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Coco’s Cantina feels like a local: a warm, friendly, dark and ever busy one. Service is capable and welcoming. The decor is a mish-mash of gingham tablecloths and vintage odds and ends, and it works, with more cosy corners than seems logical. This is not fine dining, but it is very good dining – and priced accordingly.

There are two pastas ($18 entrée, $26 main), a freshly made antipasto selection (vegetarian or not). There is a risotto, sometimes. There is a huge, half chicken roasted and set atop a pile of panzanella, moist with tomato juice ($32). One feels like Fred Flintstone at the end of it, victorious over a pile of picked over bones. There is a steak ($30), served with a generous smear of anchovy butter, fries and salad. There are sides – polenta chips with creamy aioli and a fresh, sharp rocket salad with slivers of parmesan ($8 each).

Coco’s isn’t doing anything groundbreaking, but they’re doing what they’re doing well, with care and thought – a rarity in itself. Top ingredients, generous servings.  We particularly like the pudding menu, all delicate vintage champagne bowls with fresh gelato, wodges of creamy tiramisu. NS

HOURS Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm until late.

ADDRESS 376 Karangahape Road, Newton, ph 300-7582.

IMPORTANT DETAILS No bookings – be sure to get there early on Saturday nights.


  1. megan wrote:

    I want to really love this place. It’s our local and we want to support it…the atmosphere is fun and lively but I’m sorry four times in a row I’ve had very average food and intermittent service. On the last occasion the ravioli served would have been better from a packet from the supermarket – dry, rubbery and overcooked. Drink orders weren’t taken and we would have spent much more if the service had been more attentive. There’s fine line between cool nonchalance and good service…

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  2. SFG wrote:

    Sorry to hear that Megan. That’s not something we’ve experienced, and it’s certainly not what people we trust have had. But thanks for letting us know.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  3. charlotte wrote:

    I have to say I have been to Cocos Cantina about 15 times now and every single time it is amazing! realy kind helpful staff delicious food..the sangria is devine! and the polenta fries too, the outside courtyard is so sweet and cosy..the desserts are out of this world! the music is the should give it one more go!!

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

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