OK, what am I basing this on? Well Cuisine magazine has just come out with its 2014 Good Food Guide, their annual list of the country's best restaurants. And, once again, Tauranga doesn't feature. Nada. Zilch. Not one restaurant. If you like good food this could be considered a bit depressing.
Just looking at it, this is how the main centres fare:
Whangarei – 1
Auckland – 23
Waiheke Island – 2
Hamilton – 3
Hastings/Napier – 3
Wellington – 9
Nelson – 1
Blenheim - 1
Christchurch – 7
Queenstown – 4
Dunedin – 2
TAURANGA – 0
This is pathetic. Either Cuisine has some sort of vendetta against Tauranga restaurants or our restaurants simply do not live up to the standards you can find in pretty much any other New Zealand city. Given that, it's even more depressing that the restaurants in Tauranga are just as expensive as all those “better” ones elsewhere.
I do note that in the section at the end of the guide, under “Local Faves”, there are seven Tauranga establishments mentioned. For the record they are: Elizabeth Cafe & Larder, Flour & Water Eatery, Harbourside, Macau, Somerset Cottage, Tay St Beach Cafe, and The Drawing Room.
And, in case you think this an unusually bad year for Tauranga - in last year's Good Food Guide Tauranga had... zero, nil, no restaurants (and 5 in the “Best of the Rest” section that time).
And in 2012, Tauranga had... yes, you've guessed it, no restaurants (and only 3 in the “also rans”).
What do you put it down to? Are Tauranga restaurants not up to snuff? Is Cuisine biased against the Bay? Where do you go to get the best food in Tauranga (aside from my place on a Saturday night)?
Answers on the back of a postcard (or in the comments section) – enquiring minds and hungry stomachs need to know.