Coco's Cantina

Monday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Tuesday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Wednesday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Thursday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Friday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Saturday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

SundayClosed.

376 Karangahape Road

09-300 7582

Coco’s has been around as long as anyone can remember – the kind of restaurant that has become so cemented in its neighbourhood that without it would be as noticeable as the corner dairy shutting down.

Run not by Coco, but by sisters Renee and Damaris Coulter, Coco’s is nothing but a family affair. Food wise, think rustic Italian fare, but not just any old spaghetti and meatballs (in fact, they’re so good they have a cult like following and numerous accolades for being various food writers’ favourite Auckland dish) – the menu features only the finest produce that is lovingly sourced from producers who actually give a damn about what they do. Seafood is all line caught and sustainable. Chicken and pork are free range. Simply put, it’s done properly here.

Décor is quirky – a mismatched collection of oddities and eclectic bits and bobs. But it’s homely too – Frankie posters hung in the bathrooms (as you might expect in a nearby Ponsonby flat), framed black and white photos of relatives and an open kitchen prep area. However, at Coco’s it’s the vibe and the staff that really set the tone. The music is good and loud and the staff are ridiculously friendly, achingly cool and dapper in red lipstick.

At Coco’s the motto is “Be Kind”, so basically just don’t bother going if you’re not, since everyone that works there is. Service is everything you want it to be and more – locals are known by name and happy hour drinks flow from 5.00 – 7.00pm everyday. Coco’s is infectious; the kind of place you return to without fail, regardless of the constant flux of restaurant closings and re-openings in Auckland. It might be the prossecco. It could be the cheap jugs of sangria. It might be the prime people watching spot, or maybe the quintessentially red and white checked tablecloths. But probably it all comes down to the polenta fries. Don’t for the life of you leave without eating them.

Words by Grace Hall & Photography by Sable Heath

376 Karangahape Road

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