The Metro top 50 restaurants: How we review

by Metro / 06 April, 2018

Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards 2018

How we judge

Restaurants are rated for what they are trying to do: a superb bistro and superb fine-dining place both get five spoons. We pay for our meals and, if possible, do not declare our presence. We make repeat visits where necessary to build up a clear picture.


Pricing code

$ mains under $30 / $$ mains $30-$40 / $$$ mains over $40

Each restaurant in the Top 50 is listed in one of the following six categories:

Fine-dining restaurants
A fine-dining restaurant puts great emphasis on the preparation and presentation of each dish. Service will be professional, the atmosphere quiet, and the tableware will probably (but not always) include linen, silver, fine china and crystal. You will receive complimentary extras: bread, amuse-bouches, a palate cleanser after the main, chocolates. There are almost always degustation options and at one or two places that’s the only way you can eat.
Smart-dining restaurants
Smarter than a bistro, but without the staffing levels or elaborate food styles of fine dining. Often, but not always, quite a large place. Degustation may be offered.
Inner-city bistros
Located in the central-city and waterfront precincts. Usually with a lively atmosphere and more informal style of food presentation. Platters and/or small plates to share are common, but so are individually plated meals (steak and chips, or pasta, say). It’s likely there will be a bar, but note that we did not consider city bars (like Bellota) for this list, even if they serve food, as they are not primarily places where customers go to eat.
City-fringe bistros
Located in the “dress circle” suburbs from Ponsonby through K’ Rd and around to Parnell. The criteria are the same as for inner-city bistros above.
Neighbourhood bistros
Bistro-style restaurants sited away from the main dining precincts of the city. Fine-dining and smart-dining restaurants located in the suburbs (eg, Merediths and Cibo, respectively) are listed in the relevant fine-dining and smart-dining categories.
Destination restaurants
Winery restaurants and others for which you have to leave the built-up city — from Matakana to the Bombay Hills and including Waiheke Island.

The restaurants were also eligible for these other awards:

Supreme Winner 
Best Fine-Dining Restaurant
Best Smart Dining Restaurant
Best Inner-City Bistro
Best City-Fringe Bistro
Best Neighbourhood Bistro
Peugeot People’s Choice Best Destination Restaurant / Chosen by popular vote online, from a shortlist decided by the Metro judges.
Restaurant Personality of the Year / An award that specifically recognises the contribution of waitstaff, bartenders and other front-of-house staff who are not restaurant owners.
Restaurateur of the Year / In recognition of innovation, high standards and success.
Best Chef / Showing a command of techniques and ingredients and an innovative spirit.
Best Service / Showing an unparalleled commitment to excellence from all the staff.
Best Drinks List/ Judges looked for a drinks menu that offers a great range of cocktails, craft beer, wine and other drinks, including non-alcoholic drinks, with knowledgeable staff and in a friendly, inviting atmosphere.
Best Wine List / The best wine list will show impressive depth and breadth, have a good selection by the glass and be well matched to the food and style of restaurant.
Best New Restaurant / Restaurants that opened since we judged the 2015 awards were eligible.
Best New Fitout / The most charming new dining room in the city.


Why you should go to Napier's Art Deco Festival
91859 2018-09-26 00:00:00Z Travel

Why you should go to Napier's Art Deco Festival

by Joanna Wane

Joanna Wane joined the crowds putting on the ritz for the 30th annual Art Deco Festival in Napier.

Read more
What's happening to New Zealand's recycling after the China import ban?
96784 2018-09-25 13:50:58Z Environment

What's happening to New Zealand's recycling after …

by Nita Blake-Persen

Tracing exactly where New Zealand's plastic goes when it leaves our ports is incredibly difficult.

Read more
Suburban thriller A Simple Favour is all neo and no noir
96782 2018-09-25 13:18:00Z Movies

Suburban thriller A Simple Favour is all neo and n…

by James Robins

Director Paul Feig's A Simple Favour is a thriller that's undercut by comedy.

Read more
How heart surgeon Alan Kerr saved a woman's life twice in three decades
96715 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Social issues

How heart surgeon Alan Kerr saved a woman's life t…

by Donna Chisholm

Renowned surgeon Alan Kerr saved Donna Lander’s life in 1987. This year – thanks to a Listener story and a three-line email – he saved her again.

Read more
What the principal missed: How truancy is the symptom of a toxic environment
96763 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Social issues

What the principal missed: How truancy is the symp…

by Aaron Hendry

A principal's controversial speech on truancy dangerously ignored the issues today's young people face, writes youth development worker Aaron Hendry.

Read more
The new Bruce Lee bio questions the official explanation for his death
96713 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Books

The new Bruce Lee bio questions the official expla…

by Gilbert Wong

Matthew Polly delivers a comprehensive biography of Bruce Lee's action-packed life and death.

Read more
We value great journalism at NOTED, help us create more of it
89206 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Business

We value great journalism at NOTED, help us create…

by Noted

NOTED is a refuge from click-bait journalism and we'd like your support to stay that way. Help us fund good quality journalism through Press Patron.

Read more
Fighting fast fashion: the rise of ethical consumerism
95853 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Business

Fighting fast fashion: the rise of ethical consume…

by Mina Phillips

In the era of fast fashion, what can consumers do to ensure what they're buying hasn't been made by exploited workers?

Read more