Viva's Top-Rated Restaurants of 2016

From the latest openings of the year to long-standing classics, rediscover Jesse Mulligan's top-rated restaurants of the year


The sashimi at Kazuya. Picture / Doug Sherring

Pasture, Parnell - 10/10
Cutting-edge culinary experience Pasture would make a top 10 list in almost any city in the world, with cooking that is innovative but transparent; flavours challenging but straightforward.
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READ: Meet the Couple Behind Pasture

Culprit, Auckland Central - 9.5/10
With so many good restaurants opening this year, Culprit - with a cooking team led by Kyle Street - is a reminder that there is still room for great.
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Azabu, Ponsonby - 9.5/10
Described as “modern Japanese”, Azabu’s success begins with the service, which they’ve managed to pitch right in the sweet spot of casual excellence.
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Kazuya, Symonds St - 9.5/10
Dining at this fine dining restaurant is an almost flawless experience, where you’ll get more for your buck than anywhere else in the city.
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Augustus, Ponsonby - 9/10
The sunny courtyard alone at Chris Rupe’s new restaurant has immediately become one of Ponsonby’s best places for a drink.
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READ: Chris Rupe on Transforming a Ponsonby Icon

Soul Bar & Bistro, Viaduct Harbour - 9/10
The interior may be new but Soul Bar & Bistro’s excellence is unchanged.
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Amano, Britomart - 9/10
The latest restaurant from the Hip Group is another almost flawless Auckland opening. Are you keeping up? Add it to your list, if there’s still any room on it.
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MooChowChow, Ponsonby - 9/10
MooChowChow’s ad-libbed informality makes the dining experience fantastically fun, which is the variable people most often forget when choosing where to eat.
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True Food, Orakei - 9/10
"Nutrient-dense" is how chef Nic Watt describes his approach at True Food, where you leave feeling light yet soulfully satisfied.
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Cibo, Parnell - 9/10
If you haven’t been to Cibo in the past few years, revisit it on your next special occasion. You can’t go wrong with the menu, which is both upmarket and reassuring, inventive without being edgy.
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Little Jimmy, Epsom - 9/10
The second opening from the owners of One Tree Grill, Little Jimmy shows a maturity that belies its short existence
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Paris Butter, Herne Bay - 8.5/10
Almost everything we ate at Nick Honeyman’s new opening was flawless and impeccably constructed.
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Lucky Lucky Dumplings, K Rd - 8.5/10
This is dining unlike you’ll find anywhere else in Auckland. There are dumplings, as you’d expect, and they are hot and quivering and firm to the bite.
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Molten, Mt Eden - 8.5/10
Molten has always been well supported by locals, but now it has a new chef and it’s turning out the sort of food worth crossing the city for.
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Meat Fish Wine, Auckland Central - 8.5/10
Meat Fish Wine is worth visiting just to check out the fit-out room, suddenly one of the best high-end dining environments in the city.
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Giusto, Sale St - 8.5/10
Visit and experience the almost perfect food at Giusto, and reward the chef for tossing in the good life in Wellington and coming up here to do his thing.
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