The best restaurants on K' Rd

by Metro / 14 September, 2018
From the Metro Top 50 Restaurants 2018.
Apéro's pork sausage, pickles and mustard.

Apéro's pork sausage, pickles and mustard.

Apéro 

Apéro is the perfect uptown local – brick walls and bare timber tables, and a short menu that runs from crusty bread with butter to terrines and charcuterie, though the place has really made its name with two things, pork sausage and brilliant service. The former comes by the quarter metre and is made to chef Leslie Hottiaux’s recipe, all chunky and porky, served with pickles and mustard. It’s the quintessential sausage. Then there’s the service: you’re in excellent hands with co-owner Mo Koski, whose enthusiasm is endearing without being overbearing and whose knowledge is first class. Everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

What it offers Shared-plate options / Good for vegetarians / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Bar / Craft beer selection
A favourite dish Goats’ cheese croquettes with Kamahi honey
Awards Winner, Best Service; Runner-up (Joint), Best City-Fringe Bistro; Finalist, Best Wine List
Bookings Yes
Hours Lunch Fri, Dinner Wed-Sun
Price
 $$
Seats 38
Chef Leslie Hottiaux

apero.co.nz
280 Karangahape Rd
Ph 373-4778

Read more: Auckland's best restaurants by cuisine | All of the Metro Top 50 Auckland restaurants for 2018 | Best bars in Auckland | Best cheap eats in Auckland

Coco's co-owners and sisters Renee and Damaris Coulter. Photo/Rebekah Robinson.

Coco's co-owners and sisters Renee and Damaris Coulter. Photo/Rebekah Robinson.

Coco’s Cantina

If an illustrator wanted to portray a bistro for a storybook, they might draw Coco’s Cantina. The beating heart of Karangahape Rd spills out onto the footpath with gingham-clad tables, its lipstick-red door near-revolving by dinner time. It’s run by sassy sisters Renee and Damaris Coulter, who have, from the start, done things differently. They are vocal advocates for all kinds of causes, foremost among them independent sustainable businesses such as theirs; in 2017, they launched a website to celebrate them. Their strong beliefs extend to the menu, with organic and ethically sourced proteins constituting seasonal, unpretentious antipasti, pasta and secondi, from house-cured fish with orange, celery and capers to the signature potato and ricotta ravioli. Their team and customers are treated like extended family in a trinket- and postcard-filled dining room. The sisters’ soulful restaurant makes the city feel alive.

What it offers Fixed-price meals / Bar / Craft beer selection / Takes large groups / Good seating outside /
Private dining room / Happy-hour pasta ($13 special Mon-Fri, 5-6pm)
A favourite dish Spaghetti and meatballs topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and parmesan
Awards Finalist, Food for Good
Hours Dinner Mon-Sat
Bookings Only for two groups a night of 10 or more
Price $$
Seats 90
Chefs Guilherme (Will) Bezerra, Ponsy Wallace

cocoscantina.co.nz
376 Karangahape Rd, K Rd precinct
Ph 300-7582

Sweetcorn cappelletti with taleggio. Photos/Nicole Brannen.

Sweetcorn cappelletti with taleggio. Photos/Nicole Brannen.

Cotto 

What began as a pop-up in a bar has become something truly special for Auckland – a relaxed, very reasonably priced pasta joint. The menu, by chefs Hayden Phiskie and John Pountney, offers both the charm of the familiar and the thrill of the unknown. The hero is fresh pasta, combined masterfully with seasonal ingredients – think lamb ragu with a surprising lightness and vibrancy, and cappelletti filled with sweetcorn and taleggio that tastes like the last hour of sunlight on a late summer evening (imagine it). These chefs have elevated comfort food to an art form. The room is spacious and relaxed, welcoming diners from all walks of life – uni students dine alongside the pre-theatre crowd, young families next to couples, next to large groups in what feels like a true cross section of the K’ Rd community.

What it offers Shared-plate options / Good for vegetarians / Takes large groups / Good for kids
A favourite dish Spinach and ricotta dumplings
Awards Winner, Best New Restaurant; Runner-up (Joint), Best City-Fringe Bistro
Hours Dinner Mon-Sat
Bookings Only for groups of six or more
Price $
Seats 80 
Chefs Hayden Phiskie, John Pountney

cotto.co.nz
375 Karangahape Rd, K’ Rd precinct
Ph 394-1555

Book a table

A selection of plates from the ‘Jeeb’ menu. Photo/Josh Griggs.

A selection of plates from the ‘Jeeb’ menu. Photo/Josh Griggs.

Gemmayze St

With its leadlight windows, heritage tiles and atrium views over Myers Park, Gemmayze St surely takes the prize for the most gracious dining space in central Auckland. At the far end of K’ Rd charmer St Kevins Arcade, the restaurant has paid homage to the roots of chef Samir Allen since mid-2016. On Monday nights, he hosts Everybody Eats, a “pay as you feel” not-for-profit initiative, which sees volunteers serve up three-course meals using food saved from going to waste. The quality of Gemmayze’s Middle Eastern food, served as no-short-cuts shared plates (try sticky, falling-apart lamb shoulder or freekeh risotto of broccolini, confit garlic and labneh), is a constant: it’s the totality of the experience here that always draws us back.

What it offers Shared-plate options / Fixed-price meal options ($60 “Jeeb” offer) / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Good for vegetarians / Takes large groups / Bar / Craft beer selection / Good for kids
A favourite dish Braised lamb shoulder with mougrabeye, white onion and vinegar leeks.
Awards Winner, Food for Good
Hours Dinner Tue-Sat
Price $$
Seats 80
Chef Samir Allen

Book now

gemmayzestreet.co.nz
St Kevins Arcade, 183 Karangahape Rd, K Road precinct
Ph 600-1545

Madam George's venison tartare, feijoa and walnut. Photo/Josh Griggs.

Madam George's venison tartare, feijoa and walnut. Photo/Josh Griggs.

Madame George 

This noisy K’ Rd dining room with its pavement tables and retro-chic interior treads a fine line between restaurant and bar, but there's no doubt which it is when it comes to the inventive food. Chef Patrick Schmitt eschews the smashed avocado on toast that has a worldwide cult following, for example, and instead roasts this odd, savoury, subtropical fruit. It's a punt that pays off. Not dissimilar to a good baba ghanoush, Schmitt’s roasted avocado comes alive with citrus and garlic, and he tops it with piquant, pickled yellow zucchini and wafer-thin slices of dehydrated tomato. For a menu that changes so frequently, the waitstaff are adept at talking customers through dishes in way that doesn’t sound scripted. There’s a lot here to please vegetarian and vegan eaters.

What it offers Good for vegetarians / Free-range chicken and/or pork /Good seating outside / Takes large groups / Craft beer selection
A favourite dish Venison fillet with cherries and soured potato.
Awards Finalist, Restaurant Personality of the Year: Dante Adams
Price $
Seats  50 seats across both the bar and dining room
Hours Dinner Tue-Sat
Bookings Yes
Chef Patrick Schmitt

madamegeorge.co.nz
K’ Rd Precinct
490 Karangahape Rd
Ph 308-9039

See here for all of Metro's Top 50 Auckland restaurants for 2018

LatestDiningArticlesWidget - Latest Dining Articles with RestaurantHub
Error loading section - Error executing child request for handler 'System.Web.Mvc.HttpHandlerUtil+ServerExecuteHttpHandlerAsyncWrapper'. The remote server returned an error: (404) Not Found.
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

If 'This is not New Zealand', let us show it
103768 2019-03-21 09:31:27Z Social issues

If 'This is not New Zealand', let us show it

by The Listener

The little signs among the banks of flowers said, “This is not New Zealand.” They meant, “We thought we were better than this.” We were wrong.

Read more
Extremism is not a mental illness
103785 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Crime

Extremism is not a mental illness

by The Mental Health Foundation of NZ

Shooting people is not a symptom of a mental illness. White supremacy is not a mental illness.

Read more
PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles
103805 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Crime

PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automa…

by RNZ

Ms Ardern pledged the day after the terrorist massacre that "gun laws will change" and would be announced within 10 days of the attack.

Read more
No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 years of GCSB & SIS public docs
103770 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Politics

No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 y…

by Jane Patterson

There is not one specific mention of the threat posed by white supremacists or right-wing nationalism in 10 years of security agency documents.

Read more
Deirdre Kent: The woman who faced down the wrath of Big Tobacco
103798 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Profiles

Deirdre Kent: The woman who faced down the wrath o…

by Joanna Wane

As the face of anti-smoking lobby group ASH, Deirdre Kent played a vital role in the smokefree New Zealand movement.

Read more
Māori leaders say acts of terror nothing new in NZ
103766 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Currently

Māori leaders say acts of terror nothing new in NZ…

by Leigh-Marama McLachlan

Māori leaders are calling on New Zealanders to reject the notion that 'this is not us' in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Read more
Cynthia Millar and the strange beauty of the ondes martenot
103723 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Music

Cynthia Millar and the strange beauty of the ondes…

by Elizabeth Kerr

The sci-fi sound of the ondes martenot is playing a key part in the upcoming performance of an epic symphony.

Read more
Christchurch gunsmith warned police about white supremacists last year
103662 2019-03-20 00:00:00Z Crime

Christchurch gunsmith warned police about white su…

by RNZ

A Canterbury gunsmith living and working says he told police less than six months ago they needed to look at the rise of white supremacists with guns.

Read more