Cazador

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Monday8:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Tuesday8:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Wednesday8:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Thursday8:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Friday8:00 am – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 11:00 pm.

Saturday8:00 am – 3:00 pm, 4:00 – 10:30 pm.

Sunday8:00 am – 2:00 pm.

854 Dominion Road, Mount Eden

09 620 8730

Cazador’s location is a little off the beaten track, and they like it that way. Situated on an unassuming suburban block on Dominion Road, it’s one of Auckland’s oldest restaurants, with a staying power that comes from marching to the beat of its own drum. 

Owners Dariush Lolaiy and wife Rebecca Smidt took over Cazador in 2013 from Dariush’s parents, Tony and Barbara, who opened the restaurant in 1987, a Persian restaurant using game meat in a city whose only restaurants at the time were old-school French bistros.

The restaurant is definitely a family affair. Dariush grew up there, he and Rebecca met both while working there, and it’s like a second home to their regulars, some of whom have been coming for years.

The space, with walls adorned with Tony’s hunting trophies, and exposed plastered walls, is refreshingly original, cozy and comforting, with dim lights and plush seating. The service is detailed and friendly, without being fussy or pushy. There’s no feeling of hurry in the room; if you’re dining at Cazador, the meal is that night’s main event.

You can order a la carte, but the best way to dine here is the Feast menu: a tour through their best dishes, from their house-cured charcuterie to offal and beautifully cooked wild meats. As they say in the menu; “Try something different. There’s plenty of time for chicken and beef tomorrow.” There’s an optional drinks match, too, a trip through their unique selection of Spanish sherry, house cocktails and wine from around the world.

If you want a taste of Cazador during the day, you can go to their Deli next door, which opened in 2020. Dariush describes the Deli as a way to raid the restaurant’s pantry: buy some charcuterie, cheeses or high quality pantry ingredients to take home, or grab a sandwich, pie or coffee and have it on the spot. 

The mission of Cazador is to take ingredients of the best possible quality and make them sing, and you’ll almost certainly find something there you haven’t had before. Once you try it, you’ll want to be a regular, too.

Words by Reilly Hodson & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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Location

854 Dominion Road, Mount Eden

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