Cuisine Crowns New Zealand’s Best Restaurants

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Diners in New Zealand are being treated to the finest food they have ever had,

according to Kerry Tyack, head judge of this year’s Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards.

The French Café in Auckland is the 2013 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (as well as

the SanPellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant). It’s also one of only two

restaurants to receive the maximum of three chef’s hats under the new rating

system, which adopts the hats and scores out of 20, as used by the renowned Good

Food Guides in Australia.

“The French Café could certainly hold its own on the international stage – dining

there is a consistently excellent experience that’s inspiring and entertaining,” says

Cuisine editor, Sarah Nicholson.

This is the ninth year of the awards (previously known as the Cuisine NZ Restaurant

of the Year Awards), which are New Zealand’s only national restaurant awards.

Clooney, also in Auckland, is the only other restaurant to be awarded three chef’s

hats, with head chef Des Harris also taking out the Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year


“Des Harris is nailing it. Yes, his food is intelligent and expertly composed, but most

importantly, it is absolutely delicious,” says Nicholson.

Tyack said the judges were pleased to note that throughout the country, New

Zealand’s dining scene is continuing to evolve and strengthen.

“The connection between wine lists and menus is growing stronger, while the

continuing recognition of the value of locally sourced produce is hugely positive,” he


“The ongoing development of great food and service in provincial centres is a

highlight – our two best regional restaurants are both first-time award winners,” says

Nicholson of Hamilton’s Victoria Street Bistro – European Foods Best Regional

Restaurant – and the runner-up, Queenstown’s Rata.

Auckland restaurant Kazuya claimed the title of Electrolux Best New Restaurant. In

addition to the excellent cuisine from chef-owner Kazuya Yamauchi, the judges

commented that they loved the entertaining and engaging service. The runner-up is

Napier’s Mister D, which the judges felt had brought a new sense of relaxed dining to

Hawke’s Bay.

Plumm Glassware Best Specialist Restaurant is French eatery Hippopotamus in

Wellington and the Whitestone Cheese Best Winery Restaurant is Central Otago’s

picturesque Amisfield Bistro, with Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North the runner-up.

This year’s Villa Maria Estate Restaurant Personality of the Year is Al Brown.

“Al Brown has a knack for gauging exactly what we want to eat and drink right now,”

says Nicholson, noting his Auckland restaurant Depot has set many of the most

recent dining trends in New Zealand, including the joys of wine on tap, sliders, lamb

ribs and freshly shucked clams.

For further details on all the winners and other top restaurants across New Zealand,

check out the Cuisine NZ Good Food Guide – free with the July issue of Cuisine, on

sale 24 June. For more information on the awards go to

or pick up a copy of the magazine.


Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards 2013

Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2013: The French Café

SanPellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant: The French Café, Auckland

Runner-up: Clooney, Auckland

Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year: Des Harris, Clooney

Electrolux Best New Restaurant: Kazuya, Auckland

Runner-up: Mister D, Napier

European Foods Best Regional Restaurant: Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton

Runner-up: Rata, Queenstown

Plumm Glassware Best Specialist Restaurant: Hippopotamus, Museum Hotel Wellington

Whitestone Cheese Best Winery Restaurant: Amisfield Bistro, Central Otago

Runner-up: Black Barn Bistro, Havelock North

Villa Maria Estate Restaurant Personality of the Year: Al Brown, Depot, Auckland

The 2013 Chef’s Hats

3 Hats
The French Café

2 Hats
Logan Brown
The Grill
The Grove

1 Hat
Amisfield Bistro
O’Connell Street Bistro
Ponsonby Road Bistro
Riverstone Kitchen
Soul Bar & Bistro
The Engine Room
The Larder
Victoria Street Bistro

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