Cazador

4_half star rating 38 reviews

Telephone 09-620 8730

854 Dominion Rd
Mt Eden
Auckland City

Cuisine:
A La Carte, Bistro, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean
Hours:
Mon - Sat 6pm - 10pm
Provided by business

Overview

Cazador is a bistro-style restaurant that specialises in Game Food. Head Chef Dariush Lolaiy writes a chalkboard of daily specials, alongside a changing menu of game staples, seasonal produce and vegetarian options. Cazador is an unpretentious, cosy place with kooky decor and friendly staff. The wine list is short and considered, and there’s a selection of lesser known craft beers to enjoy alongside venison, duck, rabbit, pork, pheasant and fresh, seasonal vegetables. With a bit of forewarning hunters can bring us their catch and we’ll cook and serve it to share. Cazador has been run by the Lolaiy family for 25 years – there’s always a familiar face behind the desk, and enthusiastic waiters to help with choosing from the menu and finding drinks to match.

Photos

Photo of Cazador
Roast quail with spring veges
Smoked venison caparccio
Sopa de seats with sherry and crusty bread

More Information

Categories:
Restaurants
Takeaways:
Yes
Parking:
Free On-Street
Price Range:
Spendy, $25 - $35
Attire:
Smart casual
Good For Groups:
Yes
WI-FI:
None
Alcohol:
Spirits, Wine, Beer
BYO/Corkage:
No BYO
Wheelchair Accessible:
Yes
Takes Reservations:
Yes
Dietary Restrictions:
Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Gluten-free
Meals Served:
Dinner
Payment Types:
EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard
Seating For:
45

Reviews for Cazador

5 star rating
by Hannah D.
11th April 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!

5 star rating
by Kate L.
21st February 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!!!

5 star rating
by David M.
10th February 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

5 star rating
by Katherine M.
1st January 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!

4 star rating
by Gary D.
12th December 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.

5 star rating
by Lucy H.
16th October 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!

5 star rating
by Jo T.
14th October 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.

5 star rating
by Rachel J.
29th September 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

5 star rating
by Jamie N.
24th September 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.

1 star rating
by Liam G.
22nd September 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.

Comment from Dariush, Rebecca; L. of Cazador 23/09/2013   
Hi Liam, Thanks for sharing your Cazador experience here on…    More »
2 star rating
by John R.
15th September 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.

Comment from Dariush, Rebecca; L. of Cazador 16/09/2013   
Hi John Thanks for your comments. We are sorry you didn’t enjoy…    More »
5 star rating
by Tarras
6th September 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.

4 star rating
by Sam A.
4th August 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.

5 star rating
by Judy & Brian
22nd July 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.

4 star rating
by Karen
14th July 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.

4 star rating
by Graham A.
29th June 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.

4 star rating
by Murray C.
10th June 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.

Comment from Dariush, Rebecca; L. of Cazador 11/06/2013   
Hi Murray, Thanks again for your feedback, and once again we…    More »
5 star rating
by Winnie F.
10th April 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.

5 star rating
by Stephanie S.
4th February 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!

5 star rating
by Jess
30th November 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.

5 star rating
by Coqui
15th October 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.

3 star rating
by shika n.
25th September 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.

4 star rating
by Nikki N.
20th September 2012

Very good dining experience. Good food and atmosphere. we will be back.

4 star rating
by mike l.
4th August 2012

Very nice evening with great food.

5 star rating
by Keith M.
16th July 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!

5 star rating
by James M.
6th July 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.

5 star rating
by Daniella L.
17th June 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.

5 star rating
by Ann H.
15th June 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 !

5 star rating
by George S.
27th February 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

4 star rating
by Natalie
23rd January 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.

4 star rating
by Dee
31st October 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!

2 star rating
by Steve B.
2nd August 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

4 star rating
by CelesteReviews
21st March 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….

5 star rating
by t.moodie
2nd December 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.

Strongly recommended.

2 star rating
by Laura P.
31st October 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.

5 star rating
by maia
23rd May 2010

Great place, great food, great atmosphere and great service. This place is a little gem.

4 star rating
by Gill
31st August 2009

I’ve been to Cazadors a number of times over the last decade and have always enjoyed both the food and the atmosphere.
Awesome.

5 star rating
by Veronica
26th May 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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