Coco’s Cantina


376 Karangahape Road
(09) 300 7582


Tuesday - Saturday
5pm - late


This is, hands down, one of my favourite places to eat in Auckland. It’s casual, busy, cool. The food is always wonderful, hearty fare that makes you feel warm and loved. The team at Coco’s are all straight up lovely, in fact, being nice is a prerequisite to working (and eating) there.

It’s owned and run by sisters Damaris and Renee Coulter, two community-focused people who were among the first to inject heart into the Auckland dining scene. What they’ve created at Coco’s is modern Italian dining that feels as if it’s been sitting at this spot on K Road forever.

The menu is concise and so tasty, with cult favourites like spaghetti and meatballs. It’s hard for me to talk about anything other than those meatballs, because I order them every time I go. They’re rich, filling and probably count among the most beloved dishes I’ve ever eaten. It’s unfair to only talk about them though, because every other dish I’ve sampled has been equally as good. I’m a sucker for homemade pasta, so regardless of the season you’ll find me ordering something from that section of the menu. I find it hard to go past the polenta chips too, which are divine.

The focus at Coco’s is on seasonality and sustainability, so they have a sustainable seafood dish each week, and they use trusted suppliers and local ingredients whenever they can. The menu changes regularly, so one day you find ravioli filled with fennel, peas and pangrattato, and the next it’ll be sardinian potato with wild mushrooms and butter sauce.

You can’t book at Coco’s so just turn up early and get your name on the list. The bar is a fun place to hang out while you wait, order a craft beer or a negroni and just people watch. Everyone comes to Coco’s. If you’d like to go in a large group, you can book, they sometimes off the next door space for special occasions and parties.

A trip to Coco’s is essential for anyone who wants to really get amongst the Auckland restaurant scene. This place is a cog, everything else turns around it.