Phone: (06) 385-8346
Makers of authentic, hand-made pizzas and pastas in the traditional Italian style. Food with character.
Located on the main road opposite the new Information Centre, just before the turn-off up to Mount Ruapehu. Do drop in and see us for lunch or dinner. Dine in or take-away.
It has been many years since I last did anything but pass through this town on my travels north or south, but on this occassion timing had us hungry, and the local fish'n'chip shop staff just didn't seem at all interested in serving us, so we popped over the road to explore this under-stated little Italian cafe.
As we walked in the door we were greeted by a big smile from a little man with an honest Italian accent and a warm heart. As we browsed and discussed his menu amongst ourselves he was quick to offer information and suggestions, and eventually we settled on a large Misha's Special (hold the olives and anchovies) and a large Garlic Pizza Bread. For $30.00 total, this wasn't going to be a cheap meal...
But as we found out after a 20 minute wait while he hand-made the pizzas and cooked them in an old-style bakers oven, quality was worth waiting for. Once the pizzas were delivered to us we wandered back over the road and sat in the shade on a park table and chowed down... the garlic pizza bread was brilliant!
A pizza base lightly brushed with olive oil and baked until hot, then quickly pulled out, brushed with a generous layer of garlic butter and sprinkle of herbs, and back in the oven to finish it off. This multi-step process really showed in the high quality of the final food.
The pizza itself was an amazing success... full flavour of all of the ingredients, without blurring them together into a processed mush, as you get from most frozen pizzas, nor tasting of basically nothing more than tomato sauce and cheese, as many fast-food pizzas tend to turn out. There was the tomato and cheese flavours, but it was easy to pick out the mushroom, ham, salami, onion, capsicum and pineapple... and I am sure if we had ordered it as-is, the anchovies and olives would have come through clearly too. REAL quality pizza!
Overall... from what little we saw on this one visit, this is one of those little out-of-the-way gems that pop up in the most unlikely places. And here's the real telling indicator for me... even though it is a 2hour drive from home-base... we're going back for dinner again... TONIGHT!
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