Michael S. said: "I tried both lunch and dinner and can’t find any reason not to give them top rating. The food is great, staffs are friendly and the wine that I tried on the manager’s recommendation matched well with my favorite pasta (I liked…" read more »
Despite what all the young wannabees think, NZ is not the USA (thank God) so don’t schmooze for tips! Portion sizes were too small for a grown man (50s) and his ageing mater (80s). However, what food was on offer was delicious if just that tad overpriced.
My wife and I dined at Hammerheads this evening to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary. We had what can only be described as a fabulous meal. We had the seafood platter which was sensational and we had pre ordered a crayfish which was superb. The service was friendly, professional, prompt and could not be faulted. I would rate this the best seafood restaurant i have visited anywhere in a very long time.
Ate here recently for my birthday, we had the market fish (salmon) and the whole fish (baby snapper). Ok I am not exaggerating but the salmon was incredible, it was the best piece of salmon I can remember eating. I am a big salmon fan and cook it regularly at home, I want to know how they cooked this. The whole fish was good too but we both agreed the salmon was the standout dish. Expect to pay high 30′s for your meal. If they improved the décor I think this would be an all out 5 start establishment, great service and location.
My husband and I came for dinner last Friday (27th), to celebrate our Anniversary. We had a fantastic meal, sharing the Cray Fish and the Market Fish of the Day, as well as a lovely bottle of Chardonnay (recommended by the waiter).
We enjoyed our meal immensely and had a great night, made more special by the surprise plate of small desserts, with Happy Anniversary on the plate. That was a wonderful way to finish our evening, and very unexpected.
Thank you again, we look forward to coming back and dining with you.
Had dinner with 2 friends two weeks ago, service and food were good but to be honest i think its a little bit over-priced…. the seafood platter was way too expensive, I couldn’t believe it was $120 ….. I would accepted if it was $70-90, but $120? Definitely no, anyway service was friendly so I would rate 3 stars.
“Les Français parlent aux Français ” : lieu à fuir et à proscrire car bouffe indigeste, snob et surfaite ! La cuisine est un métier et là il faudrait vraiment que le chef aille faire des stages de préparation de sashimi, de tartare et de fruits de mer ! Si vous recherchez du “in” ou du “hype” alors allez y mais si vous recherchez du goût et de saveurs alors allez voir ailleurs !
This afternoon, my wife Jane and I visited Hammerheads for the fourth time this year. As usual we took a table on the balcony overlooking Okahu Bay. I ordered the snapper and salmon sashimi with interesting condiments to share, followed by the snapper with prawn, squid in coconut milk, and confit duck for Jane. Jane enjoyed a central otago pinot noir and I had a 2008 pinot gris. The food was superb as was the wine. The manager took excellent care of us and with the temperate weather and outlook along with the superbly cooked and presented food we drifted happily back to our car.
Giving it 3 stars as the food was delicious and came out very quickly, however, when I dined there it appeared there was enough kitchen staff but not enough waiting staff.
Our table wasn’t ready when we arrived so were asked to take a seat at the bar and we’d be taken to the table once it was ready. 15 minutes later we had to go to the reception area as they had forgotten about us.
Food came out quickly which was terrific. We were waited on by at least 3 people which was a bit unusual and didn’t give a good flow to the evening.
At the end of the night we were given the bill but forgot to give the tab card for our bar drinks. They went to tally it up again and collect our credit card. Another 10-15 minute wait and we had to go and chase it up.
Small inconsistencies yes but as a reasonably classy establishment I would expect better and they took the shine off the night.
I would go back as the food was fantastic and I’d like to see if the average waiting was the norm or just our bad luck
I love Hammerheads. The food is really fresh and delicious. I would recommend the vegetarian breakfast- it is my favourite breakfast in Auckland. it is healthy, yummy and the serving is generous. We went there recently for lunch and the food was fabulous. I had paua tortellini as entree, which had an interesting texture. As a main, I had the tuna steak which was grilled to perfection. my partner was also very happy with his choice. I see that many people complain about the service, but I have to disagree. I think that the staff is really cheerful and attentive. And you have a very nice view from the restaurant- perfect to take visitors from oversea. the only thing that I don’t like is the noise level at the restaurant. if you want a romantic dinner, this is not the place for it.
We have recently had a disappointing dining experience at Hammerheads followed by an even more disappointing customer service experience.
On Sunday 9th December ourselves and another couple were looking forward to a pre Christmas and pre wedding catch up. We chose Hammerheads as we hadn’t been thee before and our friends hadn’t been for a while and recommended it.
We are all seafood lovers and as such ordered 2 of the seafood platter’s ($145 each) to serve 4 people. The dish arrived and the presentation was good however that was the end of anything good to come! The crayfish was burnt. The oysters had been rinsed in fresh water. The raw fish was slimy. The Paua was like eating rubber. The entire dish lacked flavour. The only exception to this was the seafood chowder which was ok.
When the waiters cleared our table 3 of the 4 guests expressed how disappointing the meal was. The response we got was ‘I am sorry your meal did not live up to your expectations’.
The same night I emailed the restaurant and expressed my disappointment. This was met with no response. Unbeknown st to me, our friends emailed the restaurant two days later. Paula the owner replied that the had had the Chef from another upmarket restaurant in the restaurant that evening who said the platter was the best he had had. She went on to say that because of the raw food we had ordered something else from the meal (none of us are opposed to raw fish if it is fresh and prepared properly!). Her response totally missed the mark and she fobbed us off as some uneducated diners.
Went there for Brunch. Very good food and service. Excellent coffee and location. Recommended.
I think there must be a problem with the lunchtime service. We went there for dinner some months ago and had a great meal. So when we were looking for a place to take friends for lunch we thought this would be the ideal spot. We had a very long wait and had to ask twice to order drinks. Breads and dips were ordinary . The squid was very good but the main fish was dry and the sauce was cold. Disappointing salads that looked like they had been standing a while. If you want a good experience we suggest go in the evening.
We had a booking for 12:30pm today. We’ve arrived at 12:29pm and were directed to bar are to wait for our table.
12:45pm we were taken to our tabel and were waiting for bread until 1:15pm. So they actually needed 30 minutes to bring bread to our table and from there on it didn’t go any faster.
We’ve finished our lunch at 2:40pm – 2 hours 10minutes for 3 course meal?!?
People next to our table came 1 hour after us and got their meals before us. I guess service is a miss and hit in this restaurant.
Food wise: bread was nice, but dips were horrible – olive oil and some weird mix of lemon, sour cream and garlic.
Salmon was good but salad accompanying was blend and not eatable.
Prawns were ok, but polenta was hard and not appetizing.
Pana cota was high light of the lunch and that is also a reason for 2 stars.
We’ve complained to management and they’ve take it on board and offered free coffe and tea but we were so over it that wouldn’t take it. I woud never return and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone – for $75 per person you can eat like king anywhere else!!!
Four of us went today for a lunch special and it was fantastic fine dining. The salmon entree was excellent as was the crispy pork belly main and the desserts of creme brulee and panacotta. Excellent service with friendly attentive staff and not too busy. Would thoroughly recommend.
My partner and I went to Hammer Heads with a deal lunch voucher and had an excellent time. The service was of a high standard, the atmosphere is smart and upmarket the food was as good as you get anywhere. The portion size was perfect for a 3 course lunch.
If you are looking for somewhere for a special occasion or a place to take visitors to Auckland I highly recommend Hammer Heads as providing a high quality ‘kiwi’ dining experience.
We went there on Sunday 26 August to try out this restaurant with a deal voucher.
As a deal voucher customer it was rather obvious we were treated as second rate customers, by getting a seat near the noisy servery (plates, cutlery, etc) for a start.
The menu was limited to a choice of just two dishes per course.
I won’t go into the details as to what these dishes contained, other than to mention that it was rather drab tasting and very stodgy.
The idea behind this deal voucher system is to get the customer inside the restaurant, find out about the choice and quality of the food so that the customer might come back.
Perhaps all their food is poor, perhaps some of it is excellent, but we will never know, because after our experience only one choice is with us, which is : We will never come back.
A word of advice to prospective deal voucher customers: Give this restaurant a wide miss!
Also went to hammerheads for their Winter Warmer Lunch using a half price voucher.
Great Food and never once felt that we were second rate customers.
Always wanted to try out this restaurant and was not disappointed recommend to all .Nice view from almost any table. Will be the bench mark for us in the future.
Nicely full and content at the end of the extensive lunch.
I went there with my friend on Sunday 12 August 2012 for the Winter Warming lunch special using a voucher. It was the first time we had been there and we were most impressed with the decor. We were seated by the windows and enjoyed lovely views of the harbour throughout our meal.
The salt and pepper squid entrees we had were hot and crispy – very more-ish indeed. For the mains, we had the roast pork belly and the seafood trio. I loved the crackling and the kumara fondant, golden raisin and pine nut vierge went really well with the pork. The combinations of vegetables with the seafood trio were a little odd, but I enjoyed the dish nonetheless. The scallops were cooked just right.
We had both the crème brulee and crumble with custard for dessert; a little too sweet for my tastebuds but I liked the fruity and spicy flavours.
Service was mostly good – very friendly, polite waiters and waitresses except for one Asian lady who was a little bit dour in comparison to the others. The lack of a smile on her face was probably more noticeable because the rest of the staff were so smiley.
A lovely experience overall.
I had never been to Hammerheads and was really looking forward to the experience of fine dining. We had deal vouchers and took my parents and brother and his wife. We had booked for 12.30pm, but on arrival were told there would be a 20 minute delay, as they were switching from breakfast to lunch service. Seemed odd at 12.30pm… We had the salt and pepper squid for entree – this was well cooked, good size portion of 5-6 pieces but had a tasteless dressing. The seafood trio was scallop, 2 prawns with minimal flavour and soft shell crab. The flavours didn’t compliment each other and failed to impress 5 of the 6 diners. The dessert was the saving grace of the meal – a rhubarb crumble – delicious flavours. The ambiance was lacking – the venue was very loud and the noise is overwhelming. Service was average – however the restaurant was very busy so this was understandable. The toilets were also average. Maybe the problem with a well known restaurant is that we expected so much more – this sadly, was not delivered.
Seems like they must have taken note of previous bad reviews and upped their standards! I also had a deal voucher for the winter warming lunch special and used it for lunch today (Sunday). I was a little put off at the start as I had reserved for 12pm, but when I arrived had to wait for half an hour because lunch on Sunday didn’t start till 12:30pm (which they did not tell me when I booked). The staff however were apologetic and it seemed like a honest mistake. First course was salt an pepper squid which we both got a decent sized plate of each as well as some bread and olive oil. The batter on the squid was a little thick for my liking but otherwise OK. For the mains we both had the seafood trio which came with half a soft shell crab, 3 scallops, and two king prawns – all 3 were delicious and I thought the portions were a perfect size. My favourite were definitely the scallops which were cooked to perfection and was accompanied with my favourite Japanese seaweed salad. The finger bowl to wash your hands was a nice touch. For dessert I had the creme brulee which had the ideal texture, though I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to creme brulee and would had preferred it without the ginger twist. As a whole, the meal was a delight and the staff were friendly. I would happily go back next time and pay full price.
We bought a deal voucher a while back and planned to use it for a special day. SO was very apprehensive when I read a couple of the latest review regarding the use of the voucher to a point where I contemplated getting a refund! But am so glad to say we went on the 20th Friday July and the experience was excellent we shall be back and will happily pay full price! We (4 of us) had the 3 course winter lunch and everything was nice.The service was excellent and the whole experience was superb! So all you out there that got the deal voucher…I say…use it go and see for yourself!We were truly happy with our experience.
Went with a voucher for Brunch, and we were very happy with our meals. We both had the big breakfast and it was tasty and well cooked, the poached eggs were perfect, the hashbrown appeared home made and was full of flavour. The service was exceptional all the staff were attentive and helpful and we had a table by the window a great way to enjoy a weekend brunch.
Thanks Steve (previous reviewer). You saved me some time writing a review. We also bought a deal voucher and had an almost identical experience, the only differences being that we were served a small plate of squid each and my wife had the “Seafood Chowder”, which was pea soup with a few pieces of seafood in it.
We wanted coffee after our meal, but couldn’t attract the attention of a waiter, so we left.
We also will not be back.
We hadn’t been to Hammerheads before but thought the Grabme voucher was a grand way to try it. The voucher was $45 for two for 3 courses for lunch,all in all a good price or so we thought! We sat down and advised we had vouchers and were given a menu card with a choice of soup,seafood trio or pork belly. It promised a lot but failed to deliver. First was a very small plate of fried calamari to share! There was only around 6-8 small pieces of squid on the dish! Next came the main, 2 grilled prawns, 1 scallop (albeit cut in half to look like two!) on a bed of japanese hijiki(the kind you get at a sushi takeaway store in a plastic tub) and half a small soft shell crab. Both meals were very underwhelming and lacked finesse, Masterchef contestants on their first attempt could’ve produced better we thought. We were already planning a stop on the way home due to the small portions. The third course somewhat salvaged a lacklustre meal, pear and rhubard crumble or creme brulee. The service was lacking, not once were we asked how was the meal.We had to wait to pay as no one seemed to care that we were standing at the counter. And we retrieved our own coats, as again no one to help. All in all a very disappointing experience. The vouchers are designed to get customers returning and spreading the word I m sure. In Hammerheads case they are treating voucher bearers as diffrently to normal customers! We won’t be returning nor spreading any good reviews. Hammerheads,sort your act out or you’ll be without customers soon.
29th March 2002 – my husband and I took an overseas visitor to Hammerheads last night…it was absolutely FANTASTIC. The service was outstanding, the food was divine (the best steak I have ever had) and the window table and view was glorious. I love the place! Couldn’t fault it if I tried. Thank you for a great night out!
I had been excited to go here for quite a while. I ended up trying it on my birthday, which I discovered was a mistake. As a seafood restaurant, I thought it was only appropriate to try the salmon. My other guests were smarter than this and had two orders of the sirloin and one of the lamb – these were cooked perfectly. However the salmon was dry and overdone to the point where it was inedible. For such an expensive meal I would of hoped the chef preparing it knew what he was doing. The waiter was rude and the kitchen was unaccommodating (I asked to not have the dill custard and the waiter told me this was not an option). Only saved from a 1 star because my guests were happy with their non-seafood meals.
I had Grilled Angus sirloin (medium), truffle butter, rosemary chick pea frites, kalamata portobello puree, butternut remoulade, jus – $39.50 and I purred – I simply loved every mouthful.
I asked the waiter if anyone had ever not loved that steak and he told the story of ‘just once’ when someone wanted it ‘black’ and so it was returned to the kitchen 3 times to get it just right – but even then, it was loved.
I’m a fan of Hammerheads again
We had our Xmas dinner there last night 3 Dec. My food was AMAZING! Scallops, crayfish and creme brulee!!! My hubby was on the other hand devastated…. He said his lamb was the worst he has ever had! I would give it another go and hopefully it was just a bad night for them. Very pricey misfortunate.
Was looking forward to my dining experience on the 11/11/11. Had previously dined at Hammerheads some 5 years prior and thoroughly enjoyed the service,food and ambience. This however was a total different experience-I can only assume there are new owners after the fire?? The lighting was far too bright to enjoy the views. The food was decidedly average with a somewhat asian feel (we are eating euro food after all?!) The service was a little intrusive. All in all my partner and I couldn’t wait to finish the main and leave. Will not return
First time back after the fire. New menus, the griled gamefish (tuna) and market fish (hapuka) were delicious. Pricing is certainly at upper end at $37 but it was a delight.
We did a 21st this year……and judging by the earlier readings….it has not changed a bit…we have been to Hammerheads a few times even back in the 80′s which was a mecca for the so called ooba dicks…along the way we did encounter the pretentious staff, why they act like this I do not know because when I have this sort of service upon me, I ask them are they happy and if not go and do dishes instead of showing the snobbery. My parents asked for Fish and Chips which Hammers had cooked previously, this time unfortunately we got the look of disgust and a flat NO which does not come across good with 11 people…..I did however write a letter pointing out the subtle things which should be looked at but had no reply which I expected…maybe they have changed management but anyway won’t be going back….
We went here last night for a bit of a romantic date and I normally don’t bother writing reviews about places, in fact this is my first ever. But I probably experienced one of the best meals of my life and I thought the world deserved to know. We started with the prawn entree, he prawns were very, very fresh however felt the flavour was slightly lacking. The came the highlight of my meal the Akaroa Salmon. I am a bit of a Salmon snob and this was hands down the best salmon dish I have ever had… melt in your mouth stuff. I will be going back numerous times just for this dish alone! My partner had snapper and this was also delicious. The meals were a very decent size and well worth what you pay. We finished with the Creme Brulee and it was second to none. Last but certainly not least I have to mention the FANTASTIC waiter who was amazing. He really put the icing on the cake for us. I wish I had got his name. I honestly believe this must be the top seafood restaurant in Auckland!
I regularly make the trip to Hammerheads at any chance I get. Me and my husband go there for all birthdays and anniversaries etc. Despite the bad reviews I have always found the staff friendly and attentive and the food amazing! They were also very helpful and understanding of my needs when I was pregnant too. By far the best fish i have had and being a big foodie I have eaten at a lot of restaurants. My favorite restaurant, I will be back in a week for my anniversary.
I have eaten here twice in the past couple of months –
First time I came with a group of old school friends. We had a wonderful evening and were looked after really well by the fantastic staff. They were attentive but not over the top.
All the food we had was magnificent and to top it off we had a table with a wonderful view of the water.
The second time I came here was for a wedding reception. I have been to a number of weddings this summer in and around Auckland and Hammerheads hands down does the best food of any of the venues I have been to! Not only do you get three options for the entree and three options for the main but they are of a generous size. Everyone could not stop talking about how good their meals were.
From the moment we arrived in the bar areas for pre dinner drinks and canapes ( which were awesome – I especially loved the scallops wrapped in bacon!) we were looked after so well.
Well done Hammerheads! I will definitely be back soon.
The venue was great, fantastic view good service, pity about the food.
My partner had the Tuna, which she enjoyed, I however decided to have the starter prawns as a main. The prawns where tiny, they tasted like pre-frozen prawns slightly reheated in a watery tasteless sauce. Nothing like the sat eared prawns in chilly as suggested on the menu.
The restaurant was busy so people must be enjoying the food, maybe I just picked the wrong dish. I won’t be going back there again, if I had stayed at home bought a dozen frozen prawns and put them in the microwave for a minute they would have tasted better than what there chef came up with.
Would not recommend.
Great location and reasonable food we have eaten there twice in January and probably will not return this trip.
The food is fine the service slow but they were crowded on both nights which says something.
The view probably makes the place it should really have more stars but still a good night out.
Tony Buckingham 2 visits January 2010
I’m not sure whether the poor reviews are warranted, as i have not had a bad experience with Hammerheads, and choose to eat here whenever there is a special occasion. Perhaps the time or day has an effect, but i have always found the staff to be exceptionally friendly and attentive over any of my recent visits.
the last time i went was for my bday, and as usual, the food was amazing as was the service. this was particularly commendable since we had 2 people with strict dietary requirements at the table.
having once worked at Hammerheads, i appreciate the improvement in the menu over the years – the ingredients and tastes are fresh and simple. the chefs obviously do not feel the need to add anything unneccessary, and let the flavours speak for themselves.
i began with a prawn salad with plenty of mint and coriander – the flavours were divine, and reminded me of the delicious tastes of vietnam i pine for. for the main, i had harpuka with a ‘sauce’ of seafood pieces (prawn, scallops, mussels) – the sauce usually has cream, which i requested they exclude, and the wait staff were happy to oblige.
dessert was AMAZING – having been before, i know the Valrhona chocolate cake is to die for! think, the thickest, darkest, richest chocolate moussey cakey goodness, and your getting close! superb!
my friend, who is allergic to eggs, nuts, shellfish, and mushrooms was looked after exceptionally well – so much so that as she was about to taste her sorbets, the matre d came rushing over and said there was nuts in the topping, and promptly whisked it away – not great that she almost ate it, but FANTASTIC that he was attentive enough to prevent it.
hammerheads is a restaurant with high standards – it is not fine dining, but there manner of service is much more ‘proper’ than many of auckland’s more casual restaurants. if this makes them seem ‘pretentious’, so be it. its important to remember that perception is a two way thing – if you think someone is being ‘snobby’, that is partly YOUR interpretation of THEIR behaviour… im sure they arent intentionally pretentious, but that might just be the expected behaviour in a high quality restaurant.
i love hammerheads, and will continue to go there.
Well despite reviews to the contrary – I had an amazing experience @ Hammerheads. The service was excellent, and the food divine. I had the warm vegetable salad for an entree – small but amazing combination of flavours, pumpkin, pine nuts, beautiful. I had the snapper for a main on some kind of Risotto with a lemon butter and caramelized onions. It was perfect. Finished off with a date pudding which was just wonderful. Beautiful setting, very professional service, a bit pricey, but completely worth the superb meal.
ZERO STAR is what i wanna giv ethem.
probably the most arogant restaurant i have ever encountered. i used to be a chef and have dined out extensively. and by far, these peoples noses are so up their own buttocks its amazing they can still breathe.
the food was ok, the price was high. but you see, it sok if the service was good, location is good. but they were so arogant and did not know the meaning of customer service.
staff were condescending and patronising.
would never go back, really, their menu is nothing special at all! swashbucklers is better! cheaper and food was jsut as nice
I haven’t visited here in many many years. Apparently they have a new chef that has worked for this famous guy, and that famous guy. My guess is he can’t keep a job anywhere famous and has ended up here.
Anyway on the back of the new “famous” ( by association ) chef I booked a table for 4. The restaurant was maybe 1/3 full at 7:30. One of our party sensibly stayed away.
The food was, and remains, awful and bloody expensive. The seafood platter was not as advertised and it was sent back. The lamb that another of our party hard was described as nice but certainly wasn’t to the eye.
It seems that this place coasts by on having a reputation reinforced by its pricing. The food however is very poor yet expensive. A meal out, that costs well over $100 per head, becomes far more expensive when you have to go somewhere else to eat afterwards.
In Auckland we are lucky to live in one of the very best harbour citys in the world. Hammerheads has one of, if not, the best locations in this city for a dining establishment in this city. However they continue month after month, year after year to fail to live up to the promise.
I can only assume that the problem here is with the people that own and operate Hammerheads. As we say “the fish gets rotten from the head”.
AVOID at all costs.
This is the worst restaurant ever… we had the seafood platter for two, which was pretty good. But the service was absolutely dreadful, the manager (woman) is one of the rudest people I have ever come across as a customer service Representative. I will NEVER go back, and discourage everyone from going there.
We always feel a bit let down by this restaurant. The food’s OK… the service is acceptable…. it’s hard to put a finger on it. Something to do with the attitude. A touch of pretension, maybe. The demand for a tip, certainly. We’ve given it three goes over about 18 months, because we truly love seafood, and we don’t expect to go back.
That said, don’t take what we’ve written too seriously. We’re getting on a bit, don’t like stereotyping and dislike being treated like vagrant old age pensioners. We have rated it as “average” and if you’re in a group of businessmen you might find the atmosphere better than we have.
Judy and David
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