Seamus M. said: "I love this cafe, its atmosphere is welcoming and the staff are kind and sociable. The service is exceptional, however the food is the icing of the cake, very tasty and is worth your money. I would recommend this cafe to everyone…" read more »
The food was the best food I’ve eaten in my life, especially the 1st course & dessert, hence the 5 stars. The wait time in between each course was far too long for my tastes, took 2 hours to finish our food. The prices for everything are also very high, but worth it.
There is not much that needs to be said about this restaurant, other than that it is sublime.
Like religious zealouts, my wife and I have made an annual pilgrimage to Simon Wright’s citadel of culinary delights.
While you will pay for the experience (perfection does not come cheap), be prepared for exceptional and unpretentious service, and briliantly executed dishes.
We have eaten in Michelin Star restaurants in Manhattan and London and can confidently say that this is our favourite eatery.
Amazing food and service that is second-to-none!
Thoroughly enjoyed the tasting menu… each dish flowed well on to the next and you could really taste the freshness of the food.
Would happily pay $140 per person to sample all the dishes again (8 courses, but 10 if you include the complements from the chef). It is certainly worthwhile if you like to taste a little bit of everything… and walk out feeling more than satisfied but not overly full. They are also very accommodating in changing or altering the dishes if you have particular dislikes. I changed my quail dish to a vegetarian that was one of the chef’s signature dishes. Flavoursome and delish!
First time at the French Cafe…I can now tick it off the list. Had 4 courses…stand outs was the oysters and confit duck leg which I have always wanted to try…however the kicker was the kumara and tangerine purée that accompanied the dish…each mouth full I closed my eyes and could have happily gone to sleep…the thing that sets the French Cafe apart is the waiting staff…attention to detail flawless…I dropped my napkin, without asking it was replaced within 10 seconds…you well deserved your tip…thanks French Cafe
So I finally had the chance to make time and try out the ‘number 1′ restaurant in Auckland – voted by Metro for so many years in a row.
First impressions – place was nice, quiet, and it actually didn’t feel like you were on the rough side of town on Symond Street. It was a little dark but I guess it’s considered ‘mood lighting’.
We ordered a 4 course meal. The food was brilliant and had alot of flavour. Great presentation, great wine options, great service.
I went to celebrate my partners birthday and they surprised us with a little birthday treat along with our dessert order. Sadly the birthday treat came out looking very tacky and they spelt birthday incorrectly ‘birtday’. Big time fail.
The dessert presentation and flavour is lacking as they are clearly in pain once their Head Pastry chef left to open up Milse in britomart.
Also in alignment with @SoyoungC feedback, we too noticed the random sand flies in the restaurant.
Overall great place to try, great food, a few flaws and not as bullet proof as I imagined. Not in any rush to try again.
I dine out at this restaurant several times a year. My experience this time was not up to the level i have had. There was a little bug floating in my wine glass to start with. I told the waiter serving us this. He took my glass away and brought it back within 10seconds. The bug was gone. I was unhappy but did not make a complaint as i did not want to spoil our dinner on my partner’s birthday. Very disappointing. It tarnished all the good experience so far. My second course was a quail dish. Perfectly presented but one of two chestnuts was not fresh. The green salad was quite bitter with too much red cabbage. A bit of sweet touch i.e. dates might have weakened the bitterness. Overall three courses were a lot saltier than i could enjoy. With the experience this time i would not rush to come back here any time soon.
The French Cafe is a dining experience I will never forget, and I hope to be back again one day. We went for my husband’s birthday as it was his choice and he had only heard wonderful things.
We were not disappointed at all. The menu was laid out exquisitely, while not vast, it catered for everyone’s needs and wants.
I highly recommend the Spanner Crab Risotto as a starter which was a taste explosion like no other, for an entree I had the egg yolk ravioli (stunning) and main was the snapper (delectable).
The wine we chose was French and it was SUPERB!!!!! The waiting staff were attentive and refilled our glasses when needed.
I didn’t have dessert as the three courses were more than adequate. This is a where you go for a top quality gastronomic experience, not a belt strainer meal.
LOVE LOVE LOVED IT !!!! Could not be faulted at all. Excellent does not cover our dining experience here.
The French Cafe is the pre-eminent fine dining experience in New Zealand. I have eaten the 11 course tasting menu several times and it is always spectacular. The wine matches were the best I’ve had and the staff are very knowledgable and attentive. If you want an amazing culinary experience and expense is not a factor you must dine here
Service was fantastic (felt like a princess) and food was delicious, an explosion of tastes! My partner and I had the 6 course degustation meal with some fine cocktails to accompany them with. I thoroughly enjoyed how they explained what we were eating once we received it and the general etiquette.
Recommended to all. Just be prepared for the big bill at the end!
Having failed to secure a booking two years ago on our wedding anniversary (we hadn’t realised how popular it was), I booked weeks in advance of our 30th. After reading lots of reviews online, I had a few minor concerns, but they turned out to be groundless. Right from when we stepped in the door, the service was attentive and friendly, yet not at all intrusive. Glasses were refilled just when they needed to be, and each course arrived at exactly the right time. As for the food – it was simply the best we’ve ever enjoyed: very tasty, delightfully presented and a superb culinary experience!
I couldn’t understand criticisms of seating and decor, as both were perfectly acceptable. From where we were seated we could see the chefs beavering away in the kitchen, and they seemed to be relaxed and happy.
My wife asked me last night if we could make The French Cafe a regular anniversary experience, and I was only too pleased to agree with her.
Consummating a wait of close to two years to experience this institution of Auckland fine-dining ,I finally stepped into it with a truckload of expectations tempered by a wry sense of sobriety.Wooden lattices covering the restaurant’s street-facing walls and doors gave an almost Japanese aesthetic and minimalism. The neighbouring bar and coctail-lounge ‘s facade was more ceremonious. Once settled at my table, I hoped for excellence if nothing else and let the show begin. A complimentary amuse bouche had the concentrated vegetal flavour of pumpkin soup topped off by the woody essence of hazelnut foam. Beside it, Goat’s Cheese balls had a rich creamy body ripening inside a crisp shell. The discipline in their cooking held out hope for anticipated higher pleasures in the offing. On being asked to recommend a satiny white wine with low acidity, my hostess selected a Marc Brediff Vouray Chenin Blanc which I accepted- ’twas a decent example of the expected elixir. Stewart Island Oyster,presented with a host of refulgent associates,was consumed in one rainbow mouthful that created splashing waves of fresh,succulent and crisp bites.In its aftermath,the marine undertug of the oyster left a lingering mark.In a black plate, a classy rendition of tuna sashimi was lightly seasoned,thereby conferring a welcome zest to its silken flesh. This was complemeted with thin slices of calamari,crunchy vegetal cuts,,creamy side-’licks’ and the rich sharpness of a sushi-rice sorbet -it was a cousin of the composition eaten just before – an elegant, swirling waltz of surf and refreshing turf.
French Cafe’s ambience is only par for the course. This place is not interested in blowing you away with opulence. Comfy black chairs without arm-rests ,standard-issue table-top decor, and black carpets afford basic elegance. A large abstract painting -akin to the the pattern of red wine voluptuously swirling into a clear viscous medium adorns a wall of the inner dining area where I was seated. This location has a sleekly compact view of the chefs in action. Freebies like bread shells provided bang for hidden buck only after being anointed with smoked salted butter. Crayfish Canelloni further enriched with bechamel sauce was good but not outrageously so, and its leek-based accoutrement did not sing. Tenors then shifted to a higher better level with Langoustine risotto that was boldly al dente,and given softer persuasions by pairing it with a shell-fish foam finely redolent of its intended essence. The troika on the plate was completed by mustard ice-cream- a restrained but keen creation that brought compatible sharpness when mixed into the other two. It was a refined example of how to make dessert slip back into the savoury courses.
Service, though polite and accomodative, was a mixed bag. Sure,they’ll explain all the dish’s components to you before each course, new cutlery is placed on a petite block of wood each time a new course starts, and every member of the staff I spoke to, including the maitre’d, had commendable knowledge of the dish’s constituents. But empty plates take time to be cleared off, feedback is rarely,if ever,asked and my glass of diminishing water initially took one hour to be re-filled. Anyway,’twas inspiring to see the French-looking head chef at the kitchen’s forefront busily constructing and composing for almost the entire length of my 210 minute meal, while purposely avoiding any confluence of gaze with his customers. His snappy supervision revealed its class in the eating. .A balantine of quail was exquisitely docile,wrapped as it was in a smoky coat of bacon and crowned by truffled butter.Parked beside it was a gear-smoothening innovation of “Croissant puree” which was lushly creamy and lightly infused with oven-baked aromas.Seared duck was superbly cooked with a crisp exterior. The gentlest parts of it were sashimi-like in their satiny softness.When simultaneously sampled with bok choy, luxuriously buttery kumara puree and sweet mandarin sauce, it continued to synthesize harmonious symphonies.
A 9 course meal here stretches across 3 and a 1/2 hours- apart from lavishing every facet of your attention on how the restaurant around you functions, you also have time to contemplate life’s fullness. One can also note finer details of service, like the hostess changing a tablecloth by slipping in the new one against the receding one in such a way that the table’s bare surface is never exposed.However,this long span also accentuates the odd moment of disappointment. Roasted goats cheese tart, served over beetroot onion fig and a pastry disc enclosed by circles of red-wine-balsalmic was the only dish that did not deliver cohesive pleasure. Champagne granita avec frills stood in as my requested replacement for a buttermilk dessert- ’twas a decked-up palate-cleanser rather than a handsome dessert.I was disappointed by the kitchen’s reluctance to go-for-broke on that course.
The end of this NZ$145 Chef’s 9 course tasting menu worth its tarriff was signalled by Textures of Chocolate – a pond of choco mousse amply studded with crunchy chocs’n'nuts and a couple of orange slices that overall packed invigorating vibrancy while the eponymous ice-cream’s chilled clouds provided bracing contrast. As the night drew to a close (there will be several future visits), Chef Simon Wright agreed to my request for a quick meeting and was very kind as I congratulated and praised the man profusely. After all, it is not daily that I get to taste the cuisine of a meticulous craftsman,an expert artist.
I will definitely be happy to come back any day. This is one of the best restaurants I’ve been to. Superb food and service. The waiter was very attentive to our needs and the food is just to die for. We had a la carte and it was very satisfying
Superb. Amazing. I honestly can’t fault anything at The French Cafe – amazing food, wine list, service & atmosphere.
I love it here & can’t wait for a special occasion so that I can go back! Would highly recommend.
Just superb from start to finish.
My partner and I both had the 9 course chefs menu. Every plate was a treat, and the wine matched perfectly.
Service was spot-on, the waitress was very friendly and polite.
My partner and I ate at the French Cafe in the weekend and enjoyed the food and the service except to say that we both thought our mains were very salty and the sauces were overwhelming. We both had the bombe alaska dessert which was okay but felt cheated because it had tiny wee cold soft meringue peaks stuck on it instead of having a nice meringue on top which is cooked in the oven so must have been prepared earlier and just lacked that special wow factor. The service was faultless and perhaps a bad night with the sauces but for the price we paid it should have been better.
Definitely the place to come for a very special occasion. My partner and I split an entree, had a main each, 3 cocktails between us and a lager – came to just under $200. Not bad for the quality however the portion sizes were on the small side. I have to say that the atmosphere was a little bit uncomfortable; despite being from a fine dining background, my partner and I (both early 20s) did feel a little out of place and were almost too scared to share a joke
Went here with my husband for dinner. Food was top notch and service was very attentive indeed. I can see why this place has won so many awards ….it really is first class! It is not cheap but well worth it for those special occasions.
If you ever get the chance of eating at The French Cafe, take it and then hang in there for a truly amazing culinary experience.
Such an absolute pleasure to be able to eat here, and you should do so, at least once in your lifetime. I cannot fault The French Cafe on anything, impecciable service, clean lines, comfortable surroundings and the food for me is pure, magical delight.
A double celebration found us enjoying the perfect delights of the French Cafe.
The meal started with a complimentary pumpkin and trufle soup, we then enjoyed a range of other courses, sharing from each others plates became quite necessary – such was the appearance and refined tastes of what was before us. The highlight for myself was a first course of eel servced with caramelised apple, pancetta and micro cress – The description does the dish insufficient justice, the taste is sublime!
The French Cafe have a service team that are chosen for their personality and then clearly have a thorough training – because its rare we receive this level of service in New Zealand.
Speaking to my wife afterwards, we have decided we’d like to live there – permanently
Six of us decided to splash out and have the 10 course degustation meal, with four of us having matching wines.
The French Cafe exceeded every and all high expectations we had. The food was superb (I still think about that scallop and pork belly dish, a few weeks later). It was brought out all at the same time and with the right amount of time between servings. It goes without saying that the matched wines were perfect.
The service was outstanding. One of the party that is permanently on crutches noticed that as he made his way to the bathroom, waiters in his vicinity would open all the doors between our table and the bathroom before he even had a chance to request them to.
Overall, an amazing experience and if you have the urge to splurge, I highly recommend to visit the best in the business, the French Cafe.
great food~ a la carte or 6 course tasting or 11 course degustation, take your pick, am lucky to check-in more than once within short timeframe so am glad the kitchen is flexible to swap my degustation dishes against the standard menu on offered to my dining companion. Service is professional yet friendly without being snooty or cold like some wannabe establishments. Definitely the best value for money fine dining in southern hemisphere, if you’ve dined at Sydney Tetsuya and/or Quay you know what i mean.
Everyone raves about this restaurant so maybe I’m just hard to please or my expectations were too high but I found our night at the French Cafe a bit disappointing. Sure the service was good and so was the food but a few things could have been much better. Some of our party were given chopsticks with which to eat oysters and scallops out of the shells – why? As far as I know oysters/scallops aren’t Asian dishes and our group was not Asian nor do we like to eat with chopsticks – we used the main course knives/forks provided. My (and another of our group) meals were served in large bowl type plates and the knife and fork kept slipping into the food when we put them on the plate to take a drink of winr or water – quite annoying. The 7 of us were squashed onto a too small table – there was limited space for the large plates being used and the array of glasses so we had to continually juggle where to put things down. I asked for the whitebait starter (all starters $16) and was informed by the waiter that it was a small portion (1 whitebait biscuit with sauce and garnish) and did I want an entree (all $26) sized portion – I was charged $32 for this course which consisted of simply the starter with one extra whitebait biscuit; I thought this a bit cheeky. The 3 men at the table had the wagyu beef main – it was good but the sauces and artichokes overpowered the meat taste and it was too salty towards the end; the portions were very small – we all agreed it didn’t match a nice eye fillet from the BBQ at home. Probably BBQ’d wagyu would be great. The wine was very good and the wine matching suggestions from the waiter were perfect – the wine was probably the best part of the night but at $15-19 a glass it should be. However, $9 for a very ordinary bottle of Heinekin in a fancy glass,(available for under $2 at the supermarket or wholesale)is simply profiteering in my view.
Stunning, nothing more to say!
The very best restaurant in New Zealand.
Save up, get dressed up and have the degustation with the matching wines.
Top quality food and service that can not be beaten.
We had the 6 course menu with recommended wines and it was wonderful!! We will certainly be going back.
I have dined at The French Cafe several times over the past few years, and I have yet to be disappointed in anyway what-so-ever. It simply has the best food in Auckland – tasting, looking, quantity & style. The staff are professionals and it comes across. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who loves good food.
Restaurants come and go but great ones are always consistent. I took three guests we all had different 3 courses and each felt they had the best.
Always up there in the top three a great experience we ensure we eat there every visit.
I give it 5 stars and I am not generous with my last one superb
AMAZING!!! GO THERE! (but make sure you book ahead!) Eat, drink and don’t worry about how much it has cost you because its that good, it doesn’t matter
Having eaten at The french Cafe at least six times in the last 10 months – What can we say that hasn’t been said by so many reviewers over the years.
The reason we keep going back is The French Cafe is a rare jewel in the NZ dining scene, a sophisticated restaurant that can do what it does so very well in any country, not just NZ.
For first class food, service and a lovely wine list that is one of the best bargains in Auckland. Just go!
had the degustation here with matching wines. totally blew my mind. hours and hours of bliss!
Absolutely stunning food. Amazing service too. Worth the money and definitely try the degustation menu!
best food ive ever tasted in my life went in the summer and it was very hot and stuffy and sweating while eating our food asked to have the air con turned on but was told it was but it didnt feel like it, the waiter was strange and hung around for a tip afterwards
Have been to the French Cafe twice and had the degustation menu both times. The food is to die for and the service is the best in Auckland. Worth every penny – book at least 3 months ahead!
Fantastic place to dine, formal yet laid back atmosphere. The food is divine, the service is good and the deserts are amazing! Definitely try this place out, you will not be disappointed.
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