ac­knowl­edges New Zealand restau­rants and restau­ra­teurs who, in the opin­ion of the as­sess­ment team and wider Cui­sine fam­ily, have made the strong­est im­pres­sion over the past year. There are oth­ers, of course, but this list of 100 cel­e­brates those who have of­fered din­ers sig­nif­i­cant high­lights, new di­rec­tions, imag­i­na­tive ap­proaches and con­sis­tent sat­is­fac­tion. The restau­rants in the guide are work­ing as­sid­u­ously to pro­vide the best at­mos­phere, ser­vice, food and drink they can. Theirs are suc­cess sto­ries we are priv­i­leged to cel­e­brate. Lim­it­ing the list to 100 is dif­fi­cult. Each year we are en­cour­aged by the grow­ing num­ber of restau­rants reach­ing high stan­dards. The wave of chefs recog­nis­ing the im­por­tance of us­ing in­gre­di­ents from their re­gions and re­fin­ing their prepa­ra­tion tech­niques to let the qual­ity of those in­gre­di­ents speak for it­self con­tin­ues to build. Ser­vice stan­dards have im­proved as op­er­a­tors fully ap­pre­ci­ate how well-trained wait­staff can en­hance the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Over the past 12 months, we have seen the open­ing of many new restau­rants. The chal­lenge for these new kids on the block is the devel­op­ment of a point of dif­fer­ence that will set them apart from their com­peti­tors. For older hands, the chal­lenge is to re­main rel­e­vant and cur­rent. What we con­cluded this year is that din­ing in New Zealand is in reli­able hands. The se­lec­tion of Paci­fica as Restau­rant of the Year demon­strates that with a pas­sion for lo­cal pro­duce, a will­ing­ness to be flex­i­ble and the abil­ity to nim­bly meld the tried and true with the ex­pec­ta­tions of din­ers look­ing for in­no­va­tion, recog­ni­tion can come re­gard­less of how long or short your time in the business. In­no­va­tion is also a qual­ity Chef of the Year Ed Verner brings to the ta­ble. The con­cepts he is de­vel­op­ing are both skil­ful and art­ful and we look for­ward to watch­ing his work in the years ahead. In the mean­time, we en­cour­age you to seek out not only those on the list but oth­ers in your towns, cities and neigh­bour­hoods, and sup­port them, en­cour­age them and en­joy them. Next year it may be their turn to be in­cluded.

Oys­ters, ap­ple, elder­flower, but­ter­milk and Cham­pagne, The French Café

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