You voted, we counted, and now it's time to award the winners!
Since 2010 DineOut has been awarding restaurants up and down the country with People's Choice Awards. We take your reviews for an entire year and use them as votes for the various restaurants. This means that winners of this award need to have shown exceptional quality and service for the whole year, not just a season, not just one night, and not just for one visit.
For 2013 we have raised the bar higher, and made getting an award much, much harder. Your votes were cast, and when we counted, this is how it stacked up:
For 2013, Sidart has again taken out the Gold Medal. It is astounding to see a restaurant that has received 52 reviews and has an overall score of 9.1!
Be it a degustation meal, the Tuesday test kitchen, or something off the menu, it seems that Sid and his team are leading the way in excellent food and professional service.
I've made my booking to visit, and I suggest you do too!
Our Silver winners are a North Island bunch this year. From Wellington we have The White House Restaurant which was a close contender for the gold this year. It seems they keep improving year after year. Be it dinner in Summer, a wedding in Spring, or anything in-between, they will be sure to look after you.
Also from Wellington we have Shed 5 who are new to the awards this year. Being located on the wharf means there's a great vibe, and great views (or people watching) although the last time I was there I was blindfolded! Superb food and a great location make this a must visit.
And our third and final Silver Award winner is TATSUMI Modern Japanese Cuisine in Auckland. Having moved to Newmarket in October 2011 from quake-torn Christchurch, it really was Auckland's gain. As 'rusty' said in their review last year "Every time we go this restaurant we have the best experience. The flavours were just out of this world and the service impeccable."
Our Bronze winners finally include some South Island restaurants. While Christchurch is still recovering from the quakes, they have produced some very high standards and some wonderful restaurants.
King of Snake is Tony Astles new baby and it's a great place. Cool, dark interior, interesting wallpaper, various seating options, great bar and terrific food, KoS is pumping most nights, so be sure to book a table.
St Germain Restaurant has relocated to the Hotel Cotswold about a year ago, and with their new surroundings they have strived to make your meal an amazing experience. Totally French, it's wonderful and worth every cent.
The Bodhi Tree has also relocated from the city to Fendalton and even though they're in the suburbs now, their food is still a stand-out winner.
Logan Brown is back in the awards. Still delivering high quality and pleasing the crowds, they are a favourite for Wellington on a Plate every year, and this year should be no exception.
Hippopotamus also makes a return with it's French inspired cuisine and outstanding service. Have a cocktail at the bar and prepare to be pampered.
And so there it is. An amazing selection of New Zealand's finest restaurants. A visit to any one of them will leave you satisfied and wanting to return. And remember, these winners were based solely on your votes (your reviews) across an entire year. This is not some flash in the pan or sudden success. These winners are consistently great. The fact that so many of them have won several times before just shows how exceptional they really are.
Thank you for your reviews, and yes, the voting has started for 2014 already!