon – Fri (7:30am – 7pm)
Box of Bird Elliott St – 21- 25 Elliott St, Open: Mon – Fri (7:30am – 7pm)
Variety of Salad selections with Pulled Chicken – Small ($5), Medium ($9), Large ($13) & Chicken: Little ($3), Lots ($4), Load ($5)
- Salad options vary. Selections can sometimes include:
- Crunchy Thai Raw Veg Salad with peanut dressing
- Japanese slaw with Ponzu Dressing
- Curried kumara salad with almonds, feta and orange dressing
- Middle eastern spiced chickpeas and chopped salad with lemon vinaigrette
- Creamy seed slaw with toasted seeds, celery, sultanas and mint
Bird on a Wire Ponsonby is my go to takeaway for lunch, although they do have limited seating and good music playing inside as well. The new location in Takapuna is a different story, large and licensed with table service and a larger selection of meals. BoW seem to just be getting better, and the salads change so often that I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. The customer service is also fantastic – and if you sign up for their loyalty program you will get $5 off your next meal.
Open: Mon – Sun, Lunch (Noon – 3pm), Dinner (5:30pm – 11:00pm)
104D Customs St West, CBD
The TOSS – ($15)
- Tofu and Seaweed ‘wakame” salad, served with daikon, lettuce and sesame dressing
This is not a photo of the salad, because it was impossible for me to source the correct photo, sorry salad heads. So imagine this: pieces of firm tofu with jelly miso on top, fried tofu steaming hot, a bed of crispy strands of daikon, greens and crunchy seaweed and a delicious if slightly too small bowl of sesame dressing. It’s a salad for two and for $15, is really good value. Pair it will the above, which is BOX OF DAZZLE – Sashimi of the Day, and you’ve got yourself a healthy and interesting meal.
Open: Mon – Sun (8am – late)
Shed 1, City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley Street
Redergize Bowl w/Salmon – ($19.50)
- Quinoa, red chard, beetroot, carrot, currants, flax seeds, almonds, miso dressing and salmon
The Food Truck is really great for a fast lunch, or a healthy dinner and they also do takeaway. Focusing on healthy alternatives to the fatty, greasy, typical fast food fare, they still offer hotdogs, tacos, burgers and chips – but all with a healthy spin. Complimentary sparkling water and prompt service nail this as a top pick.
Open: Mon – Sun (Noon – late)
146 Ponsonby Road
Buddha’s Delight – ($14)
- Smoked tofu and herb salad with sesame and black vinegar dressing
I didn’t realise how much I loved tofu until I tried this dish for the first time. Especially smoked tofu. A combination of the smokey flavour, the sauce and the crunch of the veggies makes it one of my favourite all time BB dishes. And that’s kinda saying a lot because every dish is mouthwateringly good. I don’t know what I did before Blue Breeze. For serious.
Open: Mon – Fri (7:30am – 4:30pm) Sat – Sun (8:30am – 2:30pm)
551 Karangahape Road
Chicken Salad – ($7.50)
- Chicken salad with hummus and pita bread
I discovered this golden nugget when invited out to lunch with work friends a couple years ago, and we keep coming back. There are a few reasons for this. It’s cheap, like crazy cheap. The service is excellent, over the top friendly but awesome. And it’s good for you. This is probably the most basic salad on the list (a mix of diced salads, cabbage and carrot with fresh off the grill chicken, tasty hummus and warm pita bread) but for the price and service, you aren’t going to get better than this in the city.
Open: Mon – Sun (11:30am – 10pm)
Ponsonby – 240 Ponsonby Road
Takapuna – 20 Anzac Street
Classic Salad with Lamb – ($15.60)
- Tabbouleh, lettuce, red cabbage, carrot, hummus, mung beans, tomato relish and a minted yogurt & cucumber sauce with lamb.
Fatima’s nails it with salads. They have plenty to choose from, but I stick with my tried and true Classic because it is so so yum. It’s packed full of lots of fun healthy bits, and the lamb is crispy, tender and there is always a generous serving of it. Eat at one of the small tables inside (and maybe grab some koftas because we can’t all be perfect, all of the time, can we.)
Photos courtesy of the author, or the businesses listed above.