ADDRESS:   155 Karangahape Rd, Auckland CBD
MAINS:   $20 – $48
CONTACT:   09 213 0088
SCORE:   16 / 20

It’s official: K Road has become Auckland’s hottest dining destination. Burgeoning with new bars and restaurants, one of the most exciting openings in the last year is Candela. Chef-owner Matt Ross focuses on tapas-style food in a venue that is more bar than restaurant but manages to straddle both. Pop in for a glass of wine or flight of sherries and a charcuterie platter or, even better, while away the evening with a selection of dishes that seldom miss the mark. Be sure to get some empanadas; the flaky light pastry is a triumph while the slow- cooked meat filling is juicily tender. The atmosphere is bustling, noisy and spirited, yet the FOH staff hustle with flair and efficiency. The wine list is mostly Spanish and New Zealand drops with an emphasis on lo-fi organics.

IN BRIEF: Slick Iberian- style tapas bar