Stafford Rd Wine Bar
141 Queen St, Northcote Pt. Ph 480-2690, staffordroadwinebar.co.nz.
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday, evening bar menu Sunday & Monday. $
Finalist, best short drinks list
Another Northcote Pt secret is out — for years, the locals have been used to being squeezed out of The Engine Room by enthusiastic diners from over the bridge, and now this place is getting famous too. It looks like a bar when you arrive, but the young and excellently informed waitstaff do a first-rate job of making you realise that, really, you’re at a very good restaurant. That said, the wine list is excellent — not long, but full of good stuff you won’t see elsewhere by the glass, or by the carafe if you choose. The kitchen works hard to elevate the food beyond expectations, helped along by a first-rate chef and a garden out back that he curates. There are little bar/bistros like this scattered right around the Auckland suburbs, but very few understand how to be really good. Stafford Rd leads the way.
A favourite dish: A bowl of mushrooms and parsnips, chestnut and grated duck.
Shared-plate options / Good for vegetarians / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Good seating outside / Private room / Takes large groups / Bar / Craft beer selection