Whether you're after fine dining, a good solid Kiwi bistro or a beer and snacks in a low key cool setting, the Cuisine Top 100 list presents a varied, definitive guide to New Zealand's best restaurants.

This year judges say New Zealand's "ever-evolving dining scene" made the search for the country's best restaurants particularly tough - yes, eating your way from Dunedin to Waiheke Island sounds truly "awful".

But as Kerry Tyack, who lead 40 anonymous experts through a year of restaurant assessments explains, 2018 has been "particularly complex", due in part to the phenomenal growth in our dining scene.

"For the Cuisine Good Food Guide, 2018 has been a watershed year in so many ways. An unprecedented number of new entrants into the industry, myriad changes of chefs, new menu directions and a host of other developments – including the rise of casual dining – have made the assessment task more complex than ever.


"Throughout, our focus has been on preserving the integrity of the process while remaining true to our goal of highlighting and recognising the achievements of our exceptional restaurants and those who open their doors so that diners can enjoy them."

Heading down Auckland's Federal St will still serve you well: Al Brown's Depot and Federal Delicatessen both made the cut, as did neighbour Sean Connolly's two spots, The Grill and Gusto.

And while Masu by Nic Watt, also on the Sky City dining strip, features, newer venture Huami is missing from the list.

Not surprisingly, Sid Sahrawat's award-winning restaurants Cassia and Sidart are on the list too.

READ MORE: • Clean sweep for Sid: Auckland's restaurant of the year and runner-up go to same chef

Probably the most low key winner went to Satya Chai Lounge, a speakeasy-style craft beer and Indian snacks spot with two locations on Sandringham Rd and K' Rd.

In Havelock North, the lush summer destination of Black Barn Bistro made the list, as did après-ski favourite Botswana Butchery in Queenstown.

Now an independently owned publication, Cuisine editor and co-director Kelli Brett says the list reflects the steady growth of the restaurant industry in New Zealand, and a commitment to be the very best.


"It is a great time to be eating out in New Zealand. The Cuisine Top 100 list is not only a guide to finding our best dining experiences but also a resource that is increasingly being used worldwide as we claim a place for New Zealand as a premium food and drink destination."

The restaurants that made it into the top 100 will be celebrated in the annual Cuisine Good Food Guide. They'll also be invited to attend the prestigious Cuisine Good Food Awards evening on October 15, where one restaurant will be crowned the supreme winner.

2018's top 100 restaurants. Image / NZ Herald
2018's top 100 restaurants. Image / NZ Herald