Cucina

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Restaurants key icon.

MondayClosed.

Tuesday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Wednesday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Thursday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Friday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Saturday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

SundayClosed.

1 Tees Street, South Hill, Oamaru

03 434 5696

Thames Street, Ōamaru's main drag, effectively ends at Cucina’s doorstep. To us, this just makes sense, as we can’t think of a better place for foodies to wind up. Here, flavours of Italy, Spain, the Mediterranean and South America are created with local Waitaki ingredients and served with some of the most genuine Kiwi hospitality around.

While Cucina has earned a host of awards since opening in 2016, it remains a ‘come as you are’ kind of spot. Owners Yanina and Pablo, originally from Argentina, wanted to create a restaurant that they would want to eat at and showcase the flavours they grew up with at the same time. It’s a winning combination, and you’ll soon see why.

Enter the historic building, and you’ll first notice the lush greenery that fills every corner of this special restaurant. Yanina is an expert indoor gardener and has created a true environment for visitors to dine in. Her colourful jungle gives a nice preview of what’s to come - plates that are similarly bright, fresh and carefully created.

Wander down the hallway, and you might get a glimpse of the dry-aged meat cabinet or the ‘pasta room’ where the team handcrafts all of the pasta that graces the menu. Pablo, Cucina’s head chef, is constantly changing the menu to reflect what’s in season, so there’s always something new to try at Cucina.

Fresh pasta dishes here are anything but run of the mill and have featured combinations such as beetroot Gemelli with charred beetroot, chunky spinach kale pesto, chilli, garlic, torn mozzarella, fresh herbs, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts. The deep purple noodles, colourful local vegetables and buffalo mozzarella ate perfectly together. Like every dish Pablo creates, it featured a balance of salty, sweet, acidic and umami flavours.

Cucina’s 55-day aged rib eye is a local favourite and the product of Waitaki’s excellent sheep and beef rearing landscape. Pablo uses a charcoal grill and seasonal vegetables like kumara, asparagus, smoked sofrito and black garlic potatoes to highlight the rich, meaty flavours. On the ‘Mains’ list, you’ll also find dishes like local Havoc Pork filet served with Ōamaru wilted greens, roasted fennel, smoked sour cream, carrot puree, smoked paprika oil, pickled carrots and pork crackling powder. Again, every plate offers balance and beautiful plating - a total celebration of local fare. Cucina’s ‘Trust the Chef’ menu with wine pairing options makes it easy to try it all.

In addition to building a well-loved menu, Yanina and Pablo have also raised their young family alongside the business and assembled a Cucina team and whānau that make everyone feel welcome. They know many of their customers and are some of Ōamaru's most authentic ambassadors.

If you love Cucina, and it’s hard not to, be sure to also visit Pablo and Yanina’s other restaurants. Tees Street Café is located just around the corner for brunch, and Del Mar, down by the water, is a great family dinner spot.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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Location

1 Tees Street, South Hill, Oamaru

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