My mother dropped in for a flying visit and took as out to dinner. She asked me to book some place nice.
So, I booked a table for four at O’ Sarracino Restaurant, precisely an eight minute walk away.
O’ Sarracino is located at 3 Mt Eden Road, in the old undertaker’s building more or less opposite Galbraiths (making it an ideal place for a date, especially if it doesn’t work out).
What follows is my attempt at pursuing an alternate career as a food critic. (Alas I wasn’t brave enough to photograph our meals).
We arrived at 7.30pm on a Friday night and the restaurant was fully booked. However, the staff were still super-friendly, helpful and attentive. The waitresses are appropriately exotic, and gave us the opportunity to practice our German and Italian.
The restaurant is a family affair. The Italian chef comes from a family of chefs from Naples and fell in love with a charming New Zealand girl who convinced him to come back here. In 2006 he and his wife continued on in his family’s footsteps opening their first restaurant in NZ.
Sarracino is classy, but still manages to keep mains under $30. It’s perhaps the only Italian restaurant in Auckland that doesn’t offer Pizza on its menu.
The restaurant specialises in food from the Napoli region and has a heavy seafood influence. However, for the vegetarians there are some divine pasta creations. Furthermore, I suspect the chef will be more than happy to adapt a dish sans the meat if you asked.
We started off with the antipasto platter for a minimum of three people. This contained an extensive selection of seafood delectables, home-made specialty breads, cheese, olives, marinated/grilled vegetables, and other battered goodies.
Mains were two scotch fillets ($27) for the meatarians, a creamy walnut blue cheese pasta dish ($24), mushroom gnocchi ($24), and some grilled vegetables as a side ($8).
So far suitably impressed, we had to investigate dessert. Up for order was one tiramisu (and two forks), and one cassata (also with two forks) for $12. And it was everything you would expect an Italian dessert to be.
And then much to our surprise we were offered a complimentary glass of nocello, an Italian walnut liquor.
My mother and partner were rather taken in by the liquor’s nutty goodness and asked the owner what it was and whether they could purchase a bottle. Unfortunately he only had two bottles left and instead ended up giving Mum the opened bottle as a leaving gift.
All up a fantastically authentic dining experience. Classy without being expensive, superb meals, wonderful staff, humming atmosphere, and all situated in an intriguing building.
Plus the sincerity of the owners makes it a dining experience at its best.