For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather out and about hosting Zest Food Tours around the city…

Soprano and Marine Parade Eatery

We’re darned lucky with eating options throughout our region.

I finally got to Soprano Italian Ristorante at Paraparaumu Beach for dinner, and the Marine Parade Eatery for lunch.

Soprano windowSoprano I’d missed out on previously because it was totally booked out, so I didn’t fall into that trap twice (and it was half full by 7pm on a mid-week night).

The environment is warm and cosy with mellow music and welcoming staff (yes the picture is back-to-front as I really liked the textures and vista looking outward from my spot). 

Although several entrees appealed to me (twice cooked cheese souffle with apple; walnut and crumbled goat cheese salad; Waikanae crab and ricotta ravioli with lemon chives and butter sauce), I also was feeling the need for greens so headed to the Boccoli e Broccoli pasta with sauteed Italian sausage, roasted broccoli, pine nuts, basil pesto and arugula.

Soprano pastaAnd very good it was too. Tasty herbacious sausage from the Waikanae butchery, a generous amount of roasted broccoli and a well balanced dish overall both flavour and texture-wise. The accompanying Mount Riley Chardonnay was luscious and complimented the pasta well (lightly oaked with a palate of citrus and stone fruit).

The owner popped by all tables to say hi, which was a nice touch, and given there were several desserts I couldn’t fit, I’ll most definitely be back (entree and dessert next time methinks).

The Marine Parade Eatery is more of your funky daytime (and some evenings) cafe and deli.  But also with good food, ambience and service.

Marine Eatery decorI liked the whole loaded shelves of goodies, rustic tables, fresh flowers, and light bright airiness despite the miserable day outside.  The menu here leans towards plates, large and small, and tapas in the evenings (as well as other events like the shared Sunday Roast on the last Sunday of each month – keep an eye on their FB page).

I wasn’t after substantial, so chose the risotto small plate, which turned out to be mushroom and parmesan, with an accompanying winter warmer lemon, honey and fresh thyme drink.  The risotto was pleasingly al dente, with a subtle green taste alongside the mushroom.  And the drink had real thyme and was mellower but nicer for that. Both impressive.

Marine Eatery risottoMost of the offerings had interesting components (jerk marinated chicken with a zesty bulghar wheat, sweet corn, capsicum and toasted seed salad; sardines and grilled tallegio on toasted ciabatta with fresh tomato and herb salsa; lemon, honey and cayenne pepper hot drink; peppermint hot chocolate), and all looked very appealing. They also do $10 daily stuffed bagel specials, and the cake cabinet looked rather delicious as well.  I’m definitely coming back sometime with a good hunger on!

Marine Eatery deliYou will find Soprano in the Copperfields Complex at the Beach doing Monday-Saturday evenings.

And Marine Parade Eatery at 50 Marine Parade, currently doing Wednesday-Thursdays 7.30am – 2.30pm, and Fridays-Sundays 7.30am – 9pm (keep an eye on the hours adjusting seasonally).

There’s no two ways about it, Paraparaumu Beach is a wonderful spot for a mini-escape.

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