The French Cafe named New Zealand's best

SIMON DAY
Last updated 19:00 17/06/2013
DANIEL GALVIN/ Fairfax NZ

Cuisine Good Food Awards

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The fine dining of the French Cafe in Auckland has won the 2013 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year.

“The French Café could certainly hold its own on the international stage – dining there is a consistently excellent experience that’s inspiring and entertaining,” says Cuisine editor, Sarah Nicholson.

Chef Des Harris from Clooney in Auckland took out the Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year award.

“Des Harris is nailing it. Yes, his food is intelligent and expertly composed, but most importantly, it is absolutely delicious,” says Nicholson.

There were winners across the country and Kiwis are being treated to the finest food they have ever had, said Kerry Tyack, head judge of this year’s Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards.

Hamilton’s Victoria Street Bistro won European Foods Best Regional Restaurant, and Rata in Queenstown was the regional runner up.

“The ongoing development of great food and service in provincial centres is a highlight, our two best regional restaurants are both first-time award winners,” says Nicholson

French eatery Hippopotamus in Wellington won Plumm Glassware Best Specialist Restaurant and Amisfield Bistro in Central Otago was awarded the Whitestone Cheese Best Winery Restaurant. Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North was the runner-up. 

Auckland restaurant Kazuya claimed Electrolux Best New Restaurant. The runner-up is Napier’s Mister D, which the judges felt had brought a new sense of relaxed dining to Hawke’s Bay.

Chef Al Brown, who you can find working the floor of his restaurants, was this year’s Villa Maria Estate Restaurant Personality of the Year.

“Al Brown has a knack for gauging exactly what we want to eat and drink right now,” says Nicholson

This is the ninth year of New Zealand’s only national restaurant awards and saw the adoption of the Chef Hat rating system, used by the renowned Good Food Guides in Australia.

The French Cafe along with Clooney were the only two restaurants to receive the maximum three Chef Hats.

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