233 Scenic Dr, Titirangi. Ph 817-8655, therefreshmentroom.co.nz.
Brunch Saturday & Sunday, lunch Thursday-Sunday, dinner Wednesday-Sunday. $
Joint winner, best value for money
Auckland needs more places like The Refreshment Room — it’s a great example of how a local bistro should be. Relaxed yet with attentive service, and unfussy food that’s sexy in its big, bold flavours. Equally sexy is the view out over the thick, brooding Waitakere bush. In fine weather you can gulp in the clean air out on the large deck, but it’s just as nice to be cossetted in the warm plywood-lined indoors, while the rain outside whips the kanuka. The staff describe their food as “rustic Italian”, but it never approaches cliché as can often be the case; there are always delicate and interesting elements to each dish which keep the excitement high. Locally grown, organic and free-range produce is widely used, and it’s lovely to see a bistro that knows what an important role fresh herbs should play.
A favourite dish: Gnocchi with braised lamb shanks and artichokes.
Good for vegetarians / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Good seating outside / Private room / Takes large groups / Craft beer selection / Good for kids