Eight Bay of Plenty restaurants have received the longest running culinary award in New Zealand.

Central Park Bar & Kitchen, Katikati; Latitude 37, Mount Maunganui; Mount Bistro, Mount Maunganui; Tay Street Beach Café, Mount Maunganui; The Crown & Badger, Tauranga; Halo Lounge & Dining Trinity Wharf Tauranga; Bistro at Falls Retreat, Waihi and the Waihi Beach Hotel all picked up accolades.

The Beef and Lamb Excellence Award for 2019, now in their 23rd year, was awarded to the restaurants after a tough assessment process.

After an application process that saw more than 230 restaurants apply, an army of more than 100 independent, culinary-trained assessors were sent out to "mystery shop" the restaurants and return their verdicts on whether the dishes had met the standard to be labelled as a leader of beef and lamb cuisine.