Best Restaurant in Auckland?
Greetings! I will be in Auckland in a couple weeks and would love to try one of the city's great restaurants. I'm looking for something on the level of the French Laundry, Tru, Charlie Trotter's, or slightly less pricey but equally renowned.
I have never been to NZ before. Can any enlightened folks fill me in?
I live in Auckland and The French Cafe is, I think, easily Auckland's best. It has won the prestigious Metro Best Restaurant Award for (at least) the last two years running. The thing I would recommend there is to go for the tasting menu with matched wines (around NZ$160 when I last ate there) and just sit back and enjoy what Simon Wright thinks is the best showcase of his talents that night. The restaurant is at the top end of Symonds St in a pretty insalubrious part of town and the interior fit-out can feel a bit out of date but the food is very much worth it.
The food at Dine is classic Peter Gordon - very much in the style of what he is serving at Providores in London, for instance - but on my two visits last year the waiting staff were such a disappointment that I wouldn't recommend it easily (crouching out of sight beneath a bench to taste wine that a table had sent back- not ours, thankfully - and then emerging uncertain; serving the worst margerita in the world - to us, unfortunately - and insisting that it would have been made with fresh lime although on checking with the bar having to admit it was lime cordial; generally not very attentive to tables or where different parties are up to in their evenings) and the dining room has a very hotel feel.
O'Connell St Bistro is very sharp and solid with a great wine list, imaginative local food, competent and smooth waiting staff and a lovely upholstered but intimate feel. Eating here is always a treat, dinner or lunch.
Most of the restaurants along the Quay - Cin Cin and the like - are not, to my mind, such good value as their food/service is second-best to the admitted fabulousness of their location on the edge of a picturesque working harbor. For the view and the harborside ambience, I'd recommend a twilight drink against the picture windows at Bellini's, the ground-floor bar in the waterfront Hilton, but don't even think of eating dinner upstairs at White.
French Cafe is consistently winning awards and is generally regarded as the best restaurant in Auckland. To our shame we've never been (just never got around to it... will make up for that this year though) but many of our extended family have and always rave on about it.
Our personal favourite is Cibo in Parnell, the food is exceptional but can be frequented by many of the Auckland media types (or at least it was when I was living there). More recently, we would also recommend Dine by Peter Gordon.
Haven't been to Auckland for a few years, but I loved O'Connell (sp?) Street Bistro also, another restaurant with the same owner called Prime (i think). I didn't go, but heard many times that French Cafe is great. I loved the food in NZ. If its still there go to the Asian food court on Albert St near Customs. www.thefrenchcafe.co.nz www.oconnellstbistro.com