A Japanese robata eatery which opened just six months ago has been named Auckland's restaurant of the year.
Masu, operated by Nic Watt, opened in Sky City's Federal Street dining precinct in October.
The restaurant has embraced the combination of a casual environment paired with exemplary food, according to Metro editor and judge Simon Wilson.
He describes Masu as a "most impressive" addition to Auckland's restaurant scene with a sophisticated yet informal style that complimented its flawless cuisine.
Watt beat competition stalwarts to receive top honours at the 2014 Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards at a ceremony at Shed 10 on Queen's Wharf tonight, where Masu also took out the Best New Restaurant and Best Smart Dining categories.
Masu opened upon Mr Watt's return from offshore. He spent eight years with the Roka group, a family of robatayaki-style (where food is barbecued on skewers) restaurants in London, Hong Kong, Macau and Arizona.
The establishment beat out runners up The Engine Room in Northcote Point and Ponsonby fine-dining restaurant Sidart, with last year's supreme winner The French Cafe taking the Best Service category.
Michael Dearth was named Restaurateur of the Year for his efforts in establishing The Grove and Baduzzi, which have both earned five spoons - top marks - in Metro's restaurant rating scale.
Other newcomers, Tom Hishon and Josh Helm of Ponsonby's Orphans Kitchen, were named Best New Talent and Best Renewal went to Mediterranean game-focused bistro Cazador on Dominion Rd.
Cloony was lauded for its degustation menu while Ima and Titirangi's The Refreshment Room were jointly praised for value for money.
Best Drinks List was won by Cocoro, Ponsonby Road Bistro took Best Mid-Size Drinks List and Best Short Drinks List went to Eight.Two.
Waiheke's The Shed at Te Motu Vineyard takes home Best Rural Restaurant.
A team of nine judges including restaurateurs and food writers decided this year's awards, but public votes saw Gatlin Avery of Depot named Restaurant Personality of the Year.
The 2014 winners have been chosen from 50 finalists and will feature in the May issue of Metro.
2014 Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards
Co-runner ups: The Engine Room and Sidart
BEST FINE DINING
Runner up: The Grove
BEST UPMARKET BISTRO
The Engine Room
Runner up: Baduzzi
BEST SMART DINING
Runner up: Clooney
BEST CASUAL BISTRO
Runner up: Coco's Cantina
RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR
Michael Dearth, The Grove/Baduzzi
Runner up: Kazuya
BEST NEW RESTAURANT
Sid Sahrawat, Sidart
Finalists: Makoto Tokuyama (Cocoro), Nic Watt (Masu), Ben Bayly (The Grove / Baduzzi), Des Harris (Clooney), Michael Meredith (Merediths), Kazuya Yamauchi (Kazuya).
BEST NEW TALENT
Tom Hishon and Josh Helm, Orphans Kitchen
The French Café
Finalists: The Engine Room, Sidart, Clooney, Kazuya and Coco's Cantina
Runner up: The Engine Room
The Shed, Te Motu
Runner up: Bracu
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Ima and The Refreshment Room (joint winners)
BEST DRINKS LIST
Finalists: Andiamo, Clooney, Masu and O'Connell St Bistro
BEST MID-SIZE DRINKS LIST
Ponsonby Road Bistro
Finalists: Baduzzi and Moochowchow
BEST SHORT DRINKS LIST
Finalists: Merediths and Stafford Rd Wine Bar
PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Gatlin Avery (Depot)