Our Picks of the Best Italian food in Auckland

Pasta and bread on a table at Pick in Auckland.

Auckland’s Italian restaurant game is strong. Here are our picks on where to go for Auckland's finest Italian food.

Words: Nicole Mudgway 

Auckland’s Italian restaurant game is strong. Several of the city’s best restaurants are Italian, celebrating all things doughy, cheerful and delicious. There are specialist pasta houses (think Pici or Pasta & Cuore), pizza maestros (Francesca’s), those who embrace al fresco dining and those who just do everything really, really well. And, of course, what would Italian food be without tiramisu? 

Italian cuisine has evolved in New Zealand to become so much more than just pizza and pasta. Nowadays, one can often expect aperitifs to go with their shared plates of delicately placed burrata, ravioli or grilled broccolini - but never fear, those doughy balls of goodness are never far behind. 

Plates of pizza and shell fish on a table at Lilian Auckland.

Lilian

472 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn

A neighbourhood favourite, Lilian excels across the board. Sit out front enjoying the afternoon sun, or head inside to soak up the elegant but comforting interior. Choose from a range of smaller and larger plates to share, but whatever you do, don’t go past the pizza. Cooked to perfection in a woodfired oven, it’s not surprising that the pizza bases are a firm fan favourite. Finish off with a tiramisu - also one of the best in town.

Photo by: Supplied

Cotto

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375 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD, Auckland

A humble eatery tucked away along Karangahape Road decked out with communal seating and warehouse-style industrial finishings. Offering a range of small plates and larger sharing dishes on a menu arranged by price, starting at $6 and peaking at $22. The menu at Cotto celebrates a seasonal menu, but staples include the Italian-style dumplings, the gnocchi and, of course, the house-baked focaccia.

Pici

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Shop 22, St Kevin's Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD, Auckland

Arguably home to the best cacio e pepe dish Auckland has ever seen, Pici has made a name for itself by serving up fresh, mouthwatering pasta dishes for the people. Pici is housed within the glorious St Kevins Arcade, so if the intimacy inside is not your thing, nab a seat in the bustling arcade for some al fresco dining. The wine menu has been cleverly crafted and always hits the spot - just ask your waiter for guidance.

Plates of Italian food on a table at Andiamo Eatery.

Andiamo

194 Jervois Road Auckland

Andiamo translates to “let’s go” in Italian, and we couldn’t agree more. Another neighbourhood favourite, Andiamo, offers a fresh and modern menu showcasing seasonal ingredients at their best. It doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to variety: from pizza and pastas to salads and meatballs, calamari, crudo and even carpaccio - all we can say is save room for dessert! There’s an option to dine al fresco, and if that’s still not enough, it’s pooch-friendly too.

Photo by: Supplied

Staff members working inside Amano restaurant in Auckland.

Amano

66 - 68 Tyler Street, Britomart Place

An institution amongst Auckland’s dining scene, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, any day of the week. With its Italian-inspired menu, the restaurant offers brunches and dinners that you won’t forget in a hurry. Amano has a spacious dining room, an open kitchen and a bar, and its location next to the harbour and in the heart of Britomart makes it the perfect setting for any meal. The food is rustic yet sophisticated and celebrates seasonal, sustainable and local produce from New Zealand growers and farmers.

Tomato pasta with salad on a plate.

Pasta and Cuore

409 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden

Make yourself at home in this wee Mt Eden pastifico, where locals bond and postcode jumpers unite over bowls of freshly rolled pasta. Pasta and Cuore is simple and quaint, focusing on using quality ingredients and traditional methods to create pasta like something right out of Italy. Sit in the courtyard out back if you want to pretend you actually are in Italy, or take a pasta class if you want to learn some skills for yourself.

Photo by: Naomi Haussman (stock photo)

Coco’s Cantina

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374 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD, Auckland

Pizza is to Italy what Coco’s is to Karangahape Road - an absolute staple! Coco’s is a family affair, serving rustic Italian food (their spaghetti and meatballs truly are some of the best) in a casual, vibrant setting. It has one of the city’s friendliest happy hours, so drinks flow freely alongside the chatter, good tunes and delicious fare. Trust when we say Coco’s is always a good option.

Margarita pizza in a box on a picnic table.

Francesca’s Pizzeria

201 Point Chevalier Road

Not much more than a window front, a gigantic pizza oven and a counter to order, but what more does one need when it’s takeaway pizza you’re after? Francesca’s Pizzeria was one of Point Chev’s best kept secrets, but it seems like the word is out. While there’s pasta on the menu, it’s the pizza that everyone is flocking for, and with authentic flavours and ingredients, it’s not hard to see why. Plus, the pizzas are massive, so perfect for sharing at nearby Point Chevalier Beach.

Photo by: Naomi Haussman (stock photo) 

Neat Auckland Places

Annabel's Wine Bar

The glass exterior of Annabel's Wine Bar.
Place Auckland
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Sitting pretty along the main strip, a trip to Annabel’s is mandatory when hanging around Ponsonby.

Sen Vietnamese Kitchen & Bar

A Banh Mi sitting on a table at Sen restaurant In Auckland.
Place Auckland
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SEN, meaning lotus flower, is an authentic Vietnamese kitchen and bar that has long been a mainstay in Mount Eden.

Odettes

A seating area.
Place Auckland
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Odettes has delivered another level of sophistication to the Auckland dining scene.

Allpress Auckland Roastery

A man working.
Place Auckland
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Coffee is the most important item on the Caffetteria’s menu, and it is some of the freshest in town.