Bistro 65

Bistro 65 is the neighbour of two very good restaurants (Safran and Archie’s Pizzeria). I say good restaurants, because they’re always busy, especially Archie’s. It was one strange afternoon (lunchtime obviously) that I passed by the area and decided to give this place a try. It’s awkwardly placed, as it is squeezed in between the two restaurants mentioned above. The inside is kinda empty and hollow, so I decided to eat outside.

Had a look at the menu and ordered the selections below:

Vegetarian Lasagne ($12).

Mixed Seafood Platter ($28.50).

Chicken Pizza (cashews cranberry finished with an avocado aioli) $12.

To be honest, the food is pretty good. The platter is really nice and tasty.  The lasagne not bad. The pizza also not too bad, a bit too cheesy / salty. For the price, it’s actually quite reasonable and if you sit outside, you won’t feel so lonely. If you are confused what to have here, go for the platter. The service was good too – friendly manager (I think).

Rating = 8/10.

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.

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.

Turkish Cafe

The Turkish Cafe is a very noticeable cafe, next to Warehouse Newmarket, opposite the Skycity Cinemas (Broadway). It’s one of those cafes that I wanted to try out for a while, so I had my chance. Tried a couple of things – see below:

Donor Kebab.

Kiwi Salmon Delight.

I can’t recollect what the pricing of the above items were, but I think they were some part of a lunchtime deal, so should be reasonable. But I have to admit, the food was not memorable. Surprisingly, the place lacks people at lunchtime. I’m not sure why, stiff competition from the other cafes? I thought they had a decent location.

I do admit, it’s one place I’m not going back to. Food didn’t taste horrible and I think that was the problem, I couldn’t remember if it was good or bad, so probably one of those “average” places. Therefore, a rating of 6/10.

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?

Degree

Degree has it all. Good deals during the week, a mixture of unique and common dishes, and to be honest, the best seafood chowder I’ve had since I began my roller-coaster life in Auckland.

During the week, Degree has specials. For example, on Tuesday Degree has dessert specials and on Thursday, it’s $10 pizzas (note: this might change). They’ve got Sky everywhere, so a good place to watch sports (not listen) because it’s too damn noisy.

Mixed stone grill.

Degree burger.

My recommendation for this place is the seafood chowder (entre) and pizza breads. The chowder is $14.50 and pizza bread $7.50. Just having those two dishes is more than enough for dinner i.e. very filling so only have entres if you have plenty of friends coming along. But yeah, Degree tempts all customers with their variety of food (and alcohol), for example stonegrills, pizzas, seafood, salad etc! It’s crazy! The beer is great and they have $5 cocktails on Thursday.

Anyway, the stone grill is the flagship product for this place. If you passed by this restaurant in the evening, you’ll see a big slab of hot metal cooking meat. The mixed stone grill is a good option because of the variety of meat and you get two sides for a stone grill dish. It costs $25.50, and goes up to $33.50 if you’re getting the 400g steak! It’s not bad, and pricing is typical for that dish. The Degree burger is a pretty standard dish. At that price ($18.50), I won’t complain as it’s very filling. But if you want good burger – try Burger Fuel!

One problem as usual, Degree is located in the Viaduct. So parking is a nightmare to find at peak times. When I do have a dinner there again, I’ll put up pics of the seafood chowder and pizza bread. A must have over there!

My rating for Degree, 8/10! I know, I know, I’ve been rating places highly recently. Maybe because I’m in a good mood. Who knows. Anyway, if you join the Degree club, I believe you can have your main meal FREE!

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.