Where’s your top spot at Prego – at the bar, by the roaring fire, in the courtyard? At this Auckland stalwart, customers have been coming back for years claiming their favourite table, ordering their favourite dish, greeting familiar staff. Indeed general manager Brandon Lela’ulu and head chef Lennox Bull clock up 28 Prego years between them, so they know the regulars like family and the front of house staff are well-trained, attentive and friendly. A good family-style restaurant with an energetic atmosphere, the food comes in generous portions and it’s reliable, flavoursome, unpretentious fare, such as tender calamari or kingfish with a thick, buttery caper sauce. Pick something from the carefully selected drinks list of mostly local wines and, good to see, plenty of non-alcoholic drinks such as kombucha, juices and coconut water.

IN BRIEF Ponsonby old-timer still a firm favourite