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Cazador (2)

Cazador (2)

Jun 23, 2014 Restaurants

Cazador, Auckland. Photo: Simon Young for Metro. All rights reserved.

854 Dominion Rd, Balmoral. Ph 620-8730,
Dinner Monday-Saturday. $$

Best renewal

The story goes that back in the 1980s, Cazador’s founder, Tony Lolaiy, used to finish service at the end of a long week and go hunting for the next week. Two years ago, son Dariush with wife Rebecca Smidt (pictured) bought the business and started a revamp on the strictest of budgets: new chairs one year, new wine glasses the next, a coat of paint over the plaster walls. Now, after a refit, it is properly theirs. And how. There is a bright dining room — still festooned with Tony’s taxidermy collection — with a revamped bar, and a courtyard out the back. The short, punchy menu still honours game and offal, and it changes every two weeks. Food is beautifully treated but still rustic, inclining to Middle Eastern. The sherry and wine lists are exceptional. In our list of favourites, Cazador has climbed high.

4 Spoons

A favourite dish: Char-grilled quail on a salad of beans, eggplant and tomatoes, served with labneh and sumac.

Shared-plate options / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Good seating outside / Private room / Takes large groups / Bar / Craft beer selection