Chef Annabel Langbein: My top 5 New Zealand restaurants

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02 October 2012

New Zealand celebrity chef Annabel Langbein is one of the masters of low-fuss home cooking and her recipe for a great night out is equally low-maintenance: simply add fresh produce, a charming atmosphere and great staff. Here, the “free-range cook” whips up a list of the top five restaurants that tempt her to leave the kitchen.

Amisfield Bistro
10 Lake Hayes Road, Queenstown.
+64 03 442 0556.
amisfield.co.nz
Located by the lake just 15 minutes from Queenstown, Amisfield is a winery restaurant with a lovely atmosphere. The food feels very much of the terroir. It’s very honest food that’s focused on beautifully cooked seasonal ingredients.  

Federal Diner
47 Helwick Street, Wanaka.
+64 03 4435 152.
federaldiner.co.nz
When I’m in Wanaka, Federal Diner is my local. I love that they are very tuned into the community and hold lots of special music events or gastronomical evenings with different local wineries. The food is very cross-cultural, but based around the philosophy that fresh produce rules - so they have fabulous daily specials.

O’Connell Street Bistro
3 O’Connell Street, Auckland.
+64 09 377 1884.

oconnellstreetbistro.co.nz
In Auckland there are lots of fabulous restaurants, but I always enjoy going to O’Connell Street Bistro because it has an intimate dining space, the staff are fabulous and the food makes you feel swooningly relaxed and indulged.

O’Sarracino
3/5 Mount Eden Road, Eden Terrace, Auckland.
+64 09 309 3740.

osarracino.co.nz
For a really authentic taste of Naples, and great theatre of the restaurant, with an absolutely charming host, Gaetano Spinosa. The food is fresh, innovative and not too heavy.

Ile de France
Watercare Building, 2 Nuffield Street, Newmarket, Auckland.
+64 09 523 0293.
iledefrance.co.nz
A new favourite I’ve only just discovered. The authentic French dishes are cooked with care and respect for the ingredients and served with flair by knowledgeable staff.

Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures (HarperCollins, $50). annabel-langbein.com

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