New Zealand's rich mixture of cultures and food traditions, plus its world famous meat and vegetables, makes it a joy for the foody with upmarket tastes. Across the country, world class restaurants are available, with every type of taste bud catered for. For those that like to dine at the highest end of the scale, here are the best eateries on offer.
Not only is A Deco the best restaurant in Whangarei, it is arguably the best place to eat in the entire nation. Every element of the experience reinforces a sense of class and quality, from the elegant art deco cutlery to the wonderful ambience to the elegant food. Amongst the menu's many highlights are the three-cheese fritters, the rich pork belly and the snapper and baked kumara. Plus, there's a magnificent wine list too.
Black Barn Bistro
When it's lunchtime in Hawke's Bay those looking for an hour or two of fine dining head to the Black Barn Bistro. Here, overlooking the miles and miles of vineyards, you can sit, peacefully sipping a delicious vintage and tucking in to the magnificent menu. The sumac crusted venison is one of the menus many standout dishes, as is the pork belly with chilli pineapple salsa. Another highlight is the ultra friendly staff, who pack an impressively deep knowledge of both wine and food to go along with the speedy service. There are few winery lunches as good as this anywhere in the world.
In Auckland, an upmarket eatery has to be good to survive, so Cibo's long standing status as one of the city's hippest restaurants is testament to its quality. It's an attractive, hip, playful place, with a lush combination of Asian and European haute cuisine on the menu. The most recommended plate on the menu is probably the Roasted hapku with slipper lobster, XO sauce, snake beans and coconut porridge, which blends spectacular contrasting flavours into a single stunning dish.
Fittingly named, considering it is the busiest bistro in New Zealand's capital city, Capitol is rarely anything less than jam packed. Its popularity amongst the Wellington natives will be understandable once you taste the food from head chef Tom Hutchison, who blends Italian and local traditions into full flavoured dishes such as leek risotto, clams with lemon zest and fresh grilled sardines. You can wash it all down with something from the wonderfully extensive wine list.