In its coastal setting with the verdant surrounding landscape, Auckland is a city in which the cuisine is driven by exceptional local produce that’s defined by the seasons. But as one of New Zealand’s most exciting hubs, it also benefits from the culinary creativity that comes from international influence and hunger for world-class dining experiences. Showcasing this creative spirit and the pride taken in the seasonal produce of New Zealand, these are the seven best restaurants in Auckland.
Serving modern New Zealand cuisine with French influence, The Grove is celebrated for its degustation menus of fine dining plates that showcase the season’s best produce. With the focus placed on finding the freshest local ingredients throughout the year the menu changes continuously but diners can expect specialties like terrine of honey bugs and ripe tomatoes with fennel and tarragon, and Mooloolaba king prawns with samphire.
With award-winning chef Sid Sahrawat behind this fine dining restaurant, it’s no wonder it has risen to such acclaim. Within a stylish dining room that commands views over the city’s skyline, guests are presented with beautifully presented and exceptionally skillful dishes. While the seven-course Discovery Menu is on offer throughout the week, the experimental Test Kitchen takes place on Tuesdays and Creative Collaborations are held on Fridays. The Chef’s Table gives diners a more interactive experience.
The French Café
Bringing together fine dining plates that showcase the region’s best produce with a selection of carefully curated wines, The French Café has won a series of awards while also placing importance on creating an atmosphere that’s equally as acclaimed. Diners can opt for the multi-course tasting menu, which encompasses plates such as smoked duck with juniper, blackcurrant, walnut and sorrel, or choose from a la carte options such as organic lamb with eggplant, preserved plum, onions, buckwheat and miso.
The Sugar Club
High up in Auckland’s tower SkyCity, The Sugar Club commands spectacular city and sea views through its floor-to-ceiling windows. The elegant Art Deco-inspired fine dining restaurant and accompanying cocktail bar is the setting for meals of Asian and European fusion cuisine by lauded chef Peter Gordon that champions New Zealand’s seasonal ingredients.
Translating to ‘the heart and soul’ in Japanese, Cocoro aims to provide this through both the restaurant’s service and food. The dining concept here is based around a three-course menu consisting of a degustation course, sushi and sashimi course and signature course; expect plates like ‘rausu-konbu’ seaweed cured and straw seared Oraking salmon, and charcoal finished Japanese Kuroge wagyu Scotch fillet. Diners also have the option of sake and wine pairing.
Described as European cuisine with Japanese influence, the food at Kazuya incorporates chef Kazuya’s signature culinary technique, the process of low-temperature long-duration roasting for meat, along with traditional Japanese techniques for preparing fish. The degustation menus change continually but can include dishes such as edible charcoal, Spanish olive with dulcey chocolate, and big eye tuna with scallop, yogurt, won bok, dashi and soy.
Headed up by revered chef Michael Meredith, this intimate restaurant is one of Auckland’s most highly acclaimed. Here, New Zealand haute cuisine comes in the form of multi-course tasting menus incorporating sumptuous plates like Cloudy Bay clams with dashi and forage seaweed, and duck with pumpkin, grapefruit, and begonia. These are accompanied by well-chosen wines from across New Zealand and the world.