Pacifica Restaurant being named New Zealand's Restaurant of the Year "reinforces all the great things about Hawke's Bay" says the region's tourism boss Annie Dundas.

"The wine, the food and the whole landscape - it's so special and we are very lucky," she said. "We do it so very well and it brings people here - they love what we have to offer."

Pacifica was one of four Hawke's Bay restaurants to feature in the winner's circle at the Cuisine Good Food Awards staged in Auckland on Monday night. Bistronomy, Malo and Elephant Hill also claimed awards.

Pacifica chef Jeremy Rameka was both delighted and humbled by the honour and said it was great for all restaurants across the land.


"It shows that right around the country the levels are going up," he said.

Pacifica was named Restaurant of the Year and praised by the judges for developing a genuine New Zealand cuisine which drew strongly on fresh and local ingredients.

The presentation was made to rapturous applause to him and his partner, and the restaurant's sommelier and maitre d', Natalie Bulman.

"It is fantastic news, just great and it shows what a vibrant city Napier has become," Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said, adding that grabbing two major national titles was very special. Bistronomy in Napier was named Best Regional Restaurant.

"Our hospitality industry here is world class and this reflects that - another part of putting Napier and the Bay on the map."

Mr Dalton said he had written to both Pacifica and Bistronomy restaurants offering his congratulations.

He said he had dined at Pacifica and simply summed it up as "amazing food".

Mr Rameka said it all came down to attitude and the whole approach to food.


"We don't need to copy anybody else," he said of the positive Kiwi restaurant food scene on the world stage.

Mr Rameka said it was about New Zealand honing its own identity.

The Cuisine Good Food Awards is the country's premier event for the hospitality scene, and was also a great night for three other Bay restaurants.

The Neat Meat Best Regional Restaurant Award went to Bistronomy in Napier and the Neighbourly Best New Restaurant went to Malo. Elephant Hill also made the winner's list taking a One Hat Award.

With Pacifica, Malo and Bistronomy also featuring in the hat list, from the levels of One Hat up to Three Hats, the region staked four Hats for quality recognition and three national category titles, making it the top region outside the main centres.

Pacifica had been named as the Top Regional Restaurant in 2015 and 2016 and has now taken the big one.

While Mr Rameka was pleased with the win he said he was more driven to get the whole "food scene to come up" across the whole country.

He has described his cuisine as a work in progress and the startling, bright blue Marine Parade's restaurant menu is a continually changing one, to take in what ingredients were available "and how the chef is feeling".

There has always been a strong seafood menu and Mr Rameka, proud of his Maori heritage, described the approach to it all as multi-cultural.

The restaurant has picked up a string of awards through the years and, just over two years after opening in 2006, was named the Grande Gourmet Outstanding Restaurant at the Hawke's Bay Hospitality Awards.

By 2015, it had picked up the title five times and Mr Rameka has a string of Outstanding Hawke's Bay Chef awards, including last year's title.

For Bistronomy it was second year running for a top Cuisine Good Food Award, having taken the Best New Regional Restaurant in 2016.

It also took the Outstanding Restaurant title at last year's Hawke's Bay Hospitality Awards as well as Outstanding Front of House Team.

It was a top result for Havelock North restaurant Malo which picked up Cuisine's Best New Regional Restaurant title as they opened their doors only last December.

For Elephant Hill, it was the second year running they had taken a one Hat rating award.