Food & Drink

Restaurant Month 2023’s Best Menus At $30, $45 And $55+

By Ava Wardecki

The centrepiece of Auckland’s food events is officially back on the radar. Restaurant Month taking place for the entire month of August — a month we’ve never been so grateful to for having 31 whole days. 

General JAFA consensus says that Restaurant Month should really be a national holiday. However, until then, the next best thing is really to plan our entire months around eating our way through Auckland city’s best menus. 

Clear your calendars and get booking. Here are the best deals at $30, $45 and $55 you need to devour in Auckland’s Restaurant Month this year.

The Best Restaurant Month $30 Menus

Paname Social

Eggs Bene and a glass of juice

Cue the bubbles, top them with juice and pour them into a mimosa—Lorne Street's Paname Social is officially celebrating its first-ever Restaurant Month. In true Auckland fashion, brunch is the name of the game: where your choice of eggs benedict is chaperoned by a pretty little mimosa all for $35 a pop on Sundays.

Chawlas Indian Restaurant

Auckland CBD

Cold weather calls for curries. In particular, one that’ll barely make a minimal ding in the bank account. Enter Chawlas’ Restaurant Month menu, where $30 will score you a fragrant and creamy Butter Chicken or Palak Paneer, and your choice of Onion Bhaji and Chicken Tikka to start. Throw in a splash of San Pellegrino and you’ve officially done a pick-me-up dinner just right.

The Parasol & Swing Company

Viaduct

A plate full of fried food, a cocktail on a table above the water of the viaductIt’s a tactile affair this year with The Parasol & Swing Company’s $30 Two Course Lunch and Dinner offering. Fried okra lady finger and it’s dip starts things off at this rooftop spot, before you rip into your choice of an Adobo pork bao bun (vegetarians, there’s an option sussed for you) or your choice of a Cornflake fried chicken Taco or pumpkin chimichanga. A million-dollar view for a few crisp notes? We’re in. 

The Best Restaurant Month $45 Menus

Le Chef

O'Connell Street

A culinary torch crisping the top of a creme brulée If there’s one lot you can trust to deliver when it comes to food, it’s the French. Exhibit numero un: Le Chef’s generous three-course lunch or dinner for $45 a head. Prepare to enter executive decision eating mode: you’ll need to choose between the likes of garlic prawns, tomato tarte tatin or escargots drenched in garlic butter to start, then between fish of the day, Chimichurri cauliflower steaks or the iconic Bavette with blue cheese sauce & Frites. Your mission isn’t over yet, there’s a classic crème brûlée or cheese of the day to finish with.  Best of all, they can cater to gluten-free and vegetarians alike. Merci, les gars.

MoVida

Britomart

The art of tapas is all in the easy, breezy, graze-able nature. Something that MoVida has perfected in their $45 sharing style weekday lunch. They’ll start by sending out Artisan Anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet, pan-fried potato bomba with chorizo and an oh-so-chic calamari sandwich to set the tone. If that leaves you hungry, your choice of a sharing fish of the day, wet roast Andalusian chicken or Ximenez Braised Beef Cheek is set to come out next. Pro tip, leave room for dessert: churros with a rich Spanish hot chocolate will firmly send you into a welcome food coma.

Japanese Bistro Zen

Viaduct

Lunchtime envy comes in the form of Japanese Bistro Zen’s nine-dish bento lunch this Restaurant Month. $45 and a seat inside their sleek viaduct spot will score you a taste of the best of Japanese cuisine and Aotearoa’s seafood. Think Jumbo Panko Prawns, sashimi, a sneaky oyster, sushi rolls and teriyaki — to name a few. A perfect price to take the hassle out of umm-ing and ahh-ing, picking and choosing we say.

Mozzarella & Co

Wyndham Street

Yet to venture out and up to Voco Hotel’s Mozzarella & Co? Consider their $45 menu your golden ticket. Whether you’re team sweet or savoury, you’re the master of your lunch which covers an entrée + main or main + dessert. The choice won’t be easy, fellow foodie. With wagyu Napolitana meatballs, crumbed courgettes with fennel yoghurt, succulent lamb osso bucco over polenta, Honey & thyme semifreddo and pesto bucatini up for grabs, we simply wouldn’t blame you for booking in again and again to cover all the bases.

Wander

Wynyard Quarter

Kiwi produce + French execution + a Gin and Tonic = a yes from us. If you like your lunches started with smoked trevally rillettes slabbed on sourdough or Waiheke oysters shucked to order, then we suggest a lunchtime wander to, well, Wander. Keep the seafood train going with a gravlax or perhaps a crispy chicken black rice budda bowl—made chic, of course—or ramp up the comfort food with a kale pesto winter gnocchi. Either way, it’ll pair perfectly with your Bombay Saphire G&T, included in this feast. 

The Best Restaurant Month $55 Menus

Gochu

Commercial Bay

Oodles of dishes on the table at Gochu, one of the best menus at restaurant month.We love Gochu at the best of times, but their Restaurant Month has us particularly tickled. The thought of six courses over lunch or dinner, for $80 a person, tasting some of the best of Gochu among some new doesn’t get much better. Charred gochujang chicken with comte cheese, crispy lamb shoulder with their own mushroom ketchup, Cured salmon with kimchi broth? We can’t put our finger on what we’re most excited about.

Onemata

Viaduct

Roast carrot for dessert? Absolutely. The proof is very much in the pudding at Onemata’s $55 Two Course lunch offering this Restaurant Month. Confit duck legs, Cloudy Bay mascarpone clam chowders, mushroom with buffalo mozzarella, Pear confit with chocolate mousse—the pairing options are endless at this viaduct stalwart. So much so, that we think all options for the entree entrée + main or main + dessert must be investigated thoroughly. For research purposes, of course.  

Esther

Viaduct

Esther is putting on a sharing-style feast for a King this Restaurant Month. Literally, you won’t have to lift a finger to order or dedicate precious thinking space to picking a dish in this $65 menu. Each of the 8 (!) dishes will come out in three glorious courses, just as nature and the chefs intend. All that’s left for you to do is rip open the puff bread, scoop up your baked Saganaki (read, hypnotically savoury, firm Greek cheese) in its honey and chilli, and perhaps lift a terrine croquette to your mouth, before wrangling Calamarata cacio e pepe pasta around your fork. Want a bit of dinnertime theatre? Come back again on the 31st, the programme's finale, for a Bonfire experience with Chef Sean Connolly himself—plus an epic four courses of smoke-infused produce—around the open flame and under the stars. 

Origine

Commercial Bay

A light pink souffle on a plateAn authentic French bistro experience awaits—sans the hit-and-miss French service you might find in the northern hemisphere—at Commercial Bay’s Origine this Restaurant Month. Bread and delicate vol-au-vents plus the best onion soup (i.e. topped with a thick crust of cheese, croutons galore and in the proper porcelain) in Auckland kicks off this four-course dinner. What comes next is your choice between the darling dishes of French bistros like Ratatouille, a fish of the day and steak haché (a perfectly grilled piece of lightly minced meat with fries) before a light and airy soufflé lands before you come dessert. For $90 a person, consider it your one-night Euro getaway. 

Ahi

Commercial Bay

A bitta this and a bitta that—that’s number one, the best way to dine, and number two, what Ahi is offering for the occasion. Take a seat atop their high tables any time during their service hours, overlooking the harbour and dining room and settle in. You’ll taste your way around their signature offerings like Te Matuku oysters, wallaby tartare and the oh-so-famous Ahi scampi corn dog alongside a Provence rosé. It’s chic, it’s a tad playful and will be a welcome addition to your week. 

Want more of the good stuff? Check out Restaurant Month's full list of menus here.

Image credit: Gochu, Paname Social, Parasol & Swing, Le Chef, Gochu, Origine.

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