Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2012
Want to know the best places to eat in New Zealand?
If you're seeking expert recommendations on where to eat throughout New Zealand, you're in the right place. Cuisine has been the country's top-selling food magazine for 25 years and its prestigious NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards has long been the benchmark for the country's best eateries. This year's winners span hot new openings and stalwarts of our dining scene. You can read about why we love them right here along with reviews of all of our Top 50 finalists, from local bistros to winery restaurants and world-class fine-diners.
See below for our 2012 awards
– we have a number of new categories this year. Thanks to our category sponsors for their support.
- Cuisine Restaurant of the Year
- Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year
- San Pellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant
- Monteith's Brewing Co. Best Regional Restaurant
- Electrolux Best New Restaurant
- Whitestone Cheese Best Winery Restaurant
- Plumm Glassware Best Specialist Restaurant
- Villa Maria Restaurant Personalities of the Year
The 2012 awards nightsOur 2012 awards was held at the stunning Auckland Art Gallery. See all the action here, including comments from the excited winners.
Letter from our head judge, Kerry TyackNew Zealand chefs continue to make magic in kitchens up and down the country. Their innovation and skill delight and satisfy, making it more and more difficult to single anyone out. Established restaurants are maintaining their high standards while exciting new ventures entice us. These are wonderfully creative times.
Throughout the country, we ate excellent food while judging this competition. A few highlights?
Pescatore in Christchurch impressed us with its corned duck, raspberry vinegar marshmallow, duck crackling and watercress. In Wellington, we enjoyed a faultless beer-battered blue cod at Martin Bosley's, and an outstanding lemon and yuzu curd dessert at Matterhorn. In Auckland, Michael Meredith served a memorable venison tartare with smoked eel and horseradish, while at TriBeCa, Hayden McMillan's braised oxtail with eel, miso swede and karengo was another brilliant example of innovation with local ingredients.
Along with all this inventiveness, classics still have their place in our dining scene, particularly in the hands of Tony Astle at Antoine's and in the excellent rendition of steak tartare at The Grill.
There is also plenty of fabulous food to be found in the regions, particularly from Brenton Low at à Deco, Bevan Smith at Riverstone Kitchen and Mat McLean at Palate.
It was pleasing to see more creativity on dessert menus this year. Service remains variable, but when it's as good as it is at The French Café, it is world-class. Our winery restaurants could still go further to realise their full potential, but the best do provide a wonderfully unique experience.
Dining in New Zealand in 2012 is interesting, delicious and, more than ever, fun. We applaud the efforts of all those responsible for making this possible.