O'Connell St Bistro
3 O’Connell St, central city. Ph 377-1884, oconnellstbistro.com.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Saturday. $$$
Finalist, best drinks list
Corporate customers reward consistency, and O’Connell St Bistro does a very good job of providing just that to the lawyers, bankers and property developers who make up its mid-week clientele. But the restaurant has a lot to offer to the non-suited crowd too: smart service, fantastic food and a quiet, formal environment which is perfect for a special occasion. It’s a fine and romantic place to spend a few hours, but it can also do fast — O’Connell’s pre-theatre menu is one of the best-value meals of this standard in town. The streetscape is getting a long-awaited upgrade this year, and restaurant owner Chris Upton (pictured) promises some exciting changes, including outdoor dining. For now, though, O’Connell St Bistro is just how it’s always been, which is exactly how its numerous fans love it.
A favourite dish: Limousin veal fillet, truffle gnocchi, broad beans, peas, bacon, panko crumbed veal sweetbreads and porcini jus.
Fixed-price meals / Private room / Takes large groups / Bar / Craft beer selection