Too much of a good thing is never good, except of course, when it comes to pasta. Universally adored and always delicious, we’re spoilt for choice with an array of eateries in Auckland either dedicated to producing the perfect noodles or simply executing a single sublime dish. Whether your tastes are traditional or contemporary, these restaurants are serving some of the best bowls in town.
Soul Bar & Bistro
Viaduct stalwart Soul just seems to be getting better with age, and the dishes from its new autumn menu prove it. Its crayfish capellini is opulence at its finest, served with pearls of caviar and a sensational à l’américaine sauce. If seafood isn’t quite your speed, we recommend the duck and pumpkin tortellini in a warming brodo.
Locals will know that Herne Bay’s Andiamo is the place to be for aperitivo hour, and the place to stay for pasta. While we are partial to the potato gnocchi, a tasty riff on perennial favourite cacio e pepe, we can never go past the signature macaroni cheese. Andiamo’s version sees this comfort food favourite elevated with three different kinds of cheese, truffle, bacon and a hint of chilli.
Bolognese, but not like you know it — Euro’s version of this classic dish is not be missed. Hearty Fiordland crayfish is transformed into a rich bolognese that’s served with potato gnocchi, pecorino and oregano. Made for sharing, we wouldn’t blame you if you want to keep this one all to yourself.
Pasta & Cuore
With Bologna-born Stefania Ugolini at the helm, it’s no surprise Mt Eden’s Pasta & Cuore dishes up some of the most authentic plates in town. On the menu you’ll find tortellini folded with religious precision, hand cut strands of tagliatelle and plump, pillowy gnocchi, all begging to be devoured. If we absolutely must narrow it down to one must-try dish, the pappardelle with lamb ragout is a stand out.
Nothing beats Baduzzi’s prime waterfront setting, except maybe its handmade pasta. Crafted daily and cooked to order, its heartfelt interpretations are a must, along with its namesake meatballs. Vegetarians will be more than impressed with the saffron and potato tortellini, filled with silky goat’s curd and placed atop a swipe of fig confit.
With pasta pro Hayden Phiskie in the kitchen, naturally Grey Lynn eatery Ada has become a favourite for those seeking a bowl of the good stuff since it opened inside The Convent Hotel late last year. The refined menu is firmly Italian-focused, with irresistible pizza fritta, desserts such as cannoli and pannacotta and of course, pasta. The tagliatelle is a must-try, with jus, almond and its crowning glory — an enticing bundle of stracciatella.
The team at St Kevins Arcade newbie Pici love pasta so much, they’ve named their restaurant after a certain sturdy spaghetti. While just about any pick of pasta on its menu will see you in good stead, its spaghettini vongole is particularly tempting. Simplicity at its finest, this dish relies on the quality of its ingredients (handmade pasta, fresh clams) to create a truly nuanced dish.
The pasta masters have done it again with the mushroom cappelletti, currently on its menu. This dish comprises handmade egg dough pasta parcels filled with South Auckland mushroom and ricotta, with a finishing flourish of pecorino. It’s everything we want to eat right now.
Non Solo Pizza
Yes, the pizzas are so good at NSP they are forever immortalised as part of its moniker, however the pasta is not to be overlooked. The recently renovated courtyard is the ideal locale to post up for an afternoon with a cocktail and, may we recommend, the scampi linguine with cherry tomatoes, chilli and golden, crispy bread crumbs.
It would be remiss of us to mention Auckland’s best pasta without paying homage to one of the city’s original Italian institutions. Ponsonby’s Prego has been dishing up the good stuff since the 80s, with the linguine marinara being a staple for as long as we can remember. Packed with prawns, mussels, tuna and cockles and cooked in a white wine sauce, this dish is a favourite for a reason.
You’ll be forgiven for not immediately thinking of game-focused restaurant Cazador when it comes to the city’s best pasta purveyors, but it turns out this Dominion Road stalwart whips up a mean plate. The current star on its menu is a swoon-worthy rabbit leg and saffron tagliatelle, with green olives and charred greens for good measure.
Gusto at the Grand
An Italian approach is front and centre to both the menu and dining experience at Skycity staple Gusto at the Grand. Plates are made for sharing, and this includes several iterations of delicious pasta. Over and over again, you’ll hear the orgy of mushrooms mentioned as must-try. With several mushroom varieties and Clevedon buffalo ricotta gnocchi bound together in a buttery sauce, this dish is pure indulgence.