A dining precinct with a difference opened on Monday, 17 December, when Auckland Fish Market welcomed its first visitors following a multi-million-dollar renovation.

After more than 90 years of continuous use, the iconic market has been gutted, refurbished and replaced with eight new eateries, courtyard bar and a world class fishmonger just metres from the Hauraki Gulf.

The Jellicoe Street venue will be a celebration of seafood with indoor and outdoor seating for more than 400 people, adding further to the already bustling atmosphere of Wynyard Quarter.

Owned by fishing company Sanford and designed as a celebration of New Zealand seafood, Sanford Chief Customer Officer Andre Gargiulo hopes the new eateries will encourage Kiwis to get more adventurous when it comes to consuming fish.

“More than 100 different types of fish are caught in New Zealand waters, yet we tend to eat the same five. Our aim for the new eatery is to show that there is literally oceans of choice beyond the usual snapper, hoki or terakihi.

“A big focus for us will be an education message to show the variety of cuts, flavours, tastes and recipes available right here, at the source,” says Gargiulo.

Visitors will be able to enjoy cuisine from around the world, starting on the inside take your pick from Azubu Lite, a new reiteration of the well-known Ponsonby eatery from chef Yukio; Polynesian poke bowls; bold Thai food from Cameron Knox; South American grill from Mar + Tierra; Mussel and Oysters from BillyPot, a new venue from Ofir Yudelivich, director of The Jefferson; as well as coffee and gelato from Good Karma.

Outside in the refurbished courtyard will be Market Galley, a new venture from the Savor Group and Cobus Klopper, Group Executive Chef at Ostro. Here there will also be a bar, called The Wreck, and woodfired Pizza from Super Pizza.

Also included is a world class fishmonger in Sanford & Sons, which will sell the broadest range of seafood in the country in a way designed to make the experience of buying fish easier.

“It’s easy to get put off and confused when buying fish, is a kilo of snapper enough for one person or four, how many fillets do I need? Our aim is to take the guess work out of buying fish,” says General Manager of Marketing and Consumer Justine Powell.

“What’s more, we’ll be able to take any whole fish and prepare in it a way that suits the customer, similar to how butchers do with cuts of meat, as well as providing recipes and alternative suggestions for getting the most out of the not-so well-known fish.”

The focus on alternative fish, species that include kahawai, trevally, grey mullet, mirror dory, jack mackerel, gemfish, ling and porae to name a few, is part of Sanford’s aim of increasing the amount of fish consumed beyond the big five by 2020.

“Sanford & Sons has been operating on this spot for more than 90 years and catching fish for at least 130 years.

“New Zealand fish are sustainably managed and caught, be we can all do better at the consumption end of the chain and become more sustainable consumers by broadening our palate and trying a greater variety of seafood,” says Gargiulo.

Despite the new attractions it’s not all change. The morning fish auction will continue as always, and the ever-popular Auckland Seafood School, fronted by chef Paulie Hooton, remains.

The model of a combined market, cooking school and dining precinct is one copied from seaside cities in countries such as Japan, Australia and Spain where fish markets had become major tourist attractions.

“New Zealand is surrounded by water and there’s more to fish than fish and chips. Fishing is part of our culture and we’re going to do our very best to make buying and eating seafood as accessible and enjoyable as possible,” says Powell

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