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Apr 27, 2012 11:46 AM

Restaurant recommendations needed for New Zealand

Hi! My wife and I are heading to New Zealand in May and are putting together our list of restaurants to go. We're flying into Wellington and working our way up to Auckland. We enjoy food and although we don't spend $100s of dollars on every meal, if a restaurant is a must, we'll do it. But most important, we want good food.

1) Arrive into Wellington Airport at 9pm on a Sunday night - I assume we wouldn't be ready to leave our hotel on Featherston and Whitemore till 10pm at the earliest. Any restaurants that will still be open for a good meal?

2) Will be in Auckland for a full day so need a place for lunch and dinner. Some restaurants we read about were Logan Brown (is this really a 'gotta go and experience type place? hard to get reservations?), Finc, and Duke Carvell's.

3) Taupo - lunch - restaurant suggestions?

4) Rotorua - dinner - restaurant suggestions? Ochre?

5) Auckland - dinner - restaurant suggestions? French Cafe (reservations?), The Grove (reservations?)


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  1. Hi
    Late Sunday Night Wellington is not great for eating. If you're at the Rydges, they'll be able to advise you easily. Duke Carvell's is amazing as is Logan Brown, Shed 5 is good too. All will take bookings easily. They are Wellington based restaurants.
    Lunch in Taupo: The Vine Eatery or have fun at The Prawn Farm on your way out. Fresh prawns bred in the thermal waters of Taupo. Touristy but fun. Bistro Lago at the Hilton is also very good.
    Rotarua I'm told Mokoia is very good for Dinner.
    Auckland - you are seriously spoiled for choice, The French Cafe and The Grove are amazing. Clooney, Soul, Sidart and Roxy are all spectacular. I would recommend booking for all of them. For lunch you may want to try Depot, O'Connell Street Bistro or District Dining.
    Have a fabulous trip

    10 Replies
    1. re: The Big Foody

      Your post is very helpful as we are in Auckland for 4 nights in January. It appears that there is no shortage of great restaurants!

      1. re: jmlh

        I had a great meal at Clooney when I dined there solo in Feb 2011. I highly recommend it.

      2. re: The Big Foody

        I was in Auckland a few weeks ago, and had the tasting menu at The Grove and The French Cafe on consecutive nights. Both were excellent. I slightly preferred The Grove (the first course was a simply outstanding sous-vide salmon with lardo and caviar, I nearly passed out from delight), but the service at The French Cafe was really terrific. My only criticisms of The French Cafe were the noise (modern restaurant with lots of hard surfaces), and the final dessert was completely overwhelming (a very rich chocolate creation). The Grove was quieter, and my only criticism would be that I thought their tasting menu was one course too long - there was a "pre-dessert" (some kind of yogurt parfait with fruit) that was way too large. The subsequent dessert (a hot passionfruit souffle served in halved passionfruits) was simply delightful and would have been perfect without the preceding course.

        Enjoy ! (if you haven't already ...)

        1. re: The Big Foody

          Speaking of Auckland, we are staying at the Sky City Grand hotel in Auckland for our upcoming visit. i want to dine in the complex one night but am having trouble choosing between Dine (is it really world class great??) or the revolving restaurant on top of the Tower. Or is there another option in the Sky City complex that tops those two? Am leaning toward the revolving place just for the views (and free sky tower visit) but wanted an expert view of whether Dine is worth foregoing it for. Thanks!

          1. re: DCDOLL

            Lucky you! Say Hi to Kevin the concierge, he is lovely!
            Definitely got to Dine over Orbit. Depot, Bellota and The Grill are all excellent and within 10 strides of where you are staying. I have no preference over the 4 of them they are all brilliant! People who have done our tours have all been delighted by what Federal St has to offer. Just two blocks down is The Grove which is amazing. There is a very good cafe a bit further down called Federal and Wolfe which is one of my favourites.
            Orbit is great for brunch at weekends when the weather is lovely.
            Hope that helps

            1. re: The Big Foody

              Ahh Federal and Wolfe! Completely forgot about that place. Was my favorite cafe in Auckland when I was there in 2011. Great coffee and vibe.

              1. re: The Big Foody

                Thank you! we will definitely do Dine then. If we can fit Orbit in too, we'll do that as well. Now if i can just figure out the coffee vernacular we'll be set! :)

                1. re: DCDOLL

                  My favourite place for coffee is Millers on Cross St. Only open 7-12 during the week, it is very very cool! White and Black coffee only, no skinny, latte, definitely no soy, just great coffee.

                  1. re: The Big Foody

                    YAY! How 'bout reasonably priced breakfast places? Diners and the like included? don't want to drop a wad on breakfast, would rather save it for dinner.

                    1. re: DCDOLL

                      If the weather is nice, I would walk down to the Britomart. On the east side of the Westpac building there is a great French Cafe, L'Assiette - croissant and coffee and a walk on the waterfront always a great way to start the day. No Diners to speak of - there is a Denny's but really....! There are a gazillion cafes serving food, Chancery has a couple of good one, but they are all pricing for breakfast. I would aim for L'Assiette and enjoy.

          2. The Portlander has opened at the Rydges in Wellington and is very good - they might still be serving if you are coming in late.