Francesca's Italian Kitchen
Monday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Tuesday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Wednesday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Thursday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Friday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Saturday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Sunday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.
93 Ardmore Street
Stepping into Francesca’s Italian Kitchen has the strange effect of making you feel that somehow, in the middle of the South Island, you’ve stepped foot into that far away country shaped like a boot. Mismatched jars hang from the ceiling and act as a clever variation on dangling lightbulbs, while San Pelegrino posters are a nice touch to the impeccably laid out interior. Classy staff in black greet you at the door and look after you throughout the evening (here’s a hint, make sure to book, this place sees tables fill up fast) and are on hand to provide recommendations from the clipboard-style menu should you need them.
A brilliantly themed menu, expect to see all things Italian including risotto, ragu, gnocchi, pasta and pizza. The wood fire oven takes pride of place at the rear of the restaurant, where you can watch your pizza take shape from dough through to delivery. In true Italian fashion the flavours are simple yet elegant - there’s no fussing around the edges, it’s simply good food made well. For fries with the perfect amount of crunch and fluffy middle, you can’t go past Francesca’s polenta fries. Matched with creamy aioli and served in a min terracotta pot, this side dish is a masterpiece in itself.
House red comes ‘on tap’ style and if you’re drinking vino choose to have it either by the glass or, if you’re feeling generous, share a carafe with your dining partner. Italian beers make an appearance, as does an impressive cocktail list, meaning there’s no shortage of suitable matches to your meal.
Maybe easier said than done, save some room for dessert because things don’t get any less delicious at the bottom of the menu. Tiramisu, cannoli with custard and affogato all go down a treat, but if it’s an aperitif you’re after, then the drinks list has you covered. Go authentic with Pallini limoncello or amaro Montenegro, or keep it simple with an espresso made with quality Allpress beans.
Words by Rosie Morrison & Photography by Anna Briggs
93 Ardmore Street
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