Corner Jellicoe St and Fish Lane, North Wharf. Ph 309-9339, baduzzi.co.nz.
Lunch & dinner 7 days. $$
Restaurateur of the Year: Michael Dearth / Runner-up, best upmarket bistro / Finalist, best chef: Ben Bayly / Finalist, best mid-size drinks list
For their second restaurant, Michael Dearth and Ben Bayly have parked their fine-dining prowess at The Grove and produced an American-Italian meatball restaurant. Sort of. Forget any thoughts of little old New York corner shop. At this hospitality powerhouse they’ve aimed far higher, and that’s obvious in the décor, the menu and the way things are run. It’s classy, it’s beautiful and it’s so much more than meatballs. Grilled mackerel (in place of sardines) is a highlight, as is the saffron gnocchi with goat curd — the pasta is sublime. The crayfish meatballs are very, very good; the wagyu ones — we argue about this — could be even better.
A favourite dish: Buttered maltagliati pasta with duck and porcini ragu, buttercup, and pickled black walnuts.
Shared-plate options / Fixed-price meals / Good for vegetarians / Good seating outside / Takes large groups / Craft beer selection / Good for kids / Bookings not usually taken