Venue Image
3-5 Mt Eden Terrace,
Eden Terrace

(09) 309 3740

The ViewAuckland Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byAndré Taber7/02/2007

4 out of 5

O’Sarracino’s dining room—with its polished wood trimmings, sporting the occasional art-deco flourish—feels like it should always have been a restaurant. Never mind that it was built as a funeral parlour.

There’s nothing morbid about the place now. In fact, it’s quite delightful.

Chatter from the rest of the patrons filled the room (but, unfortunately, every time milk was frothed for a coffee, the hard surfaces echoed the screeching sound).

An appealing menu, a chef-owner who relishes interaction with his customers, and a bustling atmosphere make O’Sarracino the epitome of an Italian restaurant.

The charm starts on the reverse of the menu card, where proprietor Gaetano Spinosa tells the story of his Neapolitan grandfather, a pick-pocket turned restaurateur, and of how Spinosa came to New Zealand with his local-born wife.

Boasting specialities from Naples, the majority of the pasta dishes and mains are seafood.

To start, my companion had an antipasto platter. Cold pre-cooked and marinated eggplant, courgette, red capsicum, mussels, squid rings and baby octopus were ladled in generous helpings from a display cabinet and neatly arranged on a plate. This was the ‘small’ version for $9.

I had casatiello ($8); a pinwheel bread filled with more-ish ham, salami and cheese. These sorts of starters are made for sharing, and they provided us with side plates and serving cutlery to do so.

My companion’s main was spaghetti with clams ($23) simply seasoned with parsley, garlic and lots of olive oil. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, as was mine in the spaghetti ‘al cartoccio’ ($30)—which was crammed with prawns, squid rings, mussels and clams, plus a few pieces of tomato, then covered with a sheet of pizza dough and oven-baked.

I removed the layer of dough and, on instruction of our enthusiastic waitress, used it to mop up the rich juices. Her advice was spot on.

The waitress competently explained the small and exclusively Italian wine list, and gave us tastes to help us decide. We both had whites: my companion’s Malvasia ($9.50) was dry and musky; my Fiano ($8.50) was fragrant and complex.

At this point she started up-selling by giving us a taste of the rosewater-flavoured ricotta cheesecake. Since the pasta had been rich and filling, I stuck with a simple affogato ($8)—ice cream drowning in coffee.

A sample of nocello hazelnut liqueur won my companion over and she chose to have a glass for $9 to have with her short black ($4). A nice full stop to a delightful meal.

O'Sarracino has been reviewed by 4 users

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