Auckland has some amazing restaurants for locals and tourists alike to dine in. The Metro Top 50 Awards celebrate the excellence of Auckland’s dining scene. There were over 100 contenders for the awards, but the panel eventually managed to refine it down to a list of 50. Finalists were announced in early April and not only were there category awards, but there would also be one supreme winner (just like in Game of Thrones, am I right?) decided by Pat Nourse. He is the first international executive judge, and creative director of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, and he was an editor for Gourmet Traveller for 14 years where he edited the magazine’s restaurant guide. The list of winners is way too long to start praising every restaurant, so we’re picking out some of our favourite ResDiary restaurants that have really pulled it out of the bag.
Supreme award winner runner-up is Cazador who took home the award for Best Neighbourhood Restaurant. Open for over thirty years, and passed down from father to son, it is very comfortable in Auckland’s dining scene. You’ll find meaty off-cuts and unusual sounding dishes here, but our recommendation is to go for the Feast menu where you can try eleven different dishes, that’s right, eleven for just $80pp. Dishes include persian baked flat bread, warm cheese, and pesto, and rabbit saddle with house cured bacon, mustard, and chervil. They only use local, organic, wild, and free range ingredients sourced from New Zealand hunters and producers, and serve only the best wines, of course. Their service is relaxed, complimenting the food perfectly. The thing about Cazador is it’s an absolutely perfect place to eat out, but with the sort of effortlessness that only comes with being at the top of your game, at which Cazador are (serving the best game too).
Amano has won the Best All-Day Restaurant award. They mill their own flour, one of the ingredients needed for their infamous croissants of all flavours and colours. It’s the perfect place to go any time of day (hence the well-deserved award), and with any amount of people, it’s even great to visit on your own. They don’t scrimp on anything, they even make their own pasta, and not just one type of pasta, NINE different shapes of pasta, everyday. Some of the best dishes on the menu are pasta dishes, including scamp agnolotti with fermented chilli and chervil and the crayfish tortelloni with chives and pangritata. You could easily see this bakery in tribeca in NYC but here it is in Britomart in NZ. The Hip Group have really knocked it out of the park with this hip bakery (gettit?), with their back to basics attitude and open plan restaurant and bar area. Get yourself to this stylish and sumptuous restaurant now.
A small space on K Road is home to the brilliant restaurant that is Apéro, winners of the Best Casual Restaurant and runner up for Best Service, which is no wonder since the restaurant is run by the loveliest couple. We would recommend their homemade terrine of the day as well as the goats cheese croquettes with Kamahi honey, irresistible. Whether you’re popping in for a glass of wine chosen by co-owner Ismo (Mo) Koski or you’re going in for a metre (or half metre) of the house-made pork sausage, you’re going to have a great evening. We wish it was open every day of the week because this place is perfect for when you don’t know what to cook, but you want something extra special and extraordinary.