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Best Italian Eating in Auckland, NZ

 

 O'Sarracino

3 Mt Eden Road
Eden Terrace
Auckland
Phone 09 309 3740

Our authentic Italian experience at O'Sarracino began when we called to book a table.  The greeting of "pronto!" and ensuing conversation in Italian set the tone for a very memorable evening.  O'Sarracino specialises in the cuisine of Naples and Southern Italy and since Kathy lived there for 6 years, we can certainly vouch for the authentic experience of both food and Italian service!  Bellissimo!  We had the joy of the personal touch from Gaetano, the owner, who after a few general questions about "pesce o carne" and "rosso o bianco" proceeded to organise a menu for us that was truly delightful.
Overall we had a great night there (April 2009), but it was on the pricey side.  Check out other reviews at www.dineout.co.nz/restaurant.php
 
 

 Porcini Cafe

25 Commercial Rd
Helensville
Ph 09 420 8025

NZ Herald food writer, Carroll du Chateau gave this café the following ratings out of 10 in a write up she did in April 2010:
  • Food - 8
  • Service - 8
  • Value - 7
  • Ambiance - 7
She writes:
"We had heard about Porcini restaurant on the grapevine and were mildly dismissive. A seriously good restaurant in Helensville? Give us a break!
But the idea was also intriguing. Porcini is not hard to find. It sits on Helensville's main street on your right heading north and the sign, Porcini, stands out in an area famous for old-fashioned Westies.
Nor are there many restaurants hung with copies of old masters' paintings, art deco glass and a connoisseur's collection of mirrors, furniture and ornaments, in this part of town. But at Porcini, even the tablecloths are thick, white damask and our chairs are genuine bentwood.
The moment we negotiated the bikies on the porch and stepped through the door of Porcini, we were seriously interested. We were shown to our table opposite the kitchen by an enthusiastic maitre d', sneaked a look at the specials board , scented the aroma of garlic and, yes, mushroom in the air, noted our fellow customers, many of whom looked as though they'd stepped off the set of Outrageous Fortune, and clinked our water glasses.  This was going to be a great night after all." (April 2010)
 

 Dante's Woodfired Pizzeria

316 Main Road
Huapai, Auckland
Ph 09 412 8644

Dante's Woodfired Pizzeria is the only place in New Zealand you can eat a formally certified Neapolitan Pizza.  The owner, Kevin Morris, after considerable persistence and perseverance, was awarded the "Traditional Speciality Guaranteed label by the European Union in recognition of his qualification to make an authentic Neapolitan pizza.  Wow!  To get this award, Kevin had to apply for the seal of approval from Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. This involved a large number of video exchanges and finally a trip to Naples to demonstrate his practical knowledge of how to make the real thing in five Neapolitan pizzerias. (April 2010)
Please note - only available for take-away.
Check out more details at www.dantespizza.co.nz
 

Gusto Italiano

263 Ponsonby Road
3 Lamps
Auckland
Phone 361 1556

We went to Gusto Italiano for a birthday celebration and had a very memorable meal.  If we had eaten this meal in Italy we would have been impressed.  We experienced true Italian cuisine, with Italian waiters.  The restaurant is filled with authentic Italian art and posters (some of which were familiar to us!) and we felt so relaxed.  The food was just superb.  True authentic Italian fare cooked in a way that delivers the best of Italian cuisine, with a good selection of Italian wines available (along with others).  After a great selection of antipasti the "angello" (lamb) was cooked just right with a great balance of tasty vegetables.  The "scaloppine" (milk fed veal; a classic Italian dish) was one of the best ever tasted! Finished off with a fantastic dessert of chestnut soufflé and excellent coffee.  Wow, these people have really got it right for Italian dining at its best!
The only points to improve would be the table we had looking directly into a huge mirror was disconcerting to begin with, but a great evening was had by all.
April 2010.
More details at www.gustoitaliano.co.nz

Barolo

Langham Hotel, 83 Symonds Street,
Auckland
Phone 9379 5132
We decided to try the Barolo for a special occasion - our wedding anniversary.  Result - stunning success!  We had read some reviews that were not altogether positive, but our experience was "Italian Fine Dining at it's Best".
Taking its inspiration from the "Slow Food Movement" which originated in the Piedmonte region in the north of Italy, each course we had was a taste sensation.

We started with an Antipasto of carpaccio of beef and marinated harpuka.  Both were sensational. ($19)

The mains followed with equal delight.  The food was cooked to perfection and to the highest standards we have eaten for a while. (~$38).

The wine list contains both Italian and NZ wines and we enjoyed a fabulous red from the Piedmonte region.  You can go berserk if you want and spend nearly $900 on one bottle, but there are also tasting options and some more reasonable choices which are never the less excellent wines.

The service was very attentive, sometimes a little too attentive for us.  We simply wanted to savour both the food and the overall experience and we did, but....

The ambience was fine for us.  Just the right balance of space and interaction with other diners.

Overall, an excellent experience and one we would recommend.  Pricey, but commensurate with the standard of service and food.
April 2010.
More detail here

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