Winner of the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Metro Magazine best café in Onehunga award and housed in the beautiful and impeccably restored Carnegie Library building, The Library Café is a wonderful place to visit. The food is beautiful and the kitchen caters to every kind of food allergy or dietary requirement you could possibly think of. The staff is friendly and helpful and the building itself is delightful.
Built in 1912, The Carnegie Library is one of Auckland’s finest heritage buildings showcasing the stained glass, high embossed ceiling and chandelier features of its era. There are two indoor seating areas, one is standard café style and includes a children’s play area (There is also an outdoor children’s play area). The other however, is a lovely ‘reading lounge’ complete with shelves of books and games – a space in which I can easily imagine myself spending a lazy winter’s afternoon. There are also two choices of outdoor seating available, so they have really covered all possibilities and have found a way to keep all their customers comfortable and happy. Despite the grandness of the building the atmosphere is relaxed and casual, a feeling enhanced by the cheerfulness of the staff.
When it comes to the food they really have everyone covered. Specialists in gluten free and allergy friendly food, they make delicious dishes that cover every intolerance or dietary need. Honestly, they cover more options than I ever even thought of. As well as the gluten free, dairy free, egg free, lactose free, vegetarian, vegan, diabetic friendly, pregnancy friendly, low calorie, low fat and child friendly options they also indicate on the menu if dishes contain sesame, soy and/or nuts. Plus they pride themselves on providing organic food and the food preparation areas are carefully monitored so as to maintain a contamination free environment. Not only do they do all of this but they do it at reasonable prices. But wait… there’s more, they also do functions (including weddings, anniversary parties, birthdays, corporate meetings, Christmas functions etc) catering and high tea for that special occasion. Oh and for the record they are also licensed and a certified green business. Impressed? I am!
Now down to the nitty gritty… the taste factor. I consider myself a serious foodie and the food here keeps me very happy. The vege stack is lovely, my husband likes the fish and chips, my Mother-in-law thoroughly enjoyed the gluten free sausage and mash recently and the gluten free french toast is to die for… literally, if I had to choose my last meal it would be that! They also have a cabinet well stocked with cakes, slices and all sorts of yummy choices. I recently had lunch there with a friend (who, for the record, doesn’t have any food allergies) and the conversation completely stopped while I devoured a gf peppermint slice and she devoured a gf caramel slice. The only sounds coming from our table for a wee while were happy mmmm sounds. The coffee is good too and I can honestly recommend The Library Café on all counts.
I have one final point to make, if you are an Aucklander and have the opportunity to visit regularly then the loyalty programme is well worth joining. They offer a lot more than any loyalty programme I have come across before, including a free meal up to the value of $20 on your birthday and two free house wines or beers on your anniversary.
The owners claim The Library Café is “a novel experience nourishing body and soul” and I would have to agree.
The Library Cafe – 55 Princes Street Onehunga www.librarycafe.co.nz