Reviews for Soul Bar & Bistro
by Epicurious Nomad
3 days ago
Fabulous location on Auckland's Viaduct waterfront. There are lots of dining options around there...Soul bar advertises as a specialty seafood restaurant. This is why I have dined there in the past. It was about 7 years ago - now but I thought I should leave a review. The place is big. The wine list solid. Staff amicable. Food good. Not great but good. Very fresh - as to be expected. The fact that this restaurant has been around for so many years is a testament to their business.
7 days ago
Soul Bar and Bistro is the kind of place where you dine to impress, so I picked this Viaduct institution to treat Mum for Mother's Day this year. A sumptuous three-course lunch with prime, sweeping views of Auckland's stunning waterfront? Soul had me Soul'd!
We chose to dine from the specially created set menu - a fixed starter and dessert, a choice between two mains, tea/coffee, as well as a glass of chilled Prosseco for the special lady. The food was good, but didn't knock my socks off. Mother's pan-fried John Dory (with saffron bouillabaisse, white beans and blistered tomatoes) was a bit of a let-down, since the fish was dry and perhaps overcooked. My poussin main (with cauliflower cheese, smoky pancetta and truffle jus) was tasty, but like the starter (tuna tartare on squid ink toast), it didn't leave me 'wow'd'.
However, it's not entirely a sad story! The shining star of the savouries was the dukkah-spiced crushed baby potatoes, while the much anticipated coconut crème brûlée (with pineapple confit, banana marshmallow and passion fruit sorbet) likewise delivered, shatteringly crisp sugar crust and all!
Service was more quick and efficient than it was personable, but totally understandable given that staff were rushed off their feet. Even at 2.30pm, the place was pretty packed so if you're thinking of taking Mum here next year, bookings are essential. As an aside, I'm also not sure it was the standard floor plan configuration, but the tables were set fairly close together and the space felt somewhat cramped.
Nothing really went wrong with our dining experience, but due to high expectations on my part and probably the Mother's Day rush, I have to say I was a little disappointed. That said, we did have a good time! Hmm, I'll have to give Soul another go on a non-Mother's Day.
by Sean Appleby
8 days ago
They stay consistently amazing, The food never fails to impress, the service is on point and the wine list is impressive. In 10 years I've never had anything other than great experiences here.
by Dl Pwat
9 days ago
Came here for lunch on a Saturday. The atmosphere and feel of the place was good, really liked the decor! The service was excellent - he really went above and beyond, the waiter was always checking to see how we were going and always refilling our refreshments. The food itself was good, but only just about, the portion size was also a bit small.
one month ago
They're getting a four, just. I went here on Saturday night and had a really good time. I really like the classic décor of this restaurant. This place is large and there are several different areas to it. The service here is pretty good. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. They were very attentive. The only problem with the service is that our sides were brought out about five minutes after our mains. The food here is yum! I had the tuna which was seared perfectly. It came with brussel sprouts, which I am usually completely opposed to eating, but I thought their bitterness would work well with the other components of the dish. I loved how some of the brussel sprout leaves had been baked/fried and were lovely and salty with a crunchy texture - absolutely brilliant. The effect was similar to kale which has been baked - salty, crunchy goodness. The dish worked really well as a whole. My dining companion ordered the chicken which was cooked perfectly. The sides were good once they finally made an appearance. For dessert we shared the deconstructed lemon meringue tart. I am not sure as to why chefs keep deconstructing things but it's really not necessary and doesn't make the dish look more appealing or stylish. Lemon meringue is my favorite dessert and when it's deconstructed it makes me sad. Lemon meringue needs to be treated with the respect it deserves and presented in it's original form. This one tasted delicious but there wasn't enough meringue. It also came with ice-cream which was not needed and actually took away from the beautiful lemon flavor. The lemon on it's own was good and tart. The dish was on the smaller side, a bigger portion would have been good :) I went to this restaurant about 3 years ago and was not impressed at all. They have definitely upped their game since. Some slight improvements need to be made here but I would recommend this to place to those looking to splurge out somewhere on the viaduct.
one month ago
Always a pleasure to dine at Soul. Pretty sure there isn't a better location in Auckland. Food, wine and service top notch.
Bluff Oysters are the best. Try the pork chop, perfect.
by Ameri Lim
one month ago
I have a romantic dinner with my boyfriend here which was the most enjoyable doing experience I ever have in a semi-formal restaurant. I was surprised that we were allowed to dine in for almost 3 hours without any disturbance. All the main dishes, cocktails, coffee and desserts that we ordered tasted exceptionally delicious and met our expectations. The waitress was very friendly and helpful as she suggested some good recommendations.
Overall, I would definitely recommend people to try out this restaurants for romantic dates or any special occasions.
by Johnson Mac
one month ago
This is the restaurant you will spend up to$200 per table for two. The atmosphere were pretty quite and private. Distance beween table are width enough to not hear the conversation of next table. About the food, I might not get a good choice, my Ravioli overcook that it did not taste right. Price were too much over. If you want a relaxing weekend, move to somewhere else.
2 months ago
A great place to meet friends after work. Soul bar had a great atmosphere, amazing, attentive staff and a great range of food that pairs well with the wine they offer. The crowd generally tend to be professional so it has a more upmarket feel then some of the surrounding places. Always love soul bar for wine dates with friends.
by Monique Ohlson
2 months ago
The perfect place to go with a friend or your partner for a nice lunch down on the viaduct. Enjoyed 5 hours with great staff and an equally amazing food menu. Very tasty, it just melts in your mouth making you want more.
by Renata S
3 months ago
What a let down... We had high hopes for this place. Lovely atmosphere, right on the water.. But the food was very disappointing..
I had the Caesar salad, which had barely any pancetta and giant croutons the size of golf balls. It was impossible to eat and lacked flavour. It was essentially a bowl of lettuce with a runny egg on top.. And my partner was also disappointed with his salmon on kale dish..
Very overpriced for the quality we received.. Not worth the money..
3 months ago
Had lunch at Soul Bar & Bistro this weekend and loved the beautiful, deliciously fresh food! My friend and I were seated in the outdoor dining area and the atmosphere was warm, happy & relaxed, being Auckland Anniversary Day. It was a lovely place to sit and enjoy the sun as well as the view of the gorgeous Auckland waterfront.
I started with a cocktail, Soul Summers Are Here to Stay - an exotic blend of hibiscus liqueur, Absolut Vanilla vodka, house-made strawberry crush, fresh pressed lime and burlesque bitters. It was pretty and garnished with a flower, one that my friend, a chef, informed me was edible. (It's not mentioned in the cocktail ingredient list but after some Googling, I think it is sweet violet.) My friend and I shared 4 dishes: citrus cured Ora King Salmon, Grilled Snapper, Pan Fried John Dory, and Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert.
All of these were presented beautifully, with my favourite being our entree, the citrus cured Ora King Salmon. From the colour of the salmon and the vegetables, you could tell it was incredibly fresh! The salmon was very tasty and succulent and I enjoyed it complemented with the vegetables (especially the beetroot). The fish we had, snapper and john dory, were cooked excellently too - my chef friend and I discussed how in pricier restaurants you often pay for the expertise and techniques used in cooking the food, and you could taste the expertise in our fresh, chewy, delicious fish mains! I especially loved the texture of my snapper and the slightly salty, crispy layer on top.
Our dessert, strawberry cheesecake, was pretty and was good but perhaps not one of the best desserts I've ever had. The cheesecake wasn't actually strawberry flavoured; to us it tasted more like vanilla, so we ate it with the strawberries, sorbet, and what seemed like a strawberry-flavoured jelly over the entire plate. The strawberry flavoured parts of the dessert were very sour to me and the cheesecake itself was very bland to me, so you couldn't have one without the other. Overall it was an enjoyable dessert but could be better, like if it was an actual creamy, sweet, fruity strawberry flavoured cheesecake.
I have to mention the service because we were given excellent service - but only by one staff member. Originally the two of us were seated at a table for 5 when there were no tables available. When seated, we were greeted and given our menus by a young man, who was very friendly and polite. When a table for 2 became available, we asked another female staff if we could switch, and she wasn't very gracious about it when she simply said, "I've already promised the table to another guy over there." Somehow a few minutes later, our original male waiter came back and politely told us we could switch tables.
All throughout our lunch he remained courteous, polite and pleasant and refilled our water regularly. We ordered our dessert separately from another waitress who acknowledged our request but wasn't very friendly or attentive (we had to go up to her after trying to get her attention several times while she was close to us). At the end of our lunch at Soul - about an hour and a half later - he actually asked the two of us where we were from. My friend is from Korea and I am from Hong Kong, so he said "Thank You" to us in our languages! The fact that he said "Thank You" to me in Cantonese rather than Mandarin, a common mistake by many people, AND the correct "Thank You" out of the two most common Cantonese "Thank You"s, gave me the impression that he was well cultured and educated.
So overall, while we had average service from the other two female waitresses, who acted rather cold and aloof, we thought the service from our male waiter was excellent. Thank you for making our lunch at Soul such a pleasant experience!
by L Rizz
5 months ago
For a friends 19th birthday, we surprised her with a group trip to her favourite restaurant, Soul. The staff were very accommodating to out bizarre request to have a table outside but not visible to people walking by outside. They poured us water, gave us menus and left us to plan the last remaining details of the soon to be memory. The rest of the diners were more serious than us but still the staff did not mind and were very welcoming as the birthday girl came in and we surprised her. First up, we order cocktails of course. I ordered the "Soul Summers Are Here To Stay" and wow. From working in a bar myself, I know cocktails can take a little longer than wine but the drinks were out to us pronto. The presentation of the drinks were very nice as well, with a little flower to decorate. Next up, lunch. I was struggling, usually I don't like seafood but I went for the "Salt and Pepper Squid" and boy was it amazing. Almost too spicy for myself but the delicate fusion of flavours was subtle yet powerful enough to overcome the heat of the saffron. Overall we had a very nice time, the atmosphere is so open and fresh. All the waitstaff were very nice and accommodating to our every need. Will definitely be returning.
5 months ago
The atmosphere at this bar is always good, great drinks and very friendly staff...
Food in the other hand is very average but looks great. It's all about looks not the taste.
I've ordered a chocolate dessert which was extremely tasteless but looked very pretty :D same goes with the rest of the desserts
5 months ago
Lunch time! Chicken wings for entrée! They were boneless hah, very good, but too salty.. Main course:Beef fillet & garden salad with avocado, hmmm, mediocre. The best thing about this restaurant is ^o^ the harbour view (I think ...)
by Shane Kearns
6 months ago
Dinner with the father in law, must say we had a fantastic night. Service was attentive bit not over Bering, entrees and mains perfectly seasoned, the hit was savanna tartar with black olives and capers. The black paste was off the hook. But the desserts wow. Best I've had in a while Yuzu tart and sorbet absolutely amazing, fresh and light. I suggest if you haven't already, get down there and eat.
by Eric Dickerson
6 months ago
Great food, citrus cured salmon and heirloom tomato was really good and fresh, prices were a bit steep but in line with Auckland fare, service was a bit slow but was quite busy, so understandable, overall good experience.
6 months ago
We fly from Melbourne to eat here. My favourite place to eat.. I'm originally from Auckland but have lived in Melbourne the last 10 years. I've eaten in lots of lovely restaurants during my business dining days but this has to be my favourite. In fact I love it so much that once a year we fly over from Melbourne and come and dine here. The service is excellent the food is exquisite and it's very reasonably priced. I enjoy the ambiance and each time we go back they have changed the menu which never disappoints. This year we will be taking a friend for her first time and I simply cannot wait. It's worth the trip.
by Manic Diner
9 months ago
Dined at the Soul Bar with a group of friends on a Saturday night. They have an amazing view which we took advantage of while waiting for our meals. The service was excellent. We had a waiter who was very efficient and attentive and he seemed super busy but he had a good command of what everyone needed - he didn't seem flustered at all with our demands. I'm the kind of person who always comes back for the service and I think that waiter is a hidden gem for Soul Bar. Foodwise, I heart my pork belly; nomnomnom it was so good! The standard here was impeccable and our entire table loved their dishes with the exception of one person's dessert; they couldn't handle the rich decadent flavours so I gladly obliged them by polishing it off.
9 months ago
Soul Bar & Bistro has one of the best views in the Viaduct seeing as it is located right on the waters’ edge overlooking the harbour and yachts. This is the second time I have dined here and it did not disappoint! Try and get a table out on the terrace for the best views.
We took advantage of the Auckland Restaurant Month menu and had trouble selecting the various options on offer. To start, I had the Atlantic scallop risotto, roast parsnip, marscarpone and truffle. The dish was flavoursome, had two large scallops and the creamy risotto had the perfect al dente texture. The braised wagyu beef short rib, pumpkin and verjuice puree, honey roast yams was absolutely melt-in-your mouth tender, and pulled apart gently when cut with the knife. To finish, was the lemon and yuzu tart, coconut meringue, yuzu caramel puree, passionfruit sorbet. This was a delectable end to the meal. Fresh, zingy and texturally interesting, I thoroughly enjoyed this last course.
The service was spot-on, the wait staff attentive with the drinks and had an upbeat and pleasant attitude. Once again, I am looking forward to watching the new MKR NZ as one of the main judges is the head chef from Soul. I look forward to dining here in the warmer months to take full advantage of the view and sunshine on the terrace. Would dine here again in a heart-beat!
by Georgie @ Georgieats
9 months ago
I was lucky enough to go to Soul Bar & Bistro last summer for a pre-Christmas work lunch. It was my first dining experience here and I was thorougly looking forward to it. There were about 15 of us in our group and when we arrived, the restaurant was full. However, since booking well in advance, we had a nice long table outside overlooking the water.
The first thing you notice when you sit down is the view. Seeing the water and all the boats in the distance makes you feel relaxed and the overall vibe makes you feel like you have all the time in the world. There are also pretty white flowers in hanging pots above where you are sitting, which beautifies the restaurant and gives it a nice summery feel.
We first started with drinks. The majority of our team ordered wines, but a few of us wanted to try their cocktails. I love tequila, so I ordered a 'No Shit Sherlock' cocktail (consisting of Olmeca Resposado Tequila, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, mango puree and fresh pressed lime, fresh basil and habanero hot sauce) which was so strong that it took me a couple of hours to drink! It was also a lovely orange colour and served in a nice glass.
For entrees, we ordered a mixture of dishes for everyone to share. My favourites were the South Island whitebait fritters with lemon butter sauce ($28) and the oysters with shallot vinegar and lemon (market price). It was my first time trying oysters and I can now say that I love them!
For my main, I ordered the Savannah Beef Fillet with a giant gnocchi, green beans and jus (about $38). The meal was faultless and my other dining companions said the same about their meals. I rarely eat beef fillet, as it is expensive, so this was a real treat!
I was very excited about the dessert. Once I read that there was a 'Valrhona Chocolate Fondant' ($16.50) on the menu, I was in absolute heaven. It came with a three layered terrine with caramel popcorn, peanut brittle, peanuts and a salted caramel sauce. Absolutely out of this world!
The dessert looked great when it arrived at the table and everyone plus the waiter turned to look at it while I cut through the middle of the fondant. However, no runny chocolate sauce oozed out like it should have. The waiter immediately apologised and went back to the kitchen, where the chef made another one. I really appreciated this gesture and the second fondant that came out was perfect. In addition, I had two sets of chocolate fondants to eat!
A few of my dining companions ordered the Raspberry Creme Brulee with a gingerbread crumble and raspberry sorbet ($16.50). Luckily, I was able to try some of it! It was absolutely delicious, and beautifully presented!
We ended the afternoon with a 'Jam Donut' shot each. This is half Baileys, half raspberry liqueur. It was a nice way to celebrate the end of the working year.
We all agreed that the service was of a very high standard. Considering that the restaurant was packed to the brim, we were very impressed with how friendly and attentive the waiters/waitresses were.
The meals and drinks are expensive, but when you think of the quality of the food matched with the great service and beautiful setting, you are definitely getting your money's worth.
Overall, it was a truly memorable dining experience. The food is delicious. The service is excellent. The surroundings are lovely. Highly recommend!
by Rebecca MacDonald
9 months ago
I love Soul bar, in the summer it is so nice to sit outside on the deck watching the water and boats, but given the cooler weather we sat inside for dinner this time. It was a struggle to choose what to have but I went for the Macaroni cheese with bacon, truffle and aged chedder. I love that macaroni is back in style, its such a comfort food but delicious... To make my meal 'healthy' I ordered a side of brocollini which was a nice balance. For dessert I couldn't go past the chocolate fondant pudding, I think I have had this every time I have been to Soul and it never disappoints!
by Alisha KP
11 months ago
Absolutely exquisite dining experience. I go here with my mum every Mother's Day and the service is always impeccable, the food is excellent, the people watching is supreme, and the whole experience is always so enjoyable. One of my favourite places to dine in the whole world.
by Claudia Hoskin
11 months ago
The service and cuisine is of a very high standard. I was most impressed with the array and flavours that were available. Some of the dishes offered were just amazing!!
If you enjoy fine dining, excellent food and service, you will love soul. I have been there twice now and consider this to be one of the best places in Auckland. It is more expensive than most restaurants, but the quality will make up for this.
Highly recommended .
by Jandre Daniel Opperman
11 months ago
Myself and friends love coming here for drinks. The atmosphere is great and in a prime location. The champagne is a great price with only a Moët for $95.00. Food wise I'm not really a fan but it is definitely great if you are a seafood lover.
Apr 16, 2014
Popped in here last Saturday early evening for a quick snack and drinkie after a long day at a conference. I've heard a lot about this place and as a keen sea foodie was excited when I had a spare hour to try it out. It was worth it! What an amazingly friendly staff, from the lovely friendly door guy to the maitre'd, who handed me over to this amazing young statuesque waitress who bent over backwards to find me a cosy corner to huddle into. The tostada snack was divine, I can't wait to go back, and the yummy popcorn... OMG!!!
Feb 24, 2014
One of not many places where you can drink moet wit DIY fruit garnish. Great atmosphere and nice service. Food is 3.5 out of 5.
by Pauline Bennett
Jan 26, 2014
8 of us were here for a pre-Christmas lunch. It was really busy but the staff were so efficient and the service was first rate. The food arrived promptly, cooked to perfection and well presented - a visual delight ! No complaints from any of us - a really good experience.Here again, March 2015. We were a group of 14 people for lunch, and the restaurant was fully booked so extremely busy. We were impressed by the chef and the wait staff who cooked and presented the meals in a relatively short time; everyone was served at roughly the same time despite ordering various dishes. We all had a 3 course meal and coffee and no complaints from anyone, only positive comments all round regarding the menu options, the quality and presentation of the food and the service. Well done Soul Bar team !
by Paula Pepperell
Jan 14, 2014
Excellent lunch today with my sisters, one of whom was celebrating a birthday. Meals where perfect size, delicious and the service spot on. My sister even received a 'Happy Birthday' message on her dessert which was a surprise to us all....so easy to do, and really left an impression. A perfect place for a special lunch, thanks!
by Ian C
Dec 24, 2013
Outstanding food, poor service. Blessed with an ideal location this restaurant sails on a large reputation. The room is understated and when we visited, decibel levels were tempered by an empty bar. Whilst there were plenty of wait staff, the service was extremely patchy, by which I mean poorly trained, lacking in knowledge and unattentive. Overall, the excellent food could not compensate for the less than average service. 14/20. Could be great.
Dec 09, 2013
Used to be one of my favorite restaurants until tonight, went out for dinner with my work mates expecting an enjoyable meal but instead arrived at Soul Bar and was left to wander about for a good ten minutes before we were finally noticed by a fat manager who just waved us in the direction of the tables. Waited another 10 minutes before being served and received cold food that was under cooked and flavorless - definitely not worth what we paid for. At the end of the night we witnessed the manager throwing glasses onto the ground and yelling abuse at a young lady in front of all the restaurant guests. It was the most unprofessional act I have ever witnessed in New Zealand and I have lived here for 54 years! Will not be returning.
Dec 08, 2013
Given the experience I had at Soul Bar and Bistro, I think the three star review I've given is generous. Service average, food average and atmosphere average. Top marks for the lovely space and view but no points for anything actually worth paying for.
Food takes forever to come even when the restaurant is quiet (as it was when we visited). Normally I wouldn't be disappointed to pay an exorbitant price for a small-portioned dish but the flavours of the salmon dish I got were disappointing. Thankfully I'm keen on salmon enough to find it palatable but I was still expecting more.
Service was mixed from the ambivalent front desk girl to the lovely waiter that attended us for a short while (we were sorry to see him go).
Please go here if you are desperate for food and have no where else.
Dec 01, 2013
Great place to go if you wanna spend a bit. Nice, large well-decoured restaurant at a great location. Excellent service and though it gets busy, food is still served in good time. I really enjoyed my entree, main and dessert and will be returning on occaision!
by Kiwi Food Wonders
Nov 18, 2013
Fronted by Judith Tabron since it’s opening in 2000, Soul Bar is a mainstay of Auckland CBD’s most popular area, the Viaduct. On a sunny day, overlooking the sails in the harbour that make the city so famous is a view afforded by few of Auckland’s restaurants. Whether you are out on a business luncheon or a casual dining outing, Soul Bar caters for all. Come night time, the menu simmers away and Soul is revitalised by a nightlife feel, competing with it’s close neighbour, Snapdragon.
On this occasion, it was a grey, dreary winters day with the wind and rain pouring down on the Viaduct. Ample, if expensive parking is located in the Auckland city car park. We made a quick dash to avoid the rain across the walkway from the car park to Kermadec and then round the front of Danny Doolans bar towards Soul Bar. We were greeted by a keen but perhaps overtly brash pommy waitress who took us to the seating area outside instead of the seats by the fireplace at the rear of the restaurant. Presumably this was to attract customers to the otherwise empty restaurant on this Sunday morning.
Within a few minutes, the outdoor heaters were switched on by another waiter who brought over some drinks to us. Spiced Bloody Mary – bloody good!!! When our friends had arrived, I ordered the Salt & Pepper Squid with Almond Skordalia; apparently “Very Famous” according to the menu. Amanda had a Brunch Mixed Grill, Our friends had Whitebait Fritters and a Warm Banana Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce & Caramel Popcorn. The mixed grill, although on the brunch menu was still a taste and visual delight for $21.50. It consisted of an Italian fried egg (a poached egg in a light breadcrumb batter to you and I), deliciously spicy Merguez Sausages, field mushrooms, vine tomatoes and smoky bacon. The Salt & Pepper squid came in a smoked chilli oil and had a beautiful, delicate crunch to them, simple but perfectly done. The whitebait fritters looked pretty as a picture and tasted just as good. Dessert was also approved of!
To read more, visit: http://kiwifoodwonders.com/2012/07/22/soul-bar-viaduct-auckland/
by Paul Woller
Nov 03, 2013
Soul Bar were absolutely excellent in terms of food and service.
Entrees and Mains were well presented and incredibly tasty, and the dessert recommendation made by the wait staff was spot on.
Service was prompt and friendly in a busy restaurant on a Saturday night, and we left having had one of our best dining experiences in New Zealand in several years.
Great meals at an extremely good price - definitely recommended.
by Robert K
Oct 23, 2013
We arranged Birthday drinks and snacks for one of our friends on Saturday night. Our large group spent over $1500 on the Bar. Food was average. During the night, one of our guest was comforting his partner who had received some tragic personal news and was sitting in privacy of other guests so nobody was disturbed. An intoxicated patron walked past and noticed our upset guest. He started laughing at her and we asked him to leave us in our privacy. He then started verbally abusing us including racial comments. We called the security and Souls manager noted the situation. They were well aware of the offenders status and advised us that he would be escorted out of the restaurant and not allowed back - they clearly informed us of Zero tolerance for such behaviour including racial abuse. We were satisfied with this outcome. Within the next hour, we noted the offender back into the restaurant and he was served alcohol plus shown to a table. We approached the Managers of the Restaurant and they advised us that they knew the patron and wanted him to finish his meal and then leave. The management refused to answer questions when we reminded them that they had resolved the earlier situation by removing the offender from the premises and their statement about zero tolerance. They refused to engage with us and ignored their own advise of zero tolerance for racial abuse. It seems that Soul Management have a policy about "some being more equal than others" - the management need to understand that we live in a diverse Auckland and tourism is a key economic tool for business growth. It's a shame that they chose to ignore racial abuse against their own patron and entertain a racially abusive offender for personal reasons. We frequent Soul regularly with our clients. However, this distasteful experience with the Souls management ends that relationship and furthermore, I will be sharing this terrible ordeal with my network. Soul Management didn't offer us an apology for this incident and this reflects the culture of this place - it supports racism and looks after some better than others. What a terrible experience - definitely not going to this discriminating restaurant ever again.
by Julie Schooler
Sep 23, 2013
Had dinner at Soul Bar on Saturday night with a big group. On a set menu with a few options for each course. I was so happy with my choice of salt and pepper squid for the entree. The salmon and the vege options looked like they had nothing on that. The beef that I chose for the main was cooked rare to medium rare although I had asked for medium. A bit too pink/ red for my liking. The dessert was a sweet concoction - nothing to rave about.
The service started off well and then kind of fizzled as the night wore on. Water glasses not topped up, missing people asking for wine refills or coffees. It was past 11 by this stage but a bit of a let down when you are in a large group spending a large sum of money.
All in all, I would still recommend Soul Bar simply based on that salt and pepper squid alone, but there is a lot of very good competition in that area and they could take care of a few small things that would really lift their game.
Sep 19, 2013
WOW the food was absolutely divine!
Service was incredibly efficient but not the friendliest of staff.
The atmosphere was much to be expected in this type of dinning , but the view over the Viaduct was a delight after spending the majority of the day cooped up at a conference.
by Drake R
Aug 23, 2013
I had a family dinner here for my 21st last year and recently went back for another time. The food has always been amazing, for my birthday they made me the most amazing chocolate cake and everyone who attended loved the food. The service was excellent and they treated us very well both times we were there. Our waitress was a lovely friendly young lady and went out of her way to make my day very special. I love the outdoor setting and atmosphere and would highly recommend this place for special occasions!
by Stephanie Banks
Aug 10, 2013
The only good thing I experienced at Soul was the food when it finally arrived after an hour and a quarter wait. We were subjected to the worse behavior I have ever experienced in a restaurant. I will not be going back there again.
by Hannah Lee
Aug 09, 2013
I'm a big foodie and restaurant buff and love dining out all over the world. My favourite Auckland local restaurants have of course included the top 2 Viaduct haunts Euro and Soul Bar over the past 10+ years. My husband has always preferred Soul and I have always been tipped towards Euro, although I have not been able to fault the service and food at either.
Today I dined at Soul for lunch with two of my favourite "lunching" girlfriends. They had booked a table for us 1.00pm. We arrived slightly late and although we had phoned through to advise we were on our way and running late upon our arrival we were told they had given away our table and we would have to wait for another. We were seated 20 minutes later by Judith Tabron in the informal bistro area and when I commented we had booked a table in the formal table clothed restaurant area she verbally attacked me quoting that they had never accepting bookings in that area for over 10 years and was so rude and abusive that our table was in shock!! Apart from the extremely bad behaviour of not only the owner/host it was completely untrue as over the years as previous "regular preferred customers" we always got to book the table we wanted on the table clothed deck. A waitress took our lunch orders about 15 minutes later and they arrived 1.4 hour later!!!!!!!!!!! No apologies no explanation.
I do not or have not written any sort of these reviews in the past and probably never will as I am generally too busy or don't worry about it, but the level of shocking service and rudeness from this once great establishment calls for it. My friends, both very respected and high end diners are in complete agreement and will not grace the place that used to have Soul again.
Aug 04, 2013
Very lovely environment both inside and out on the veranda. Food was delicious, loved my crab ravioli and everyone at my table was happy with their selection from beef to lamb to tuna.
by Paul Smith
Jul 28, 2013
We understand the reviews made by some re slow service on occasion but actually we like that as we like to have s few drinks, chat and enjoy our wine/food rather than feeling like we are in and out too quickly. We have been twice and both times brilliant. Food, wine excellent and both nights were very busy but the service was still reasonable and very friendly. We will definitely go again and recommend to give it a try.
by Max Tuzzolino-Smith
Jul 20, 2013
Girlfriends Birthday dinner - I let her choose the spot and I admit I was a little skeptical.
Thankfully I was pleasently surprised - we went all out and got a three course meal each. Each were superb and delicious.
For main I would recommend the beef fillet and for desert the chocolate pudding.
Honestly - I have given other reviews that are 5 stars before, and I this beats them hands down.
Unfortunately you cannot rate a restaurant solely on the food quality.
First, and if you're reading this it probably isn't an issue, but for me it was. As a poor student it was a VERY expensive night and they do sort of guilt trip you to the face to make a substantial tip. People with a stable jobs, looking for a very good dinner with a partner or a friend - just ignore this, this shouldn't be an issue. But paying $14 for an entree with some admittedly good ham on two slices of thing toasted bread made me cringe a bit.
Second would be the fact that they had a very nice inside dining area with table clothes and the full shebang, yet they insisted they seat us in the heated outside area where all the drunk people are shouting and being annoying. Overall wasn't too bad - but it is annoying for people looking for a perfect night.
Not onto the service - I honestly can't fault the service. It was quite frankly, the best we have ever had. Our starters were out in literally 7-8 minutes. All other food didn't take long either. Our (really freaking good) cocktails were made and delivered straight away and our glasses were never empty.
For cocktails I would recommend the Foaming Dragon, if you like sour stuff, and the ginger one (can't remember the name but it was damn good).
Overall, it was a very good night. And it could have been excellent.
I look forward to returning to this restaurant.
by Soriya Em
Feb 16, 2013
Went here for our wedding anniversary. It was fabulous! Service was wonderful and food amazing!! WOuld recommend the Squid!! it was delish!! We both ordered fish mains and it was melt in your mouth stuff! Loved every bite! Loved the wine recoomendation. Lovely service with a smile and super friendly, we will be back!! Thanks for making our day special!
by Lena Kodaira
Feb 16, 2013
Came here for a birthday not too long ago and was very impressed. We had been hearing good things about Soul Bar for a while, and having heard that Beyoncé and Jay-Z dined here during a visit to New Zealand definitely piqued our interest too! To start we ordered the ciabatta with bessara and pomegranate syrup, the bread was fluffy and warm and the dips were great. For mains I ordered the pan-fried snapper, I usually prefer my fish raw but I will make an exception for that snapper. Other guests also raved about their dishes, in particular the hapuku which had a distinct smokey taste to it. For dessert I ordered the feijoa creme brulée with lavender icecream which was very good. We also ordered a dessert platter which seemed a bit cheap and was disappointing but we will simply give that a miss on our next visit.
We visited on a quiet winter's evening when the restaurant was sparsely populated. Our server was warm and attentive, and I find the staff are only as pretentious as their surroundings require. One thing that might catch Kiwis off guard is that you will be asked if you want to tip your server which might be uncomfortable for some as the concept of tipping is alien to most New Zealanders. I feel like they ask for tips to make a few bucks off habituated American tourists, fortunately they don't seem to mind too much if you refuse. We definitely enjoyed our dining experience here, will be back soon!
by Harry Caldicott
Feb 16, 2013
This has to be one of the best restaurants I have ever been to in NZ. Its best asset was the waiter who served us, who is the only one I have ever tipped in NZ because he was outstanding. Our food was divine, brought in good time (impressive, considering they were full to bursting), the decor modern but tasteful, and the prices surprisingly reasonable. This is definitely my first port of call whenever I am in Auckland from now on.
by Andrea Davies
Feb 07, 2013
Have to agree with Kate B. We have always rated Soul Bar, but last night was very disappointing. We had advised we were bringing overseas guests and as previous asked for a veranda table for 6 if available.Told they no longer take reservations for this and it was first in first served. On arrival we were advised no tables outside and we were placed at a table right in the kitchen, serving staff area which was very noisy and distracting with staff moving around us loaded with plates to other diners. We were moved upon asking to an area in the corner. ( Empty Tables outside at this stage not mentioned)
However service was average at best. Seemed to us that the missing faces of Geeling/Judith on this evening have a significant effect on the running of the restauarant.
Feb 06, 2013
Had a birthday lunch there the other weekend. The food was amazing, a bit pricy but for a special occasion you don't really look at the price. The service was great, the guy serving us was around all the time topping up water and wine. Loved my homemade pasta, delicious! Will be back not only for the stunning view!
by Kate Bale
Jan 20, 2013
Had dinner with my partner for our anniversary this evening. We expected great things as we've been here before. Tonight has certainly put a damper on our previous memory. After waiting half an hour for our starters (bread and scallops), we were then left for over an hour before our mains came out. Admittedly it was very busy in the restaurant, however it was certainly a case of overbooked and understaffed. Service was poor, we were not asked at any point if we were happy with our meals. Dessert menus were set in front of us with no comment from the server, he then proceeded to chat to another server and ignore us. When we did order he didn't write it down and had to come back to double check our order. My partner had ordered a chocolate fantasy hot drink which on the menu specified creme de menthe, baileys and hot chocolate with marshmallows. What arrived was a coffee with cream. After pointing out to our server that this was not the drink he had ordered, he was told that he had ordered a specialty 'coffee'. Even if that were so, all he could taste was coffee and that certainly wasn't what he wanted. We were not offered a replacement drink, but my partner was brought marshmallows to have with his unconsumed coffee.
Overall the food was fine; time and service was poor. Being dismissed over the coffee was just the icing on a very distasteful cake. We will not be coming back.
by Tom Magnussen
Dec 02, 2012
Have been coming to Soul Bar for a while now but I now feel the need to express how much I enjoy going there. I usually only go there for a few drinks with mates but the high level of service and interaction from staff is great. They all go out of the way to make you feel comfortable and welcome. Would especially like to say thanks to a waitress Danni who is always so welcoming, attentive and great fun person to talk to! Wish other places had wait staff with such a great personality as she does! Overall - an afternoon at Soul never fails to deliver!
by Leigh Beattie
Sep 06, 2012
We had a group of nine for a department diner and we were all very impressed. The staff were professional and helpful without been intrusive. All the entrees looked impressive I had the scampi cocktail which was faultless the scampi cooked to perfection and well seasoned. The chowder looked thick and creamy and I was told very very nice. In fact no-one could find any flaw with the starters. The mains also did not disappoint, Several of us had snapper and the portions were ample and the fish was cooked to perfection, the mash was smooth and buttery. The rest of our group had beef, cooked well and melt in the mouth, the lamb was also well received. Every dish was well presented and well cooked. To finish we had special coffees what a way to end a perfect meal. We thought the food was well priced given the taste and quality. Simply Divine.
by Jess Callinan
Jul 23, 2012
Soul bar over rates itself. They have great food though and a decent selection of wines.
I asked someone at our table of about 10 what they wanted to drink to make them feel comfortable (new staff at work do) and the waiter told me off for "doing his job" I thought he should stick his nose out of my conversations with people at the table and stick to his job but hey.
Wont go back, too pretentious for me.
Jul 14, 2012
Fabulous location but a huge disappointment in so many other areas.
Buffalo mozzarella and tomato entree ice cold as in pre plated and straight out of fridge, returned, request for room temperature version only tiny improvement.
Hapuka main served raw in the middle, 25 minutes for replacement so my husband and I ate separately.
Order coffee,served a shade under Luke warm.
Charged full price of $191.00 with no recognition of what a disaster meal had been.
The location is not enough to entice me back again as we had similar experience when dining there on two previous occasions
Jun 12, 2012
A girlfriend & I had lunch here the other day & I have to say I am never disappointed with the food or the service. It is consistently good and a fabulous place for a long ladies lunch. The macaroni & cheese is just heavenly. It seems silly to get macaroni & cheese from a place like Soul but it is by far the best macaroni & cheese I have ever had. The salt & pepper squid with smoked chili oil was very tasty as well as the grilled goat cheese salad. Yummy! It is on the pricey side but it is the viaduct and I believe it is worth it. Definitely recommend this for a special occasion or if you feel like treating yourself.
Jun 01, 2012
Had dinner at Soul bar with a group of 5 workmates on a Thursday night. We were seated at the terrace and enjoyed the lovely ambience overlooking the viaduct. The heating was just perfect for a chilli night. The food was exquisite both the crab ravioli and pan fried snapper I ordered. The dessert was a bit too rich for my liking but was delicious and well presented. We were well looked after by the wait staff. The prices are what you would expect from a restaurant at the viaduct, however it was a lovely evening and well worth it.
Feb 19, 2012
soul has been always a favorite place to dine for special occasions. today i took my friend from overseas for late lunch. our table was nice on the terrace with a wonderful view. our meal, wine, desserts were all good as expected. the only disappointment was the service. the waiters and waitresses were serving without smiles, but tired faces or grumpy expressions on their faces. whatever they said did not really mean too much, but only sounded like what they were supposed to say for their routines.
the 'worst' thing was at the ending. my friend and i were enjoying catching up talk but those waiters and waitresses or even 'manager looking woman without uniform' started coming toward our table and checking if we were leaving. we only had one waitress who actually said if we were wanting to order something else as a 'hint'. they were having more guests who wanted to sit at tables on the terrace, so we understood that they wanted us to leave. but we spent reasonable amount of money that we thought we were allowed to stay on a little bit more. but after seeing those staff acting 'obvious' walking around our table a few times, we felt uncomfortable to be there anymore, so we left our table.
the very last waiter who came to our table and saw us without ordering anything new showed his grumpy expression on his face or walking, that was definitely shocking for me to see.
they should have given us more 'hints' by asking for some more orders rather than walking around and giving us those rude actions. standing at the entrance together and staring at our table was also not professional.
Jan 26, 2012
After a long time to decide to go to the classics Auckland best Restaurants my boyfriend took me to Soul Bar for lunch and to celebrate my pre-bday! We sat at the terrace and looked to the menu we decide to start with the super famous salt pepper squid... then I choose a Seared free range chicken, triple mustard and medjool dates and my boyfrind a John Dory, pan-fried, with cauliflower purée and blood orange grenobloise. The service wasn't the best they were inattentive since we arrive and after found a hair embedded in the fish dish we told the waiter to check it and she just said 'sorry about that' without do anything. At the end we were a little disappointed and just left the place. Is a nice place to go definitely but is not the best for sure, Ive expected a serious and professional service rather than just the sorry and whatever. Hope they put an eye in the new customers as well.
by Vimla Sewpershad
Jan 18, 2012
I am on a no carbs diet and was totally shocked that Soul Bar had NOTHING suitable on the menu that involved a salad with protein. The best bet was a Caesars salad (with a decadent dressing). When I asked if a small quantity of chicken could be added to it to meet my protein needs, the price shot up from $16 to$29! I did once consider this restaurant as one of my favourites. Not any more!
Dec 06, 2011
Just went to Soul yesterday for lunch, and was disappointed with the experience. The service was average ... don't think it was the waitresses fault, just don't think they had enough staff on. My main was one of the pasta dishes and the butter was so overpowering that the crab and prawn were lost. Another person at our table had the same dish, and couldn't finish it because it was just so rich and overwhelming. We were also keen to have dessert, but by the time the waitress came back around, we were totally over it. Location is big selling point however! Great to be in the atmosphere of the Viaduct.
by Pete F.
Sep 23, 2011
With no booking late on a Thursday evening, the staff found a lovely table for us in a busy restaurant. While the music was really loud (with no one in the bar area), it was a Thursday we kind of expected it.
The meal was lovely! Pricey but lovely - 1 entree, 2 mains, 1 dessert and a bottle of wine was over $200.
The only disappointment was the wine list. It would have been great to see more local wines, not just Villa Maria and possibly an organic choice.
Aug 28, 2011
Difficult to rate as I have dined here many times with mixed results. Some meals have been fabulous but a set dinner for eighteen was a disaster when 18 racks of lamb arrived, not rare, but bloody and almost raw. We had a beautiful seafood platter to start but by the time the lamb arrived it was just past 9.30. As it was an Event dinner we did not have the time to send them all back and wait another 45 mins plus our guests would have been very embarrassed. All the plates went back with most of the lamb untouched. The kitchen couldn't have failed to notice this, but nothing was said. On paying the bill that ran into the thousands we complained but received only an off hand apology. A previous dinner I organised for over 40 was superbly prepared with impeccable service. Very inconsistent which does not make it the first choice when you're spending a lot of money or entertaining guests.
by G Y
Aug 26, 2011
Took a business client (happens to be the CEO of an Australian listed company) last night to Soul, planned to have dinner however had the misfortune to sit outside for a drink first....I say a misfortune as there were so many extremely drunk people at other tables. It was 6pm in the afternoon and the table next to us looked like they had been there all day. One "lady" broke so many glasses and bottles we were extremely surprised that she wasn't asked to leave. Perhaps they had spent a bunch of cash on the champagne they were throwing around but I thought there was a law about selling alcohol to drunk people.
Soul, epic fail, it wasn't funny watching drunk cougars with their asses in the air as they fell over tables, I was very embarrased with my guest....we were going to eat at Soul but chose to eat at Euro instead.
Sort out the rules, stop serving such drunk people, especially at such as early hour!!!!
Perennial favorite....not cheap (so bah humbug to the reviewers complaining about the price, if you want cheap and cheerful, go elsewhere) but worth it.... service is top notch.
Preference is to sit outside, can be hard to get a table but if you can, people watching is a plus.
Aug 14, 2011
Rude, expensive, noisy and cold.. Just about sums this place up...
$59 for an entree when taken as a main when it is still entree size is just madness, the lamb shanks are bland and tasteless.. You get better service at MacDonalds where at least they are not trying to push you out the door.
Not an enjoyable lunch had here..
by Amy Love
Jul 18, 2011
Good food but a bit pricey considering the serving size. I had the duck and my friend had the chicken which were both very good. Very good cocktails, would recommend the strawberry and basil. Over all good experience except for the service, I felt like they didn't attend to us as much as we are young and once we started spending lots they then showed more attention
by Tony Booth
Jul 07, 2011
We were a little disappointed with our visit to Soul. The food was well prepared and the service acceptable, but when a restaurant is given 4.5 stars by Cuisine we expect some flair and innovation in the food and it just wasn't there. We gave it 3 stars (which in my book says we would go back but not in a hurry).
We dined on a Friday night and the after work drinks crowd in the bar were somewhat noisy but it didn't affect the restaurant too much. Two entree, two mains and a bottle of wine cost us $187.
Jun 28, 2011
Ok 3 stars might seem a bit harsh because the place is potentially far better than that. On the day I went for lunch the service was good but the food was average. Its nice to have good service, a bloody rarity in this village actually, but the food needs to be a bit better.
I look forward to going back and having a better experience.
by David Boshier
Jun 23, 2011
If you are looking for high quality weekend brunch watching the boats, this is the place to go. We both ordered off the weekend menu and I had the soup and my partner had the Crayfish ravioli. Both were fantastic.
What was surprising is that the prices are no more expensive than a standard cafe. But view and wine selection by the glass is much better.
by Maheen Mudannayake
Mar 10, 2011
Have eaten here several times, usually I take clients here who are from out out town. Always delivers good food. Great and attentive staff a well.
Not child friendly, but there are other places around the viaduct for that.
There are better places around (when it comes to food quality,taste etc) but you can't beat the view.
by Carl Pullmann
Feb 20, 2011
If you are looking for somewhere that has fantastic food and great service but not in a formal setting, then Soul is the place to go.
It being our first time to Soul, we both immediately felt like regulars when greeted with a welcome smile by the charming host on the door. We didn't have a booking (which seems advisable for such a popular restaurant) but he was more than accommodating to try and fit us in, so it only required having a quick cocktail in the bar and before we knew it we were sitting amongst the stunning hanging baskets on the deck overlooking the harbour.
Our waitress Vicky was a treat. Professional and fun to chat to throughout the night. Always attentive and made some great recommendations. My wife had the hapuku whilst i opted for the crispy pork belly. Both dishes were cooked to perfection and went down nicely with a bottle of Craggy Range Chardonnay. As the night was going down a treat we decided to indulge with the hot chocolate pudding for dessert. Devine!
I cannot fault Soul in any way. It was lively, fun and the service was outstanding. We will definitely be going back!
Sep 01, 2010
This would have been nice had we not been seated next to a laughing hyena. However, service was excellent and the food was mostly great. Their baba ghanoush was not very egglplanty but the snapper goujons and spinach pie were excellent.
by Lauren Simpson
Aug 17, 2010
Soul is brilliant, great harbour-side location and fresh, imaginative food. I came here as part of a large group (15) and our meals all came out at the same time with nice 'rests' between each course. The seafood is particularly well done. We had a lovely Irish waiter and the staff overall were welcoming and friendly. I'll be going back for certain.
Jun 03, 2010
After reading all the good reviews and hearing about all their awards, I thought Soul would be a great place to treat Mum for Mother's Day. We were seated on the terrace/outdoor area which was quite cramped and crowded. Being Mother's Day, we had expected this and so weren't too put off by it, however we were surprised to see that apart from the terrace, the rest of the restaurant was quite empty.
The Maitre d' who seated us was unsmiling and a bit cold, and asked us if we would like still, sparkling or tap water. We asked for tap, but this took over 20 minutes to arrive. This proved typical throughout the day, with service being very slow throughout the meal. This was quite surprising since, as I mentioned earlier, the restaurant was not actually that full.
The meals were insubstantial with underwhelming flavours. My ravioli was mainly pasta with very little filling. Furthermore, the filling was cold while the pasta was hot. Definitely not worth what we paid for them. The only redeeming feature was the dessert, which was brilliant.
For a more detailed review, please see Man Eating Pasta on http://maneatingpasta.blogspot.com/2010/06/soul-bar-bistro-viaduct-harbour.html
by Jay Jay
Mar 10, 2010
We came here for dinner one night for a special occasion. I must admit, i definitely chose the right place. We reserved in advance as it seemed like a very popular place. It was easy enough to get a table, and even easier to change our reservation time as I was running a bit late. Awesome maitre'd!
The ambience of the venue is unique. Bussiness people, couples and families give the restaurant its vibrance, which we really liked. Our waiter was initially slightly unprofessional but service picked up really fast.
We had the Cloudy Bay oysters, which went down really well with our wine (The Ned Pinot Gris) as an entree. Mains came almost immediately afterwards. I had the "Over the moon" goats curd gnocchi, and my partner had the snapper. The gnocchi was slightly small, but well presented and tasted good. The snapper was amazing, from what I was told. What impressed us the most was the spontaneity of service in such a crowded place. It definitely made the night more enjoyable. Our table was cleared immediatley after our mains and the dessert menus came quick. We settled on the cheese cake which was rich and tasty as well as the platter of sorbets which we found very amusing. It was presented in a palette looking dish with 8 flavours which we played "guess the flavour". At least 6 of those 8 flavours were really nice. We finished with coffees and left very happy and satisfied.
I feel the price was appropriate for the food, location and service, and it was all very worth wile. Definitely reccomend it to anyone.
by Food Voyeur
Sep 09, 2009
I had an outstanding lunch in the sunshine at Soul Bar, with a relaxing environment, great food & extremely excellent wait-staff.
Uber-attentive waiters/waitress topped up my water-glass whenever it got low, I was greeted warmly, and had my napkin laid out on my lap for me.
I was greeted by a very knowledgeable and friendly young woman who recommended the perfectly cooked, succulent squid entree - because I had limited time. It arrived freshly cooked, literally within 3 minutes of me ordering - accompanied by the crisp rocket & parmesan side-salad I ordered.
Georgeous setting - view of boats & harbour bridge. Sunshine washing in over all the corporate lunch diners, on the open-sided deck - which is sheltered outside under a glass awning/ceiling.
With Fat Freddy's Drop playing in the background . . . the perfect lunch experience.
Oct 11, 2008
When the 8 of us arrived at soul we had a pleasant welcome by the doorman.Inside not as friendly, the bar was full and the music was loud(not a place for a romantic meal for 2!!) The waitress was lovely,she kept our wine and water topped up all night.Our seafood mains were very good,cooked well and seasoned perfectly!I had the chicken which was not good, the peas were.. just that "peas"The flavour with them i couldnt make out,i could have done better at home. The duck meal was small and flavours together..a little unusual.Our desserts were very nice,(it took 35 mins for them to come out after mains!)and the coffee great.Overall the comments from the table were average(apart from the seafood meals,which were devine)The waitress did a great job,also the seafood chef!
Jun 10, 2008
We were a group of 12 diners who were looking forward to a great meal. After all they charge top dollar for their meals so you would expect top meals. I had an entree of seafood chowder which was lovely. However our mains came out almost as soon as the entrees were finished leaving no time to sit relax and digest the entrees, I got the feeling they wanted to get home early. I had the tuna which was over seasoned and overcooked, it was dry and all I could taste was the salt very disappointing, two people opposite me had the same experience with their tuna. Someone else ordered the chicken which was swimming in a large pool of mushy peas. My husbands meal of Hapuka was a little better. The deserts were also disappointing. The restaurant itself was far too hot and at one point we all started to feel a little ill from the heat it was difficult to enjoy a meal in such a hot environment and we were all relieved to get outside and breathe some air. I won't be going back.
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