I had been given a strong tip that I should check out Amano, an Italian in Auckland’s Britomart neighbourhood. When the advice came from a Frenchman telling me through gritted teeth that their Italian bakery – part of the restaurant’s operation – does the best baguettes in the city, much to his chagrin, I felt it was advice worth acting upon.
I joined a busy lunchtime service and was seated in a familiar position at the kitchen bar. It’s a big space, smartly turned out with a really good feel to it. I imagine that all the undifferentiated mid-market Italians in the UK had a place like this in mind when they were originally dreaming big. It was quite something to see in operation.
The menu is pretty focussed and to the point. Again, I’d been given a clear steer that I should order the octopus to start then follow with one of their pasta dishes. I opted for the mushroom tagliatelle.
The octopus was prepared before my very eyes. It was a multi-element salad bringing together charred octopus pieces, much greenery, gorgeous yellow tomatoes and the freshest green peas I’ve had in a good long while. It was a really satisfying eat with bright acidity to balance the soft smokiness of the octopus. It was first class.
The pasta dish was to a similarly high standard. The centre of the dish was a sunburst egg yolk which oozed across the top of excellent mushrooms, al dente pasta ribbons and crisp shards of sourdough. It was splendid.
So overall, I was glad to have been given such good advice both in terms of visiting Amano and then subsequently what I ate there. It’s a place I could see being a real favourite if I spent an extended period of time in Auckland. Make sure you visit when you’re here.
Blythe scores Amano
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 17/20
I ate: octopus, tagliatelle
I drank: Grillo, espresso, water
I wore: mainly blue
Total bill: $69
Address: 106-108 Quay Street, Britomart, Auckland