New pizza eatery La Trattoria takes the reins from Il Buco

by Kate Richards / 12 April, 2018
La Trattoria

The cheese and toppings at new all day eatery La Trattoria are laid on thick, Roman-style.

New Ponsonby all-day eatery La Trattoria blends South America and Italy 

Despite changing names from Il Buco to La Trattoria and being under new management, on the surface everything is much the same at Ponsonby’s dinkiest pizza parlour: The pizzas are still square and cooked to order in an electric oven. They still cost $6 and the first bite will still burn the roof of your mouth, badly. Coffee comes from Karangahape Rd favourite Eighthirty, and you still have to stand or eat outside if you’re having in. But looks can be deceiving. The pies have changed.

New owner Santiago de los Reyes is from Uruguay, South America, where the concept of pizza was brought by Italian migrants at the end of the 19th Century. Slightly south of his home country, in Argentina, almost 60% of the population is of Italian descent, making it one of the most Italian-influenced countries in the world. Pizza’s a big deal to him.

The slices served in Uruguay and Argentina, and at Reyes’ shop, are Roman-style – thick bases and lots of toppings – similar to the ones Il Buco owner Johnny Caracciolo used to offer. Reyes was a regular at the shop and friendly with Caracciolo, so when the opportunity to take the keys presented itself he took it, and gave the food a subtle new spin.


Alfajores, crumbly butter cookies with dulce de leche, and other sweet treats are also on offer.

Let’s start with the cheese – a crucial element of most pizza, but imperative on a South American pizza. Reyes says the right amount is roughly 400 grams for every 12 inches of dough. I thought he meant 40 grams, but then he said this: “we have a saying at home about what we eat – meat, fat, flour. Yeah, they eat pretty badly in Uruguay.” Reyes has been working with Clevedon-based cheesemaker Massimo Lubisco on a cow’s milk mozzarella which he orders every few days to keep it fresh. The cheese only keeps for 10 days at a time; thankfully he’s tearing through it.

Classic Roman-style dough is cold-proved for up to 90 hours; Reyes proves his for 12-ish hours in the fridge, the cool temperatures preventing shrinkage in the pan. It’s rolled slightly thicker than Neapolitan pizza, but isn’t heavy. There are 11 topping combinations, including two vegan options, and one of the bases comes stuffed with ham. Reyes plans to change the menu regularly.

What’s most important to note, however, is that a couple of slices of pizza here are still one of the best lunch deals in Auckland. If you have room after that, you should also try a slice of ricotta cake. Filled with rum-soaked raisins and whipped ricotta, it’s made to Reyes’ grandma’s recipe and goes great with a cup of black coffee. 

La Trattoria
113 Ponsonby Rd


Why ethical eating often stops at the restaurant door
101520 2019-01-22 00:00:00Z Food

Why ethical eating often stops at the restaurant d…

by Rachel A. Ankeny and Heather Bray

Can a chef promote foraging, seasonality and plant-based eating, yet also serve meat and other animal-derived protein products on the same menu?

Read more
Why the Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery is bound to attract the curious
101463 2019-01-22 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Why the Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery is bound…

by Ellen Rykers

Artist Bruce Mahalski's museum is the result of a lifetime of collecting.

Read more
Gillette ad isn't anti-men, it's anti-toxic masculinity – it should be welcomed
101480 2019-01-21 16:59:29Z Social issues

Gillette ad isn't anti-men, it's anti-toxic mascul…

by Nicola Bishop

The backlash against the Gillette ad shows how painfully little distance we as a society have covered since the #MeToo movement.

Read more
Cost of Auckland public transport to go up
101459 2019-01-21 14:08:56Z Auckland Issues

Cost of Auckland public transport to go up

by RNZ

Auckland's public transport users will soon see fares increase by up to 50 cents.

Read more
The future of gangs in New Zealand
101322 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z Social issues

The future of gangs in New Zealand

by Philippa Tolley

Best of RNZ: Gangs have been a feature of New Zealand society for more than half a century. Philippa Tolley takes a look at what future lies ahead.

Read more
How some Germans are countering the extremist views of the far-right
101320 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z World

How some Germans are countering the extremist view…

by Cathrin Schaer

Germans face a familiar dilemma in finding ways to oppose the views of the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

Read more
White Noise: Who is shaping Auckland's future?
101439 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z Auckland Issues

White Noise: Who is shaping Auckland's future?

by Kate Newton

Some Aucklanders have more say in their city's future than others.

Read more
Stephen Fry revisits the world of the Ancient Greeks in Heroes
101242 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z Books

Stephen Fry revisits the world of the Ancient Gree…

by Lauren Buckeridge

In his delightful way, Stephen Fry dips back into the ancient world with more stories of tests, quests and feats of old.

Read more