This new Avondale opening serves down-to-earth and affordable Italian eats.
The Auckland suburb of Avondale is eclectic, diverse and full of character — and its latest restaurant is all of this and more. Barbarino's Spaghetteria aims to bring simple, well-cooked and delicious Italian food to Aucklanders. Fran Mazza and Aaron Carson, the duo behind many of your favourite eateries, including Winona Forever and Hello Friends + Allies, are bringing their best Italian dishes to this new restaurant.
Mazza is half Italian, with family hailing from Emilia-Romagna — a region famous for Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, lasagne, tagliatelle and stuffed tortellini. Closer to home, her knack for cooking often stopped the pair from going out to eat Italian food (as did the price) and they looked for an alternative. Barbarino's Spaghetteria was created to fill this gap, and bring authentic Italian cheap eats to Auckland in a lively and relaxed environment.
The menu is simple yet caters for a range of tastes and palates. As each sauce can be paired with any pasta — pappardelle, spaghetti, rigatoni, orecchiette, gnocchi — it would take a long time to eat your way through the entire menu. For those who aren't fans of pasta, there are alternative menu items like beef and chicken schnitzel, eggplant parmigiana, risotto and a range of salads.
We opted for a few of the pastas. The traditional baked lasagne ($18.50) is made with bolognese, bechamel sauce and pecorino. While not the prettiest of dishes, it tasted delicious, fresh and full of flavour. We also paired spaghetti with the carbonara sauce ($18). Often considered to be a heavy dish, Barbarino's version is light and flavoursome with a unique texture coming from the addition of guanciale (pork cheek). The dish is made the traditional way with no cream.
There's also filled pasta on the menu — including two kinds of ravioli and a four-cheese tortellini. We tried the ravioli spinach and ricotta which along with the bolognese sauce ($18) came as a very generous serving size. Again, the ability to choose your own pasta variety and flavour combination works well for different tastes and preferences. The prices are all incredibly reasonable — from $10 to $23 — making it a great mid-week takeaway option rather than making your own.
Featuring four options in glass to one-litre carafe, the wine list is certainly not designed for an aficionado. Though to be honest, nothing in the expansive restaurant has any of the white table cloth touches often found with contemporary Italian dining. But that's what makes Barbarino's great — it draws inspiration from Avondale, and brings a new offering to the community.
There's no silver service but there's good music, good food and great vibes. If that's what you're looking for, Barbarino's has it in spades.