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  • The French Café (Auckland; tel. 09/377-1911): This is posh-plush (in an elegant, understated kind of way) and professionalism-plus. Consistently rated one of Auckland's best and most romantic restaurants, this little den will take your taste buds to new, dizzying heights.
  • DINE By Peter Gordon (Auckland; tel. 09/363-7030): This sleek, dimly lit culinary "palace" is the playground of London/New Zealand celebrity chef Peter Gordon set in the SKYCITY Grand Hotel. It's fusion cuisine at its best. Just make sure you save a few good breaths for gasping at the bill.
  • Logan Brown (Wellington; tel. 04/801-5114): Located in a restored bank building on the edge of the red-light district, this restaurant will exceed your expectations. Consistently voted one of the capital's best eateries -- for its service and its delicious focus on top meat cuts and wild game -- it shouldn't be bypassed.
  • Herzog (Blenheim; tel. 03/572-8770): Expect the very best from this winery and restaurant that has been held up by New York's Wine Spectator for its impressive stock of around 3,200 of the world's best wines. It's a fine-dining experience you won't soon forget.
  • Rotherhams (Christchurch; tel. 03/341-5142): Swiss-born chef Martin Weiss has mastered the art of stunning his hungry patrons. In an interior that's all about romance and special occasions, he presents meals that excel in both presentation and taste. Not to be missed -- likewise the extensive wine list.
  • The Bunker (Queenstown; tel. 03/441-8030): Don't start celebrating until you've actually found it and are sitting at one of its tables! Notoriously hard to find (that's part of its charm), and expensive when you get there, this hidden culinary jewel delivers on all the superlatives it receives. Make sure you hunt it down.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.