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[Photographs: David Straight]

Breakfast, lunch, dinner – it doesn’t matter which you go to at Ortolana, because it’s all brilliant and so we find ourselves there at odd times in search of early breakfast or late lunch. It opens at 7am and closes at 11pm and so you will never be told that the kitchen is closed. It is that rare thing, a downtown dining room, and best of all it’s not expensive at all.

It is a beautiful space, all reclaimed brick and soaring plywood ceilings and linen cushions – serene, contemplative and light by day, dimly lit by night. You might be in Rome by way of Los Angeles, only much of the produce on the menu came from the owners’ – Jackie Grant and Scott Brown of the Hip Group, owners of a number of successful cafes – farm at Kumeu. They even filter and carbonate their own water.

Head chef Jo Pearson’s food is casual, loose and it uses beautiful ingredients very simply: it is everything cooking in Auckland should be. We like the beetroot lasagnotte ($19) – heritage beetroots with hazelnuts and big sheets of pastry – and we like the chitarra pasta, with zucchini, almond, parmesan and baby mint ($19). Breakfast? A folded egg ($16) with house-smoked mackerel and sorrel pesto: tangy, salty, eggy. Most of all, we really like the braised lamb ($25), which comes with green lentils and labneh – and it may be this one single dish that is the reason we return as often as we do. SFG

HOURS Monday to Sunday, 7am to 11pm

ADDRESS 31 Tyler Street, Britomart, ph 027 230 4561.

IMPORTANT DETAILS No bookings. Not so much an issue by day, but you might queue at night.





  1. This sounds like exactly the sort of place I’d like to settle into for a very long, long lunch. Or perhaps a late afternoon drink that turns into a long dinner. Or…both. Beauteous photos.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
  2. SFG wrote:

    Our thoughts exactly.

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  3. Carmel wrote:

    I was a little put off by the esoteric ingredients but we ate here last week and it was so delicious, informal and cosy. We sat at the long table in the middle of the restaurant, and made pals with our neighbours. The waitstaff were ultra helpful and for sure dumbed the menu down for hillbilly me. I recommend the gnocchetti!

    Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink
  4. SFG wrote:

    Wonderful to hear – we think it’s great!

    Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink
  5. olive wrote:

    Just had yet another lovely meal here and had to mention it, Ortolana is so consistant in its wonderfulness, fresh ingredients and always service with a smile.
    Also does the absolute best negroni in Auckland.

    Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
  6. SFG wrote:

    Lovely to hear. Didn’t know about the negroni – another reason to revisit.

    Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
  7. JoJo wrote:

    Delicious fresh ingredients. Beautiful meal. Fantastic service. Thank you.

    Monday, June 10, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  8. leonie wise wrote:

    After living in London for six years, it was great to come back and see so many interesting eateries in Auckland. We went to Ortolana with friends for dinner about a month ago and loved it. Excellent service and fabulous food (I LOVED their mushroom, mozzarella & mustard leaves piadina and the gypsy salad – just thinking about it makes my mouth water). Happy to have found your website, perusing all your entries now to find more places to add to our eating list.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  9. SFG wrote:

    So great to hear Leonie – thanks for letting us know. Have you followed us on Facebook – and you can sign up for our email alerts on the front page too. Let us know how you go!

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

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