New dining precincts Federal Street and Britomart have made their mark on the foodie scene, featuring heavily in a newly named list of Auckland's top 50 eateries.
The annual Metro/Audi Restaurant of the Year top 50 list has been released and Metro editor and award judge, Simon Wilson said the emerging hot-spots have "upped the ante for the restaurant scene in Auckland."
"They've created a geographic and atmospheric shift in dining," he said.
"More established precincts such as Ponsonby and Parnell are having to work hard to compete."
Meanwhile, the Wynyard Quarter's North Wharf, buzzing during the Rugby World Cup, failed to get a mention at all.
"They have many good places down there to eat and drink and enjoy the atmosphere, but the mix doesn't include any really high-quality flagship restaurants, either formal or informal, and that's disappointing," Wilson said.
A dozen of the top 50 make their debut on the list, about half are new restaurants to Auckland, and a bunch of high-profile Auckland venues failed to make the cut like SPQR, Sails, Grand Harbour, One Tree Grill and Satya.
"In most cases, what makes a restaurant fall off the list is the fact it's continuing to do what it has always done while the standard of other places has risen around them," Wilson said.
"It's especially notable that, while there are half a dozen Japanese restaurants in the top 50 including the exceptionally good Cocoro in Ponsonby, we haven't found room for a single Chinese restaurant. That's probably the biggest single gap in good Auckland eating right now."
Judges will name a best in category in five sections - fine dining, smart dining, upmarket bistro, casual bistro and Asian.
Other award categories include progressive restaurateur of the year, best chef, best service, best dish, best rural restaurant, best short and long drinks lists, best new restaurant and a supreme winner.
Wilson promises "quite a few surprises" when the winners are announced at a special event at St Matthew's in the City on April 23.
The Metro/Audi Restaurant of the Year Top 50 (in alphabetical order):
Basque Kitchen and Bar
Cable Bay Restaurant & Wine Bar
Cru at Sale St
Dine by Peter Gordon
Non Solo Pizza
O'Connell Street Bistro
Ponsonby Road Bistro
Sake Bar 601
Soul Bar & Bistro
The Engine Room
The French Café
The Grill by Sean Connolly
The Shed at Te Motu
The Tasting Shed
- HERALD ONLINE