Ricotta Gnudi

After its sudden closure last year, Cotto has reopened as ‘Otto’, with passionate new owners at the helm

When Cotto, the beloved Karangahape Road dining destination renowned for its flavoursome fare and epic pasta, closed suddenly last year, it left a significant hole in our lives. After all, it had firmly established itself as one of the best places to pop into for a tasty bite, or a convivial dinner with friends. It even had a private room that had become popular for a range of events, from intimate celebrations to large parties. In fact, Cotto’s potent mix of delicious food, good vibes, great service and its position in the heart of Karangahape Road had made it something of an iconic Auckland destination, one of those places that seemed to keep getting better with every visit.

Arancini sweetcorn taleggio basil
Maltagliati Lamb Shoulder Ragu

But after a series of internal disruptions towards the end of last year, Cotto had to close its doors, leaving a number of question marks lingering around when they would reopen, and if indeed they were planning on reopening at all.

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Fast forward to this week and we are delighted to say that Cotto is back in business, and while much of the offering has remained the same, from the space to the menu, and even the waitstaff (why mess with a good thing, right?) there are a couple of key differences.

Spinach & goats cheese dumplings
Zucchini fritti Lemon

Firstly, Cotto is now Otto. A subtle name shift to indicate the second big change: that the restaurant has a team of new owners, including Edward Hurrell and John Pountney (also the Head Chef) and two of what was previously Cotto’s core team members. “We hope to bring back what we managed to achieve as the Cotto team and more,” Hurrell tells me. “To resurrect a restaurant that people loved with its delicious food, fun atmosphere and great value, amongst the energy we all enjoy about K’ Road. The entire team is thrilled to have this opportunity to be a part of the community again.”

For Hurrell and the other new owners, the shift from ‘Cotto’ to ‘Otto’ was significant despite its simplicity. It was important for the team to disassociate themselves from the restaurant’s previous owner (whose poor business dealings had not only lead to the restaurant’s initial closure but had left a legacy of debt and burnt bridges). “We felt that, although we created the brand Cotto, the bad debts left around town by the owner/investor warranted a subtle rebrand,” Hurrell explains. “It’s close enough to the original name, but also indicates a new era for our loyal staff, suppliers and customers.”

So for anyone who was mourning the loss of their favourite dining spot, Otto is now open and busy again, as it should be! If you haven’t been there in a while, this is a great time to book a table.


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