an impressive trio

There’s an impressive trio of restaurants in Cuba St now.

At the southern most end, Ombra which has been around for about 18 months. It serves Italian style tapas meals with delicious accompanying wines. The wait staff are kindly, relaxed and for want of a better description. charming. I’m particularly fond of the pear and rocket salad and the whole sardines, but the lamb meatballs are pretty wonderful too. Fresh, delicious food with lots of interesting flavours. The venue is a former sex shop. High ceilings, lovely windows.

I enjoy that the dishes are small and made for sharing and that at the end of the meal you feel as if you have eaten well and not paid a fortune. It’s an easy place to eat alone too, or visit for that late afternoon drink and nibble.

Further north is Floriditas, which has been in that spot for over 5 years and possibly closer to 10. It’s a good place to meet a friend for a meal, to meet more friends for a more formal meal and also to meet for a relaxed sherry and shortbread or wine and olives at the tail end of a day. The cocktails are delicious too. The staff are helpful and friendly, a little more formal perhaps than at Ombra, but nevertheless kind and chatty. The main drawback of the place relates to construction – it can be difficult to hear each other in  a larger group, which is why the tete a tetes are more relaxing there. My fav dish is usually the risotto, but the parmesan fingers are always delicious and crunchy. I recall this being an indoor market and a craft shop when I first arrived in Wellington.

lorettas And now, in between the two is Loretta’s.

Once they get their booking sorted out things may improve. It was weird for our host to make  a booking for 7.00, then to be told she needed to be there by 6.30. But it was disconcerting to have the manager come over and suggest that we might order since we had been there for 40 mins. The rest of the guests had not arrived and it made our host feel a little uncomfortable, I thought.

However, once the food arrived we all cheered up.I would have liked smaller portions that could be shared and the waitress did  bring an extra plate so we could share. The food was delicious and perhaps wins the star out of all three restaurants. Fresh, tasty, delicious.  Potatoes with fennel, haloumi salad with big chunky radishes, sweet dolmades, rocket and parmesan salad, and a blood orange sorbet that finished the meal perfectly.

The setting is lovely – blond wood, high ceilings and a beautiful picture window at the end. Sectioning that allows us to feel enclosed but to see the rest of the restaurant. Beautiful tea pots.

Hmmm: Ombra for ambiance, being relaxed and shareable portions; Floriditas for ambiance, risotto and late afternoon catch ups; Loretta’s for tasty fresh delicious and interesting flavours. Ombra for feeling the most satisfied in terms of cost and portions and service.

Lucky Wellingtonians.

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