Azabu
Gemmayze St
Lokanta
Osteria
Spacca
Paris Butter

The most exciting restaurants of 2016 (so far)

With a proliferation of divine dining destinations surfacing to meet Auckland’s demand for world-class fare, we herewith present THE six newcomers you need to know:

1. Azabu
As the city’s only establishment serving up exemplary examples of Nikkei cuisine — where Peruvian-Japanese flavours collide in the most utterly delectable way — alongside a multitude of fun and interesting modern Japanese dishes, perhaps what we love the most about this new kid on the Ponsonby block is its ability to make you feel like you’ve ventured far afield without leaving the comforting embrace of Auckland’s hippest city fringe suburb. Start with a cheeky pre-dinner beverage and a game of Pacman at cocktail and saké bar ROJI and the evening’s agenda will no doubt take care of itself. To find out more, click here. (26 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby)

2. Gemmayze St
Behold an incongruous crossroad of casual yet refined, cool and yet familiar Lebanese fare. Set within Saint Kevins Arcade, Gemmayze St has set foodie hearts a-flutter with a variety of tantalising eats from the classic Lebanese fried cauliflower with caramelised cauliflower puree through to the lambs tongue, poached in fennel and coriander seeds, served with a chunky clove-ridden tomato chutney. You’d be wise to leave room for the Gemmayze St Mess of rhubarb, burnt white chocolate, caramelised pear and filo. To find out more, click here. (Shop 15-16, St Kevins Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road, Auckland)

3. Lokanta
The impeccable chargrilled octopus — a delicacy that’s notoriously difficult to get right — with fava puree, rocket and lemon is a reason on its own to visit Lokanta. Combining flavours from his hometown in Turkey with eastern Greek cuisine, particularly flavours from the islands, with Head Chef Zeki Kizilata at the helm, you can expect authentic Mediterranean cuisine at its finest here. It is our duty to share that their beer-battered mussel skewers with Greek almond and garlic skordalia sauce is a fine accompaniment to an icy Turkish beer or better yet, the Santorini martini. To find out more, click here. (137A Richmond Road, Grey Lynn)

4. Osteria
Tacked onto the front of stalwart pizzeria Non Solo Pizza, Osteria is an extension of Antonio Crisci’s celebrated Italian operation. True to its name — an osteria is used to describe an Italian restaurant whose offerings are typically simple and inexpensive — here you’ll find a taste of the Italian way of life. We recommend partaking in a custard-filled sugar-coated doughnut with your morning brew only to return after a day’s work to indulge in the art of aperitivo with the help of the Mozzarella and crudo bar as well as the many small plates of cured meats like the charcoal roasted organic free-range porchetta. To find out more, click here. (259 Parnell Road, Parnell)

5. Spacca
Serving up a series of Neapolitan specialities that are anything but your run-of-the-mill Italian cuisine, this stylish little eatery has so far attracted the attention of savvy local gourmands and those who know a promising gastronomic newcomer when they see one. Stop in for Acqua Pazza (meaning “crazy water”) comprising fish fillets cooked with pomodorini, parsley, garlic, prawns and salty water or pick up the finest Neapolitan pizzas you’re likely to find in Auckland. Bookings are essential and well worth the foresight. To find out more, click here. (547 Remuera Rd, Remuera)

6. Paris Butter
Herne Bay’s new franco-inspired resident has been drawing in the crowds with its menu of mouth-watering French fare for a little while now. And why wouldn’t it when contemporary French fare that is neither stuffy nor derelict are on the cards. From to-die-for steak served with the restaurant’s namesake butter to crème brûlée that’s prepared with a traditional iron, you’ll most certainly find the classics brought back to life here. To find out more, click here. *Paris Butter will be closed from 31st of July until 17th of August.(166 Jervois Road, Herne Bay)

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