Reviews for Cazador
by Sophie Rachael
12 days ago
Wine list, service, menu, food, beer garden, every dish, every entree, every main, every dessert, i want. Every time.Menu is always changing and always delicious.I wish I could afford to go here more often!
one month ago
Went here for dinner last Saturday, a little late for our reservation but they still had our table waiting luckily. Entered into a cozy, romantically lit restaurant, adorned with taxidermy of a range animals on the walls (and hanging from the ceiling).
I suppose my review won't be as high as others because I don't eat red meat, and so my dining experience was a little sub-par. I was already very aware of the reputation Cazador had for it's hearty carnivorous food menu, and the friendly and knowledgable wait staff happily explained the history of the restaurant- started by an avid "hunting couple" 29 years ago, and now run by their son, also a hunting enthusiast. Nonetheless, my meat-eating friends convinced me, I would not miss out. Unfortunately, not eating sardine (which was their only pescatarian main available) I was offered the vegetarian main, which is not actually on the menu. For good reason because it was literally basically a $34 spinach and ricotta filo pastry. Dark chocolate mousse for dessert was tasty.
My friends thoroughly enjoyed however, the grilled venison and wild mutton dishes.
Overall, definitely not a restaurant for vegetarians or passionate animal lovers. But if that's not the case, then probably some sort of meat-lovers Mecca.
by Winnie Luo
2 months ago
LET'S HAVE A MOMENT OF SILENCE for the BEST restaurant in the WHOLE of auckland. I almost don't want to share it so I can have it all to myself.
If there was a higher rating than 5/5 this place with have it x infinite.
There is nothing bad to say about Cazador. Service is amazing, FOOD IS PERFECTION and it is all so worth every dollar you spend (quite affordable for what you get, ~$150 for all the food and drinks in the photos). I only wish I had a bigger stomach to try more dishes.
You must be an adventurous eater to fully enjoy this restaurant. I'm all for adventure, and I will always come back to this place for more deliciousness!
by Wendy Mackereth
2 months ago
We held our daughter's 21st birthday celebration at Cazador.
They surpassed all expectations with both the charming service and amazing food.
No wonder they are rated one of the top 50 restaurants in Auckland.
The second generation has taken the family restaurant to a new level of quality and innovation.
They compare very favourably with some of the very best Auckland has to offer.
Our guests still talk about the food and ambience of Cazador months later.
We also loved how they have managed to retain the iconic look of Cazador, but refreshed it and developed two lovely rooms, a very cute bar where you can watch the magic of the kitchen, as well as a lovely garden courtyard, which we have seen used as a small wedding reception area.
Rebecca and Dariush are top of their game.
We keep looking for excuses to return with other guests.
Wendy and Hans.
by Peter Clark
2 months ago
Deserves more than 5 stars. Daughters shouted my wife and myself for fathers day as they knew really wanted to try this place. Service was excellant friendly and efficient. As for the food brilliant and very different from your average place. Well worth a visit. We will definetely be back.
2 months ago
The second generation management has certainly upheld the traditions of this fine restaurant. Service great ambience as good as ever and the food superb. We tried rabbits lungs as an entree and it was great. The boar fillet had a truffled polenta that was very close to being the star of the dish, the boar was cooked perfectly. Try the mulled wine with the delicious Nan - e- bakhshi to start a very enjoyable dining experience
3 months ago
Cazador is one of the most interesting restaurants to visit, from the various animal heads on the wall, to the exquisite variety of meats served and the very knowledgable wait staff. Game meat wouldn't normally appeal to me but Cazador has pleasantly changed my perception of this which is why I have continued to return a number of times.
The quail dish would probably be my favourite so far along with the venison parpadelle.
The meals may seem smaller but dont let this decieve you, the dishes are delicious and filling. Besides you would want to leave room for a pour over coffee and chocolate mousse.
by Bri DiMattina
4 months ago
Cazador has been part of the Auckland landscape for literally a generation - Dariush and Rebecca have taken the reigns of this iconic game restaurant and are literally 'rocking' it. No longer a quiet secret, but splashed all over the place as a great specialist game style restaurant. The thing with this sort of history is the old fashioned recipes for things like great charcuterie get passed along - and there is a foundation.... The interior is the same for a reason - although the green bunker seating is rather nice!
Make a reservation or miss out! I have to now!! The game is not as scary as people might think - liver pates and terrenes are regulars on the menu. Pea and smoked boar hock soup (think pea and ham but flavoured up a 'little' if it makes you feel better). The small game birds - are somewhat de-boned so you are not struggling with your meal.
I 'fell' for the Hare and Papperdelle - these were traditional foods for me so I am extremely biased in this arena - but they do it really well!~
5 months ago
You know sometimes you get weird cravings and you have to go out of your way to get it. well I had a craving for venison and dropped into Cazador.
The staff were friendly, very warm and inviting.
I got here quit late so was able to get a seat but the place was packed nad very lively. The Decor was simple and homely but the kind of homely you would expect a home of a avid hunter to be.
Anyway, on to the food.
Got the Vishnokav to start of with, interesting and nice, very aromatic balanced sweetness with a nice bite.
Nan e Bashik, not impressed lacking in texture, was soft and kind soggy (not sure if thats how its supposed to be)
Flavour was average, seasoning was insufficient for me.
The venison parpadelle sooo good. Amazingly cooked pasta lots of pulled venison shoulder rich earthy game flavour, balanced by a clean spring onion which provided depth and added lots of texture. The jus left at the bottom
was so noms.
Once again salt was less for my liking.
The chocolate mouse, dense, deep, dark rich flavour balanced sweetness with bitterness. Candied orange cuts through the chocolate and adds so much contrast and roasted pistachio nuts for added texture. Decently portioned and perfect way to finish the evening.
Navigator wine, round and plush not overly bold peppery finish worked well with the venison.
5 months ago
Tried Cazador for the first time and it was great! We went with a group of friends and we shared a few dishes so we had the opportunity to sample a number of things. The pheasant is super tender and tasty, oxtail soup is delicious, veal is amazing, and the hare papadelle is like nothing I've ever had before. And to top it off the service was amazing and the chef is very good looking!
This restaurant is definitely worth a try and makes me wish I lived in Auckland so that I could make it my regular go to restaurant.
by Duncan Galletly
6 months ago
Cazador doesn't look much as you drive past on the way into auckland from the airport and you'd probably think it was just another one of those mediocre European numbers - this one billing itself as a "game restaurant" - yeah right. Well that would be a big mistake. Cazador is one of those secret treasures where the quality of the food outmatches its site or interior.
We had a brilliant dinner for eight , a lot of fun with food and wine perfect for the occasion.
Occasionally though - very occasionally - you come across a dish which is unexpected and out of the ordinary. I found one at cazador - so simple in the extreme, yet the balance of flavours were so perfect that it left a lasting image and one that one day will get me back there. A baguette, halved and toasted, smeared lightly with Vegemite, and served with a roasted veal bone, split to reveal the marrow. Smearing the marrow onto the Vegemite toast - the product - salty sweet rich with umami and the textural contrasts was truly luscious and I rarely use that word.
by Nat Donald
7 months ago
Came here for family birthday celebrations and we loved every minute. Delicious food, great service awesome environment. Will certainly be back!
7 months ago
Cazador Restaurant is a game food restaurant - possibly the only one in Auckland. I enjoyed its food and came here about a few times a year. It used to provide live light music on Saturdays, but to my disappointment, there was only recorded music this Saturday.
As usual, we ordered Babaghanoosh - pita bread with dips & Nan - Persian flat bread. Sometimes the nan was more cheesy, but not today. My friends & I agreed to share the food, so we ordered char-grilled veal tongue & quail egg; sautéed rabbit lungs; venison heart; braised goat shanks; roasted hare saddle; roasted duck & kingfish. Most of the dishes were fantastic, well-matched and nicely presented. I wasn't too sure, however, about the use of yoghurt with the goat shanks and the barberries in the saffron rice; both had the sour taste which didn't seem to go with the food.
(Food - 4.5/5; Service - 4.5/5; Ambience - 3.5/5)
8 months ago
I'd never heard of the restaurant until I was invited out, but Cazador has reviewed strong reviews so I had expectations of a good meal. The dining room is cozy and the staff were welcoming. I started with boar terrine. It was moist and well flavoured. My better half had rabbit rillettes, which tasted nice but the meat was a bit dry. I followed up with char grilled venison. The meat was well seasoned, tender and tasty. The plum trifle rounded out the meal. The service was a little slow, the food is honest and doesn't try to be something it's not, all in all Cazador is a pleasing suburban eating experience without pretence
9 months ago
I wish cazador would embrace their Mediterranean roots again. I greatly enjoyed the nan e bahkshi and babaghanoosh. As for the flounder I had the tomato and mint salsa didn't go well with the fish the mint overpowered the whole dish. And the venison was a bit too raw to be enjoyed.
I'd love to see this place stick to what it does best and have more small sharing plates or tapas.
10 months ago
Small and cosy. A bit meat-heavy if you don't go in for that sort of thing. Gazpacho was fresh and cool; perfect for a summer day. Snapper was filling and yummy. My friends weren't as excited about the rabbit. Though Cazador claims sherry as their "thing", we found it undrinkable. Fantastic pour-over coffee to end the night.
by Genie @ BunnyEatsDesign
Sep 24, 2014
Cazador is a charming kitschy restaurant complete with round archways, plastered walls and more taxidermied beast and fowl than some diners will feel comfortable with. The bar area was packed and boisterous at 6pm when we arrived, the dining area quietly well behaved.
Well known for game and offal dishes served in an unfussy style. The style is simple but bold flavours using unusual ingredients. Cazador is a great place to try new things. The menu features 5 starters and 5 mains with daily specials to entice. The main menu is updated every 2-3 weeks to keep things interesting, though favourites will re-appear in various forms.
The most interesting things on the menu on the night we visited were:
• Crumbed lamb’s brains with sauce gribiche
• Poussin hearts with pancetta and parsley
We ordered a range of dishes and sampled each others meals because we were all very curious. Favourites were the Braised ox tail, the poussin hearts and the lamb’s brains.
This is a great place for adventurous eaters. Also seasonal, free range and ethically sourced meat eaters will enjoy Cazador's offerings. Gluten free options available. Although I’ve heard they do make wonderful vegetarian food, vegetarians would probably do best to avoid or call in advance. Even ex-vegetarians might be squeamish here, though there is always 1 or 2 fish dishes for pescitarians to enjoy.
The service is super. Our drinks and food orders were taken in good time and paced perfectly. “Johnny-on-the-spot” always kept our waters topped up. Portions were a good size, for those wanting 2 or 3 courses, though the slow cooked goat dish was huge. It would have been nice if the sizes of the mains were more uniform.
Cazador are extremely good at what they do. Bex made sure we had a lovely evening and Dariush is a star working magic in the kitchen. Everything was tasty and interesting. While the prices are a little expensive, they are very reasonable for the quality of food and the great experience. Will absolutely be back. Looking forward to our next visit already.
Edit: I came back with my family on my birthday. Best dish had to be the fried lambs' tongues. Sounds challenging but was very easy to eat.
by Helen Florence
Aug 29, 2014
We had dinner at Cazador's yesterday evening and it was wonderful. The food was fantastic and the service attentive without being obsequious. Would definitely return.
by Eat Pray Love
Aug 06, 2014
Cazador is everything you'd want at a restaurant. Good atmosphere, delicious food and friendly staff. Chef Dariush and wife Bex, with their floor staff make your Cazador experience amazing.
It is a game restaurant but the menu can also appeal to people who aren't fond of game meat. Menu changes every three weeks to keep up with what's available meat wise and what vegetables are in season. I also love how Dariush gets inspiration for his menu through the months and change in weather. He has a great blog also (Hunt. Gather. Feed). I absolutely love the decor. It's cosy and warm and the orange lighting is very homely.
Went with my sisters tonight for dinner and the end of July menu had some real treats on it. For appetiser we had our usual naan-e-bakshi which I would totally recommend. Soft bread filled with herbs and cheese. Totally delicious and a great way to start.
For entree my sisters had the game terrine, and the chorizo (this isn't on the menu, but my sister requested for it from Dariush because it is amazing!). I had the mushroom soup with walnuts. The soup was creamy and delicious. I'm not a fan of walnuts so I fished those out, and had the soup. Has a really intense mushroom and onion flavour, so if you're not a fan of that maybe go for something else. But if you love those types of intense flavours - you'll love this soup!!
For main my sisters had the rabbit pappardelle which was a blackboard special, and the seared venison. The rabbit was cooked really well and the sauce in that pappardelle with the fresh Parmesan on top was just amazing. My sisters seared venison was cooked beautifully medium rare and the side salad was really refreshing. For my main I had the slow cooked goat shanks with feta, lemon, tomato and oregano. This came with potatoes as well. The goat shank was literally falling off the bone and it was a joy to eat. The potatoes were beautifully cooked, soft and went really well with the feta, oregano and tomato. Absolutely loved my main and I finished it so quick. That good!
For dessert, we ordered the orange blossom panna cotta with persimmon and pistachio praline, and the dark chocolate and brandy mousse with candied orange. Yum and yum! Out of the two, the panna cotta was my fave! It was light and refreshing and with that crunchy, toffee like pistachio praline it was so delicious. I loved the freshness the persimmon gave to the dish as well. The chocolate mousse was rich and creamy and airy - just the way I like chocolate mousse and those candied oranges were done really well! Enjoyed both desserts thoroughly.
Again Cazador has hit all the right spots! The menu will change again probably soon so these delicious choices I've talked about above might not be available but literally every thing on their menus are always amazing and you will not be disappointed!
Recommend Cazador 100%! Great restaurant!
by Steve Taylor
Jun 30, 2014
I'd been meaning to visit this restaurant for years and finally did on Friday night....Why did I wait so long?Magnificent in all respects,delicious food,generous servings,great wine list,excellent service etc,etc,etc.Can't wait to go back.
Jun 24, 2014
A brilliant time but would love to go when a bit quieter - a bit too rockin' on a Saturday night for us quiet people. Couldn't fault anything with the food - decor not suitable for vegetarians BUT has a surprisingly good range of vegetarian options for a game restaurant if you do manage to coax a vego friend there.
Great service and pretty glassware too!
by Jessica Savage
Jun 11, 2014
Best meal I've had in Auckland! Fantastic little restaurant. Quirky menu that invites you to step outside of your comfort zone, and rewards you for doing so! The service was attentive. Our waiter may have been new but was polite and helpful and the food was delivered promptly but not rushed. We were surprised, but pleased on a weeknight, to have had pre-dinner drinks and 3 courses all in under 90mins. Every course was balanced, packed with flavour and despite my preconceptions of game meat, felt fresh and not overly rich. Like, Like, Like
by Colin Campbell
May 15, 2014
Avoid the venison. No taste.
by Jo Y
May 06, 2014
Really liked the style of the restaurant, combining the new with the old. It was a busy night and service took a while to come, but when it did it was good, consistent and knowledgeable. Some interesting game dishes on the menu and all the food was well balanced and interesting. The stand-out was the lambs tongue chips from the bar menu... divine!
by Alex Landon-lane
May 05, 2014
Cazador was always a goodie but Wow!!, what a transformation. Cazador has always been a favourite for this foodies in the know but Dariush and Rebecca have dragged this gem of a restaurant kicking and screaming into the current millenium. They have made a few physical changes such as the now open view into the kitchen and the sumptuous toilet decoration. The lovely and private back garden is a really good addition too. But let's face it, this restaurant is all about the food. Dariush pushes the boundaries for most of us. I'm a farm girl and have eaten lots of offal and wild creatures,but never before have I been confronted with rabbit lungs (apart from being buried in Haggis of course). Fabulous. The rewarding thing is that the name is much more frightening than the end product. Pan fried with mushrooms and herbs this is the perfect autumn dish. Mildly flavoured and an interesting texture...actually they were quite similar to the mushrooms. The little pre-meal starter of poussin hearts should not be missed. Don't be scared, poussin is the fancy French name for young chicken, but the hearts actually taste more like the best and most tender beef steak. Tiny mouthfuls of pure gold! Our table of 6 spent a wonderful evening of sharing bites from each other's plates. We struggled to decide which were the best dishes but the consensus was the poussin hearts and the wild boar shoulder. Slightly disappointing were the desserts. The over flavoured rose-water sorbet was too icy in texture and the poppy seed cake was just OK. The chocolate mousse was however excellent! I still give the Cazador restaurant 5 stars as it is meant to be all about the meat dishes. Portions are perfect in size and all are paired with plenty of vegetable garnishes. You really don't need to order side dishes unless you are a vegetable freak. A great wine list and a funky retro dacor make for a perfect evening. GO THERE
by Amy @ My Dining Journey
May 03, 2014
Slightly ashamed to admit that I had no idea that Cazador existed since a few days ago, when I was invited to a birthday dinner during the weekend. Located on a quiet section of Dominion Road, there isn’t many other restaurants nearby, which could explain why I never noticed Cazador existed in the first place. With an emphasis on game meat, Cazador has been part of Auckland’s dining scene for over 25 years and is currently on Metro’s Top 50 Restaurants in Auckland.
There were several different options for entrees including a couple of specials for the night. I opted for a light meatless start and ordered the courgette flower stuffed with a ricotta and anchovy filling. I seldom see courgette flowers on the menu, which is a shame because it is such a delicious vegetable which can be stuffed with so many different types of fillings. The ricotta mixture in this dish was rich and cheesy which worked well with the flower but I could not taste the anchovy. The crispy coating kept everything intact and I enjoyed the light airy crunch.
For my choice of main, I went with a conservative choice of venison and I was not disappointed. Char grilled venison loin, cooked to slightly over medium rare, served with roasted carrots, beetroot and radish. This is some of the best venison I have eaten in Auckland. This lean cut of meat was tender, juicy and seasoned to perfection. The finishing touch of freshly cracked pepper sealed the deal.
Being the only specialised game restaurant in Auckland, be expected to see meat like guinea fowl, rabbit and pheasant on the menu, most of them hunted and prepared by the staff who run Cazador. They do have a fish special, but it’s not an ideal place to bring a dining companion who doesn’t eat meat. You will see things on the menu that you have never seen before and can be quite a surprise for the faint hearted. Poussin hearts, calf tongue and rabbit lungs, this is the perfect place for one to open their culinary mind.
Like this review? Please check out my blog http://mydiningjourney.wordpress.com
by Damaris Swinburn
Apr 30, 2014
A group of 6 of us were lucky enough to experience Cazador. We wanted to taste of everything and ordered, shared and tasted our way through the menu which was varied (lots of variety of meat I mean) and exceptionally interesting. Although we don't cook meat at home we loved experiencing the care and thought and presentation offered and relished the game experience. We sought advice on sherries and wines to match the food and enjoyed Spanish sherry, a Spanish Rioja and and Oratia Reisling. The service was professional, the atmosphere delightful and the value outstanding. A wonderful restaurant we would love to take meat loving foodie guests to anytime.
by Hannah Dyson
Apr 11, 2014
This was an incredible dining experience. My friend and myself went there last night for dinner. I had the boar belly and she had the venison. Both dishes had the most succulent meat and the sides were delicious, rustic and wholesome. The staff were friendly and helpful. Would be best to book ahead as they get very busy. Will definitely be back!
Feb 21, 2014
Dined at Cazador on a busy Thursday night with a gaggle of gal pals, thoroughly enjoyed the food, atmosphere and whole experience. We had drinks beforehand (saffron gin with orange blossom, Pimms, Spanish sherry ) in their intimate little bar with a view into the kitchen. Its apparently newly renovated but is feels very retro with its Spanish archways and plaster work walls, and is full of trophy deer antlers, antique artillery (!) and family memorabilia. Charming Maitre'd and owner Rebecca provided us with a tasting platter of mouthwatering snacks, the hit of which was lamb-tongue fries, which were golden crumbed and served with homemade rosemary ketchup! So good! The game terrine was also a surprise. Something I would never order for myself but was great to share and I loved it.
Once seated we ordered from a range of mains and specials such as boar chops or fillet (with pea risotto and chorizo), peppered venison, goat, hare ravioli...hard to choose. I had the ravioli and it was utterly delicious. The hare both inside and out of the ravioli was delicately shredded and braised with some kind of fantastic thinly sliced mushroom I could not identify, and a lovely combination of flavours (I can also not identify). The boar fillet (Flintstone sized! Generous portions at this establishment) looked good too and the goat was a surprise. Not gamey or like lamb it all, it had a subtle flavour, was super tender and had a tangy sauce that featured yogurt. The drinks list had lots of interesting wines from NZ, Spain, France and Italy. I just ordered the Spanish tempranillo that is their house red and it was lovely. The service staff were friendly and attentive while giving us lots of time and space to chat and catch-up. We felt like we were being treated to a special night.
Desserts were incredible. The chocolate mouse topped with candied orange rind, pistachios and rock salt is chocolate perfection, and as five out of six of us ordered it I can only comment on one other dessert. This was a dutch apple pie with homemade bay-leaf ice-cream. It was beautiful - the apples were tart and the ice cream fragrant. A nice alternative to the rich mousse.
Cazador's vibe is so different to anywhere else in Auckland with its worldly ambiance, family feel and spectacular array of challenging and different food. It feels like real a getaway, as if you have traveled somewhere new without actually leaving the Auckland burbs. Looking forward to the next visit, spending more evenings in the dinky bar and new courtyard and would highly recommend to all as one of the best neighbourhood restaurants in this city if not all of NZ!!!
by David Martin
Feb 10, 2014
Went to Cazador mid last week for my friends birthday, I had made a booking there for 4 of us as I have been there many times over the last 10 years with various friends however I hadn't been there for almost two years before last week. When we walked in it was to a new Cazador, it felt lighter and more spacious, although it still managed to retain the charm of the previous visits.
The food was amazing as usual, we ordered one serving of Calf’s Tongue Chips between the table as they sounded interesting but we were all a little hesitant, I really wish we had ordered a serving each as they were not just a novel thing to eat but they tasted great, we also had two servings of a Persian Bread that sounded alright on the menu but was amazing when it arrived on the table, not often something is better in your mouth than it sounded on the menu.
Between the four of us we had two main of Wild Boar, Venison and Rabbit with a serving of Salad, Green Beans and Potatoes (I'm not big on veggies but I could have happily eaten just the sides, the Green Beans and Potatoes were all cooked just like I remember my grandma cooking veggie which really pleased my taste buds) and all the meals looked and smelt delicious, every one was raving about their meals on the way home while already planning what they wanted to try next on return visits, can recommend the new look Cazador any more highly, if you've been there before you love it just as much and if you haven't then you really are missing out.
Lastly the staff, they were amazingly friendly and welcoming, best service I've experienced in a while, there was an enthusiasm and sincerity that many places don’t have but all the staff here had both these great attributes in abundance
by Maggie G
Jan 07, 2014
Cazador is a favourite of my partner's and I went there with apprehension some years ago as I'm not really a fan of game - this places specialty. However if there's a non game lover among your dining group , don't worry , they also do dishes like calamari,chicken and always vegetarian options and we have visited many times now with friends and family. Though the menu changes every couple of weeks there will always be duck, venison, and wild pork and usually rabbit hare or pheasant. Different cooking methods and sauces keep the menu interesting as chef Dariush( son of original owner Tony, the hunter) likes to be innovative and there's a middle eastern twist on many of the dishes On our last visit with family our mains ranged from duck with cherries, through pork scotch, venison casserole, to chicken with walnuts. All were pronounced delicious and a couple even managed dessert of berry cheesecake and baklava. The restaurant is quite small and had a revamp a couple of years ago Cosy and suburban so easy parking
The prices aren't outrageous for good quality authentic game fare and the service is great, with more family being on the restaurant floor you know they'll be doing their very best for their customers
Jan 01, 2014
I loved my evening at Cazador. It exceeded my expectations. The staff were very welcoming and helpful, the food was AMAZING and I can't wait for an excuse to return. The vegetarian meals were just as good as the meat ones and the chocolate sorbet was super delicious. Loved the turkish coffee too!
by Gary Dalhousie
Dec 12, 2013
I went there with four hungry colleagues on the recommendation of one of them who is a keen hunter and fisher. We walked in through the tiny entrance and thought "yikes, what's this going to be like?". When we entered the dining area we were greeted by two gorgeous women who seated us in the middle of an empty room. The room is something to behold. A sort of cross between The Coen Brothers in Albuquerque and David Lynch's One Eyed Jacks. I felt excited and hungry. The menu is a wondrous array of game/out-of-the-ordinary fish dishes. Whole Sole pan fried to perfection with a caper sauce was a highlight. Poussin with Spanish rice and artichokes, again, right up yours truly's alley. We ordered 2 x duck fat spuds which were a little soft but good, one of each other salad (best beetroot I've ever had) but also tried the bone marrow (stunning), Poussin hearts (pretty bloody good) and pheasant terrine (outstanding). The wine list is beautifully complementary and so's the service. We love you Cazador. Five dudes, blown away, wanting more. X.
by Kiwi Food Wonders
Dec 02, 2013
Cazador is not for the faint-hearted. It's Auckland's only game restaurant, and if you don't like meat, its probably not the destination for you. The night we visited, head chef Dariush has some delicacies such as lamb sweetbreads, smoked duck and venison starring in the menu. Don't be surprised to see various incarnations of offal appear.
The menu changes every couple of weeks, to accommodate the seasonal produce and the fresh game, which is often supplied by Dariush's father, and previous chef, Tony. If you're a hunter yourself, you can bring your catch along & the chef will prepare it for you with a bit of advance warning. However there are some dishes that MUST stay on the menu to please the loyal regulars to this place. There are almost always dishes of wild boar, duck and hare to choose from.
The wild boar on the night we visited was absolutely delicious and cooked beautifully. My entree of smoked duck fettucine was also sublime, and one of the members of our party was convinced to try the lamb sweetbreads, served as a ravioli. He found his first venture into the world of offal very pleasing, and really enjoyed the dish.
You couldn't review Cazador & not mention the decor. Plastered walls adorned with all manner of animal head trophies will watch over you as you eat. This 70's kitsch is not for everyone, but it fits the vibe of this restaurant.
Cazador was recently welcomed into Metro's Top 50 Auckland Restaurants, and I totally applaud this decision. Well deserved.
If you liked this review, check out more like it at: http://kiwifoodwonders.com
by Lucy H
Oct 15, 2013
I went to Cazador this very spring evening with family and experienced a dinner that started and ended on a high note. The thing is, there was no low note.
We liked the eye-catching decor on arrival, and had a lovely welcome and introduction to the food and drinks menu by staff.
Choosing some middle-eastern breads to start, we then went straight to the mains (although the entrees looked very tempting). Presently the table was filled with a handsome assembly of poussin hearts, spanakopita, venison, and a generous hare loin for two with side dishes of carrot salad, roast beetroot, asparagus and rosemary potato. Each dish was ridiculously good, and everyone smugly thought that theirs was the best (but mine clearly was).
For dessert, I ordered a beautifully dark chocolate mousse with orange confit and pistachio. Smooth, bitter and sweet with crunchy salty bits - yum!
Staff were consistently friendly and on hand with insight and recommendations throughout the evening, which was very helpful.
In short, the whole dinner experience was incredible. We found Cazador restaurant to be sincere, full of deliciousness, with a lot of charm, and we will return soonest!
by Jo Tunna
Oct 14, 2013
Myself and a group of friends booked a table at Cazador at late notice recently and had an excellent experience. The wait staff took extra good care to make sure we were happy with starters and drinks in the bar while we waited for our table. The food was well cooked, well presented and delicious. The sides, unlike so often when they are bland additions to the main affair, were well thought out and super tasty also. Desserts are definitely worth saving room for, even if you share. All in all a lovely, relaxed but special evening. Thanks for squeezing us in last minute, we'll definitely be back again soon.
by Rachel Johnston
Sep 29, 2013
My husband and a group of friends dined here on one of Cazador's wine and food matching nights.
Such a great experience! The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, the food interesting, perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious, I would have licked my plate if there weren't so many people there! Will be returning in the nearest future
by Jamie Nelson
Sep 24, 2013
Myself and two friends popped in to Cazador on short notice. We were treated exceptionally well by the staff who obviously knew a lot about the wines and food they serve.
We started with a very nice boutique beer that they had in, then took their wine recommendation. A fantastic Pinot Noir.
My partner had a meal of Hare liver, kidney and hearts, was one of the nicest tasting meals i have tried in ages, and i was jealous that I hadn't ordered it myself.
I had braised hare legs, which were delicious and gamey tasting.
If you like more familiar meats like beef, pork and chicken then that is fine, you have those options at Cazador, but I can have those items at home, so i like to try something I can't experience elsewhere.
If you do go, and want to be adventurous and this is your first time with wild food, then ask for help from the staff.
by Liam Griffin
Sep 22, 2013
An absolutely deceiving and appalling experience.
Came into the place impressed by the trophies and animal carcasses stuffed into the place and the claim of a "Game Restaurant". I at once imagined something hearty and impressive akin to the claims they were making and was looking forwards to being impressed by the food.
Unfortunately when the meals turned up, it seemed they were intending to feed a hunter closer to the size of a housecat - and even then I am almost certain my cat would eat a portion larger than that I received.
Half of the meat was essentially raw and cold, there was little to no accompanying vegetables, even with the addition of a side dish. I would have found the situation hilarious if I hadn't of been paying such ridiculous money for such an average meal and experience.
If Cazador feel they want to play at being a "Fine dining" establishment, then they need to up the decor, which is at best tacky and state "Fine Dining" instead of "Game Restaurant" - and even then the food wouldn't be up to standard.
Perhaps "An entire menu of overpriced starters and appetizers" would be more suitable.
Overall an absolute joke of a restaurant. Be prepared to waste a lot of money - factoring in the additional meal you will require post "dining".
Will not return, or recommend to anyone.
by John Rudd
Sep 15, 2013
We returned after last dining here a couple of years ago and because of the wide variety of dishes on offer. Our party of 4 was disapointed over the relatively narrow range of dishes on the menu.Two of our party ordered the special main wild boar only to find, the last portion had been sold and we ordered at 7pm-not good enough I believe. The entree poussin hearts was small and served on a tiny dish. Small portions of side vegetables for a group of 4 better suited to two persons and an extra $6.50 for each of the three dishes too expensive. Prices are now quite expensive and mark up on wine and beer very high-$65 for a bottle of sparkling wine far too high.Did not order desserts given narrow range and lack of satisfaction up to that point.
Very disappointing evening given our previous experiences and high expectations. Overall portions small but prices high and not good value for money -will not be returning which is unfortunate given our previous enjoyment of this restaurant.
Sep 06, 2013
This is it. If your a hunter gatherer this is world class. Unpretentious, casual and cozy, Its about game food that the owner has a passion to hunt. That's why the food here is so good. There is heart and soul behind this. Try it, worth every cent.
by Sam Anand
Aug 04, 2013
This is the kind of place one would go to if you are looking for a real change to the mundane atmosphere, choice of cuisine to spend a quite relaxed evening. Very nice and close to the place where I live and that's very comforting. Tad on the expensive side though but well worth it.
by Judy & Brian
Jul 22, 2013
We had a lovely time here on Friday night. Took all our own game and a good bunch of friends. The food was beautiful and the Chef did it more justice than we could have hoped to do it at home - what a banquet!Some great wind choices too. The decor is that old Spanish style with Game mounted all over the walls. Warm and comfortable and casual which we enjoy. The staff include the owners and you really get that personal touch. The chef/owner came to the table to chat as we were about to leave.. This is our second visit and we will be back for more.
Jul 14, 2013
Very much enjoyed our meal at Cazador, the service was great, friendly staff and the food was excellent. A lovely wild game bird terrine and venison to follow for me. A cosy atmosphere, decor is dated but works with the theme, almost Spanish is style. Nice wines also. We will be back.
by Graham Allfrey
Jun 29, 2013
I enjoyed this place, Cazador, it was easy for me to get to. The decor is cool, for me, a little oldish, even a little Spanish.,The game mounted on the walls set the stage for what was to come. both of our meals where superb and for me plenty of food, good wine menu, and the service discrete.
by Murray Campbell
Jun 10, 2013
Four of us dined at Cazador on a Friday evening for a late setting. It is obviously a really well run and much loved restaurant but it wasn't our lucky night. Two of us ordered a special of rabbit confit for main. We imagined a flavoursome utterly tender dish. What we got was something quite different. The rabbit meat was quite dense and clumpy and much cooler than the surrounding sauces and vegetables. The waitress could see we were not enjoying our meal..and suggested we order something else from the menu..it was very gracious of them but that is always a difficult situation when dining with others as they finish their mains well before you get your second offering. We persevered with the dish but much of the meat was left uneaten. At the end of the evening the chef came out and apologized..a dish such as this is prepared well in advance and then reheated at the time of the order..unfortunately the order got pushed through too fast for the meat to come back to the right temperature and tenderness. I really appreciated the chef's honesty and the way that the staff handled the situation..we will be back but will book a little earlier in the evening.
by Winnie Fong
Apr 10, 2013
We dined at Cazador for the first time this week. Food was fabulous. My pheasant was superb, as was my husbands veal necks & pig trottlers papanelle.
Service was exceptional, and nice touch on giving us complimentary glass of liquor at the end of the meal in celebration of my husbands birthday.
We'll be back, and I have already passed on our recommendations to our friends.
by Stephanie Sherriff
Feb 04, 2013
We had the BEST experience here, celebrating 4 friends birthdays so a group of 11 and everything was so smoothly run. The staff are exceptional and very lovely. The food was equally as good and enough to feel full but not sickly full. I would recommend this place - and would definitely recommend the set menu, so nice to try all the different types of meat on offer! The dessert is a must as well. I will definitely be back!
Nov 30, 2012
Went to Cazador for the first time tonight, and it was fantastic!
The pheasant was delicious and the dessert - genius! We ordered and shared between four the chocolate mousse, figs, ricotta, meringue w goat curd and baklava.. and each dessert was incredible! If I could give it more than five stars, I would. Fantastic service too.
Oct 15, 2012
I have been a patron of Cazador for 10 years, after being away for a while came back with a friend for dinner recently. Going to Cazador is like being let in on a secret, a truly unique place unlike many of the new places in the Central City you tend to forget as soon as you finish your meal. This restaurant is not for vegetarians, children or people offended by taxidermy, which makes it an excellent venue to have a night away from the kids. The restaurant is changing hands to the owners’ son and his wife. The new blood has introduced changes which enhance the experience without compromising the food and service. Our waitress was attentive, very knowledgeable of the menu and answered all of our questions. New tables, a new look menu and glasses which complement the original quirky décor which makes the place unique. The presentation of the dishes has also changed to a more contemporary look. My old favourites are still on the menu (the flatbread, pork, venison and baklava) and my friend was suitably impressed with the food and fantastic service.
by Shika Narayan
Sep 25, 2012
the service was very good, food was average. My partner had the venison which was great but some pieces of the venison was chewy. I ordered the duck, which was a bit over done.
but overall it was a pleasant meal.
by Nikki Neville
Sep 20, 2012
Very good dining experience. Good food and atmosphere. we will be back.
by Mike Lomas
Aug 04, 2012
Very nice evening with great food.
by Keith Macky
Jul 16, 2012
Had a fabulous night. The service and food more than met our expectations. Knowledgeable and friendly waitstaff. A short but satisfying wine list. And food that is excellently prepared. Decor might not be to everyone's taste but it is a game restaurant!
by James McFall
Jul 06, 2012
I've eaten at Cazador a few time and the meals have been great every time. The flat bread wrap entre is amazing, so is the baklava. It's hard to chose between the mains, but the venison meatballs are also a favourite.
by Daniella Lahav
Jun 17, 2012
I loved this place - cool and weird decor, lovely atmosphere. We had them cook our game food and it came out beautifully tender and with a lovely smokey flavor. Dessert was the best I've had in auckland (I liked it better then the French Cafe). We will be back with our next catch.
by Ann Hart
Jun 15, 2012
Highly recommendable -excellent service and excellent friendly staff, excellent food.
Had entree: Kalamari, mains- braised duck and Stoneys venison, desserts: chocolate mousse and chocolate/mango sorbet- all perfect.
A great dining experience - thanks Cazador !
by George Sharp
Feb 27, 2012
We have been going to this restaurant for 24 years and it is still as good as the first time we went.Went to Australia to live some time ago but every time we come home we go to the Cazadore the food is the very best 24 years proves that, there are some restaurants that don't survive 24 weeks we wish where we live on the Gold Coast that the restaurants were as good.all the very best to our friends at the Cazadore.
George & Sue
Jan 23, 2012
Have been here twice now (the first time on the recommendation of a friend). Great food and great service. The Venison Shanks are to die for! The waitress we had couldn't have been more helpful or looked after us more and I thought the food was reasonably priced. If your a person that's into trendy, snobby restaurants then this won't be your thing. It's good wholesome food without the pretentiousness.
Oct 31, 2011
We were lucky to get a reservation 10 days out from a birthday celebration, and I greatly appreciated the maitre d' checking with another larger group before confirming they could take my booking after all. The attentive and friendly service continued on the night too. We were running quite late but were assured it was no problem, and made to feel very welcome. It is easy to relax in the unpretentious and fun dining area (taxidermy and old photos dominate the decor). Without having to ask, champagne flutes appeared for the bottle we had with us, and whether she had remembered from my booking or was guessing from the bubbly, the waitress offered birthday wishes. Menu explainations, recommendations and even lessons in how to pronounce certain Farsi words were happily given, though it was still a difficult decision as everything sounded delicious! We eventually opted for a shared appetiser of Persian bread - tasty morsels of layered pastry, cheese and herbs - and mains of duck, pheasant and wild rabbit with vegetables for the table. Each dish was succulent, rich and flavoursome in its own distinct way. Unfortunately the ice cream based desserts were off the menu due to a freezer malfunction, and no one had room for the weightier selections, but we were happy to linger over coffee and a shared plate of Turkish figs, and even received complimentary limoncello to round off our meal. We enjoyed our memorable evening at this charming restaurant and all agreed it is excellent value for money (as mentioned, it is BYO). We will definitely be back!
by Steve Bannister
Aug 02, 2011
On a recent visit a question was asked of the Waitress(owner?) and the response was almost vitriolic.
The food was at best bland or over-spiced as I feel they are trying to deliver more than is feasible
I will not be revisiting as I believe it is past it's prime
by Celeste Bowden
Mar 21, 2011
Even though I'm a vegetarian (the person who invited us didn't realise that this was a game restaurant and the decor would include stuffed animals), we had a fantastic night.
The service was fantastic, we enjoyed the live entertainment, and the food was really good. The meat eaters in our dining party raved about the Pheasant and Wild Pork. My pasta was very tasty and the desserts were scrumptious.
I even blogged about this restaurant at http://celestereviews.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/whos-game/
Dec 02, 2010
We recently visited Cazador and had a great evening: the menu varied, the food great and the service attentive. So good was our experience we booked a table for the following week and returned with 12 of our friends. They all also raved about their particular dishes.
The meals we really good value too.
by Laura Phillips
Oct 31, 2010
We were very disappointed with our experience at Cazador. We found the meals to be very over priced especially for the size of the meal. I ordered the pasta and asked what the size of the entree was compared to the main. Normally when i have pasta at a restaurant the entree size is more than enough. The waitress couldn't tell us the size she simple said 'its entree size' as this wasn't very helpful i decided it would be safest to order a main. Wow what a disappointment. There was hardly any pasta under the steak pieces. The size is what i would have expected the entree size to be. Others that i was dinning with had the veal and found it to be dry and the taste of bacon to be over powering. Anyone going to this restaurant should note that there are no sides included with your meal so you must order those separately. You only receive meat on your plate otherwise.
May 23, 2010
Great place, great food, great atmosphere and great service. This place is a little gem.
Aug 31, 2009
I've been to Cazadors a number of times over the last decade and have always enjoyed both the food and the atmosphere.
May 26, 2009
If you want a good meal at reasonable price and excellent tasting then you must visit this place. We will definitely be going back. Service is very good as well and the staff are very helpful with what there specials are and say instead of have Pita Bread try something else.
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