Bars & Restaurants

Dante's - A Labour of Love

A desire to produce the best, most authentic Italian food, was owner Kevin Morris’s motivation when he established Dante’s Pizzeria Napoletana 12 years ago.

With his Italian heritage and the commitment to provide Aucklanders with authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, Kevin has poured his energy and passion into creating what has been recognised as the best pizza in Auckland. Dante’s has won Metro’s best pizza award several years running and was the first in New Zealand, and only the second in Australasia to be recognised for following the specifications that define the 'Real Pizza Neapolitan'. Naples is the original home of pizza and there are strict guidelines which must be followed in order to achieve this accreditation. 

The secret to Dante’s success is the time and care that is put into making the perfect pizza. Dante’s sourdough takes a minimum of two days to make and mature; this means the gluten is relaxed and absorbed by the body much more easily. After this, the dough is opened up and stretched by hand, then prepared using the freshest ingredients and cooked for just 90 seconds in their wood-fired oven, which reaches a temperature of 400 degrees. This preparation lends the pizza it’s signature light crispy crust and amazing flavour. Traditional favourites feature strongly on the menu, with Regina Margherita leading the way.

“After perfecting our pizza, our customers were asking us add pasta dishes to our menu,” says Kevin, “but we decided we would only offer pasta if we could match the high standards we had set with our pizza.” The knowledge of the owners and staff, along with the best quality ingredients has allowed them to achieve this. Co-owner Enis Bacova adds: “Our Italian pasta machine has been customised to meet our specific requirements, and it has taken some time for us to test ingredients and trial the pasta we produced. Great pasta is all about the best ingredients, in the right proportions and using the correct cooking methods. We needed to respect the pedigree and history of these dishes.”

Kevin’s favourite pasta dish is the Pappardelle Alla Salsiccia, which is served with pork and fennel sausage produced on-site, in a ragu sauce. Other pasta dishes include the classic Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca – capers, olives, anchovies and chili in a tomato sauce, and Spaghetti Ai Gamberoni, which features marinated tiger prawns with chili and white wine, again served in a tomato base made from genuine San Marzano tomatoes sourced from the region around Naples.

Dante’s menu also features starters such as bruschetta and antipasto, salads, and a selection of heavenly Italian desserts including Tiramisu, Affogato and Calzone Nutella - a folded pizza filled with Nutella and strawberries finished with Nutella sauce and icing sugar. Special dishes are also on offer and are changed daily. A selection of high quality Italian wines and beers are available to enjoy with your meal.

A passion for Italian food and an uncompromising quest to produce the best, has been a journey which has seen Dante’s set a new standard over the past decade, and can now be enjoyed on the North Shore, at Fortieth & Hurstmere in Takapuna.

Dante’s Pizzeria Napoletana, Fortieth & Hurstmere, 40 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna 09 486 3668, Open Monday to Sunday 10am to 10pm.

By Bridget Phillips

Channel Magazine: Issue 71 November 2016

Eating Out articles by Bridget Phillips