Best Restaurants in New Zealand 2015

Canterbury restaurant Roots has been named Cuisine magazine's NZ Restaurant of the Year 2015.

The degustation-only Lyttelton restaurant is owned by chef Giulio Sturla and his partner Christy Martin - the pair set up the restaurant in 2012, following the 2011 Canterbury quake. "It showed me life is today, not tomorrow, so why not?" Chilean-born Sturla said.

Auckland's Sidart, which took out the 2014 Restaurant of the Year title, was crowned Sanpellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant in this year's awards.

Auckland's The French Café was recognised for its impeccable wine service with the Negociants New Zealand Best Wine Experience award. The restaurant was also named joint runner-up Best Metropolitan Restaurant, together with The Grove.

Wellington's smart and chic new seafood-focused restaurant Whitebait won Electrolux Best New Restaurant, while the capital's Jano Bistro was runner-up.

Napier's quirky, creative restaurant Pacifica was named KitchenAid Best Regional Restaurant, with Nelson favourite Hopgood's runner-up.

Cazador, a game-focused Auckland eatery, was awarded the title of American Express Best Specialist Restaurant.

North Canterbury's idyllic Pegasus Bay took out the Best Winery Restaurant award, with Hawke's Bay's stylish Elephant Hill runner-up.

Wellington's Ortega Fish Shack maître d' Davey McDonald was named Ghiotti by European Foods Restaurant Personality of the Year, with judges commenting on the warmth, knowledge and commitment that McDonald brings to the restaurant.

Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards 2015 winners:

Restaurant of the Year 2015: Roots, Lyttelton

Innovation Award: Roots, Lyttelton

Chef of the Year: Benjamin Bayly, Baduzzi and The Grove, Auckland

Best Metropolitan Restaurant: Sidart, Auckland
Joint runners-up: The Grove & The French Café, both Auckland

Best Regional Restaurant: Pacifica, Napier
Runner-up: Hopgood's, Nelson

Best New Restaurant: Whitebait, Wellington
Runner-up: Jano Bistro, Wellington

Best Specialist Restaurant: Cazador, Auckland

Best Winery Restaurant: Pegasus Bay, North Canterbury
Runner-up: Elephant Hill, Hawke's Bay

Restaurant Personality of the Year: Davey McDonald, Ortega Fish Shack, Wellington

New Zealand Best Wine Experience: The French Café, Auckland

2015 Hat recipients

Scores out of 20 determine a restaurant's hat rating. One hat is (15/20) is considered very good, two hats (16-17) is great to excellent and three hats (18-20) mean a restaurant is consistently amazing and among the very best.


Sidart, Auckland
The French Café, Auckland
The Grove, Auckland
Kazuya, Auckland


Baduzzi, Auckland
Cazador, Auckland
Clooney, Auckland
Cocoro, Auckland
Logan Brown, Wellington
Masu, Auckland
Merediths, Auckland
Roots, Lyttelton


Bracken, Dunedin
Bracu, Auckland
Charley Noble, Wellington
Depot, Auckland
Elephant Hill, Hawke's Bay
Harlequin Public House, Christchurch
Hopgood's, Nelson
Jano Bistro, Wellington
Orphans Kitchen, Auckland
Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, Wellington
Pacifica, Napier
Palate, Hamilton
Pegasus Bay, North Canterbury
Pescatore, Christchurch
Ponsonby Road Bistro, Auckland
Rata, Queenstown
Riverstone Kitchen, North Otago
Saggio di Vino, Christchurch
Soul Bar & Bistro, Auckland
The Engine Room, Auckland
The Grill by Sean Connolly, Auckland
The Larder, Wellington
Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton
WBC, Wellington
Whitebait, Wellington


Best Restaurants in New Zealand 20114

The 2014 winners of the Cuisine Food Magazine's annual awards are:

Restaurant of the Year

Level 1, Three Lamps Plaza, 283 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland
Ph: 09-360 2122

Chef of the Year

Ben Bayly

The Grove
St Patrick's Square, 43 Wyndham St, Auckland
Ph: 09-368 4129

Corner Jellicoe St & Fish Lane, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland City,
Ph: 09-309 9339

Best Metropolitan Restaurant

Level 1, Three Lamps Plaza, 283 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland
Ph: 09-360 2122

Best Regional Restaurant

Chim choo Ree
14 Bridge Street, Hamilton Central
Ph: 07-839 4329


1431 State Highway 1, RD 5H, Oamaru
Ph: 03-431 3505

Best New Restaurant

SkyCity Grand Hotel, 90 Federal St, Auckland
Ph: 09-363 6278


8 London Street, Lyttelton
Ph: 03-328 7658

Best Specialist Restaurant

Corner Jellicoe St & Fish Lane, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland City,
Ph: 09-309 9339


Ortega Fish Shack & Bar
16 Majoribanks, Mt Victoria, Wellington
Ph: 04-382 9559

Best Winery Restaurant

Elephant Hill
86 Clifton Rd, Te Awanga, Hawkes Bay
Ph: 06-872 6060


Amisfield Bistro
10 Lake Hayes Rd, RD1, Queenstown
Ph: 03-442 0556

Restaurant Personality of the Year

Mojo Horiuchi
193 Symonds St, Eden Terrace, Auckland
Ph: 09-377 8537

New Zealand Best Wine Experience

O'Connell Street Bistro
3 O'Connell St, Auckland
Ph: 09-377 1884


Best Restaurants in New Zealand 2013

Two Auckland restaurants have been given top billing in the 2013 Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards, each earning the maximum rating of three chef's hats. 

They are The French Café and Clooney.

The French Café was awarded the 2013 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (as well as the SanPellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant).

"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.

Clooney's head chef, Des Harris, also took out the Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year award.

The ninth series of awards (previously known as the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards), are New Zealand's only national restaurant awards.

"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," Nicholson said, referring to 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.

Villa Maria Estate Restaurant Personality of the Year was 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.

Winners 2013

Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2013
Winner - The French Café

Best Metropolitan Restaurant
Winner - The French Café, Auckland
Runner-up - Clooney, Auckland

Chef of the Year
Winner - Des Harris, Clooney

Best New Restaurant
Winner - Kazuya, Auckland
Runner-up - Mister D, Napier

Best Regional Restaurant
Winner - Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton
Runner-up - Rata, Queenstown

Best Specialist Restaurant
Winner - Hippopotamus, Museum Hotel Wellington

Best Winery Restaurant
Winner - Amisfield Bistro, Central Otago
Runner-up - Black Barn Bistro, Havelock North

Restaurant Personality of the Year
Winner - Al Brown, Depot, Auckland

The 2013 Chef's Hats:

Clooney, The French Café, Kazuya, Logan Brown, Meredith,s Sidart, The Grill, The Grove, Amisfield Bistro, Cibo Depo,t Hippopotamus, O'Connell Street Bistro, Ponsonby Road Bistro, Rata, Riverstone Kitchen, Soul Bar & Bistro, The Engine Room, The Larder, Victoria Street Bistro.

See Also

Auckland's Best Restaurants 2013

Auckland's Best Restaurants 2012


Best Restaurants in New Zealand 2011

Auckland's Merediths Restaurant was awarded the title of New Zealand's best restaurant for 2011.

It was hailed as the Supreme Winner Of The Cuisine NZ Restaurant Of The Year Awards 2011.

Winners 2011

Supreme Winner
Merediths, Auckland

Best Smart Dining Metropolitan
Winner - Merediths, Auckland
Runner-Up - Ambeli, Wellington

Best Smart Dining Regional (sponsored by Vittoria Coffee)
Winner - à Deco, Whangarei
Runner-Up - Boutereys Bar & Restaurant, Nelson

Best Casual Dining Metropolitan (sponsored by Sanpellegrino)
Winner - Arbitrageur, Wellington
Runner-Up - Ponsonby Road Bistro, Auckland

Best Casual Dining Regional (sponsored by Electrolux)
First Equal - Riverstone Kitchen, North Otago
First Equal - Palate, Hamilton

Best Specialist Restaurant (sponsored by Plumm Glassware)
Winner - Cocoro, Auckland

Best Winery Restaurant (sponsored by Whitestone Cheese)
First Equal - Pegasus Bay, Canterbury
First Equal - Black Barn Bistro, Hawke's Bay


Best Restaurants in New Zealand 2009

If you are looking for the best restaurant in New Zealand then look no more as Wellington restaurant Logan Brown has been named the Best Restaurant in New Zealand in the 2009 NZ Cuisine 'Restaurant of the Year' awards.

Owned by Steve Logan and Al Brown, hosts of the popular New Zealand television show Hunger for the Wild, the restaurant beat 39 other finalists to take New Zealand's best restaurant award.

This was the fourth time in the last five years that a Wellington restaurant won the title, backing up the city's claim to be the gourmet centre of New Zealand.

Overall Winner of Best Restaurant in New Zealand 2009

Logan Brown, Wellington

Metropolitan Winners 2009

Best Smart Dining
Winner - Logan Brown, Wellington
Runner-up - Clooney, Auckland

Best Casual Dining
Winner - Soul Bar & Bistro, Auckland
Runner-up - Saggio di Vino, Christchurch

Best Neighbourhood Restaurant
Winner - Molten, Mt Eden, Auckland

Regional Winners 2009

Best Smart Dining
Winner - Bouterey's at 251, Richmond, Nelson
Runner-up - Pacifica, Napier

Best Casual Dining
Winner - Hopgood's Restaurant & Bar, Nelso
Runner-up - Wendy Campbell's French Bistro, Martinborough

Best Winery Restaurant
Joint Winners - Terroir at Craggy Range Vineyard, Hawke's Bay and Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant, Waipara