Elle Armon-Jones @vineyardcottagesnz

From the confines of Vineyard Cottages I am missing the fried chicken from Lowbrow. You can keep your other fried-chicken brands, I am craving those OG wings. I have punished my taste buds trying to recreate the flavour, only to end up choking on celery salt and scowling at my husband for saying, “Well, you tried.” I miss my sneaky elevenses at The Federal Delicatessen – a bowl of matzo soup and a Bloody Mary – and meeting my husband after work at 1947 for a bowl of chilli chicken, some lamb chops and one of their superb gin and tonics.
Lowbrow, lowbrow.co.nz
Federal Delicatessen, thefed.co.nz
1947 Eatery, 1947eatery.co.nz

Anna King Shahab @lazysusan.nz, @radish

I can’t wait to restart the usual Saturday morning ritual: a wander to La Voie Française for baguettes, pain de campagne and various treats (always the walnut, blue cheese and honey bread) to enjoy back at home with coffee. I miss meeting friends at Cazador Deli for the best coffee. I’m definitely going back to Bar Magda as soon as possible; we did a tasting menu there not long before lockdown and I’m amped to see what Carlo and his team will do with the early spring produce that will be around (thinking positively) when we’re out of lockdown. But first, a takeaway dish that everyone in our family is sorely missing – because I just can’t nail the wok hei-inflicted char at home: fried green beans and pork mince, with gloriously umami flecks of Chinese olive. The version from Golden Steamboat, tucked away upstairs in Balmoral, is very good.
La Voie Française, facebook.com/LVFrancaise
Cazador Deli, cazador.co.nz/delicatessen
Bar Magda, barmagda.co.nz
Golden Steamboat, 09 638 8268

Nicola Chan @chan_can_eat

I’m finding it hard to live without oysters. I am pining for the moment I am reunited with a tray of chilled, freshly shucked oysters. It is near impossible to replicate the magic at home. In my first moment of freedom you’ll find me parked up at Auckland Viaduct’s Saint Alice, watching the sun set over the Waitematā Harbour and chowing down on Oyster McMuffins and (at least) a dozen Te Matuku oysters.
Saint Alice, saintalice.co.nz


Annie Dundas @visitauckland, #iconicaucklandeats

I am literally drooling at the thought of my first out-of-lockdown eating experiences…. Homeland for breakfast of hot-smoked Ōra King salmon, soft-boiled egg, roast fennel, celeriac remoulade, buffalo feta and toast. Hello Beasty for lunch – their prawn & crab toast (an Iconic Auckland Eat in 2020) is so understated in its name. It’s prawn and crab toast, seared grain-fed eye fillet, sweet and sour sauce, Japanese mayo and green onions. Beau wine bar in Three Lamps for small plates and a selection of incredible wines: beef tartare with smoked Cheddar, Freaky Fried Chicken with sesame mayo or the roast cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate – all incredible. I might try all these in one day… Possible? Of course!
Homeland, homelandnz.com
Hello Beasty, hellobeasty.nz
Beau, beauponsonby.co.nz

Lauraine Jacobs laurainejacobs.co.nz

All days are the same during the tedium of lockdown, and yet almost every day while cooking at home I imagine a magic carpet just might fly by to whisk me away to Cocoro to feast on Chef Makoto’s food. The outstanding dish that I crave – unequalled in the city and almost impossible to recreate – is his signature silky chawanmushi, always served piping hot in an exquisite bowl. Spring has arrived (not that you’d know it) and with that there will be delicate whitebait cocooned in that incredible soft egg custard. We can’t wait to get back there and my husband Murray, as a dedicated fish lover, will grin from ear to ear when he orders the best sashimi south of Tokyo.
Cocoro, cocoro.co.nz

Tim Scott
CEO Unparalleled Journeys

When I was told we were heading into a lockdown, my first thought was ‘OMG I have to cook’ and can’t go to Madame George for a Pisco Sour or three, beautiful Wagyu beef and that big, happy smile and hospitality from Pablo. As soon as Madame George opens, I’ll be banging on the door.

I live in the Viaduct and our favourite restaurant/bar is Hello Beasty, visiting two or three times a week. Stu and Emma provide much more than food, a friendly team and hospitality at a level we are proud of. Lockdown came and all I could think of was where is my next tuna tartare and slow-cooked lamb shoulder with a bottle of malbec going to come from, and on our walk home a delicious cheese platter and digestif at Baduzzi – Michael and his team are outstanding. OMG, my Saturday morning at Homeland – the scone, coffee, Turkish eggs and the best Bloody Mary starts our Saturday. Peter and Alastair have created an experience beyond my ability to produce in my kitchen. I’ll be at the front door of Homeland as soon as it re-opens.
Madame George, madamegeorge.co.nz
Hello Beasty, hellobeasty.nz
Baduzzi, baduzzi.co.nz
Homeland, homelandnz.com

Rob Eliott @lemongrass_nz

I’ll be heading to Culprit for the ‘Jetset’ menu (a thousand percent more fun than my ‘lockdown pumpkin surprise’). There’ll be an afternoon on the deck at Soul and I will finally take my partner, Jo, to Mr Morris to eat, well, everything. The Restaurant Month ‘Social Hour’ promotion of $40 for two cocktails and a sharing plate at top spots around the city was so good – I’ll be planning catch-ups at Xuxu for their Negroni and dumplings as soon as Jacinda gives us the nod.
Culprit, culpritdiningroom.co.nz
Soul, soulbar.co.nz
Mr Morris, mrmorris.nz
Xuxu, xuxu.co.nz

Jennifer Yee Collinson @culinaryjourneys

I have been dreaming about Barulho in Parnell and Sarah’s slow-cooked BBQ lamb shoulder, salsa verde with polenta gnocchi and her burnt Basque cheesecake with roast rhubarb and lemon crema, which I won’t be sharing! I’ll be hitting Canto Canto in Westfield Newmarket for fresh HK-style wonton noodle soup with choy sum – a big hug in a bowl. For special dinner and drinks, Pasture or Boxer where the team will take great care of you. Alpha for baked goodies and take-out by day, and at night chef’s test kitchen and evolving pop-up guest series. I’m missing the monthly test kitchen at Gochu in Commercial Bay but immediately going for the now famous milk buns with spicy pork and a jug of beurre blanc.
Barulho, barulhoparnell.com
Canto Canto, cantocanto.co.nz
Pasture / Alpha, pastureakl.com
Boxer, boxerakl.com
Gochu, gochugotyou.co.nz

Matt Patrick @matthewlpatrick

When the doors at Lilian open, that’s where I’ll be, for the tua tua with ’nduja and preserved lemon and that woodfired flat bread to sop up the juices. The perfect antidote to who-knows-how-many weeks of nothing but, sometimes questionable, home cooking. There will have to be a long lunch at The Lodge Bar, too, for good measure. Exec chef Matt Lambert is a rock star, the service is impeccable and I’ve been dreaming of going back all lockdown.
Lilian, lilian.co.nz
The Lodge Bar, roddandgunn.com/nz/the-lodge-bar

Kerrie McGirr @tealgreenmonday

During lockdown I’ve been dreaming about the spicy, sticky deliciousness of Ockhee’s Korean fried chicken; I’m not even going to try to recreate this amazing dish at home. Another much- missed gem is Apero’s homemade pork sausage with the pickles and mustard, all washed down with a glass of wine from their all-hits-no- misses wine list. Perfection! I’m really missing Bunga Raya’s KL-style char kway teow. I haven’t tried to make it at home during lockdown; it’s impossible to recreate John & Rita’s wok hei perfection! I also can’t wait to have the Jordanian mint tea at Petra Shawarma again… my own home- made version was pretty terrible.
Ockhee, ockheedokey.com
Apero, apero.co.nz
Bunga Raya, facebook.com/Bunga-Raya-Restaurant 30208720952
Petra Shawarma, petrashawarma.co.nz

Kerrie McGirr was the winner of the Iconic Auckland Eats competition 2020, based on her nominations for Auckland’s best 100 dishes. After winning a voucher for each dish, she has been tasting her way through each one and posting a review of them on her Instagram.

Look out for the next edition of Iconic Auckland Eats, due out in November. iconiceats.co.nz