The Best Auckland Restaurants of 2017
Who won over our food critic Jesse Mulligan? Don't miss his top-rated restaurants of the year
Masu, City - 10/10
Masu's Sunday brunch buffet gained top marks for its delectable food that is stunning to look at and incredible to eat. The menu of fresh Japanese dishes is great value at $68 a head. And Masu is child-friendly, with a kids private dining room with books, toys and a flat screen to keep them entertained.
Clooney, Freemans Bay - 10/10
With flawless food and a room that makes you gasp as you walk in, Clooney is in a league of its own. Visionary owner Tony Stewart's aspirations to put Clooney in the global top 50 led to the arrival of chef Jacob Kear (ex-Noma), and a menu that was refined, technically-intensive and truly remarkable. Sadly, Tony has announced that Clooney will be closing its doors in January 2018.
Giraffe, Viaduct - 9.5/10
The food at Giraffe is all brilliant - classic standards with Japanese twists, spiked with fresh produce from the chef's garden table. Find a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen and prepare to be surprised.
Blue Breeze Inn, Ponsonby - 9.5/10
Fun, busy, sexy and friendly... Blue Breeze Inn is a great place to eat where the atmosphere is always superb. Their extensive list of traditional Chinese dishes, made with a modern twist, is hard to fault.
Ampersand, Orakei - 9.5/10
In the jazzed up Orakei Bay Village is Ampersand, a modern European eatery serving up exciting and unbelievably delicious dishes. Chef Mikey Newlands (ex-Bracu) is cooking the stuff he loves and the results are impressive.
Inti, City - 9/10
The food at Inti is magnificent, with barely a recognisable ingredient on the menu and each dish is a joyfully-arranged visual master. The obscurities are a mix of Latin American standards and contemporary experiments — like bread made with cricket flour, cactus guacamole and deep-fried avocado leaves.
Barulho, Parnell - 9/10
With a frequently changing menu of the Mediterranean / Portuguese style, Barulho serves up a little more spice that you might expect from these two places. Given how fun it is to sit in this room and how well they’re nailing the food, there is no reason not to head to Barulho immediately.
Huami, City - 9/10
SkyCity's Huami is pretty much faultless when judged against what it sets out to achieve. It aims to be a flashy restaurant serving perfect Chinese food to wealthy tourists in Auckland’s most high profile location. The kitchen examines the most crucial elements of Canton, Szechuan and Huaiyang cooking, and magnifies, dismantles and rebuilds them for maximum flavour and dramatic effect.
Cocoro, Ponsonby - 9/10
The menu is overwhelming, in a good way. You can choose from a tasting menu, the traditional a la carte, and then there is a page of daily specialities which looks easily as good as either of the others. Every dish is small, precise and perfect.
Madame George, K Rd - 8.5/10
Fun, independent and full of personality, Madame George is a K Rd gem with a sensational menu. The best things are the vegetables. Treated with respect and love, they appear on the plate as the best versions of themselves, masterpieces of flavour and texture.
Happy Boy, Royal Oak - 8.5/10
Mostly burgers with an Asian tilt, each has its own design charm, served with next-level buns — imagine a large Chinese pork bun but with no meat in it, steamed and sliced into two. The electric-blue and pink lighting creates a dreamy sexy-cool ambience.
Han, Parnell - 8.5/10
Han's chef is ex-Food Truck and ex-Merediths, and his cuisine is pitched as Modern Korean — in the way finer ingredients are substituted for traditional ones, and the care and beauty with which the meals are plated.