ADDRESS:   86 Federal St, Auckland CBD
MAINS:   $29 – $38
CONTACT:   09 363 7048
SCORE:   16.5 / 20

A heavily frequented fixture on Federal St, and deservedly so. The brainchild of Al Brown, the establishment is now entering its second decade – a notable achievement when there are plenty of other neighbours to choose from within the immediate dining precinct. Super-talented Maria Schosser leads a menu that begins with an ever-changing raw bar (all manner of oysters forever being shucked, fresh clams, sashimi) and then fans out into foods cooked over charcoal or hard wood, bringing out the best in even the more difficult cuts of meat. A case in point: the skirt steak with tobacco onions. An extensive wine and beer list won’t leave you wanting. Depot is open morning through night. That it can maintain a lively, buzzy atmosphere and a snazzy standard of service and food throughout is testament to the original dream.

IN BRIEF: A busy, buzzy Federal Street fave