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Sid at the French Café

AUCKLAND. It can’t be easy taking over an institution that is synonymous with excellence in food, service and style. For three decades, The French Café has been in the careful hands of some of the country’s best chefs. Until September 2018, owners for 20 years, Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright, delivered food with simple elegance backed up with impeccable technique that made Simon’s cooking much loved. Assured service headed by Creghan made dining there a delight.

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Māha @ Wharepuke

NORTHLAND. Earthy and esoteric elements meld in a pan-Asian menu where authenticity frames every dish, as the food stories of chef-proprietor Ming Poon’s journey from China to Spain to New Zealand are portrayed in flavour and form; a plated travelogue presented with passion and precision.

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PICO BAR + EATERY

WELLINGTON. Despite fresh jungle-themed wallpaper and new lampshades that look like swollen eel traps, Pico Bar + Eatery is still easily recognisable as the old Zibibbo. But the significant change is that this Wellington institution is no longer so much a restaurant as a bar with good food.

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Spring Kitchen

WELLINGTON. Luxuriating in beautiful neo-classical detail yet recently threatened with demolition, Wellington’s 1928 T & G Building has now been fully restored as a bijou boutique hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton.

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Arden

NELSON. Never short of bars to repair to after a hard day at the beach, Nelson saw a whole new rash of openings late last year, just in time for the long, lovely summer season.

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