Tauranga's Elizabeth Cafe and Larder won the title of best metro/CBD cafe at the New Zealand Cafe of the Year awards.

Owners Andrew Targett and Annmarie Cambie said the win was the "icing on the cake" of their three-year cafe journey.

"It was awesome. I had goose-bumps, it was kind of surreal," Mr Targett said.

Ms Cambie said achieving the title had been a goal "right from the get go".

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Elizabeth Cafe and Larder were up against cafes from self-proclaimed coffee capitals Wellington and Auckland.

"You look at it and think you're never going to win," Mr Targett said.

Mr Targett and Ms Cambie established Elizabeth Cafe and Larder three years ago, after inspiration from Sydney cafes.

"We lived overseas and always wanted our own cafe and we wanted to put a bit of the big city into Tauranga," Ms Cambie said.

Ms Cambie said Tauranga's population boom helped Elizabeth Cafe and Larder develop to what it was today. "Often the regions are left out.

"This has been part of the city's growth, we're right amongst it," she said.

Mr Targett said Elizabeth Cafe and Larder stood out because of its "hands on" approach.

"We do everything from scratch, the kitchen operates 24/7," he said.

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Ms Cambie put their win down to a combined effort and hardworking staff.

Coffee stood out as a big part of Elizabeth Cafe and Larder's culture, with about 400 made each day.

The cafes were judged by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, which took into account factors such as atmosphere, staff interaction, and menu, meal and coffee.

The supreme winner was Bespoke Kitchen, in Queenstown.

Mr Targett and Ms Cambie said they and their staff would be celebrating the win with champagne and "a big staff party".