Osteria Uno


140 Hinemoa Street Birkenhead
Auckland, 0626
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Opening Hours

SUN closed
MON closed
TUE 4:00pm - late
WED 4:00pm - late
THU 4:00pm - late
FRI 4:00pm - late
SAT 4:00pm - late

The Details

  • Italian
Need to Know
  • Child Friendly
  • Good for Groups
  • Great for Dates
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Dinner
  • Dessert
  • Late Night

The Verdict

If there's one food we could live on for the rest of our lives, it's pasta. And there's one spot that's currently doing this carby cuisine better than the rest.

We're talking about Osteria Uno, a charming new Italian eatery from hospo dream team Jordan and Sarah MacDonald, which has recently opened in Birkenhead.

Chances are you're already familiar with the MacDonald brand—Jordan co-founded Culprit, Lowbrow, and Little Culprit, Sarah was once a contestant on MasterChef New Zealand and is a talented chef in her own right, and together they own the incredibly popular cafe/bistro, Duo (which is actually located right next door).

With credentials like that (speaking of which, here's another: Gleber Chaparro of Amano, Lilian, Depot and Sugar Club fame is the head chef here), there was never any question that the couple's latest venture would be something special.

Located inside what was originally a butcher's shop (and incorporating a number of features from that era into an effortlessly cool new fit-out), the aim is to offer delicious and affordable Italian fare that can be enjoyed by the whole family—headlined by Italy's most famous food of all, pasta.

There's currently a five-strong line-up to choose from, made in-house daily from the finest durum wheat semolina money can buy. Think Creste di Gallo with confit duck leg, balsamic and fried rosemary—bucatini laced with juicy mussels and fermented chilli butter—and rigatoni with lamb belly, preserved lemon, smoked paprika and oregano.

However, there's one pasta dish that we believe punches its weight above the rest—the casarecce. Pairing gently twisted tubes of pasta with juicy asparagus spears, creamy cavolo nero pesto, crunchy pine nuts and velvety crème fraiche, every mouthful is an absolute delight. As meat-eaters, it certainly means something when our favourite dish on the menu is vegetarian.

That's not to overlook the delicious small plate selection that's also up for grabs. We like to joke that the whipped fish roe and crisps are like a super luxe version of Kiwi Onion Dip—even those with an aversion to caviar and fish eggs will be surprised at how moreish this one is (the flavour really is that subtle).

The burrata is as creamy as you could hope for and paired perfectly with what is widely considered the crème de la crème of tomatoes here in New Zealand, Curious Croppers. Tag on some slices of housemade focaccia with balsamic and black butter garlic, for peak cheese-eating pleasure.

And we're always down for a feed of fresh fish, which brings us to the raw market fish crudo—where slices of prized local species like tuna are married with buffalo curd and Sicilian olives. It doesn't get much more Mediterranean than this.

As for dessert—how does one of the best slices of tiramisu in Auckland sound? Yes, in addition to its high-ranking pasta, Osteria Uno is also sitting near the very top (if not, THE top) of our tiramisu list with its glorious, caffeine-laced slab. The absolute perfect ration of coffee, cream, and the rest, we have just one word—Buono!

As to be expected, the drinks list here is top-tier and in a nod to the Italian theme, features a selection of gorgeous spritzes (limoncello, pomelo, and cappaletti). Italian wines also make a heavy appearance, alongside other international and local drops—while a short but sweet collection of beers and other bevvies is also available.

And the best bit? You don't even have to book (as a matter of fact, you can't—Osteria Uno only accepts walk-ins). Just be prepared to wait for a table, now that the word is out about this incredible new spot.

Image credit: A McVinnie for Osteria Uno