Coco's Cantina is a finalist in the Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year 2019 awards for Best Casual Restaurant. To see a full rundown of all our winners, click here.
Ten years ago, sisters Damaris and Renee Coulter opened Coco’s Cantina, a punky sort of bistro on K’ Road that served, among other things, the city’s best steak, with hand-cut chips. Come 2019, Renee has bought Damaris out – allowing the latter to focus on her startup app and guide The Realness – but nothing has really changed; or rather, it continually evolves, which at Coco’s is kind of the same thing. It’s the restaurant you still crave despite 100 new openings; regulars from the early days who now have small, messy children swear by the kid-friendly happy-hour pasta. That steak is still one of the best in town; the restaurant is twice the size and it’s still hard to get a table on Saturday night – though sitting in the bar while you wait with your name up on the chalkboard is one of the best ways to see the city at play. Flavours are honest and gutsy – there’s always a seasonal pasta and great seafood. It’s loud and joyous, helped along by a wine list of reasonably priced Italian reds.
What it offers: À la carte / Good for vegetarians and vegans / Outdoor dining / Private room / Takes large groups / Bar / Good for kids
A favourite dish: Spaghetti and meatballs
Finalist, Restaurant Personality of the Year: Milika Gasparetti
Hours: L Fri, D Mon-Sat
Chef: Guilherme (Will) Bezarra, Ponsy Wallace
K’ Road Precinct
376 Karangahape Road