Auckland’s Best Seafood? Kingi Restaurant Review

Kingi might just be Auckland’s best seafood restaurant, and one of the best fine-dining experiences too. Find out why in this Kingi restaurant review.

In Brief

Our Score

Food

If you like fish, this is the place to be. Meat-lovers get kai from Cazador. Nothing much for vegans or vegetarians.

Drink

Stunning wine list with some very hard-to-find bottles at relevant prices.

Ambiance

Fine-dining attention without pretension. The place was buzzing on Friday evening, but table distancing ensured we felt private.

Value

We ate very, very well, at around $300 for 4. Drinks were another $300 as we splurged on wine. You can eat here enjoyably for cheaper (or more).

Kingi Chandalier - Kingi Restaurant Review
Kingi Chandelier

Visiting Kingi in Britomart, Auckland

We ate at Kingi Britomart as part of a great night out in Britomart, which also took in a pre-dinner cocktail at Talulah and post-dinner drinks at Caretaker. The rain was coming down, which made this a perfect little triangle of venues around Britomart.

The entranceway was tucked off Britomart square, seemingly squeezed in along the Britomart Hotel. (Kingi is also part of the hotel set-up.) We were ushered through quickly into a smart industrially influenced restaurant set-up: native hardwood floors and marble table tops contrasting with exposed brick and plaster walls. The chandelier was a visual highlight, and looped from room to room – each ‘scale’ made from one recycled glass water bottle. The massive kauri bar also left a lasting impression.

Staff didn’t know we were doing a Kingi restaurant review. But be were greeted promptly and brought straight to our table for a 7pm booking, where the front of house passed us on to our server for the night, David.

I don’t normally single people out, but David was a hero: enthusiastic and on-target as he walked us through the menu, the architecture, and — when prodded — how the businesses and fisher people that surround Kingi act out their sustainability vision. Great service can make or break a fine dining experience, and he made it. He wasn’t alone – other servers helped with queries, extra orders and empty serving plates seemed to just disappear from our table.

The Kingi Menu & Drinks list

Kingi wine list & other drinks

The drinks list was very local on beers and very international on wines, which is a great way to swing it. Every beer was kiwi (McLeods from Waipu, Hallertau from Auckland, and a lone XPA from Upper Hutt) with the exception of zero-alcohol Asahi.

Their non-alcoholic offerings included house kombucha and juice, as well as local softdrinks.

Wines by the glass (from $15) included a “Kingi white” and “Kingi red” from Northland, which I need to get back and try. While NZ was well represented there was a Barbazul from Cadiz, Spain, lovely Venetian bubbles and a Provencal rose which I’ve had before.

But the list by the bottle… it included Champagne Blanc de Noir and Blanc de Blanc. Yum. Amidst amazing NZ whites like the Hans Herzog Viognier and Fromm Chenin Blanc where two Galician wines: an albarino from Rias Baixas and a Godello which we spent far too much on. It was worth it. Galicia and seafood – it’s a no-brainer.

I wouldn’t pair anything beyond a light red with this food, and there was a fair selection. I didn’t pay too much attention there, to be honest.

Kingi menu

The first page of the menu was broken into three sections: raw bar, antipasti and mains. As I flipped it over, I became confused. This wasn’t food.

It was a list of nine skippers and their boats, who long-lined; and one each of pot-fishers, hand-catchers, cage-catchers, bi-valve farmers, and one set-netter which we were assured was (the more environmentally-friendly) multi-filament netting.

When your menu comprises 30 dishes and 14 fish suppliers, there’s a level of attentiveness and focus being given to your food.

David, expert guide that he was, recommended we chose a few things from each of those three sections and share them between us.

So… what did we eat?

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From the raw bar, we had waiheke oysters and dry-aged kahawai. Just yum.

Next up, oyster mushrooms alongside green-lipped mussels, octopus carpaccio and a hapuka taramasalata – with a couple of helpings of freshly fired flatbread, still deflating from the oven.

The carpaccio was done with a sweet and delicate hibiscus and rhubarb sauce that I loved. But this brings me to the one and only disturbed preference of the evening: I prefer my octopus big and bold and thought it lost something by being so thinly sliced.

My only issue over two hours of dining was one of preference – so what a fantastic night it was!

On to the mains, of which we had a whole flounder, pan-roasted snapper and a seafood pappardelle pasta. I would whole-heartedly recommend the flounder and snapper, but the texture of the pasta didn’t quite reach the heights of those other dishes. That said, our table needed extra flatbread to soak up the remains on that dish, so go wild.

What can I say… it was all good. Kingi is now my go-to seafood restaurant in Auckland.

Submit Kingi Restaurant Review, or prove me wrong

I think Kingi may be Auckland’s best seafood restaurant. What do you think? Somewhere else?

If you’ve eaten here recently, submit your own review — just make sure you’ve got the right restaurant! Tell us what you really think, but we reserve the right to edit or delete your review if it breaches our community guidelines.

Find Kingi Seafood Restaurant

If you can’t spot Kingi, face the entrance to the Britomart Hotel from Britomart Square, and look to the right.

You can make Kingi part of a great night out in Britomart.

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