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Best restaurants for degustation

If variety is the spice of life, then discerning food lovers could do far worse than a degustation menu.

A culinary term that means to carefully appreciate the taste of something, degustation typically features multiple courses of different types of food, designed to excite the palate and delight the senses. It’s a gastronomic delight – best enjoyed with wine to match each course.

These are some of New Zealand’s best restaurants offering degustation and tasting menus.

One Tree Grill, Auckland

One Tree Grill’s legendary five-course degustation menu is prepared in-house and updated daily. Highlights include pistachio-crusted market fish, wild venison tenderloin and spiced pear, medjool date and pastry crisp.

The French Café, Auckland

Cuisine magazine’s restaurant of the year 2013 has a delightful tasting menu that features fruits of the sea, kingfish cevinche, caramelised pork belly and roasted quail among its highlights. The French Café’s tasting menu costs $140 per person, plus an additional $80 for matching wines. 

Cocoro, Auckland

Although the degustation’s origins are in France, new-style Japanese restaurant Cocoro boasts a degustation menu that features filo-wrapped paradise prawn tempura, slow-roasted duck breast and queen scallop chawanmushi, and more.

It costs $85 per person. Enjoy it with sake pairings for an additional $65, matching wines for $70, or sake and wine for $70.

More of the best Auckland restaurants for degustation.

Palate, Hamilton

Palate’s degustation menu is a sight for sore eyes – or a hungry stomach. Enjoy seven courses for $95 per person or $155 with matching wines. You can sit at the kitchen table and actually watch the team in action as they prepare your meal. Bookings are essential.

The White House, Wellington

The White House’s vegetarian degustation features the likes of roast pumpkin and amaretti ravioli, grilled tofu, watermelon tartare and coconut marshmallow. It costs $120 per person with an additional $85 per person for matching wine.

Alternatively, highlights on the The White House’s main degustation menu include Gameford Lodge duck, Pirinoa Station lamb and seared scallops with harissa, smoked Warehou custard, fennel, date and orange salad. It costs $140 per person; factor in an additional $85 per person for matching wines.

Logan Brown, Wellington

Logan Brown’s glorious six- and nine-course degustation meals are available every Saturday night at 8pm and cost $110 and $150 per person respectively. It’s a celebration of the restaurant’s finest and most popular dishes; bookings are essential.

Le Canard, Wellington

For French food at its finest you simply must try Le Canard’s degustation menu. Highlights include seared quail breast, confit leg, duck liver parfait, grapes and cauliflower – as well as seared scallops with truffled parsnip mousseline, walnut viennoise and crispy bacon.

It costs $120 per person, plus $45 for matching wines. It’s designed to be enjoyed by the whole table; you must book in advance.

Rotherhams of Riccarton, Christchurch

Rotherhams of Riccarton boasts classic dining, excellent service and a degustation to die for (not literally). Enjoy five courses for $110 ($165 with matching wines) or an extravagant eight-course degustation for $145 ($215 with wine match).

The Canopy Restaurant, Franz Josef 

Dine among the trees at The Canopy Restaurant at Franz Josef, where you can indulge in a five-course degustation dinner (vegetarian and vegan options are also available). Because it’s made with seasonal, local produce, the menu is prone to change at short notice.

At the time of writing, however, highlights include foie grois crème brulee, Akaroa salmon with chorizo, new potatoes and peas, and beef fillet with wild mushroom puree, wild spinach and yaki soba jus.

Gantleys Restaurant, Queenstown

This award-wining restaurant in beautiful Queenstown boasts a $120 six-course degustation menu that will stimulate your taste buds like the local scenery stimulates your eyes. Gantleys head chef Joshua Harris has created a delectable menu featuring the best in local produce.

Also check out these celebrity chef restaurants in New Zealand.

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  1. 9 Pah Road, Epsom, Auckland, Auckland
  2. B
  3. 210 Symonds Street, Auckland, Auckland
  4. C
  5. 20 Alma Street, Hamilton Central, Waikato
  6. D
  7. Clyde Quay Wharf, Te Aro, Wellington City, Wellington
  8. E
  9. 192 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington City, Wellington
  10. F
  11. 42 Rotherham Street, Riccarton, Christchurch, Canterbury
  12. G
  13. 3 Wallace Street, Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast, West Coast
  14. H
  15. 172 Arthurs Point Road, Arthurs Point, Queenstown-Lakes, Otago

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