Andrea Ristorante Italiano

I am back – finally. Hello everybody!

Anyway, I will start off this year’s blog in a bad note (trying to do the opposite of any articles). Andrea Ristorante Italiano is a nicely located restaurant in the “heart” of the ever popular Mission Bay. But after going to this restaurant, there is only one word – extremely disappointing to say it in a nice way. This is reflected on the no. of people going to their restaurants (almost none). Here were some samples from

Scallops ai funghi e pancetta ($19.50).

Pork Belly (to die for) – $28.50.

Seafood Pizza – $21.50.

The entre was actually not bad, but a little too salty. The pork belly was average, and NOT to die for. It was rather plain and overcooked for a relatively high-priced item. The seafood pizza had a very funny taste (and probably caused my bowel movement the next day). I’ve had better seafood pizza for half that price. Perhaps maybe because traditional items were not ordered on the night, but still very disappointed with the food, especially for the price we paid for.

Personally, I wouldn’t be going back here anymore, and they seriously need to review some of their menu items. Rating = 2/10.

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Ginelli’s

Every once in a while in Mission Bay, a competitor emerges to try and dethrone Movenpick. I’ve seen a couple of ice cream places that seem to have potential, but I come back months later and somehow they disappear. Well it’s too bad. I hardly go to Ginelli’s mainly because I haven’t gone to Mission Bay in a while, and actually not sure how long it’s been there.

Latte Macchiato Gelato – 1 scoop ($5).

I decided to try it once, and first impression, the interior is not bad. The business looks like it’s family-owned and operated. This particular gelato I tried tasted more like ice-cream. For $5, the 1-scoop is kinda small by my standard. Overall, I can’t really say it’s good or bad, since I haven’t tried the other gelatos and they appear to win awards. However, if I compare Ginelli’s to Giapo, I don’t think this place has a chance at all. They would need to do a bit of work.

Gina’s Pizza and Pasta Bar

Gina’s restaurant is always an all-time favourite in Auckland. My brother told me about this place when I first came here, and I have to admit, the atmosphere is pretty good. I had the ol’ Entertainment Card voucher, so used it up for this particular occasion. For the ladies, they will enjoy the sight of the Italian men.  A table at Gina’s is difficult to find, so better book in advance through the online system (if it actually works) or the old fashion way (phone call).

For this particular occasion, a few dishes were sampled below:

Calamari Fritti ($15).

Fettucine Mare e Monti ($19.50).

Massimo Grande ($20).

Lasagna ($20.50).

Personally, all dishes were great and reasonably priced.  But I think Italian is no longer a desired item for me. I can find reasonably good dishes, such as pizzas and pastas at many places now. But I guess the reason for Gina’s is the environment. You can tell by the amount of noise, it is quite deafening. I have no bad things to say, everything is reasonable. It may take a while for dishes to arrive, so have many things to say!

My rating 8/10. Have a try.

Giapo

This place is quite a goodie. It’s very near the Burger Fuel on Queen St. Giapo serves gelato in traditional and fruit flavours. I’ve only been there twice, but have been impressed. The triple chocolate (?) and tiramisu flavours are very good. Below is a medium cup for $7:

Giapo Medium Cup Gelato

Medium Cup Gelato.

Highly recommended, 9/10. They have a facebook page as well.

Scalini’s

During the summer, I often walk on the beach at St Heliers as I attempt to live a healthy life by exercising. Anyway, there is this Italian shop in the corner of St Heliers shophouses, Scalini’s. It always seem packed, I believe for a reason.

Curiosity got to me, and so I tried this place on one night on the weekend. My first impression for Scalini’s, it’s not a bad place. Friendly staff and quite a nice environment. Two “standard” dishes ordered for that particular night as shown below.

Smoked Salmon Pizza.

Fettucine Al Pollo.

The prices were the usual, $21.50 for the fettucine, and $17 for the pizza (small size).  Generally, I found the dishes saltier than other places I’ve been to, maybe it is the way pizzas/pastas are meant to be? It didn’t have that WOW factor for me. It seems quite popular for a takeaway – that’s cause it’s cheaper getting takeaway.

Personally, I’m not going back there, because I think Scalini’s is there to serve the St Heliers suburb. There are better places out there I think. My rating 7/10.

One thing I noticed – there is this burger place in the other corner. It smells good! Maybe a return to the area?

Archie’s Pizzeria

Ah, finally Italian. One of my favourite dishes. It’s easy to locate this place. It’s somewhere behind Olympic Pool in Newmarket, specifically at 61 David Crescent (think roundabout). I believe the owner of this place owns the other 2 places next to it – just a hunch. One thing I notice about Archie’s is that they hire backpackers/travellers as waiters (you can tell when they speak). Not a problem to me as long as they’re women!

But I would like to digress somewhat, I found a similar food blog in Bebo reviewing Archie’s – click HERE. It gives a different perspective to Archie’s, mainly negative but it’s a good 2nd opinion. Bear in mind though, in the last paragraph, the poster/blogger recommends Burger King or McDonalds as an alternative. Problem is, stuff in BK/McD are unhealthy and not something I’d recommend.

Anyway, Archie’s is one of my favourite places because during lunchtime they have a special. $10 lunches!! It’s a magnet for couples, tourists, working people etc. I think it works to be honest, pricing is right and size/portion is reasonable. If you want generous, I’d try the pasta. Here are some examples of the food we tried:

Seafood Fettucine.

Pollo e Pesto.

Al Salmone.

Pan Fried Seafood Salad.

For the above, I love the seafood. At one time, I had the Al Salmone, the cook was generous with the salmon portion and it really gave me a good impression. I came back several times. But recently, the salmon portion has been less, but still not that disappointed as the pasta and salad still is very well done and reasonably sized. The polo e pesto (chicken pizza of some sort) is not bad, but I LOVE the salmon pizza. The seafood salad is fantastic and the pasta is generous. Seriously, for $10 you can’t complain and this is not fast food (i.e. Pizza Hut). You get a place to sit and listen to music.

Personally, I don’t think this place has an issue with “temperature” of their food (previously mentioned blog). Portion-wise, it is relatively small and you can’t blame them. For $10, they’ve gotta make some money.  For those who want a light meal, this is great.

I would rate this place highly, 8.5/10 and only for lunch. I believe at dinner time, it goes back to “normal” pricing. Try the seafood offering, or perhaps the salad or pasta. You won’t be disappointed. If you are, let me know.

Gibraltar Cafe Woodfire Pizza

Fantastico! That’s how I’ll describe this place. It’s near where I live – no, I’m not rich, I just happen to live with them! I decided to bring my girlfriend to this place to try some Italian food. It’s also because she sometimes goes to the church opposite it. Think the zebra crossing. Anyway, we got the following dishes below.

Chicken Cranberry Pizza with Brie

Chicken Pizza with Cranberry Sauce and Brie.

Chicken Salad with Orange

The salad – Chicken with Orange (I believe).

I can’t really give a solid “fair” rating because I haven’t tried everything. But just from the dishes that we got , I’ll give it an 8/10. The price is in the high range though, you’d expect to pay at least $20 per head just for a main. So it’s not really a cheap eat.