It's August, which means Auckland's annual Restaurant Month is once again underway - bringing discounted menus and a stellar line-up of events to the Super City's legion of foodies.
Whether you're paying Tāmaki Makaurau a visit or hoping to discover hidden gems in your own backyard, this year's Restaurant Month by Heart of the City aims to showcase the best of local culinary talent and the diverse range of cuisine on offer in Auckland's blossoming food scene, as well as highlight its abundance of fresh and unique venues.
So what's on the agenda?
After a three-year hiatus, the Chef Collab Series is making its much-hyped comeback: over four one-off dining events, award-winning international professionals are paired with the chefs of iconic Auckland City restaurants to deliver delicious fare.
Celebrated homegrown chefs Analiese Gregory and Justin North have returned home for the series, with Gregory joining Ahi's Ben Bayly to create a six-course menu blending her foraging ethos with Bayly's love of indigenous ingredients and Māori cooking techniques. North will partner with Des Harris at FISH Restaurant to present a three-course seafood menu, showcasing career highlights from his time at three beloved French establishments, while Nelly Robinson from Sydney's famed Nel will team up with Sid Sahrawat of the reopened Cassia to create six courses of modern Indian dining.
To further celebrate the diversity of Auckland's culinary landscape, the Flavours of the City Series is designed to highlight eateries that are unique to the city centre with 10 interactive events. An amuse-bouche of what's planned include a 'Dumpling and Noodle Crawl' of local favourites on Lorne Street; a four-course dinner at Homeland by Peter Gordon celebrating local producers; and a 'Taste the City' walking tour spanning traditional Chinese hotpot at Queen Street's Guangzhou to Jungle 8, the newest addition to Elliott Stables.
Diners will also have the opportunity to connect with chefs from some of the city's top restaurants through exclusive evenings of food and conversation with the Chef's Table Series. A little taste of what's on offer: celebrating 20 years of MoVida with popular dishes prepared by Frank Camorra; commemorating seven years of Culprit with Kyle Street and seven of his foodie friends; and savouring a modern, plant-based Asian menu courtesy of East Restaurant chefs Stuart Marsden and Vincent Yan.
Alongside these events, more than 100 specially created menus will be served across the city centre every day in August at three price points - $30, $45 and $55-plus per person. Meanwhile, the return of the Social Hour offering sees over 15 of the city's top bars and restaurants pouring delicious cocktails paired with delicious bites.
"Restaurant Month's well-established as a city centre 'must do' on people's calendars. This year, there's a fabulous mix of events, deals, local and international celebrity chefs that when combined, highlight how our dining scene continues to thrive," Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said.
"At the heart of the programme is a celebration of the diversity of cuisine and calibre of talent throughout the heart of the city. We can't wait for foodies to experience what's on offer this August."
Restaurant Month 2023 Event Schedule Overview
Chef Collab Series
- Nelly Robinson of Nel Sydney and Sid Sahrawat of Cassia: Wednesday, August 2 and Thursday, August 3, 6pm - $275 pp
- Duncan Welgemoed of Africola and Jonah Huang of Odettes Eatery: Wednesday, August 16, 6pm - $185 pp
- Justin North and Des Harris of FISH Restaurant – The Homecoming: Thursday, August 17, 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm and 7:30pm - $185 pp
- Analiese Gregory and Ben Bayly of Ahi Restaurant: Thursday, August 24, 6pm - $260 pp.
Flavours of the City
- A Truffle Dining Experience at Onslow: Wednesday, August 2, 6:30 pm - $250 pp via Onslow's website
- Old Favourites Not Forgotten at Ima Cuisine: August 10, 11 and 12, 5:30pm-9 pm - $65 pp via email@example.com or 09 377 5252
- Dumplings on Lorne Street: Saturday, August 12, 12:30 pm-2:30 pm - $58 pp
- kingi Private: Wednesday, August 16, 6:30pm-10:30pm - $185 pp via kingi's website
- Taste of the City with Lincoln's Table: Saturday, August 12 and Saturday, August 26, 2pm-5pm - $75 pp via Lincoln's Table website
- Kai Tāmaki Makaurau with Homeland: Thursday, 17 August, 6pm - $195
- When France meets Mexico: Tapestry and La Fuente with Johnny Roullier and Edmundo Farrera - Thursday, 24 August, 6.30 pm - $190 pp
- Onemata presents Our Heritage Kitchen: A Global Fusion of Flavours: Thursday, August 24, 7pm - $185 pp via Tablecheck
- Bonfire at Esther: Thursday, August 31, 6:30pm–9.30pm (after-party on the Rooftop, cash bar) - $250 pp
- Kanpai! Tanuki Sake Tasting: Thursday, August 31, 6:30pm - $90 pp via Tanuki Cave's website.
Chef's Table Series
- Chef's Table at MoVida with Frank Camorra: Wednesday, August 2, 6pm - $195 pp
- Chef's Table at Culprit with Kyle Street and Friends: Wednesday, August 9, 5:30pm and 8:15pm - $199 pp
- Chef's Table at Harbourside with Anton Leyland and Kenji Yoshitsuka – Wednesday, 9 August and Wednesday 30 August, 6 pm - $215 pp
- Chef's Table at BODA with Hyokeun Choi: Thursday, August 10, 6pm and 8pm -$150 pp
- Chef's Table at East with Stuart Marsden and Vincent Yan: Wednesday, August 23, 6pm - $169 pp.