Monday, February 21, 2011

La Bocca -Parnell

The fact that we were told La Bocca was booked out three weeks in advance for Valentines Day shows just how popular this Italian restaurant really is. We had to settle for two days after.

The centerpieces still give off the Valentines Day feel
We were the first people to arrive that night and I was slightly nervous about being the only ones in a small, quiet restaurant and that we would be forced to make hushed conversation lest it echo. Luckily, La Bocca's popularity was not limited to Valentines Day -guests started streaming in before we had even ordered and, before long, it was completely filled.

The very outgoing manager -Nenad
We spend at least 10 minutes ogling our surroundings and the pretty centerpieces before we even thought about looking at the menu -the furniture, art and music make us feel as if we're in a little Italy of our own. A traditional Italian menu usually has 7 courses followed by coffee and digestives and an apéritif to start but, because we're not awesome eating machines, Jason and I only have room for a pasta course and a main course between the two of us. 

"No dessert?" asks the manager, Nenad.

I only wish I had a bigger stomach.

Bruschetta al Pomodoro -$8.50
Everything about La Bocca demands attention. Especially its menu. I had glanced at the online menu before arriving but, even then, I could not decide what I wanted to order -everything just looked too good! Between trying to limit the dishes we wanted and trying to pronounce their names in funny accents, we finally settled on Bruschetta as our starter. 

The portion sizes are so big that it barely fits on my plate
 Everything about this dish, from the portion size to its taste, wowed me. The thick Italian bread was crunchy on the outside, soft in the center and topped with tomato, garlic, basil and olive oil. The combination of the warm bread and the cool tomato salad was very refreshing and quite satisfying.

Tortellini al Gorgonzola -$25.00

For our "Primo" (first course)we settled on chicken tortellini covered in a creamy blue cheese and brandy sauce. The pasta was cooked to perfection and the sauce was full of cheesy goodness without overpowering the pasta.

Saltimbocca di Pollo -$34.00
We had so much fun trying to pronounce the name of this dish which is probably one of the main reasons we ordered it. Pan fried chicken breast with Pancetta and Brie on pumpkin flan and creamy mushroom sauce. What's not to like?

To get a better look at the deconstructed Salt-um-bo-kka-di-po-llo
The sweetness of the pumpkin flan compliments the chicken and savoury sauce while the brie satisfied my cheese obsession without overpowering everything else. Our pumpkin flan was a little burnt around the edges but we found that it actually added a smokiness which just worked to highlight its sweetness. Awesome.

We did have a little trouble trying to halve the piece of broccoli that came with our dish but Jason, being the gentleman that he is, let me have it. Double awesome.

Very cosy atmosphere
 Anyone who has watched Jersey Shore will know that even the super skinny cast has a full on 7 course meal when their family comes over to visit. I once put it down to tiny portion sizes leaving everyone wanting more but, after tonight, I am floored -both by the portion sizes and by the fact I am too full to move.

7 courses of an Italian meal
7 courses of an Italian meal:

Antipasi: hot or cold appetizers
Primi: "first course", usually consists of a hot dish like pasta, risotto, gnocchi, polenta or soup
Secondi: "second course", the main dish, usually fish or meat
Contorti: "side dish", may be a salad or cooked vegetables.
Formaggi e frutta: the first dessert consisting of "cheese and fruits" (this is separated on the photo above)
Dolci: "sweet" dessert such as cakes and cookies

How do those Italians stay so skinny and pretty? We have decided that we need to do some serious eating training before attempting such a meal -but we are definitely going to take one on soon.

With its menu filled with amazingly tasting food and authentic atmosphere, La Bocca is definitely somewhere to go for a catch up with friends or just to pig out. The manager, Nenad, is amazingly friendly, attentive and is always ready to give his recommendation. 

"Everything tastes good here! But the risotto is my favourite"

I can't wait to come back.

La Bocca can be found at 251 Parnell Rd, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand

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All recipes are on Petitchef


  1. Wow those seven courses look gorgeously rich so I can see how you might not have been able to finish them! :D If only we could fit in everything that our eyes and tastebuds wanted! *sigh* :)

  2. I heard about this place, but I haven't been yet (I live in Auckland).
    It looks strange to me to see a bruschetta eaten with knife and fork. Was it that big???


    I will follow you, don't know so many bloggers in New Zealand, let alone Auckland!!!!

  3. Oh dear.. I would lend you my separate dessert stomach but I'm always using it to much to part with it! :)

    Looks like a lovely meal and worth the couple of days wait.

  4. This looks so decadent... maybe Italians build up a metabolic impartiality to cream and butter - because it looks like they eat a whooole lot if it ! Yummy.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner!