Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2008 Finalists

Press Release 19 June 2008

Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2008 Finalists Announced

Forty restaurants, from Arrowtown to Whangarei, have been unveiled as finalists in the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year 2008 Awards, proudly supported by Mercedes-Benz.

Acclaimed restaurants such as The French Café in Auckland and last year’s Supreme Winner, Martin Bosley’s in Wellington, sit alongside newcomers in the finalist line-up such as Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant in Waipara, Missy’s Kitchen in Wanaka and Bouterey's Restaurant & Bar at 251 in Richmond, Nelson.

Now in their fourth year, the esteemed Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards are the only national restaurant competition in this country celebrating the very best dining experiences.

The number of finalists this year increased from 33 to 40 in recognition of the growing number of exceptional eateries throughout the country, noted Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year head judge, Lauraine Jacobs.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the calibre and diversity of restaurants entering the competition this year,” she said. “You definitely don’t need to be in a big city to discover some of New Zealand’s best eating experiences. We have a wonderful regional spread with an exceptionally good showing from South Canterbury, Dunedin and Central Otago. The growing awareness of sourcing local produce and cooking seasonally is one of the most exciting aspects of the 2008 finalists.

“This year we are really seeing the impact and influence of top chefs around the country. Food is one of the most important aspects of the judging process and this year’s finalists represent some of the country’s finest chefs, both established and emerging, many of whom are making a big mark in their regions and on our culinary landscape.

“From Michael Meredith at Merediths and Des Harris at Clooney in Auckland, to Bevan Smith of Riverstone Kitchen in Oamaru and Stephen Tindall at Terrôir at Craggy Range in Hawke’s Bay, each is carving out his own niche with distinctive menus that exhibit creativity and develop individual identity and character.”

_The awards are judged by a panel of 20 expert food and wine professionals from around New Zealand with in-depth experience in the hospitality industry and/or restaurant reviewing. Guest international judge John Lethlean, restaurant critic for the Age in Melbourne, will visit New Zealand for the final stage of judging with Lauraine Jacobs.

Judges are now scrutinising the top 40 to select six category winners: best smart dining, best casual dining (metropolitan and regional), best wine experience, best winery restaurant and best ethnic or themed restaurant.

Each finalist is visited by at least two members of the judging panel to determine a final shortlist. Each shortlisted restaurant will be revisited for final judging by Lauraine and John Lethlean, one of Australia’s most respected and influential restaurant critics, to select category winners and the Supreme Winner of the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2008.

Roger Zagorski, New Zealand executive general manager of associate Awards sponsor Mercedes-Benz, applauds the consistently high calibre of restaurants showcased in this year’s competition.
“Mercedes-Benz and Cuisine share a commitment to outstanding quality and attention to detail. Year after year the phenomenal dining experience displayed by finalists creates riveting competition and a world-class recognition of excellence, which we are thrilled to support,” he said.

A full list of national finalists is available in the July issue of Cuisine, on sale on 20 June. The public can also vote online for their favourite finalist restaurant in the reader’s choice awards and go into the draw to win one of six bottles of Champagne Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV at from Monday 23 June.

_The winners of the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year 2008 Awards will be announced in the September issue of Cuisine, on sale on 25 August.

Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Finalists 2008

À Deco
Kamo Road, Whangarei
A finalist in 2007

Cable Bay Winery Restaurant
Oneroa, Waiheke Island

Freemans Bay, City

Dine by Peter Gordon
Skycity Grand Hotel, City
A finalist in 2007

Euro Restaurant & Bar
Princes Wharf, City

Merediths Restaurant
Dominion Road, Mt Eden

Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden
A finalist in 2007

O'Connell Street Bistro
O’Connell St, City
Winner, Best Wine Experience, 2007

One Tree Grill
Greenwoods Corner, Epsom

Partingtons at The Langham
Symonds St, City

Sails Restaurant
Westhaven Marina, City

Great North Rd, Ponsonby

Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant
St Mary’s Bay, Ponsonby
Winner, Best Ethnic, 2007

Soul Bar & Bistro
Viaduct Harbour, City

The French Café
Symonds St, City
Runner-up, Best Fine Dining, 2007

The Grove
St Patrick’s Square, City
A finalist in 2007

Victoria St, City
A finalist in 2007

Marine Parade, Napier

Terrôir at Craggy Range
Havelock North
A finalist in 2007

A finalist in 2007

Wendy Campbell's French Bistro
A finalist in 2007

Majoribanks St, Mt Victoria

Featherston St, City

Le Canard
Murphy St, Thorndon

Logan Brown
Cnr Cuba & Vivian Sts, City
A finalist in 2007

Martin Bosley's
Oriental Parade, City
Supreme Winner in 2007

Cuba St, City

Bouterey's Restaurant & Bar at 251
Richmond, Nelson

Gibb's Vineyard Restaurant
Blenheim, Marlborough

Hopgood's Restaurant & Bar
Trafalgar St, Nelson
A finalist in 2007

Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant
Amberley, Waipara

The George Hotel, City

Restaurant Schwass

Route 72 Café Bar Emporium

Bell Pepper Blues
Princes St, Dunedin

Missy's Kitchen
Ardmore St, Wanaka

Birch St, Dunedin
A finalist in 2007

Riverstone Kitchen
SH1, Oamaru

Buckingham St, Arrowtown
A finalist in 2007

The Winehouse & Kitchen
Gibbston Valley

Released on behalf of Fairfax Magazines by Goode PR, Auckland, For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Petra Mihaljevich of Goode PR, Auckland on +64 9 480 9948 or 021 509 062 or email email

Editor’s Notes:

Guest international judge John Lethlean will be in New Zealand from Monday 23 June until Saturday 28 June and is available for interviews on request.


The categories for the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year 2008 are:
• B>Supreme Winner
• B>Best Smart Dining
• B>Best Casual-Dining – Metropolitan
• B>Best Casual-Dining – Regional
• B>Best Ethnic or Themed Restaurant
• B>Best Winery Restaurant
• B>Best Wine Experience

Winners will be announced in the magazine’s September issue on sale from 25 August 2008.

What the judges look for
Judges are seeking restaurants that deliver well what they set out to do. Criteria include food, wine, service and atmosphere. First and foremost, judges look for excellent food and a well-chosen wine list. They are also looking for top-quality ingredients, selected with attention to season and region, and skilfully prepared; wines carefully selected to match the food, clientele and nature of the restaurant; and delivery with service by knowledgeable and professional staff.

The 2008 judging panel for the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2008 is:
Lauraine Jacobs
Head judge and Cuisine food editor
John Lethlean
Guest international judge, restaurant critic for the Age, Melbourne
Graham Brown
Consultant chef and owner of The Cookhouse, Rangiora
David Burton
Restaurant critic and senior features writer for Cuisine, and food writer, Dominion Post
Fleur Caulton
General manager Amisfield Winery, Queenstown
Simon Cunliffe
Longtime restaurant critic and associate editor, Otago Daily Times
Karl du Fresne
Restaurant critic and wine writer, Wairarapa
Sue Fleischl
Caterer and former restaurateur, Auckland
Don Fletcher
Former restaurateur and restaurant consultant, Auckland
Kate Fraser
Cuisine restaurant critic and editor of the Zest section of the Press, Christchurch
Therese Herzog
Restaurateur, Blenheim
Jeremy Jones
Former chef and restaurateur, Marlborough
Nicola Legat
Publishing manager Random House and restaurant critic, Auckland
Mark Limacher
Former restaurateur and inaugural winner of the 2005 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Awards, Wellington
Toni Mason
Cuisine editor of Food, News & Views and Restaurants, Auckland
Phillip Reay
Hospitality tutor, Nelson
John Saker
Cuisine New Zealand wine writer, Wellington
Natalia Schamroth
Chef-owner The Engine Room and Cuisine senior food writer, Auckland
• Charmian Smith
Cuisine restaurant critic and editor of the Good Living section, Otago Daily Times
Kerry Tyack
Restaurant reviewer and food and wine writer, Auckland

Winners from the 2007 Awards:

Supreme Winner and Best Fine Dining
Martin Bosley’s, Wellington

Runner-Up, Best Fine Dining
The French Café, Auckland

Best Casual Dining – Metropolitan
Pravda Café, Wellington

Best Casual Dining – Regional
The Martinborough at Peppers Martinborough Hotel, Wairarapa

Best Ethnic or Themed Restaurant
Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant, Auckland

Best Wine Experience
O’Connell Street Bistro, Auckland

Best Winery Restaurant
Amisfield Winery Bistro, Queenstown

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Crown Accounts: Slightly Softer Growth Expected In PREFU

A slightly softer growth forecast is the main feature of largely unchanged Pre-election Fiscal Update compared to the Budget forecasts three months ago, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Water: Farming Leaders Pledge To Help Make Rivers Swimmable

In a first for the country, farming leaders have pledged to work together to help make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations. More>>


Unintended Consequences: Liquor Change For Grocery Stores On Tobacco Tax

Changes in the law made to enable grocery stores to continue holding liquor licences to sell alcohol despite increases in tobacco taxes will take effect on 15 September 2017. More>>

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>


By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>