Poderi Crisci (2)
205 Awaawaroa Rd, Awaawaroa Bay, Waiheke. Ph 372-2148, podericrisci.co.nz.
Lunch Thursday-Monday, dinner Thursday-Saturday. $$
The half-hour taxi ride across the island from the Matiatia ferry is worth every cent, especially when you’re met with near-perfect service, lovely wine matches and a tasting menu that builds beautifully on itself in just the way a tasting menu should. It’s so Italian — marble tables, candles, opera playing — but if it’s kitchsy it’s also delightful, and diners find it easy to be transported. Romantic Friday nights aside, it’s the long al fresco lunches they’re famous for. Eating and drinking at tables in the sun, in this hidden valley that opens into a basin, with the beautiful Awaawaroa Bay beyond, is very special. Antonio Crisci, who once ran the show at Toto, is in charge here, and his love for what he does is palpable in every part of this place. Don’t overlook the house-baked bread, served with their own olive oil: it’s a standout. The pizzas are marvellous too.
A favourite dish: Herb-smoked beef carpaccio with rocket, parmesan and Poderi dressing.
Shared-plate options / Fixed-price meals / Degustation / Good for vegetarians / Good seating outside / Takes large groups / Good for kids