As August kicks into high gear with a range of delicious events taking place in the city centre, we caught up with some of our menu partners – Fiona Taimana (Marketing Manager, YOU Travel) and Andrew Parkinson (General Manager, Negociants NZ) and asked them for some insights into their Restaurant Month experience so far and any tips they might have for you folks who are still thinking about trying something out for the rest of the month!

Q: What is your impression of the dining scene in the Auckland city centre?

Fiona: Having been away from Auckland for the last ten years, it’s great to see so many hidden treasures and an increased variety of food experiences. There is still an intimacy and personalised dining experience for everyone, a concept which can get lost in other parts of the world.

Andrew: The terms that come to mind are vibrant, diverse, cutting edge, multi-cultural, international standard. We are spoilt for choice and I sometimes wonder if we know how lucky we are!

Q: Are there any special menus or events that have caught your attention?

Fiona: The Chef Dining Series of course –  A Taste of Dirt Candy with Amanda Cohen where New York City meets creative vegetables was amazing as I am all for healthy and innovative dining, as well as A Taste of Maha with Melbourne chef Shane Delia as Middle Eastern cuisine - delicious! 

A Taste of Dirt Candy

A Taste of Dirt Candy with New York vegetable chef Amanda Cohen.

Q: What do you love most about American Express Restaurant Month?

Andrew: The chance to try great menus at new venues and the buzz it creates within the Auckland hospitality trade.

Q: Any other hidden gems in Auckland’s city centre that you’d also like to share with us?

Fiona: I love the hidden pedestrian streets such as High Street and Fort Lane. Either searching for bubble tea for my teenage sons, dumplings for lunch or chocolate brownies for afternoon tea – it’s all there!

Andrew: Take a wander down streets you rarely navigate and discover something new. If you have the Heart of the City’s Restaurant Month website on your screen – you can’t go wrong!

A Taste of Maha

Acclaimed celebrity chef Shane Delia of Melbourne's Maha restaurant, in the kitchen at Soul Bar & Bistro during A Taste of Maha Chef Dining Series event. 

Q: How long have you been involved in Restaurant Month?

Fiona: 2019 is my first year – I had an amazing dining experience last year and just had to be involved this year with our travel brand, YOU Travel.

Andrew: Proudly since it began – so coming to nine years!

Q: Will we see you out and around town this August?

Fiona: For sure - I’ve hosted some of the high achievers from the company to attend the Chef Dining Series event. I’ll also take my husband to one of the smaller events – best of both worlds!

Andrew: Most definitely! I will be out and about trying and tasting some special menus and wine matches!

Q: Lastly, any advice for newbies to American Express Restaurant Month who may be picking up the programme for the 1st time or are still contemplating on which ones to go for?

Fiona: Take a close friend or family member and use American Express Restaurant Month as the excuse to head into a new taste experience – here’s an excuse to get away from Netflix and home dinners!

Andrew: Our best and brightest restaurateurs and bar owners are showing you what they do best and often at a price that offers incredible value – take advantage of the opportunity!

Last updated: 30 June 2020