Online food delivery platform Menulog has announced New Zealand’s most popular eateries in its annual Restaurant Awards with pizza and curry revealed as Kiwi’s favourite cuisine. 

Local Helensville pizza restaurant, Mr Pizza, won New Zealand’s People’s Choice Award after receiving the most votes out of almost 100 restaurants nominated from across the country.

Mr Pizza, a family-owned restaurant located 40km northwest of Auckland, fuses Italian and Indian cuisine to create a wide range of pizzas including everything from traditional margherita and pepperoni through to butter chicken and tandoori pizza.   

Jyothi Muddam, Owner of Mr Pizza said: “We have built up a very loyal following in the community and customers love our food because we use local ingredients and create our own recipes.

“We’re so happy that we won. Customers love the fusion of our Italian and Indian cuisine. We oven-bake our pizzas, we don’t deep fry anything, not even our chips, and we are always introducing new pizzas and dishes to the menu.

“Everybody in the area loves the culture we have at Mr Pizza. We’ve been here for five years and have been using Menulog to streamline ordering for our customers since day one.”

As well as capitalising on their reputation for great pizza, Jyothi and her team rallied support from the local community through street and counter signage and word of mouth to take out this year’s Peoples’ Choice Award. Mr Pizza won an advertising and media package worth $2,500 to help promote and grow their business and $1,000 cash.  

Three national awards were awarded to restaurants serving up 2020’s trending dishes as judged by orders, ratings and reviews on Menulog. Gisborne’s Bollywood Stars Tandoori Restaurant won Best Orange Dish, Thai Thani in Papamoa (Bay of Plenty) took out the Most Noods Sent category, and the Best Drink’n’Dine Deal was won by Air Indian Restaurant in Rotorua.   

Menulog’s Commercial Director, Rory Murphy, said: “It has been a difficult year for the industry and the Menulog Restaurant Awards are about providing added support but also celebrating local restaurants serving up delicious food to their customers.

“The awards are designed to recognise the success and hard work of our more than 1000 restaurant partners, especially the favourite local and neighbourhood restaurants who deliver an incredible culinary experience to their local communities.”

“Restaurants like Mr Pizza and Bollywood Stars are a testament to the importance of local restaurants. The culture they have built up around what they do, the service they provide and the delicious food they deliver keeps customers coming back.”

Bollywood Stars owner, Baljeet Sandhu, said the restaurant opened in 2004 and has established itself as an institution in Gisborne. 

“We’re always looking to improve and evolve. Our food is special because of the consistency and quality we have maintained for so many years. The food is always professionally prepared and we have fast service but never compromise on quality.”

The awards also celebrated 30 of the most popular restaurants by cuisine in local areas around the country ranging from Khane Bahar Indian Restaurant and Bar-Takeaway in Whangarei through to Indian Spice down south in Dunedin.    

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