La Bella Italia! Sophia Loren once famously said ‘Everything you see I owe to pasta’ and we at Urban List couldn’t agree more. We can think of no cuisine that’s better for sharing with a group of friends or (or a hot date) and Auckland’s Italian restaurants are up there with the best.
Whether it’s pizza, pasta, or anything in between, some restaurants hit the spot every single time with their authentic Italian food. Using simple combinations of quality ingredients, it would be remiss if we didn’t share them with you.
So in no particular order, here are our top picks of the best Italian restaurants in Auckland.
Kicking off our list of the best Italian restaurants in Auckland is newcomer Barbarino’s. Sitting in a modern hipster venue, the restaurant is blowing the city away with its authentic Italian food. Pasta lovers PSA: they have 12 different sauces and six different kinds of pasta to choose from. Spaghett about it! Apart from the classics, we are also obsessed with their amazingly crispy and juicy chicken schnitzel and don't forget to leave space for the tiramisu. Good times guaranteed.
Still rocking the Auckland Italian food scene, Cotto is well on its way to being one of the top restaurants in the city. This Italian restaurant showcases that Italian food doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag, with their menu ranges from $5-$20 but each and every single dish tastes like a million bucks. The spinach and goats cheese dumplings and the chocolate nemesis salted caramel dessert are a must. You can thank us later.
Pasta for life! If there was one thing we could eat forever, this would probably be it. And we know we’re not alone there. For hands-down the best pasta in Auckland, this is where you go. Baduzzi makes their own pasta fresh daily, and it’s stunning. Their duck ragu, handcrafted meatballs, and tiramisu are must-tries. The restaurant is also vegetarian friendly with many plant-based options. We don’t blame you if you’re drooling right about now. Guys take note, this is an impressive romantic destination, so get yo' spaghetti on.
Ponsonby Road seems to get a new “must-eat” place every couple of weeks, but Prego is like that ex you can’t get out of your head. You think this hot new thing will be bigger and better, and it might seem so at first, but you’ll always go crawling back to the tried and true…the pasta, the pizza, the service…Prego really is one of the best Italian restaurants in Auckland. The fairy light-filled courtyard is pretty damn dreamy for a summer night’s meal—and it’s romantic to boot. Your date is destined for a happy ending with the amazing desserts. Our pick? The Dolce Di Datteri (sticky date pudding with poached pears and ginger ice cream) is a must.
In terms of staff and vibe, Coco’s Cantina is pretty hard to beat. The team treat you like their best mate and will show you a bloody good time. The food more than matches the vibe, which has an old-school Italian trattoria buzz about it (but without all the mafia uncles). The spaghetti meatballs are a must-have. Simple but delicious, it’s a testament to Coco’s quality that they get this staple just so damn right. Not to mention the polenta chips...They're reason enough to ditch the diet and devour what we are dubbing the best Italian in Auckland.
Another gem on Ponsonby Road, look no further than Farina for an authentic Italian bite. Certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the authority on traditional Neapolitan Pizza, Farina pride themselves on only using best ingredients and processes. True to this, their menu boasts mouthwatering pizza (the Boscaiola is our top pick), fresh pasta and other classics which will transport your tastebuds to the streets of Italy. Don’t forget to finish your feasting with their pannacotta doused in mascarpone citrus for the complete experience.
Once a bakery, we're not overly surprised that Amano has a wheat mill located out back. But when the bakery opened its doors to what is now one of Auckland's best Italian restaurants, right in the heart of the CBD, we screamed a lil' inside. That wheat mill now churns out the tastiest homemade pasta you could dream of. As an all-day eatery, they will be serving up classic Italian goodies from breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, to dinner. We would definitely recommend their pastries, cakes, and infamous scampi pasta. Impressively, the Italian restaurant is also keto-friendly for you dieters with a good range of meat options.
Pasta & Cuore
Pasta & Curore is the essence of Italian. You'll spot this gem—if you don't smell the aromas first—as you're driving through Mt Eden Village, brightly lit through the glass exterior. Inside you'll find high bar stools offering the ability to enjoy a pinot noir while people watching the busy bodies outside. The perfect balance, as further inside are quaint tables soon to be lined with plates of homemade pasta. Yep, the talented chefs are rolling, flattening and cooking pasta from scratch right in front of your eyes. Paired with a sauce of choice and perhaps a bruschetta to start, you won't regret it.
Gusto at the Grand
You’re in for an authentic Italian experience at Gusto at the Grand. It is family-style, with a simple menu full of rustic share plates in an opulent (but not OTT) setting. The wine list is predominantly Italian, which makes sense–and the staff are really happy to guide you in the direction of a vino that will match your food perfectly.
When you ask an Italian where to get the best Italian food, they’ll most likely respond “mamma.” It is true, nobody can replace our own mum’s home cooked meals but Mamma Rossa come pretty darn close. Located and established in Kohimarama since 1988, Mamma Rossa has become an institution rather than just an Italian restaurant. Their food is fresh, hearty and the ambiance of the restaurant is perfect for families. All their pasta is made fresh onsite and their pizzas are also not to be missed.
Nestled between the cafés and boutique stores of Teed street is the unassuming casual Italian diner Nonna. Serving three meals a day, Nonna is known for their home cooking, made freshly every day with love and passion. We are a big fan of their creamy salmon pasta and red risotto. For our friends on a keto or low-carb diet, Nonna also offers zucchini noodles. Be sure to leave room for dessert. They have homemade desserts ranging from a classic tiramisu to the authentic Italian cannoli.
Non Solo Pizza
Without a doubt, Non Solo Pizza offers some of the best Italian food in Auckland. The outdoor courtyard with its olive trees is the perfect spot to enjoy a pizza and a Peroni (or four) in summer. Speaking of pizzas... their woodfire pizzas are insane. No surprises there though, as NSP is owned by the same pizza-genius-crew as Toto. Their extensive menu offers all your pasta faves like cannelloni, gnocchi and spaghetti, or choose from one of Non Solo Pizza’s set menus.
Want more of the best Italian restaurants in Auckland? Why not check out our list of Auckland’s best pizza.
Image credit: Cotto, Barbarinos, Baduzzi, Amano, Gusto At The Grand, Nonna