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[Pictures: David Straight]

This is not a city restaurant, nor does it try to be. And that’s why it works. You’ll find Casita Miro down a gravel driveway in the hills above Onetangi Beach on Waiheke Island. It’s owned by Cat Vosper and Barnett Bond, who have been developing their vineyard, Miro, for 20-odd years. They built Casita Miro in late 2009 after years of casual summer dining in temporary, tenty spaces.

Somewhere along the way, Vosper worked out that keeping things simple and rustic was the way to make a restaurant work on Waiheke, where most places either become inexplicably average or go bust in the first winter, when the island virtually shuts up shop. So the restaurant is small, Spanish-ish, with big heavy beams, lots of glass and plenty of ornate tile work. The menu changes constantly, depending on what they can get hold of and what’s fresh – sometimes it might be a ctaplana, a big seafood and bean casserole served in an ornate copper dish; sometimes it might be patatas bravas, with floury yellow potatoes and housemade chorizo. This summer, we dined out on slow-roasted Waiheke goat (honestly) and we challenge you not to order a second round of the roasted olives, made to Vosper’s mother’s recipe.

Because of all this, it’s very good value. Our most recent bill for a long, leisurely lunch for two was $93; with a big group, we recommend the chef’s choice, which is $42 a head and seems to go on all afternoon. We very rarely eat lunch anywhere else on Waiheke, and we suggest you don’t either.

HOURS Lunch, Wednesday to Sunday, 11:30 to 4; dinner, Friday and Saturday from 6pm.

CONTACT DETAILS 3 Brown Road, Onetangi, ph 372-7854.

IMPORTANT DETAILS If it’s a nice summer’s day and the sun is out, book, for goodness sake!



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