Coco's Cantina

Our rating 

User rating 

15 reviews
Venue Image
376 Karangahape Rd,
Newton
Auckland,
1010

09 300 7582

The ViewAuckland Review

StarStarStarStarStar
Review byBrett Atkinson3/12/2009

Other than a pretty decent selection of ethnic eateries, K Rd is not exactly a key destination when to comes to dining out. The newly opened Coco’s Cantina promises to change that with a combination of rustic Italian-influenced bistro food, savvy and energetic service, and a buzzy cosmopolitan atmosphere. And if a recent packed Tuesday night is any indication, Coco’s is already generating hugely positive word of mouth. Lurking in its bohemian nooks and crannies we spy the Lotto lady, and that TV guy who reputedly loves the South, but seems to spend most of his life in the cafes and restaurants of Auckland.

After the obligatory Auckland-is-such-a-small-town star spotting we consider the menu. The restaurant’s name and décor – think Cuban movie posters and a long wooden bar – may hint at a Spanish provenance, but the tastes are definitely Italian. Beside us, a group has just received their mains, and we’re soon experiencing a severe case of food envy. A grilled half-chicken sits on panzanella, a rustic Italian bread salad, and the chilli and crab linguini opposite both looks and smells amazing.

We decide to share a plate of grilled calamari while we decide on our mains. The squid is tender and served with a spicy vinaigrette. Forget any thoughts of perfectly formed squid rings. This dish is proudly rustic with crunchy tentacles studding the plate. From a smallish wine and cocktail list, it’s one of Auckland’s best caipirinhas – crammed with chunks of lime – and a bottle of Galbraith’s newly released Munich lager. At the bar, the focus is shifting to tapas and drinking, and Coco’s versatile ‘drinking den meets restaurant’ persona starts to reveal itself. All the while the service is street-smart and worldy – kind of like if a more formal Italian eatery like Toto or Delicious had a younger, more energetic sibling.

Carol eventually settles on the crab linguni ($16). She orders it entrée-sized, but it’s still a good portion. Most of Coco’s dishes are available either entrée- or main-sized, and tapas including arancini (rice balls) and bruschetta provide other distractions for thirsty drinkers. I overlook the grilled chicken for a simple scotch fillet with hand cut chips, anchovy butter and rocket ($28). It’s definitely more French than Italian, but with a glass of Running With Bulls Aussie tempranillo ($10) I’m covering all my bases. The steak is tender, and the chunky chips are perfectly crisp on the outside. Probably not approved by the Heart Foundation, but life is about balance right?

We probably don’t need dessert, but with a smallish menu of sweet goodies on offer push on anyway. We share a Chocolate Tart ($10), a slight misnomer really as it’s more like a brownie. Either way, it’s a great end to the meal combining the bitter taste of dark chocolate with a chewy and buttery base.
Coco's Cantina has been reviewed by 15 users
 

Most Read Today

image
01 Auckland's Best Malls

Check out our picks of the top five malls in Auckl...

image
02 Auckland's Best Free Kids Activities

We check out the best five free kids activities in...

image
03 Auckland's Best Playgrounds

The kids have spoken and we are pleased to present...

image
04 Auckland's Best Donuts

After slogging the hard yards trying a selection o...

image
05 Auckland's Best Swimming Pools

We have a look at five heated swimming pool comple...

Content updated: 30/09/2016 23:02

Restaurant Reviews

Get Onboard

Make It A Date

Connect

Latest Restaurants User Reviews

  • Mulan
    I recently visited Mulan in Birkenhead with two family members as...

    LisaS_LocalHero on 29/09/2016 @ 6:02 p.m.
  • The Bamboo Basket
    I love this place, its become my new week lunch go to. Who doesn...

    Chiana_Local_Hero on 25/09/2016 @ 10:30 p.m.
  • Hello Friends + Allies
    If you're looking for Meringues as big as your head or something ...

    Chiana_Local_Hero on 25/09/2016 @ 10:22 p.m.
  • Meat Fish Wine
    Housed in a cool old building that for years was the home of a Th...

    Chiana_Local_Hero on 25/09/2016 @ 10:15 p.m.
  • Andy's Burgers & Bar
    Have been there several times. Once just husband and once the who...

    Leaguelova on 22/09/2016 @ 4:32 p.m.
Hitwise Award Winner