It's the most wonderful time of the year for foodies - Metro magazine has released its annual list of the top 50 restaurants in Auckland.
The list is a snapshot of the crème de la crème of Auckland's dining scene, and always has food lovers scrambling to see if their favourites have made the cut.
Metro editor Henry Oliver, along with food and dining director Simon Farrell-Green and 10 other judges, say they considered more than 100 restaurants in the Auckland region.
Oliver says that to earn a coveted spot, they looked for restaurants that excel not only in food, but also in service, drink quality, design and fit-out, and "how much [we] want to go back".
"Each restaurant has been considered on its merits, based on what the restaurant is trying to do. A formal fine dining restaurant is judged on its qualities as a formal fine dining restaurant, while a bustling bistro is judged on its qualities as a bustling bistro."
Oliver says it was exciting to see the number of female chefs who made the list this year. Four women are among the eight finalists in the Best Chef category.
"While we're still a long way off gender equality in professional kitchens in Auckland, we're excited to see women leading some of the best restaurants in the city," he says.
"We're thrilled to see Auckland's restaurants continue to diversify, both in terms of the food they're making and the people making it."
New entries making the list for the first time this year include Three Seven Two, Hello Beasty, Little Bird and The Grounds.
Meanwhile, for fans of fine dining, a handful of familiar favourites have returned to the Top 50 after missing out in recent years. Euro and Paris Butter didn't make the cut last year, but are back in 2019, while SPQR has regained a spot after two years off the list.
The Top 50 Auckland restaurants are (in alphabetical order):
- 1947 Eatery
- Cafe Hanoi
- Casita Miro
- Coco's Cantina
- Gemmayze St
- Gusto at the Grand
- Hello Beasty
- Hugo's Bistro
- Little Bird
- Madame George
- O'Connell St Bistro
- Orphans Kitchen
- Paris Butter
- Pasta & Cuore
- Ponsonby Road Bistro
- Sid at the French Cafe
- Soul Bar and Bistro
- The Blue Breeze Inn
- The Engine Room
- The Grounds
- The Grove
- The Tasting Shed
- Three Seven Two
- Woodpecker Hill
The 50 restaurants are now in the running for the Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards, which will be handed out at the Auckland Town Hall on April 29.