Dishes become iconic because they're so innovative they change the way we think about food, because they're so immaculately executed that they become best-in-class or because they're a popular fave that always hits the spot.

Mr Morris's light-as-air parfait on crispy chicken skin.

Michael Meredith is a master of balancing texture, flavour and plating, and his crispy chicken skin entree is a generous mouthful of perfection in all three areas. An incredibly silky duck liver parfait is served on what food writer Jesse Mulligan described as "a shard of crispy chicken skin", with the richness offset by sweet, tart cherry and astringent parsley. Once you've had it, you'll never want to forget it. 

Ebisu's rainbow roll and ebi mayo roll

A visual delight, Ebisu's rainbow sushi rolls come in a seafood version - with salmon, tuna and prawn sashimi and avocado decorated with delicate clouds of tobiko, salmon roe and chiffonaded chives - or vegetarian, with capsicum, avocado, pickled cabbage, rice paper and tomato salsa. Their ebi mayo sushi roll is just as unmissable, with the unlikely combination of compressed rockmelon, black tiger prawn, avocado, red tobiko, mayo, chives and tempura crunch coming together in a flavour and texture combination you'll keep coming back to. 

Kingi's buttermilk blue cod wings

kingi's pescetarian take on the traditional deep-fried buttermilk chicken wings, this innovative dish takes a part of the blue cod (caught, in this case, in the pristine waters of the Chatham Islands) that is often discarded and transforms it into a crunchy delight. Dip the bristling fish wings into the ranch dressing and crunch through the fine bones for a deliciously sustainable version of KFC - Kentucky Fried Cod. 

Cafe Hanoi's crispy young green rice prawn cutlets

This one has been an iconic dish at Britomart for more than a decade. Succulent tiger prawn cutlets are coated in crispy flakes of Cốm, a Vietnamese speciality made from toasted grains of young, green glutinous rice, and served with a feisty house-made chilli sauce. No meal at Cafe Hanoi is complete without a sharing plate of these as a starter.

Amano's slow-roasted lamb shoulder with yoghurt and flatbreads

Made for two (or more) to share, Amano's slow-roasted Otamita Valley lamb shoulder is cooked on the bone for amazing depth of flavour and juicy tenderness. It's served with a a yoghurt and chilli dressing and Italian piadina flatbreads. Tear off a piece of flatbread and use it to wrap mouthfuls of lamb and dressing. Accompanied by a bottle of good red wine to share, it's the perfect mid-winter dish. 

Alma's Olasagasti anchovy and tomato tostada

Having the exact right produce is essential when creating an unforgettable dish. In order to bring in the particular anchovies they needed for their popular Olasagasti anchovy and tomato tostada, Alma had to register as an importer. Olasagasti is a century-old canning company, and their world-famous anchovies are caught during spring in the Cantabrian Sea off the northern coast of Spain. There's no substitute, which you'll recognise as soon as you bite into one of the crunchy tostadas. Photo by @epicureancuriosity.

Ghost Street's Biang Biang hand-pulled chilli-oil noodles

The character for 'biang' may be one of the most complex in Chinese script, but there's nothing over-complicated about Ghost Street's star noodle dish. There doesn't need to be, because every element is so good. A bowl of extra-long, delightfully firm Xi'anese wheat noodles are doused in garlicky chilli oil and black vinegar sauce and enlivened with fresh coriander, Chinese chives and wong bok (Chinese cabbage). It's both satisfying and moreish. 

Mexico's spicy fried chicken and fried cauliflower

From the moment the doors first opened at Mexico Britomart - the original location of today's popular chain - the spicy Mexico Fried Chicken, served with chipotle and jalapeno mayo - has been a huge crowd-pleaser. It has never left the menu, and it's popularity has been such that it inspired the later launch of the vegetarian version, Mexico Fried Cauliflower, which has its own vegan-friendly cumin and lime crema dipping sauce. 

La Petite Fourchette's mille-feuille cake

The croissant may be France's best-known pastry, but the mille-feuille takes flakiness to even greater heights. At La Petite Fourchette, its many layers of puff pastry ('mille feuille' means 'thousand leaves') are interwoven with layers of vanilla mascarpone cream and salted caramel. The in-store single-serve version is dusted with icing sugar, but the special-order cake version, which can be made for up to 14 people, comes topped with swirls of vanilla mascarpone cream, more salted caramel and gold nuggets. 

Miann's trompe l'oeil Tiramisu Cup 

Brian Campbell's innovation in dessert-making and artistry with chocolate are the key reasons behind Miann's lasting success. The Miann Tiramasu Cup is a perfect showcase of his skills - fluffy coffee-saturated sponge and layers of cream are hidden inside a dark and caramelised white chocolate shell in the shape of a takeaway coffee cup. It's almost too beautiful to crack a spoon into - but you'll be happy you did.