PUGLIA RISTORANTE ITALIANO
If anyone tells you that you can’t have a supreme dining experience via a takeouts app, say: “Cazzate!” and direct them to Puglia Ristorante Italiano. My nearly-15-year-olds and I had made a date but the rain was an impenetrable wall outside and we were staying inside. There is a newish Italian restaurant in Kingsland and I went on Uber to see if it was there too. There are just a handful of truly excellent Italian restaurants in Auckland. Puglia Ristorante Italiano is part of that club. If someone tells you it’s not a good idea to order calamari as a takeout, they haven’t ordered it from Puglia Ristorante Italiano. This iteration contrasted so radically from the heavy, oil-laden versions I’ve tried before, it was axis-shifting. It was so tender and light, and the perfect starter for three. We ordered tagliatelle carbonara, tagliatelle alla Genovese (vegetarian) and gnocchi al ragu. The pasta is made from scratch each day and was so fresh I nearly cried. Exquisitely executed, perfectly seasoned, the dishes lost nothing in the transporting. We shared panna cotta, tiramisu, and watched The Breakfast
Club. The John Hughes film, viewed through a contemporary lens, is problematic. But it is also problematic to underestimate the wisdom and insight of 15-year-olds. The star, Molly Ringwald, says in an essay in the New York Times that it’s up to younger generations to examine it. And they did. But this is a takeout review and I can confirm there were no shocking or problematic stereotypes regarding the food. The owner, Cosimo, comes from Puglia, in southern Italy. My friend Annarosa tells me that the best Italian food is from the south. She is from Napoli and I wouldn’t argue with her. Grazie to the people of Puglia — the restaurant and the place, where the sanctity and authenticity of the cuisine is honoured. We were transported, without going anywhere.
Puglia Ristorante Italiano, 509 New North Rd, Kingsland. We spent: $96.40 for three, for a special occasion, plus leftovers for lunch the next day.