This The Grove Auckland Restaurant Review is from our recent brief stay in Auckland, and based on our experience, it's a must for any foodie spending time in Auckland. See all our New Zealand posts if you're planning a visit to one of our favorite destinations in the world.
The Grove Location and Hours
The Grove is located in Auckland's Central Business District, but we walked right past St. Patrick Square where it's located before retracing our steps back to the restaurant. Look for St. Patricks Cathedral on Wyndham Street, and turn onto St. Patricks Square to find the entrance.
The restaurant is open for dinner Monday-Saturday starting at 6pm, and for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays only, from 12noon to 3pm. The Grove is closed Sundays and public holidays. Reservations are recommended.
We were there on a Monday night right at 6pm, so initially we were the first guests. During our visit, however, several couples as well as a small group of 2 couples were all seated, and I suspect weekend nights are very popular.
The restaurant is elegant yet cozy, and romantic, so, coupled with the fact that only tasting menus are offered, I wasn't surprised that my son was the only child.
The Grove Menu and Food
Insider tip: Monday nights feature a special 4-course chef's choice menu for NZD 65 (~$45), which is a great deal. On other nights, the options are a “Petit Degustation” 4-course tasting, where the guest is able to choose the courses, for NZD 99 (~$68) or a full 7-course tasting menu for NZD 145 (~$99). Here was the full tasting menu for our visit:
Note that if visiting on a Monday, you have to know about and ask for the special NZD 65 Monday night tasting menu, it wasn't offered by the server, but when I requested it, she was happy to oblige.
I appreciated that before the meal, two oshibori hot towels were brought to us, unusual for a non-Japanese restaurant, but very appreciated.
We started off with bread rolls. These were very fresh, but it would have been nice to have a selection of various homemade breads.
The appetizer, a winter terrine of quark and scampi studded with winter tomatoes, was an auspicious start and beautifully presented.
The next dish was one I wouldn't normally have been too excited about, since John Dory, a delicate white fish, is so subtle as to be boring to me in most of its restaurant incarnations. Not so here–the whey glaze and shiitake mushrooms that adorned it added incredible umami to the dish and easily vaulted it to the best white fish dish I've ever eaten.
The next course was no less impressive, a delicious wild rabbit main course that was just as delicious and tender as it looked.
Dessert was a chocolate souffle and passionfruit Alaska. I've never cared much for meringue desserts, but this was one of the better ones, both from the perspective of its tableside presentation and taste, since the meringue was super fresh and complemented its sweet-tart passionfruit center. I've always enjoyed the pairing of dark chocolate and passionfruit, so this was a great way to finish, from my perspective.
While my favorite dinner in New Zealand is still our dinner at Otahuna, near Christchurch, The Grove is a close second, and a must for any foodie visiting Auckland. It's French in preparation, but ingredients are locally sourced, and the dishes imaginatively prepared.
If you've dined at The Grove in Auckland, what was your experience?
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