ADDRESS:   4 Viaduct Harbour Ave, Auckland CBD
MAINS:   $29 – $90
CONTACT:   09 379 9123
SCORE:   16.5 / 20

Nomadic head chef Sean Connolly knows about setting up hotel restaurants. Here in the fabulous QT Hotel, he once again delivers. Where this place really comes into its own is in the large sharing platters designed for 2-4 people – think Bistecca Fiorentina or the truly majestic slow-cooked Coastal Spring lamb shoulder with garlic, olives and anchovies. Bring the extended family for lazy Sunday lunch and be sure to get the excellent side dishes to round out the meal. Executive chef James Laird runs the kitchen and executes his food with flair while keeping with its unfussy presentation. Start with the soft and delectable puffed bread out of the gold-tiled pizza oven; pair it with a silky taramasalata. The service is enthusiastic and low key without being stuffy. Fun times.

IN BRIEF: Smart-casual Mediterranean, sun- soaked dining