Address: 226 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
The fire was burning and upon entering the restaurant, we were asked to see the Maître d who directed us to our seats. Service was fast and friendly and water options were presented to us almost immediately. The restaurant felt casual yet classy and there was great ambience. It’s rare to visit restaurants these days where the room feels spacious however we felt Prego’s tables were nicely spread, allowing for privacy and an enjoyable dining experience. An added bonus was that the acoustics were also impressive, making it easy for us to hear each other.
Reading the menu, which featured dish names written in Italian and an English explanation below, we were impressed with the large and varied selection of dishes on offer. Most dishes had a unique twist to them and from classic Italian favourites such as pasta, pizza and bruschetta, to a large selection of meat dishes which included whole snapper, veal shanks and crispy duck breast. We felt as though there would be something on the menu to appeal to even the fussiest of eaters. The pizza menu features all the favourites including margherita, capricciosa and marinara, and gluten free bases are available on request. On that note, the menu is very gluten free friendly, however probably not as friendly to vegetarians.
The beverage list is substantial and wines featured were mostly from New Zealand and Italy. They also had a cocktail list that read well – it took all our strength not to give in to temptation and start the evening with a Bellini cocktail (peach schnapps, white peach puree and prosecco)!
Short answer, we were blown away with the flavours. The bruschetta that some members of our group ordered to start consisted of a toasted baguette slice topped with wild rocket, truffle mascarpone and prosciutto. The truffle mascarpone was to die for and we only wish the dish was bigger. For mains we sampled the “Risotto All’anatra” which consisted of roast duck, mixed mushrooms, aged balsamic and grana padano. We also ordered the “Petto D’Anatra” which included crispy skin duck breast, puy lentil ragu, mushrooms, wilted spinach and a candied orange. Whilst the flavours in both dishes were fantastic, the risotto was the table favourite and had almost a smoky flavour – a must try if you enjoy duck and risotto. We would however recommend you get a side to accompany this dish as the portion size is quite significant and really consists of the one flavour. The candied oranges on the crispy skin duck were a nice touch and we were so impressed we are going to try and replicate them at home!
To complement our meals we had a bottle of the “Bannockburn” pinot noir, a wine which we believe never disappoints.
If you want to spoil yourself and sample some fantastic Italian flavours in a laid back setting, we highly recommend a visit to Prego. We couldn’t fault the service and we felt as though the dishes were creative and consisted of unique flavour combinations – all which worked exceptionally well together. It is worth noting that the restaurant dishes are not the price of your pizza take-away store on the corner – entrees averaged around $16, mains $30 and pizza’s $26, however we were very impressed with the whole experience and would highly recommend that you experience it for yourselves.
Also, take-out is available and they do not take bookings.