People often ask us what our favourite restaurant in Auckland is and we reply that it depends on the type of food, we cannot compare all the different cuisines that Auckland offers us so we usually say if you are looking for the best Italian, I would recommend Pasta & Cuor for their amazingly freshly cooked pasta in Mount Eden.
We moved from Parnell to Mount Eden about a year ago and this was one of the first local restaurants we tried and we went back during the same week as it was so good. The staff are so friendly and you can see Stefania the owner from Bologna, Italy in the kitchen most days.
We can’tcount how many times we’ve been there and yet, we have never written an article about it (we were waiting until we had tried everything on the menu). We can’t keep it secret now so we would like to share it with you.
The menu offers freshly made pasta and they claim to use the best quality and simple ingredients in all of their recipes (using free range eggs and meat, organic milk and coffee, no artificial flavours or refined sugar/salt, using organic and local products or imported from Italy for the best quality). Their dishes are cooked following authentic Italian recipes including secret recipes from Stefania’s Grand-Mother’s notebook (able to satisfy even the most demanding palates, her Grand-Mother offered it to Stefania when she had opened her first restaurant in Italy in 1999). You can now see them framed on the wall of the restaurant.
As soon as you enter the restaurant, you can see the chefs hand making the pasta on your left and you can either ask for a table or order fresh pasta to take home.
There is a nice little courtyard at the back with beautiful plants around. If it’s sunny we recommend eating outside, so cute. There is also a room upstairs with big tables – if you are a small group you might share a table with other people, it is very social.
The menu is handmade, we love reading it each time (even if we know it almost by heart by now), you can read so much about pasta and Italy such as what is the difference between “Tortellini” and “Tortelloni”.
Do you like to try out the special of the day or do you usually order something from the menu? In Pasta & Cuore, it is always a good choice to try out their special.
This is the Coppa di testa with Stracchino cheese and Tigelle bread, a small round flat bread from Bologna, a bit crispy on the outside and soft and hot inside.
Another special, the Crescentine with buffalo mozzarella & prosciutto di parma. So lovely to mix them together with that bread, perfect before attacking the mains.
Also if you love beef like we do, they do a beef bresaola with rocket, cherry tomatoes and parmesan. The beef is air-dried and has been aged for two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple colour. It is lovely and delicate in the mouth, almost like a carpaccio.
One of the entrees that is on the menu and we often like to order is the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, served on a bed of diced raw vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, basil leaves, red onion and croutons. This is pure summer on a plate.
One of the best pasta dishes we like to order is the Tagliatelle con Prosciutto di parme – lovely flavours of Prosciutto and lemon zest make it special and unforgettable.
The Tortellini in brodo di pollo ruspante ( Tortellini in free range chicken broth) was delicious, a good option to order during winter as the broth is quite comforting.
Would you ever think of cooking avocado with pasta? It sounds a bit weird but it was such a surprise in the mouth, so tasty. The avocado actually mixed very well with the pasta, it is so simple but we have never had this before or seen it in any Italian restaurants.
Once again, we love trying out their specials. This is the Ravioli salsiccia & patate, served with leek, poppy seeds and shaved parmiggiano. Simply LOVELY.
Also try out their Tortelloni stuffed with buffalo ricotta served with butter and sage,they are really good too. It is always so hard to decide what to eat, there are so many great options. For the Tortelloni lovers, they are quite big and will fill you up very quickly.
If you visit Pasta & Cuore on a day when they have on their specials the lamb ragu with spinach tagliatelle and Kalamata olives, you must try it out. It often comes back on the menu with plain tagliatelle or with other types of meat and it is always delicious (they also have the classic Bolognese ragout on their menu).
When we said we always try their specials, we meant it. This is the Limoncello mousse, SO GOOD. Very citrussy but also sweet and light, even if we are not hungry this is a perfectly light option at the end of dinner.
We highly recommend anyone to book a table at Pasta & Cuore (meaning “pasta and heart” in Italian) as it is very busy all the time.
Opened Tuesday to Sunday (closed after lunch on Sundays).
Pasta & Cuore
409 Mt Eden Road,
Mt Eden, Auckland 1024
Average coast: NZ$60 for two people (approx.)