Nine finalists have been announced in the Metro / Audi Restaurant Personality of the Year awards and restaurant diners are being called on to cast their votes.
Metro editor Simon Wilson says that the finalists have "the professional skills and warmth of personality to set the standard for restaurant service in Auckland".
It is the only category in the Metro / Audi Restaurant of the Year awards that is decided by public voting and New Zealanders can now place their votes by text*.
The finalists hail from as far afield as Bulgaria, the UK and Wellington and represent a mix of venues from casual to fine dining.
Last year's winner, Cat Vosper from Waiheke's Casita Miro, is defending the title against restaurant staff from The French Café, Roxy, Depot, Coco's Cantina and others.
Wilson says that good service isn't about the type of restaurant or its longevity.
"It comes down to the person and their passion and respect for the job. It could be the old timer at the corner bar or the sommelier at your favourite restaurant."
The winner will be announced at the official awards ceremony on 23 April at St Matthew's in the City.
Further details on the finalists and the award are available in the April issue of Metro, on sale from today (Monday 26 March).
The nine finalists are:
Carol Pearcy, sommelier, Basque Kitchen & Bar Cat Vosper, owner, Casita Miro Damaris Coulter, co-owner, Coco's Cantina Ganesh Raj, co-owner, The Tasting Shed Gary Olasz, restaurant manager & sommelier, Roxy James Kirkwood, co-owner & sommelier, Sunday Painters Joe Williams, restaurant manager, Depot Michelle Moore, waiter, The French Café Mimi Gilmour, co-owner, District Dining & Mexico
*To vote: text "first name" (e.g. "Carol") to 244. Texts cost 20 cents.