It's here, foodies – our favourite month of the calendar year.
From decadent degustations to cheap eats and creative cocktails to rival the very best of them – Restaurant Month certainly isn't lacking in culinary clout. With over 100 local restaurants set to participate and 25 events spanning 31 delicious days, if you're sticking around Auckland this August, consider yourself in luck.
In a bid to ensure you're well across this year's events line-up, the Dish team have combed through the schedule, and hand-picked our selection of 10 unmissable events that no devout foodie can afford to miss.
We suggest you prioritise the following and waste no time securing your seat:
1. A Taste of Wagyu with Roman Petry and Nic Watt
Where: Masu, Sky City, Auckland.
When: Thursday, August 9.
Tickets: $220 per person, includes a drink on arrival and five-courses with wine matches.
Join Masu's Nic Watt and celebrated San Franciscan chef Roman Petry, of Roka Akor San Francisco, for one of the meatiest events of the year. Roman Petry is an industry veteran with more than 16 years of experience, beginning at the two Michelin-star restaurant Alois Dallmayr in Munich, Germany. At his much-lauded restaurant Roka Akor San Francisco, Petry pays homage to Japanese flavours and traditions, while utilizing fresh seasonal ingredients available in the bay area. For one incredible night only, Petry will be joined by Nic Watt, for an unforgettable five-course collaboration degustation dinner, masterfully wine-matched by seven of New Zealand’s leading wine experts. This one is selling like hotcakes, we suggest you get in quick to avoid missing out. See here for more details.
2. A Taste of New Orleans with Nina Compton
Where: Soul Bar, Auckland Viaduct.
When: Thursday, August 23.
Tickets: $195 per person, includes canapes and a five-course dinner with wine matches.
Savour the flavours of the South, with this unique NOLA inspired dining event. Acclaimed chef Nina Compton will be at the helm of Auckland's iconic Soul Bar for one night only. Nina will bring the flair of New Orleans cuisine, while using the freshest New Zealand produce on offer. This one-of-a-kind menu includes a drink and canapés on arrival, five family-style courses with matching Church Road wines and San Pellegrino water throughout. For more or to secure your tickets, see here.
3. A Taste of Jaan with Kirk Westaway and Nobu Lee at Clooney
Where: Clooney Restaurant, Auckland City.
When: Wednesday, August 22.
Tickets: $290 per person, includes snacks on arrival, 8-courses with wine matches.
When you combine chef Nobu Lee and the mastery of Kirk Westaway, you're in for one hell of a treat. This August, diners will receive the unique opportunity to experience a sublime eight-course culinary journey, brought to you by two chefs at the very top of their game. Originally, from Devon, England, chef Kirk showcases the very best of contemporary cuisine, while utilising classical British techniques at Jaan, earning him a string of industry accolades, including 2016 winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition (South East Asia) and Rising Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence. Ahead of their event, acclaimed Clooney chef Nobu will join Kirk for 5 days in Singapore, to refine their craft in spectacular style. See here for more.
4. A Taste of Automata with Clayton Wells, Kyle Street and Jordan MacDonald at Culprit.
Where: Culprit, Auckland City.
When: Wednesday, August 15.
Tickets: $190 per person, includes snacks, five-courses and wine matches.
We love a bit of Culprit action on a school night here at Dish, so it's safe to say we got pretty excited about this one. Join the boys and chef Clayton Wells for an unparalleled dining experience. Chef Clayton has carved a culinary career that spans 15 years at the likes of Momofuku, NOMA, Quay Restaurant and Tetsuya's, before opening Automata in Sydney in September of 2015. With three optional session times running across two days, you have no excuse to miss this one. For more or to secure your tickets, see here.
5. A Taste of Aria with Joel Bickford and Gareth Stewart at Euro.
Where: Euro Restaurant, Auckland Viaduct.
When: Wednesday, August 29.
Tickets: $220 per person, includes snacks to start, five-courses and wine matches.
Dish contributor and celebrated Kiwi chef Gareth Stewart will join Australia's own Joel Bickford, for one night only of pure decadence. Park up for the evening down by the water, and watch the night melt away, as these two esteemed chefs delight your tastebuds. This is the second time that Sydney’s Aria has popped up at Euro – the first time was 5 years ago and a lot has changed since then, including new executive chefs at the helm of each restaurant. Be sure to secure your tickets to this one quick smart – this event is not to be missed. Visit here for more.
A little something different...
6. The Curious Food Festival
Where: Shed 10, Queens Wharf, Auckland City
When: Saturday, August 18.
Tickets: Free-entry for the first 2000 visitors, $5 thereafter.
Round up the kids and make a beeline to Auckland's Queens Wharf for this unique, family-friendly celebration. Join some of the city's favourite eateries, including The Seafood Kitchen, Daikoku, Toto's, Greentime, Le Chef, Ynot, Hansik, Panda, 1947 Eatery, Oh My Cheese, Manila Eats Burgers, Sumthin’ Dumplin and Lalele, for a fun-filled afternoon and entertainment from acrobatic duo The Biggest Little Circus and DJ Arii Jade.
7. 5th Annual W&F Celebration
Where: New Zealand School of Food and Wine, Auckland City
When: Sunday, August 19.
Tickets: $60 per person, includes entry, all wine tasting, and free cookery and wine classes.
New Zealand School of Food & Wine, in the very heart of Auckland's Viaduct, are marking their fifth annual celebration during Restaurant Month. Join the team to experience first-hand some of the latest food trends and techniques, while brushing up on your culinary skillset. Taste new wine releases, transform your skills on the grill, and feed your soul with a selection of mouth-watering foodie fare. To learn more or to secure your tickets to this event, see here.
8. The Supper Club
Where: Imperial Lane, Auckland City.
When: Saturday, August 11.
Tickets: There are two ticket options. $90 per person, including 2 drinks (wine and cocktail), canapés and a seated supper of suitably themed platters or $40 per person, including one cocktail plus canapés.
Dust off your favourite flapper-esque garb, and make your way to Imperial Lane, for a memorable night dedicated to the roaring twenties. Experience a pop-up speakeasy for one night only, tucked discretely down Fort Lane, in grand prohibition style. Everybody’s and Imperial Lane will come alive for this fantastic evening of jazz, burlesque, dancing and drinks galore. See here for ticketing details.
9. Princess Wharf Progressive Dinner
Where: Princess Wharf, Auckland City.
When: Monday, August 27.
Tickets: $125 per person, including arrival drink and canapés, three-courses with matching wines.
Take to the streets with a flock of passionate foodies for this rare and wonderful dining experience. Enjoy a night of culinary creativity on Princes Wharf with the Nourish Group. This evening provides guests with a chance to experience three different waterfront venues during the course of one delicious night. The waterside Crab Shack bar is your meeting point, with a welcome drink and canapés, followed by an entree to start the evening’s culinary journey. The group will then divide, half heading to Euro Bar & Restaurant for a fabulous main course; the other half will feast on a delicious main course at The Culpeper. Things switch up for dessert, with your group heading to whichever restaurant you have not yet experienced. Grab a group of friends and make a night of it. For more, see here.
10. Soul Punch
Where: Soul Bar, Auckland Viaduct.
When: Sunday, August 26.
Tickets: Tickets are $85 per person including an arrival flute of Mumm Grand Cordon, a four-course sharing style lunch and cocktail tasters. Minimum of 4 people per table.
Few Sundays compare to a stylish session at Soul Bar. Thankfully, Soul Punch is back in force, this time, celebrating the flavour of New Orleans. Bring your friends and sip the day away, with a flute of Mumm Grand Cordon on arrival, before moving on to a delicious sharing style menu. The first 24 bottles of Mumm Grand Cordon purchased on the day will automatically be upgraded to a Magnum. For more, see here.
To learn more about American Express Auckland Restaurant Month or to secure your tickets, simply visit their website right here.