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Winners are grinners: Celebrating winning the award for NZ's best restaurant are, from left, White + Wong's' Elizabeth Adams and Alex Suter, Hospitality NZ regional manager Darelle Jenkins, and Whit + Wong's' Sophie Kinghan

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

White + Wong’s Queenstown was on Tuesday night named New Zealand’s best restaurant at the Lion Hospitality Awards for Excellence.

The Good Group-owned bar, which opened in 2019, took the top spot from other finalists
Francesca’s Italian Kitchen (Wanaka), The Press Club (Dunedin), Artison at Bolton Hotel (Wellington) and Fife Lane Kitchen and Bar (Tauranga).

Other local finalists were Perky’s Floating Bar (best destination venue), Sofitel Queenstown — Hotel & Spa (best luxury hotel), Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Ltd and Margo’s (best new/redeveloped business — food and beverage), and Erik’s Fish and Chips (excellence in
marketing).

Hospitality NZ CEO Julie White says there were a record number of entries this year, when, for the first time, the awards were opened up to the entire industry, not just Hospo NZ members.

‘‘Every hospitality business and every worker out there deserved their own medal for the
guts and perseverance they’ve shown through probably the toughest period the industry has ever been through,’’ she says.

‘‘The competition was fierce, which is a testament to the whole industry considering it’s still in the middle of a devastating trading period due to the pandemic.

‘‘It was almost as if everyone lifted their standards in defiance of Covid, to show they could still stand tall despite the setbacks.’’

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz