The lobby restaurant of any hotel is its life and soul – and Gusto doesn’t disappoint. The central bar serves great coffee, pastries and snacks, while the menu inside delivers rustic Italian classics that all have a twist from internationally acclaimed chef Sean Connolly. If you are looking for a taste of Aotearoa, the scampi crudi, with chilli and lime is not to be missed, neither is the orgy of mushrooms served with Clevedon buffalo ricotta gnocchi. In fact, the entire menu at Gusto is built on treasured relationships between Connolly and local growers and producers, so settle in for an Italian experience that highlights quintessential New Zealand flavour. Melt-in-the-mouth risottos are made from scratch and pasta is created in-house. Restaurant manager John Logan knows a thing or two about the extensive wine list so relax and put yourself in his capable hands to find yourself in wine-and-food-match heaven.

IN BRIEF Smart Italian dining with NZ flavour