Aucklanders have a new guide to dining out, as the top 100 Iconic Auckland Eats have been uncovered as part of an initiative by Auckland Unlimited.
The 100 unique dishes have been curated from a flood of nominations by the Auckland public and a panel of well-known Aucklanders, including chefs and food writers.
Each nominated dish was assessed against set criteria, including how loved it is, how it represents local culture and people, if it’s a ‘timeless classic’ or considered a ‘signature dish’.
Mayor Phil Goff encourages Aucklanders to explore the city and region and sample some new flavours and meals.
“While border restrictions mean international travel isn’t an option for most of us right now, Auckland has an entire world of international cuisines to enjoy right here,” he says.
“We’re one of the most diverse cities on earth and the entries in the 100 Iconic Auckland Eats list reflect that diversity, as well as the talent of our local chefs and our hospitality industry.
“I hope Aucklanders have a chance to get out and try some of these meals, whether it’s at a favourite local restaurant or a new eatery across the city.”
Moderator of the 100 Iconic Eats and Co-Owner at Restaurant Hub Mark Gregory was impressed by the number of nominations and how Aucklanders got behind their favourite eats to make sure they made the list.
“Aucklanders’ passion for their favourite dishes is undeniable. It was a tough call to determine a top 100 and now it’s an even tougher call to decide where to book in first!”
The resulting list has highlighted both well-known dishes and hidden gems from across Auckland - from the Beef Brisket at Blue Ox Babe BBQ in Pukekohe to the Baller Sandwich at Peaches Hot Chicken in Panmure, and the Orata Oysters & Manaaki Whitebait Fritters at the Matakana Farmers Market.
With a story submitted with each dish, the initiative also uncovers the diversity of Auckland’s food scene - the people, the places and the cultures – and the important role food plays in Aucklanders’ lives, whether it’s a reason for a family get together, a reminder of an overseas home, or a dish that simply brings joy.
Auckland Unlimited General Manager Destination Steve Armitage says: “Our food here in Tāmaki Makaurau is world-class and it’s easy to see Auckland’s ethnic diversity represented in our food scene.
“One of the wonderful things about Iconic Auckland Eats, aside from showcasing the best food our region has to offer, is that it uncovers stories that introduce the owners or the friendly staff, the history of a dish, or shares how one bite is enough to be transported back in time or across the world.”
One such story was submitted by Aucklander Kerrie McGirr, who will get to experience all 100 dishes after her nomination saw them win a voucher for each dish.
McGirr nominated three dishes across Auckland, one of them being Federal Delicatessen’s Toasted Reuben. After studying in the United States and staying with a Jewish family as an exchange student, she fell in love with the Reuben and is reminded of those fond memories now when she visits Federal Delicatessen.
“Travelling back to the USA might be a pipe dream for now, but in the meantime, I'm thrilled to know the best toastie in New Zealand is available right in the heart of Auckland,” McGirr says.
With a variety of eateries from restaurants, markets and cafes included, Aucklanders have shown Iconic doesn’t have to mean fine dining.
The top 100, and its stories, have been shared on a specially developed Iconic Auckland Eats website by Restaurant Hub.
More dishes and more stories are expected to be uncovered in 2021 in the next iteration of the annual Iconic Auckland Eats list. Auckland Unlimited says the list will again be open for nominations by a mix of judges and the public and opening dates for nominations will be confirmed in due course. New iterations of the list will also be considered such as Iconic Auckland Eats for Kids and Iconic Auckland Drinks.
The Iconic Auckland Eats programme is an outcome of the Destination AKL Recovery Plan to support local food and beverage businesses and build Auckland’s reputation as a food and beverage destination.