Revisited this establishment for the first time in ages a couple of weeks ago. Past history has taught us it is quite hard to hear in the heart of the restaurant so sat closer to the doors and all was fine. Had decided to just have a main and dessert this time - I had the split pizza, half molto carne with Italian sausage, salami, bacon and olives, and half Agnello Fumato, with the lamb fillet. In terms of volume was great, but quality was good but not great, nothing to excite those taste buds. Kate had the Caesar salad which she was most disappointed with, just too heavy on the anchovies and anchovy sauce, and our youngest had the spaghetti bolognese. Now he has been a student three years so this is a dish he is quite familiar with, but same thing, fine but unexciting. Dessert went with old-familiar tiramisu, but again fine but a bit boring, I have had better at this location myself. Value for money, probably 7.5.
We stopped by for a quick lunch and I decided to have the pork belly burger. I was expecting strips of pork belly but instead it was a patty. The flavour was quite nice and it came with apple and cucumber. I didn't eat the bun only because I couldn't get my mouth around it but it was toasted and not soggy at all. My friend ordered the marinara pasta and she said all the ingredients were perfectly cooked and she was pleased she had enough left over for a later meal.
Cafe Valentino has become one of my 'go to' restaurants, particularly for lunch after a long morning in the garden. The food is consistently good with a great range - tasty pizza (great to share for 2!), pasta (Mr GK partial to the chicken & bacon fettucine), daily specials (the pulled pork sandwich is recommended!). All coupled with a good range of beers and wine options by the glass. Our experience of the service has always been good and the food is well priced. A nice, casual, dining option.
Dined here on last night (Friday 30th October 2015) with a party of 18 people. The booking had been made well in advance and confirmed numbers in advance.
While I had no problems with the food as it is always excellent. Can recommend the mushroom entrée and the salmon pizza and the pear and blue cheese salad also the tiramisu dessert. What I had a problem with was the service. Table was booked for 8.15pm - everyone arrived in time and waited in the bar - we were not seated until after 9pm - Party was split into two groups - one behind a pillar so could not see them - food finally ordered and served after 10pm - No offer of drinks at table - we had to request water in lieu of drinks - we requested the dessert menu and only one table received menus - but by that time we were all tired and didn't want to wait another hour for more food.
Poor service but excellent food - get the balance right.
Ate here Tuesday night.....was amazed and impressed that the place was really busy.
Had just the right level of lighting and the decor was nicely done.
Was impressed with how they had transformed the building, as I remembered doing some work in there after the EQ when the shell of the building was all newly repaired.
Enjoyed excellent service.
Tried their Lonza lamb dish and wife had Pollo chicken dish. Both were really impressed!
Went here on Friday for Xmas lunch. Seated quickly and drinks order taken in first 5 minutes. All good. Food came out, mainly pizzas, some flatbreads etc and was very good. Dessert was also excellent. Halfway through the meal we noticed a huge busload of folks arrive and they must have filled a good chunk of the restaurant. We didn't really see our server after that, people sitting with empty drinks, waving down staff several times for more water and more beers etc. It all came quickly when we ordered but suggest you check up on the tables a bit more frequently.
Other than that ( and they may have just got smashed on the day)a very pleasant lunch and drinks. Solid and consistent.
Went to Cafe Valentino for my birthday dinner with my partner on Friday night. Was the first time we've ever dined here. Food was amazing! Had the caramalised onion and feta wood fired flat bread and this was definitely the stand out dish, would go back for this alone. For the main we both had fettuccine apollo with creamy sauce, was very very good also. Too full for dessert. We had beer, cocktail and a glass of wine. Great atmosphere, had to wait a little bit in the bar before being seated but this was not a problem. Overall excellent value for money.
Been here a few times with friends for a meal.
You get decent portions of food which is tasty. I've had some unusual pasta dishes (smoked chicken and grape being one) and the selection is excellent. Reasonably priced too.
Only criticism would be that it's a "party" restaurant, that is, groups of people out for a meal. That's fine if you're in that, but if you're a couple, it gets very noisy - especially later as the drinks flow.
I ordered the carbonara which according to the online menu was "Our version of this classic. Streaky bacon, mushrooms tossed with egg and a touch of cream. Finished with pecorino and truffle oil." however I felt it was more than a touch of cream and not a lot of eggy - a decent size serve. One friend ordered the Pappardelle ragu coda di bue (oxtail ragu) and she had enough left over for her lunch the next day. The other two had the Pappardelle Steffano; they quite enjoyed it but found the sauce too drippy and one felt the mushrooms were too sweet.
Popped in today for a lunch with some colleagues. Not busy at all and one waitress who coped admirably with the small crowd. Orders taken promptly, drinks arrived quickly and food followed soon after. One of the dishes (pasta) arrived a good 6 to 7 minutes after everyone elses and it seemed like the kitchen had forgot it.
Variety of pizzas, calamari ( nice and peppery) and salads. The steak sandwich next to me looked fabulous. Fresh ingredients, nicely prepared food and good service. It does seem to be quite on most weekday lunches including the odd friday I've popped in so will need to try it on an evening.
Nice lunch. Well done
A friend was in the area where I work and it was lunch time, without any discussion my feet and hers headed to Cafe V. She decided she could only eat half a pizza and as she had an appt after she didn't want to be carrying pizza around town - so we decided to share my San Marco special (minus tomatoes, minus olives, and plus chicken) - I am pretty sure this should be on the menu just the way I like it :-)
Our drinks arrived promptly and pizza arrived soon after. The pizza was good, though my friend said her half seemed to have all the chilli whilst mine only had a little..
First impressions when phoning to inquire if it was possible to book for desserts for Christmas Eve were extremely positive! The lady who answered was delightful and set the tone for the whole evening. When we arrived our table was set ready with dessert menus. I had creme brûlée and it had the right crunch on top, two others had the apple torte cake and really enjoyed it, but both commented a scoop of ice cream wouldn't have gone a miss. Perhaps just greedy? The baked cheesecake was declared enjoyable as well, although rather large and filling. Service throughout was attentive, friendly and efficient. Noted on the main menu that gluten free pizza bases and GF pasta available, so can't wait to return for a full meal. Marked toilets down a little cos couldn't get any hot water, not sure if that's normal or just the sign of a busy night! Great to have yet another quality dining option available!
Lived up to our(fairly high) expectations. From the extensive menu chose scallops wrapped in bacon followed by veal parmigiana. Both very good - veal tender and tasty, scallops were excellent and served atop a crispy rosti. Companions had generous servings of pasta for mains, with the oxtail ragu the winner of the two. Service was excellent - attentive and efficient without being intrusive. Fantastic value for money, too. Only complaint - it's a little crowded. A larger table/more space would have been nice
A bit lower score than usual from me for a place we usually love! We had an "early" dinner here on my birthday a week or so ago, as we were then off to hear some music. We had a booking. Our table, however and sorry to report, was right near the kitchen -- and thus quite noisy -- although it was not busy when we arrived. Our drinks arrived fairly quickly The tomato bruschetta was a nice starter. My husband had the lamb kidneys (yuck) as a main, which he assures me was well prepared and tasty -- to each his own! I had a linguine dish which was not as good as I'd hoped; I cannot remember the name, and cannot seem to find it now on the online menu. It was supposed to have spicy sausage and prawns in it as well as other stuff; but the sauce was rather tasteless and also incredibly oily, the prawns were instead tiny shrimp (many of them, I concede) and the spicy sausage was not very spicy and a bit overcooked and thus dry. I will not call it "bad": rather I am afraid I must "damn it with faint praise;" it was plentiful and filling, the ingredients fresh, but I must say the effect that comes to mind is my own first efforts, many years ago, at cooking an Italian dinner -- that of a novice, well intentioned and trying hard, but falling short of the desired effect. Valentino's: you have done better; you can do better!
Arrived here for an early dinner and was very surprised how busy it was, we were seated and given water and menus. Quite a big menu so we took the time to study it. Our waitress came by several times to take our order but we weren't ready, she made us very welcome and wasn't pushing for the order. Third time lucky we ordered two pizzas for the girls and a pasta for me. Drinks arrived and very soon we were delivered our meals. The girls, miss 15 loved her pizza, a simple Margareta pizza, which I don't think you can get wrong, crisp base, mozzarella and fresh basil, she declared it fabulous. Miss 13 discovered onion on hers and was not happy, but ate enough to please her mother. I had a pumpkin and chicken pasta which I thought was only average, not a lot of chicken and slightly chewy texture. There were no pieces of pumpkin just a pumpkin and cream sauce. A bit disappointing. The service was great and I would come back for pizza, but probably not pasta.
You know you must be becoming a regular when the server knows what you want to drink. I ordered my version of the San Marco pizza and the others ordered pizza as well. The pizzas & fries arrived pretty quickly and we were soon happily munching away. Once again unable to eat the whole pizza and they were happy to provide "doggy bag"..
Very much enjoyed my meal at Cafe Valentino. The shared starter of the calamari and scallops were extremely tasty and quick to arrive. I ordered the Pasta Basilicata and while enjoyable not overly special and on re-reading the description of the dish the tomatoes were left off. I got the sticky date pudding for dessert and that was very impressive. Generous with the ice cream, less so with the sauce and you could really taste the dates in the pudding itself. Great atmosphere with friendly staff, our waitress need to be a bit louder to compete with the background noise. Looking forward to going back and working my way through the menu.
First time to the 'new' Cafe V since the original was lost in the earthquake. It was a very busy Saturday night and our group of six had a booth which provided a better seating environment than the table seating available. For starters I had a delicious chicken liver parfait and my wife the scallops wrapped in bacon - both were fantastic. Most of the group had pasta dishes with one ordering pizza. My carbonara was very good; rich and creamy and full of flavour and our pizza ordering friend clean his plate. Dessert for me was the baked New York cheesecake which was only average and creme brulee for my wife who said it was great. All in all a great dining experience. We will be back for sure.
Realised I hadn't put in review for my most recent visit. The boss was visiting and so we suggested several places close to work and he picked Cafe V because he wanted pizza for lunch.
They have quite an extensive pizza menu and when I asked they were happy to 'adapt'.. I ordered the San Marco minus tomatoes minus black olives and added in chicken - yum!
Have been here several times in the past few months, and was generally impressed on each occasion. However, tonight's experience was entirely different - service can make or break a dining experience.
I arrived with two companions five minutes prior to the time I'd booked, and was promptly seated at a wonky, unstable table that was far too small for the three of us (we are all fairly tall, and this table was clearly meant for two people) and wedged in a corner with no room to move. We politely requested a larger table, which we thought wouldn't be much of an issue as it was rather early in the evening and we were the only group in the restaurant at the time. Unfortunately it seemed to be rather a hassle, as the waitress unseated an employee of Cafe Valentino who was eating her dinner (alone) in a large booth, moving her to one of the smaller tables. The employee seemed rather put out by this arrangement, and proceeded to throw us ugly glances while speaking in hushed tones with the waitress. Following this exchange, we were seated in the booth and informed that we were to leave by a certain time, as there was a booking for that particular table (despite the restaurant being completely empty and only two tables were filled by the time we left- over an hour after being seated).
Despite our unfortunate encounters with the original serving staff, we ordered and received some decent meals- they were generously sized and very tasty. We then asked to see a dessert menu, which the waitress took about 10 minutes to get to us as she seemed to be getting distracted by other customers' conversations at the bar. After we perused the dessert menu, we attempted to get her attention to order something several times, but she continued to converse with her colleagues instead of serving us. This persisted for another 10 minutes, until we decided not to waste any more of our money on her ill-deserved wage.
Overall, good food (not great) but terrible service. We'd enjoyed this restaurant on many occasions prior, however we will not be returning. Almost forgot to mention that it was my birthday as the occasion; simply added insult to injury.
We wanted a quick bite to eat before meeting friends down the road. I called to get a table mid afternoon and they were fully booked, however if we came in early and were out by 7:30 pm we could fit in which suited us. Having eaten here many times before I knew what I wanted already (Rigatoni Zucca pasta - creamy, garlicky, pumpkiny goodness) and my partner chose another creamy pasta. Drink and order taking service was prompt however the wait for our mains took about 30 minutes which was hard when we were starving (we didn't order starters because of the time limit). When our meals came out they were piping hot and delicious. My partner ordered a slightly different pasta to mine and his portion size was considerably smaller much to his disappointment. All in all we had a lovely time and will be back!
True to current form another repeated restaurant. Went last night with four others and were greeted warmly, lovely beer in the bar then to the main event. The table had the bruschetta - lovely bread and spreads. Then I had the grilled scallops in bacon - lovely flavours. Unfortunately the order got mucked up so only one turned up when three were ordered. Fixed promptly but a little blemish in otherwise exemplary service. True to my word for a main passed on the steaks this time and had the gnocchi, which was disappointing. I like a potato gnocchi that is smooth almost pasta-like. These were well formed, but texture-wise seemed machine-made with a shredder or grater rather than passed through a mouli. Too much texture, not enough love in the making. Sauce was tasty but thin.
For dessert meant to order the creme brulee but by mistake (after a couple of drinks) ordered the tiramisu. A very good mistake - one of the best I have had, and a huge portion. Nice meal, Valentinos are consistent, but disappointing main and one hiccough in service. Value for money always high (especially when having pasta instead of steak), big portions an 8.5
This is my second visit to Cafe Valentino since they re-opened. I didn't review the first time because it was about a week after they opened - there were some teething problems which I was confident they would iron out and I can now confidently say they have. This makes me a very happy woman - Cafe Valentino is back!
A group of six of us went on a Monday night including some work colleagues from Auckland. They were shocked to see a place so busy on a Monday night. I felt kind of proud to share this great Christchurch restaurant with all it's cool concert memorabilia on the walls, great atmosphere and talk about the struggle that Christchurch restaurants have had since the quake.
The food was really good. We shared a couple of flatbreads to start...the chilli, pesto and parmesan one was a hit with the group. We all had pasta....and everyone enjoyed their choice. The ravioli was a star and my choice the Linguini Marinara was outstanding. It was packed with seafood and the sauce was delicious. We shared a couple bottles of wine and water was supplied at the table without having to ask which was good. The others in my group ordered dessert but I had to pass as I had to leave. When I checked the next day, I heard the brownie was the pick of the desserts.
I am sure I will be going to Cafe Valentino on a regular basis and it will continue to be a great choice for when people from out of town come to visit.
Popped in for lunch as I was feeling like having some pumpkin pasta. I ordered quickly and then happily read my book until food arrived. The pasta was sooooo hot I had to wait a few more minutes before I could start eating. My flatmate likes her meals piping hot so she would've been as happy as a clam. The chips were good but not as crunchy as last time.
Service as usual was friendly.
Cafe Valentino has finally opened for lunch Wednesday to Sunday so I figured I should go and support them. They weren't using their standard menu at lunch time, but there are lots of pasta and pizza available. The pizza menu is still in experiment mode and they are looking for feedback. My pizza had spinach, chicken, camembert, pine nuts and pumpkin - it was nice but it was like it was missing something I couldn't quite put my finger on.. The bowl of chips was a meal in itself and they were perfect. I had enough leftovers for tea the following night...
Have dined there on two separate occasions, and found the food and service brilliant both times.
Meals were nice, reasonably priced and well presented. Quite tasty! Wine was enjoyable, and cocktails very nice!
Environment was great, they have done a brilliant job with the place. Love the way things have been set up, and the separation but not separation of the bar/waiting area and the restaurant. Only real complaint I would have is that the music was so loud that combined with the hum of people my partner and I had to shout to communicate, which was a bit of a shame. Apart from that enjoyed the place a lot, will certainly return.
Ooops, I thought I had already written a review....
I dined here with a large group a couple of weeks ago and the place was fair humming when we arrived. We are all seated pretty much on time and our table had a wonderful, bubbly waitress. Nothing seemed to faze her and she took all requests in her stride with a smile. We had a set menu which provided something for everyone.
We started with flatbreads and spreads and I loved the chilli bread. I had fish (can't remember which) with potato rosti, avocado salsa and chargrilled courgette. My plate came out last and was missing the courgette. Not 5 mins later, the courgette arrived on a separate plate. Our water was constantly topped up which we really appreciated.
My dessert was a cheesecake with plums. Very creamy and yummy and the plums cut through the richness of the cheesecake.
The restaurant is very busy and a bit dark for my liking. Luckily we were seated near the kitchen so the odd flame from the grill supplied the extra light I needed to see the menu.
Great service and very tasty meal! I really hope they start opening for lunch.
A cool drizzly Monday night, just right for a glass of pinot and a pizza and Cafe Valentino was decided upon so off we went. Uh Oh, place was pumping,on a Monday night? should have booked! A short wait at the bar during which time we watched part of an old black and white subtitled Italian movie they had playing on the screen. Great! Taken to our table where we were charmed by the lovely Italian waitress. By this time we were hungry so we went straight for the pizzas. Great watching the pizza maker in action. We shared a Marghertia and a Patata which had thinly sliced potato, pancetta rosemary and rocksalt. Just delicious, and the crispy base is just what we wanted. Washed down by a glass or two of Supper Club Central Otago Pinot Noir at a very reasonable $10 per glass. We were happy. They atmosphere in this place is great and for a little while you can feel you are somewhere other than Christchurch. The Seven Irish Tenors were also dining there and this created a buzz as they obligingly posed for photos with customers. We will be back soon and might try to sit at the bar so we can watch the rest of the movie.
First time visit to the new Valentinos and with great excitement as this was one of my all time favourites pre quake. First impressions... great fit out,open plan with good views into the kitchen. Awesome seeing the posters from the old place adding to the character. Having been shown to our table we were left for quite sometime and decided to go to the bar to order drinks. The tap beer selection was impressive and the house Pinot Gris from Waipara was well received by the ladies. Starters of breads and dips (exceptional)and Arancini (average) followed by pastas all round. Got to taste all 6 of the pastas and for me they were good but nothing special. They did offer excellent value as the portion sizes were huge. Everybody was happy with their evening and left feeling full. I do feel that the tables are too close together, so close that the couple next to us felt like part of our group. Also some noise reduction panels would be well received as it was very loud however it is great to see a Christchurch Icon back on her feet! Welcome Back Valentino's......
I really wanted to have my favourite Zucca pasta. Alas last time I had it (pre-Q) I was disappointed so I checked with the waitress who assured me that the Zucca was her favourite and it was as it should be. My dish arrived and the waitress was correct - perfection - oh joy!
My pescatarian ordered the ravioli special (which they explained was not a ravioli). She was unable to finish it so I got to try one. I personally thought the filling was tasty but a bit firm.
Staff were friendly. Oh and they're now stocking my favourite cider - brilliant!
We were a group of three out for dinner we made a booking and it was very busy so glad we did. We were all seated promptly and our waitress was very helpful and always on hand when needed. We have eaten at the previous restaurant before the quake and it was Quiet, their new premises is modern but its very loud. All our meals were fantastic and well presented overall we had a pleasant evening out and enjoyed our meals. We ordered a starter of calamari which OK, followed by pasta I had the rigatoni which was yummy very tasty, my husband had fettuccine which he was also very satisfied and our guest also had a pasta dish that he said was the best pasta hes ever had. Dessert was very tasty even tho We were so full had to have it, The stand out dessert was the terramisu was delicious we couldn't complain a return definatley.
My friend and I decided to give this place a try. I had never tried the old one before the earthquake so this was a first for me. Upon arrival we were seated nice and quickly in a small table in the back corner near the kitchen. Our first waitress was very good coming over to take drink orders and letting us know the specials which was explained nicely. We personally didnt like their range of beers but that is just a personal thing.
We ordered the Focaccia bruschetta with four pestos as a starter which was DELICIOUS! I could eat a lot more of this! My friend really enjoyed the Mint Pesto and I found myself rather taken with the Basil and Sundried Tomato. The bread as well was perfect to my liking.
For my main I had the Aged Ribeye Steak which was rather nice, the piece of meat itself maybe wasnt super amazing but was cooked nicely (medium rare) and the mushroom ragu to me was tasty as! My friend had the Canterbury Lamb which was a HUGE portion! Very good value for money I thought. She thought it a little bit chewy but still nice.
We looked at a dessert menu but after such big portions we were full! Which is not like us at all!
My only gripe was the one waitress who felt she needed to walk past us every two minutes and actually stop right next to us to see if we had finished our drinks then within 20seconds of my friend putting her beer down she was bang right there, getting down to eye level with the table annouced she thought it was empty? Very strange! She then asked if we would like another, we replied yes and she picked up the bottle turned it around, studied it then put it back down and flounced off? Another girl then returned with the new beer and some how missed us saying no glass please and tried to remove the other beer that was still undrunk? I did not appreciate this at all. Also being meal checked twice only 2 minutes after recieving my meal was pointless. I had no even had a whole mouthful yet!! I was still looking at my food. Also two different waitresses doing it a minute apart makes me wonder if they talk at all? All up we were served by 4-5 different girls? This was excessive. I rather only dealing with the one maybe two if really needed too.
All round the experience was nice but that one waitress made me feel really off. Like maybe we looked wrong there? Or she was just over keen to serve us even though another two girls had been doing a good job.
Will go back but mostly for portion sizes :-)
For those of you who don't know Valentinos they used to be near the Town Hall with a tight-fiting small bar, with the eating next door and upstairs. It served great food but was totally destroyed in our earthquake, so I have been hanging out to go back and see if they could repeat my earlier experiences. Went to the new Valentinos last night with two others and the comparisons started. Where the old one appeared rickety and tight the new one is much more open and modern. The barman was friendly and a number of different beers on tap made it attractive straight away. We were seated in a not too crowded part of the restaurant and the noise levels were fine (a complaint I see in several other reviews). We already had drinks when we went to the table, so we weren't offered water (black mark there). For the entree I had the arancini balls, definitely the pick of my whole dinner. Hard to describe how good they were, but just near perfect. The others had the seafood chowder and the bruschetta, but said excellent. For the main I had to have the steak, even though the gnocchi was more appealing (but I was feeling greedy). Perfectly cooked (rare) but a bit tough. Not their fault I would say, just unlucky, but maybe not quite as good as the old establishment. The others had the ribeyes and said very good but not excellent. Dessert had to be the creme brulee, but that seemed to have shrunk in size, but maybe that is my bad memory. Service was exemplary (other than the water), but it wasn't cheap - $300 for three. I want to give the food a 7.5 particularly because of the entree, but have given 8, and value for money less at 7. Next time the gnocchi, which might bring the bill back a little too.
We are a Quantity Surveying firm that have decided to visit a new restaurant each month, that has either re-located or recently opened due to the earthquakes and our first restaurant to visit was Cafe Valentino, most of the staff gave it between an 8-10 rating out of 10.
We visited on a Thursday for dinner and sat at the bar for a bit and didn't seem busy at all which was lucky as it approached 6.30pm the people rolled in, was very busy but the head waitress was amazingly helpful and accommodated our extra guests (plus children) at the last minute and even got them colouring books etc.
Selection on the menu was astounding... was very hard to chose! Most people got pasta and were pleased with this and I got the lamb salad... which was missing the feta but still very good, the roasted pecans were delicious.
Price was reasonable, decor was great, service was excellent and food amazing
only negative was the lack of space between tables.. i could barely walk between my table and the one behind as the chairs were back to back.
Slipped in for a quick bite after Tuesday night wine tasting at Vino Fino, just around the corner. I wasn't needing any more alcohol so had had a delicious Virgin Mary made from the bartender's own Bloody Mary mix. We were quickly seated, and when we advised the waitress that we were on a limited time frame she pulled strings in the kitchen and had our calamari and arrabiata out in double quick time. Both dishes were textured, well constructed and tasty. My friend would have happily dialed up the chilli in the pasta, but appreciated the toothsome chunks of manuka-smoked bacon. The herby salad alongside my generous pile of crispy crumbed calamari was an excellent foil. No time for dessert, but we'll be back...
We shared the Garlic,rosemary and rock salt Flatbread and the Arancini. Both good - though the cheese must've melted out of my arancini ball.
I had the Pesto linguini for my main. It was nice but for me there wasn't enough fresh basil and a bit too much cream.
For my pudding I shared the citrus tart. The filling needed a bit more oomph and the pastry wasn't quite right.
We dine out twice a week. I only ever review if we had a great experience or a really bad one. This one was AWESOME! We arrived on Wednesday night and were greeted by really friendly staff who were more than happy to accommodate us without a booking. When we were ready after we chose to have a drink at the bar we were sat at our table and took in the funky atmosphere. The staff were smiling and the kitchen looked really clean and busy as we pondered over the extensive delicious looking menu. We ordered and looked at the structural reinforcements (as one does in ChCh these days) and chatted away. Our entree of Arancini balls came out quickly and we enjoyed those with a squeeze of lemon. We didn't feel we had waited long at all but the waitress came to us and apologized for the wait for our mains in which we replied that we were not concerned at all and we were happy just taking the atmosphere in. It was very busy, the restaurant was full, we anticipated a wait however not long after, our meals (Veal Parmigana and Aged Ribeye Steak) arrived and were delicious, really really yum. The only minor complaint I would have is that my potato gratin was still a bit raw in the middle so I left that on the plate but we were both very full and satisfied with our meals. I'd have never fit that gratin in anyway as my steak was so big and tasty! We had hoped to have dessert but were so full we couldn't even look at one although next time there will be a creme brulee with my name on it! Great food, atmosphere, service - just a great experience all round. Thanks Cafe Valentino.
Welcome back, Valentinos!! But...we ate here on a weeknight and it was SO LOUD we could not hear ourselves talk. It was total insanity. I am very glad the place (and its very nice owner) is doing such good business but really he must do something to try to cut down the noise. Acoustic tiles, carpets, divide up the space, something please. I like "lively" but this was way beyond lively. But to the meal...nice selection of wines. To start, we had the tomato bruschetta which looked and taste delicious, with excellent basil and olive oil; but while the toppings were very plentiful, there wasn't much in the way of bread; maybe another slice or two?? I had the Pappardelle Steffano, wide noodles with lamb in a marsala based sauce. The sauce was rich and smooth, the and the pasta nice, but the lamb was rather overcooked. My husband also had pappardelle, but with oxtail ragu. Again, the sauce was very nice, but he thought it a bit skimpy on the oxtail. Both pastas were very filling and satisfying -- despite these somewhat critical comments, the meal was more than satisfactory and good value. We had no room for dessert, but even if we had the decibel level in the restaurant likely would have convinced us not to remain. We will return...and hope it is a bit quieter next time. Our waitress was very charming, friendly and competent.
Came here with my lady the other evening. Place was packed. Found us a small table to the side but still very noisy, definitely caters to big tables!
Service was attentive though I think we had a good one. There were a few staff around who looked a little lost.
Would definitely return. Desserts on the next table looked bigger than I expected but had no space left after breads and a good size meal.
Welcome back Cafe Valentino!
We started with the garlic & rosemary flatbread and it was gorgeous perfection.
My guest had the pasta special and she declared it was the "Best Pasta I have ever had". I had the patata pizza which was very nice.
For pudding I had the creme brulee - it was lovely. My guest had the chocolate and said it was nice but not perfection.
Our waitress was an absolute delight, in fact all the staff were friendly and smiley.
We went out for dinner the day before Valentine's Day, to celebrate in advance, and found our original destination not open. Went to another spot and found it packed to the rafters and so left. I then remembered Cafe Valentino. We hadn't been here for 2 years or so, (after a somewhat disappointing experience then) and had been meaning to give it another go, and so decided on it and are SO glad we did. We had a lovely time. It was moderately busy but we were quickly seated in the bar area, which is without a doubt my favourite section. And loved that old fashioned music -- Dean Martin, Perry Como, etc! But it was the food and drink we came for... and got. The bread/dip selection was very tasty. My main course salad was full of tasty things. My husband was excited to see kidneys on the menu, and very pleased with them. The Italian red we chose was well priced and hearty. One small criticism was that everything was just a little oily. And the large portion size meant no room for dessert. Our waitress was charming and attentive, although perhaps a bit young and inexperienced. All in all, it was a lovely Valentine's dinner and we will certainly come back.
In a pre-booked party of just under 40, it took 2 hours for our table to receive our meal. My choice proved to be poor and totally unimaginative. I chose special of whole flounder and disappointed when served on the same plate with oily, cooked, then microwaved potatoes and green beans which we barely warm and tasted raw. In contrast, the high point was the Tirismu. Too noisy, too overcrowded and too overbooked to provide a meal of quality. On hindsight, I wish I had chosen the lamb or beef mains for which the restaurant has won awards in the past, but on my experience, I'd question how.
Nothing much to say about Cafe Valentino except fantastic!
I have been three times now and every time I leave I can't wait for the next time. The atmosphere at this magnificent place is amazing although somewhat cramped but I think this adds to the warmth of the place.
Every single morsel of food consumed by me, and my wife who agrees, at Cafe Valentino has been one of the most delicious mouthfuls ever eaten by perhaps anyone.
The toilets are clean and tidy and the staff are always kind and bubby but it must be easy to be kind and bubbly when you can rely on the food your serving to be outstanding!
I feel I will be back many times and so should everyone else.
Oh what a night! So the man and myself just recently hit the 2 1/2 year mark in our relationship- a milestone if there ever was one :) and I had just got a new job and we were a couple ready to splurge and celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than to satisfy our inner gluttons. We had previously had a wonderful night at Cafe Valentino- the dim lighting, warmth and cosy atmosphere, fantastic food- holding hands and playing footsy under the table.. it was great. So obviously Cafe Valentino was in the running for 'the' place to celebrate the momentous occasion that was my getting a job (finally)..Oh and the 2.5 years together lest we forget.
Rushing back from a busy 2nd day at work, I was full of excitement as we shortlisted restaurant after restaurant after restaurant with much help from DineOut before settling on Cafe Valentino. At that point we were pretty ravenous so we hopped into the car and sped away to town thinking 'It's a Wednesday night, parks should be pretty easy to come by'. How wrong we were, although I have to give credit to my man for finding us a spot a nice wee stroll away.
Walking into the restaurant, we were enveloped with deliciousness, the whole place smelt edible, oh, it was like heaven! We were seated immediately and once settled was greeted once again by the loveliest of waitresses who we put to the test by asking a variety of what would seem like rather random questions..one of them being 'how do you pronounce Sangiovese?' which I ended up having, and despite being unable to pronounce it, I can tell you its the only one of its kind on the menu and it hails from Tuscany and it was like fireworks in my mouth...the good kind! The wine was delightful! She handled our questions very well despite it being her second day at work and she was an absolute joy!
After poring over the extensive menu, super exciting but not so good for someone as indecisive as myself as I found myself mentally sampling everything before begrudgingly settling on the Pappardelle Steffano, swayed by promises of 'lamb fillet, marsala, field mushrooms, lemon, garlic, a touch of chilli and topped with ricotta'...yummm!!! The boyfriend battled his indecisiveness with a bit more class, he decided that it was pizza or nothing and went for the San Marco ...smoky deliciousness! I battled my pizza envy by stealing pieces off his gigantic plate to his amusement...and I thought I was being sneaky. The food was excellent!
So you might be wondering why I gave the service a 3 after raving after our lovely server. Here comes the hard bit, I was torn when giving that rating and I would have loved to put a 10 but as we were sitting comfortably after dinner, finishing off our drinks and discussing the next time we could come back for another special treat (1 week at work anniversary!) there was a big crash and a bang and one of the waitresses who had been carrying two bowls of steaming mussels had a bit of an accident; one of the bowls slipped and it was like the slow motion replays in movies and there was glass everywhere! And what looked and smelt like mussely-tomatoey deliciousness. However, it was everywhere, on my white scarf, my leather jacket and upon closer inspection at home, in my bag and my hair (oops!!). She was horrified, I was a little shocked but once recovered, I told her it was all ok, that it could be washed out and it was an accident (I can't help but think that they were lucky it was me and not someone with a temper). I had to stand to brush the glass off my dress and my chair and once seated again discovered that I was bleeding from a few minor cuts. She apologised profusely and got me some bandaids (they're bright blue!) but forgot to bring over a cloth for me to dab at my jacket for which I can't really blame her as I would be extremely flustered in her situation. I felt quite bad for her so once I'd finished up the rest of my wine, we got up, paid the bill and left.
However, as it was a rather large crash and as I'd gotten cut and had food spilt etc I would have appreciated it if maybe the manager or someone had come to ask if I was alright. It was an accident and no one was really at fault but I do think they could have handled it better which is why I had to downgrade my service rating from what I'd originally decided was a 10 to a 3. The boyfriend wasn't too happy about it though and he thinks I should have gone lower. But the fact of the matter is, before the debacle, I had excellent service and the waitress who dropped the bowls, she was very apologetic and I did not want to make her feel bad because it wasn't as if she'd aimed the bowls at me, hence the in between-ish rating of 3 and a super long explanation It does look like I'm going to be stuck with a drycleaning bill on top of this though which I am not particularly pleased about but like I said, the food was excellent and accidents do happen. Although, I must confess, that my inner glutton was distraught at the waste of food...and I was mentally wondering what those mussels tasted like..I just couldn't help myself!
Oh, and I decided that those mussels, they would have tasted absolutely divine!
I hadn't been to Cafe Valentino for a couple of years and dined there on Friday evening with a group of 12 other diners. This long established Christchurch cafe is known for its quality food and reasonable prices. For an entree I had the Salt and Pepper Calamari, and this was excellent, very tasty and cooked just right. Whilst most of my fellow diners had Pasta as a main, I decided on the 500gram steak and I wasn't disappointed. Nice and juicy and cooked medium rare as requested. I couldn't fit in a dessert and opted for coffee instead. Although very busy, the service was excellent. Recommended and I will return.
We drifted into the normally busy Valentino's ( not to be confused by the lesser beast Valentines which thank goodness departed Christchurch some years ago ). It was a Sunday evening and the restaurant was like some peaceful nirvana and we hungry porcines were starving. To the carunculated drones of Frank Sinatra,Englebert and Dino we sat on our seats by the window facing the great awk of Colombo St and even the street seemed abandoned. Feeding off the throngs of theatre goers from the town hall and it's bedmate the Convention Centre, both lurking around the corner, Valentino's walls are psoriasised with posters from the shows, many of them personally signed by celebs......not only a great way to cover wall space but damn interesting I must say !
Neither Mr nor Mrs Piggy were the menu so I chose the lamb kidneys. These pan seared little devils with their cabochon bottoms were seared in garlic and bobbed around in a stew- like mixture of field mushrooms and smoked bacon pieces in a tomato cream sauce with grain mustard on a green pea mash .Mmmmmmm. This concoction nested on a piece of toasted ciabatta with a side dash of onion jam. Why some butchers refer to kidneys as "offal", surely is a no-brainer for this delicious meal could grace the table at anybody's dinner party.
With a gold medal award winning Astrolabe Sav Blanc I was pleased that I was rescued from a large butt of Malmsey as I sipped on this clever little wine !! . Slowly but slowly the cafe begun to fill as the Boat Show at the Convention Centre began to empty as people found a lifebouy at Valentino's. The kidney dish had given me strength and the right attitude to attack next day at the office.
"Should we meet with the Jubjub,the desperate bird. we should need all our strength for the job ! "....the words from Hunting the Snark certainly came to mind here ...!
So as dear old Humperdink continued to grind out the numbers from the ever used CD, we finished our meal and like Sigourney Weaver's gentle gorillas we drifted back into the mist with tums full of Valentino's very good food. We had certainly Tommy Tuckered in and would shortly be tucked away in bed ,content and pleased we had visited this popular and everlasting cafe/restaurant....
We have been here repeatedly during business trips and holidays, have never been disappointed. An excellent menu with a huge range to choose from and there has never been a dish we haven't thoroughly enjoyed & finished every crumb of! A great range of NZ and international craft beers as well as a comprehensive wine list help complete a great dining experience. Topped off with friendly service which is attentive but not overbearing, Cafe Valentino has always delivered for us. Keep up the excellent work!
We had a nice meal on Friday night.
I had a Rigatoni zucca arrostita e pollo affumicato pasta (Fresh hollow tube pasta. Tossed with roast pumpkin, smoked chicken, spinach and roast garlic cream sauce. Topped with sundried tomato pesto), which was very nice. My fellow guests tried the Fettuccine al salmone e vodka, the Carbonara and the Whole market fresh fish. Everyone happy with their meals but they were unfortunately too full for pudding.
We had a couple of lovely cocktails, the lady making them was lovely too.
We came here for my brother’s birthday on a chilly winters day. Sadly it took ages to get a park because of the queen’s birthday marathon that was on at the same time.
I quickly ordered a tequila sunrise to warm me up as we looked over the menu. I was not hugely hungry but I ordered a pizza. IT WAS HUGE! My dad also ordered a pizza which we left with my brother in CHCH to heat up for his dinner.
My brother had steak which was delish and his friend a pasta thing. My dad mentioned he comes here every time he’s in chch and is never disappointed. I would agree!
Last day of the Buskers Festival and beautiful sunny Christchurch day, what more could you want. Well, a late lunch and a glass of wine and would be a pleasant way to round off the afternoon! A stroll up Colombo Street found the ever reliable Cafe Valentino open, a sign outside suggesting this was a recent thing for a Sunday. We ordered drinks from the bar and sat ourselves at an outside table in the sun. Our waitress a delightful Irish girl brought our drinks, along with the menu within minutes and was soon back to take our orders. With the traffic sparse and a drink in hand Mrs Diner and I reflected on how much Christchurch has embraced the outdoor dining experience in recent years.
On to the food, I like to think of myself as a burger specialist and feel that any restaurant can be judged by what they do to this, apparently simple, but hard to get right, food item. We are both glad to report (Mrs Diner as well!) that the Tuscan burger was up there with the very best. The toasted bun, spread with mayonnaise (a pet hate of mine is plain buns), the hand formed burger pattie crammed with pine nuts, the fresh salad and the separate bowl of fries accompanied with a dish of garlic mayonnaise all combined to make this a memorable burger. Excellent service, good value, pleasant surroundings and a sunny day. Priceless.
I dined at Cafe Valentino a few weeks back with 2 of my girlfriends and had the best time!
We were about to order a pizza each when our waitress said that they were fairly big and that 2 would do us and if we wanted to could half and half, once the pizza had arrived we were glad to have only gone with the 2 as they were a good size we enjoyed our pollo pesto and the meaty one very much!
The service was outstanding and cant wait to dine out at Cafe Valentino again very soon! thanks
We have been here many times over the years and it is still a great restaurant. This is the first time we have taken the three preschoolers and they were well accomodated. The waitress was particular good with them and anticipated our desire to order their meals immediatly & to bring Mum a pre-dinner glass of pinot as we waited for Dad to arrive! The children's menu is excellent with a great (non-fried) selection plus icecream sundaes for $12.50. I had the fish of the day which came with garlic fried potatoes and both were excellent. My husband had a pizza which was huge and delicious. This remains one of our favourite places to come for a casual bite. The food and service is consistently good and the atmosphere is warm and vibrant.
Cold Monday night in Christchurch and picked up friends from the airport who were here for cup week.They were hungry and when we arrived in the city it was around 9.20.P.M.Tried a couple of places that advised us that they were closed for food(What sort of city do we live in when you can't get a pizza at 9.30 at couple of the cities so called busy pizza places?) We drove past Cafe Valentino and noticed people outside. We stoped and in we went.The place was humming! Greeted with a big smile we were told they would have a table ready in afew minutes. Good wine list with wines vintaged. Things looked promising. Entrees of arancini, prawns and scallops all around the $16.00 range followed by three of the most delicious pizzas we had ever had. Crispy bases with delicious toppings. Heaven! We left a little after 11 and the place was still pumping. Wonderful atmosphere, great food. Thank you
we dined here last night, it is very dark, noisy also a little cramped, while the entrée and mains were ok nothing to rave over,they were very pricey, the waitress very lovely and helpful. The toilets were a disgrace. Not one of my favourite places to eat and would properly not go there again unless in a group and it wasn't my choice.
This place has been a classic Christchurch establishment for a long time, and I am (usually) never disappointed (although I have to say, it was amazing 7-8 years ago). The pastas are all great, I have tried most on the menu, and reasonably priced but would recommend the lamb pasta and pumpkin with chicken (I can’t remember the Italian names, sorry). I understand the pasta is made on site, which is cool. However, they have burnt the base of my pizza a couple of times, so you might not want to risk it. But there’s just something about the atmosphere – that cool Dean Martin music and romantic vibe – it’s a place where it’s easy to fall in love (excuse the cliché).
Food wasn't as good as I remembered, but was perfectly fine with nice presentation. Service was rather slack, I get the feeling the waitress was new. Outside toilets through the bar in the rain weren't great. Good wine selection and entrees however
I dined at Cafe Valentino over the weekend with some work friends, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Sadly, we were seated right by the kitchen, which lowered the environment considerably because it was quite noisy. However, it was friday night, and we hadn't made a booking, so we can't really complain! The restaurant had a really great atmosphere in general though, so next time I'll be sure to actually book.
The drinks were great - I had a Mai-Tai (or two) and it was one of the best I've had. My friend ordered a virgin margarita, which was rather tasty - apart from the salt around the rim. Considering there was no tequila in the drink, we all thought the salt was unnecessary! However, our waitress was more than happy to fix this.
The meals were delicious, and we all thoroughly enjoyed them. I've completely forgotten the name of what I had, but it was an eggplant and cheese delicious thing, that I really liked. And then the vegetariano pizza was very tasty, a lovely mix of veggies on there. The others also really enjoyed their meals, and I'm sure we'll be back.
Finally, the service was friendly, if a little slow, but again, what do you expect on a Friday night? The wait staff were very accomodating with our requests (dining with a strict vegan and a vegetarian is always going to be a bit of a challenge in christchurch) and they didn't mind popping into the kitchen to ask questions to reassure us.
All in all, a great night, and I'll defintely be back.
Went here with 7 for dinner. Food was good doesn't set it apart like some places. Service was average. kept having to ask for things over again. Seems like there is little system in place.
Atmosphere was good. Very busy and bustling but intimate at the same time. Tables in some areas are far to close together.
I love the atmosphere at Cafe Valentino! Dimmed lighting, casual and bustling surroundings, candles at the table and fantastic music! Every time I go there, I feel like I've left Christchurch and landed in Italy after just a 10 minute drive from home. :)
On our last visit though, I did feel that service was impersonal, drinks service was incredibly slow and clearing of entrees was rushed.. BUT all was forgotten when the mains came out which everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
The chicken breast with a porcini and field mushroom stuffing, panfried and served on a potato gratin with a marsala and cream mustard sauce was absolutely divine! I definitely made the right choice with that one! You also need to give the calamari entree a go, it's absolutely delicious and goes really well with the creamy dressing which it comes with. The tomato ciabatta also went down a real treat.
Prices are very well within reason and I will definitely be back here, however would prefer to be sitting downstairs, not up. :)
Been to Cafe Valentino several times over the last month. It is a really great dining atmosphere but every time I go there, the service always disappoints me. If you want to go here on the cheap, share a pizza. They are really delicious and the best bang for buck. The first time I came here, the waitress moved us downstairs and didn't even apologise for it. Then wouldn't serve us. Asked for water, and on the second request it finally came. Then the second time we came, we got ignored again by the waitresses and had to keep asking for water, glasses etc. They always seem understaffed and uninterested.
We booked for a table of 10 and were unfortunatley seated right in front of the kitchen which was really really noisy :( Our waiter really struggled to hear us over the noise of the kitchen and a busy restaurant which seemed to make him a little surly but eventually our orders were taken and we were underway!! Have too say we found the drinks service a little slack, we were a thirsty lot and I'm sure our bill could have been much higher if the drinks had kept on coming!! Wasnt too impressed with the garlic bread but the mains were fantastic! The overall food rating would be much higher if I wasnt taking the garlic bread into account. A good mix of pasta, pizza and steaks around the table and everyone was really impressed with their food, both quality and quality! Too full for desserts we kept on drinking which meant a couple of trips to the bathrooms....... the low light of our visit. The bathrooms in a terrible state :( Totally gross!!!.
We'll certainly be back for the food but maybe we'll leave the bathroom stops until we get home!
We come here quite a bit because we know that you get really good food, the prices are reasonable and there is always plenty to chose from with Cafe Valentino's extensive menu. We drank plenty of chianti while enjoying the Veal Parmiagiano and the seafood marinara. The veal was extremely tasty served on a potato gratin and lovely fresh spinach which was perfectly cooked. The seafood marinara was full of seafood - plenty of squid, prawns and baby octopus - very tasty. There are still plenty of other things we would like to try so definitely will be back.
I went there with about 20 girls from work and we had a "late lunch" they opened up their dinner menu for us as well and we preordered to make life easier.
I had the Canterbury Lamb it was the most divine meal - I wanted to order it again and have another serving it was that good.
Great value for money, good atmosphere and its BYO !!
Totally recommend this place to everyone !
There are occasions when we each want to exclaim with exultations from the rooftops our joy and rampant eudemonia at having made the 'right' decision regarding a matter of importance in our lives. So it seemed for me today as I had a most pleasurable encounter with that north Colombo Street centrepiece, Cafe Valentino.
Many restaurants are, in fact, closed on 30th December but we nonetheless ventured into the central city in the hope that something would catch our eye and cause the contents of my wallet to spill forth in return for solid and liquid lunchtime refreshments worthy of consumption.
The delightful outdoor seating and lush green hedging at the front of Cafe Valentino, coupled with my past knowledge of the better than average fare on offer here, caused me to bring the 2 tonne monster to a grinding halt (don't worry, I'm not talking about the wife! Actually, I haven't got one at this point).
The shade provided by the awnings, the interesting extension of the tables and seating out into what would have been previously the parking spaces of several cars, the very good wine list (including Wine Vault with an amazing array of fine ones - including Grange Hermitages from 1994 to 2002)and the great lunchtime menu reinforced and, indeed, accentuated my expectations for the food.
I was not to be disappointed as the Aged Rakaia Ribeye Steak I ordered was sublime and came on a bed of potato gratin with roast field mushrooms, salsa verde and cabinet sauvignon jus. Cooked just as I had asked and served with a smile by the lovely waitress who, on this occasion, seemed to be attending to all the tables on her own.
From my vantage point I was able to look south along Colombo Street to that quintessential Christchurch view of the Cathedral spire, in Cathedral Square. It was a special moment for me, having just returned from looking at temples, museums, churches, people and places in the East. Christchurch today was radiant and rather people free - I think everyone is either up in the Sounds, in Golden Bay, Queenstown or Wanaka. I felt I had my city to myself. A truly wonderful feeling indeed and my thanks to Valentino's for such a perfect welcome home.
Cafe Valentino's has created a very nice space in a charming part of Colombo St, away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre. Good food, great wine and an enduring ambience is undoubtedly a recipe for ongoing success and good favour in the eyes of the eating public.
This was a nice entree to the Stevie Wonder concert with friends from America that are widely travelled and fine diners.
The importance of good service shines through here. I have seen this waitress working here for some time and she is a delight to work with.
The food is consistance and the bar is clean and friendly. These guys have been in the business for awhile. You can tell. They just keep getting it right.;-)
I usually dine at Cafe Valentino every time I am working in Christchurch, either individually or with a group of colleagues. The food is always exceptional and the menu extensive. The restaurant is always busy, even on weeknights, but the staff will try to find a space for you, even at short notice. One of the best!
group of 10 out to farewell a workmate booked a table and requested upstairs by the window which we got, with all the glasses menus and cutlery on the table it was a little crowded, the staff kindly put our wine in in the chiller and at our request hid the farewell gift, our waitress was very good and did well to cope with our large loud group, we started with Brushetta with four pestos yum very tasty the bread was toasted to perfection, calamari and scallops also made an appearance and were judged to be very good, for mains, husband had the San Marco pizza Manuka smoked speck bacon, garlic cloves, sliced vine ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, black olives, bocconcini cheese and a touch of chilli, topped with mozzarella and I had the Penne al' arrabbiata So called 'angry pasta' because of it's heat. Penne pasta tossed with pancetta, chilli, garlic and fresh basil in a tomato and herb naptoletana sauce both of these dishes were very very good the smoked flavour of the speck came through very well without being overpowering. The pasta, had a lovely heat that left a pleasant tingle on the lips, other dishes were the Rigatoni zucca arrostita e pollo affumicato Fresh hollow tube pasta. Tossed with roast pumpkin, smoked chicken, spinach and roast garlic cream sauce. Topped with sun-dried tomato pesto the recipient of this dish thought there was too much pumpkin which over powered the other flavours, the Pesto Linguini was judged to be bland but given that the diner eats pesto straight by the spoonful perhaps it was more a case of the taste buds being unaccustomed to the subtleties of a light basil cream sauce, the fish of the day was given rave reviews by a seafood nut, overall we had a very good evening the atmosphere certainly isn't conducive to a romantic evening but for group it is great especially since it is still BYO will definitely be back for more pizza
I return to Cafe Valentino time and time again for its atmosphere, fantastic food and drink, and the excellent service I receive. The food is well priced and always tasty. On one occasion, I was upstairs, three waitresses looking after not only the general tables, but three huge function tables. The waitresses still made sure to look after us, not ignoring us as I have found in other places. You have got to try it!
Having only a short time to grab a bite to eat last week, I figured a pasta would be the way to go. It was fairly early, just before 5:30 when I arrrived, and I was seated immediately without a booking. A good selection of menu items, but I spied the Fettucine Apollo and knew I couldn't resist. Also ordered the bruschetta with four pestos which came out in good time, although it was a lot of bread for just one, knowing I had the pasta to come. Enjoyed a glass of very nice, and very affordable sangiovese. The pasta was very good, good sauce to pasta ratio, which was aided by the leftover bruschetta. Finished with a macchiato. All up, around $40. Will be back to try something different when I have a chance.
CHEAP AS CHIPS - well that cause its what we always get !
Dissapointed that when we upgraded to a large we got the same size as a regular !
But all is well, we love the Garlic Aioli dip to go with them.
I must admit it is rather cheap to get the chips to go!
Welcome back Cafe Val! Belated review, well 2 weeks old, but here goes. Was pleasantly surprised, food was damm good, was way impressed with their salt and pepper squid, tender, flavoursome and plenty of it. Carbonara for main was excellent, pasta al dente, very filling, so much so that we had to ask for a doggy bag. Really nice and friendly service, we weren't rushed as we were in nice and early on a Sunday evening. Definately worth a return visit.
I used to eat at this place often a few years back and always enjoyed it, which is why I was so disappointed with our experience yesterday. I dined at Cafe Valentino's with a group of four. We found the food we ordered to take a long time to arrive, and when it did, it was very poor - the pasta was extremely bland, there was hardly any chicken in the rigatoni chicken pasta, (and hardly any other flavour for that matter), the seafood pasta didn't have enough sauce with it, and in general, we all had to add tonnes of pepper and salt to be able to even eat the tasteless meals. Very disappointed. Restaurant was very noisy, and we were sitting in a flow of cold air that led two of us to eat with our coats on.
We ordered desserts with the hope they would redeem the food, but again, the desserts were under-flavoured, boring and bland, not to mention very overpriced for what they were. Service was slow, plates were banged onto the table and snatched up again with hardly a word (with my friend forced to lean backwards to avoid being hit in the nose when the waiter grabbed the plate from in front of her!). Drinks service was bad also, with our glasses sitting empty for long stretches of time. Essentially we were ignored, and the meals weren't of a standard to make that acceptable at all.
This restaurant is always busy, and has a good reputation, but they need to address the quality of what they are providing. If their staff can't cope then they need more people on the floor. As for the meals, well, are good chefs that hard to find? It's sad, but there's a lot of restaurants in Christchurch, and I won't be hurrying back to this one anytime soon.
This was my 4th visit to Cafe Valentino. I can't remember the lighting being so low on my previous visits and we amused ourselves watching the other customers trying to get the light from the one candle on each table to fall on the large menu enough so it could be read. My friend wanted fish but didn't like the sound of the cajun seasoning so the waitress was happy enough to suggest an alternative seasoning they could do which turned out well. I enjoyed the anti-pasto platter, but I ordered a salad for a main which I found quite uninspiring and bland. Meals were l;arge so we did not get to sample dessert.
If you want to dine and talk, this is definitely not the place to go. It is always super packed, and the sound proofing non-existent. Whilst the restaurant looks very pretty, it is a nuisance not being able to talk over the dinner table. The food is always plentiful, but not as tasty as it looks. The menu, however, is varied, and there's something there for everyone. If you end up by one of the tables for two by the front door, it is very distracting and draughty!
I came here on a Friday night with 20 ish others. I thought I was being clever and sat next to the fire. i can assure you. it's very hot right next to the fire and it became a game of 'steal someone elses seat when they go to the toilet'. But i digress. Entree of pull apart bread very nice, just bread, butter, olive oil and balsamic. Man I had the blackball cabonara, once again, very nice. Felt too full to have dessert- although they all looked lovely. Everyone seemed happy with their meals. Service was good, friendly, and we all had a good night. The only complaint was that I roasted next to the fire but the rest of the place seemed cold.
Nice place to sit and relax and have a Vino on a nice sunny afternoon, also has a very nice seating, excellent bruschetta foccocia with fours pestos. Thought the mains were good. Service was okay, serving time is temperamental and consistency of food is fine. Would go back there again and would recommend to others.
I have dined here numerous times and always come away impressed. A huge menu and no matter what is selected it is good. The pasta section is great. Have found the staff to be professional although at times overwhelmed. Its cafe style so has noise and bustle but always dependable.
This was my first time eating here; went with a group- first of all had not written down our booking so we had to wait while they found a table for us. My partner and I had a beautiful meal that we both throughly enjoyed. Unfortunatley, one of the others meal was horrible! Overcooked and bland (was surprising seeing as this was a pasta dish and they call themselves italian)- when the waitress was notified of the meal she was really quite rude and aggressive- not handled well at all.
Overall we had a good dining experience- didnt think much of the service though. Nice atmosphere.
Went to Valentinos twice in quick succession recently, having never been before, and it lived up to it's high standing in Christchurch. The food is very nice and well priced, plus it's substantial. OK wine list (this category could be added to DineOut in my opinion) but could do better. Will be going back.
Dined here last night with my husband. We had the bread & pestos to start, followed by a pasta dish each, and then the most divine dessert (the chocolate brownie).They have a pretty extensive menu, making it hard to decide what to have!
I don't normally order Pasta when I dine out, so don't have much to compare to (apart from the pasta I make at home), however thought both of our dishes were a little gluggy and in need of some more flavour? But ok all the same.
They seems to cram the tables together a bit (so you can clearly hear other tables' coversations!) and when busy (as it was last night) can get pretty noisey.
Really good and attentive (but not over the top) service.
We decided to dine at Cafe Valentio for lunch because of the outdoor seating. Upon sitting down we asked the waitress if she could put up the umbrella to give us some shade, apparently in doing this she forgot to tie the umbrella down. Just as we were sitting back to enjoy a pre lunch glass of wine the wind caught the umbrella and it went flying up into the air and then crashing down...taking our table with it. It was very lucky that no one was injured and that the only casualties were my handbag (which ended up full of wine and shards of glass)and two glasses of wine.
The waitress was apologetic and we decided to dine inside instead. We were very disappointed however when after average food we went to pay the bill. The waitress apologised and said that she hoped it wouldn't put us off dining there again...before proceeding to charge us full price for everything!!! Surely two complementary glasses of would have been a small price to pay for her mistake in not tying down the umbrella and consequently ruining our lunch. Needless to say we will definately not be dining there again! We may however have reconsidered this had Cafe Valentino been somewhat more generous with our bill!
The great thing about this restraunt is that the food is to die for. I dreamed about it for days after first going there. On the rare occasion the food is average, but mostly it is excellent. They do seem to have far too many menus and can take a while to bring your food, but it's worth the wait.
well, we have been here three times now. the first time we had a great dinner both of us loved our dishes we had a great time, we couldnt wait to go back!! Second time we went we were seated in a strange table facing the stairs where people are contantly walking up and down (very distracting) and our meals were awefull, the breads and dips were soaked in oil which was pretty gross. I had the seafood chowder straight from the frezzer gluggy and barly warmed up. very disapointed. we did go one more time and had very nice meals the only complaint being all those fricken menus!!! all together we have found it nice, it seems to be a little hit and miss but still a great dinner out if you go on a good night.
A group of us had a meal on a busy Friday night.It is an establishment that's normally busy so clearly there's a strong established clientele.
We've been before and our consistent rating is that it's good enough and cheery enough to visit in a group situation,but not a fine dining experience.
Our party had a variety of mains but unfortunately the kitchen cooked the wrong fish dish for two of us.
To her credit the waitress picked this up immediately , so while the rest of our party ate up ,she provided two complimentary drinks while we waited.
Overall the meals rated as OK - chunky vegetables slightly underdone and overall a bit bland.
A Friday night is not the night to use the loo's !
Large menu, with lots to choose from. Pizza's were good, a little thin on the toping though. Tryed some of a friends pork dish which was really nice, rich sauce but very good. Staff were pleasant, quick and helpful. A good atmosphere. obiously a popular restaurant.
Wow, where to start? Our Cafe Valentino experience started great! Our group of 8 started with a few drinks at the bar, were seated pretty quickly and were served our starter/entree pretty quick (Garlic and Chili Bread and Focaccia Bruschetta - Taste = great). Unfortunately, it was all down hill from here on. One hour after first ordering, our mains had still not arrived. When we enquired as to the cause of the delay we were quite rudely told that the kitchen was very busy and that were would be served our mains shortly. Half an hour later and we were still unfed although groups that arrived later than us were already tucking in. When the food finally arrived it was dumped on the table by the surly waitress and there most of it remained as it was largely inedible. Awful stodgy pasta soaked in watery sauce combined with the most miniscule amounts of chicken or lamb. We left in disgust, being offered no plausible explanation or a simple apology. You couldn't pay me to go back to Cafe Valentinos!!! Oh yes, I forgot to mention, the wait staff were very efficient at trying to run up the drinks bill while we waited for hours.
Food was good, but was put off by overly aggressive and confident waiter who kept asking where I was from, and when we informed the closest wait staff about how long we had been waiting to be served, the same waiter returned and asked in a defensive tone "are you upset"? Never before have I been put on the spot while out having dinner. It is one thing to start a conversation with customers, but to keep insisting to know my country of origin, and to take personally my group's complaint of the length of time we were made to wait - it was just unacceptable and very unprofessional. This restaurant used to be a favourite, so that is a real shame.
A group of us went there to celebrate a friends graduation.I had read a great review in a magazine recently and had some expectations but I was hugely surprised. Separate bar, so we had a drink before we sat, just great and full of atmosphere!When we went through into the restaurant the place was pumping.We had a child in our group and she chose off the kids menu which was great with games on it, the food was not just the usual kids stuff.
The members of our group all had a range of different entrees and all raved with special mention going to the pizza which was just delicious!Our mains were a mixture of meats and pastas and it was great that some of the pastas came with the option of a cream or tomato sauce for the weight watchers. The pork was deserving of special mention. Only a couple of our group could manage desserts but both looked just delicious especially the brulee. Service all night was great and management should be complimented on having a staff member who just does drinks unlike many places who have the waitress doing everything resulting in long waits for drinks.
We loved the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin music and the great atmosphere.Whilst waiting for our cab we made a booking for next week, that says it all!
This was my first visit to Valentinos in more than 5 months, and we were really looking forward to it as it's been somewhere we've visited regularly over the years. We were seated at quite a good table (yes, there are a couple of shockers especially for couples) but unfortunately I found that my favourite entree had been removed from the menu! A little gutted, but moved on... only to have our cocktails take over 35 minutes to arrive (from when we ordered them). The staff (who were pretty good) were very apologetic, however we weren't too impressed. But what really topped it off was our meals - I've never really had a truly bad meal at Valentinos before, but unfortunately this one had steak that was overdone on the outside and raw in the middle (mine), cold and tasteless potato gratin (mine and his), soggy pasta (friend's) - it just wasn't good. The only reason I've given it a 4 (OK) was because the breads we had before the mains were fine. I did complain when paying the bill and the maitre'd was very apologetic, however given our dissatisfaction another gesture would have been appropriate - I'm not pumping for free stuff, just saying that it would now be the only thing that would get me back in the door. Such a shame!
My partner and I went there on a busy Friday evening just recently - just as well I had the forethought to ring and book - The place is just as busy, the food just as good, and the service just as spot-on as it was when I last dined there over 4 years ago.
I had the Char-grilled Calves Liver and Lisa had the Pork Fillet, both mains were superbly presented and delicious.
The strawberry creme brulee was slightly too runny but otherwise near excellent, oh maybe you could peel the kiwifruit you use for garnish eh, just an idea.
it certainly will NOT be another 4 years before i go back.
Went there last night with 5 other friends. We booked and were seated next to the bar, which was a bit of a shame because it made it especially noisy and it was hard to hear each other at times. Service was pretty reliable, and the wait for food was good considering it was very busy. We ordered garlic and chilli bread for the table, and it was delicious! I ordered canneloni for main, which came out looking more like lasanga, but was nice all the same. It did have a lot of sauce on top however, it didn't matter too much because it was mild in flavour. Others enjoyed their mains. Two ordered pasta and the other 3 ordered fish or meat dishes. I shared the chocolate cake with my boyfriend. It was presented very well, and complimented nicely with berries, mascaphone etc. Overall, no complaints- we had prompt service and delicious food.
My boyfriend and I visited cafe valentino last night for dinner. We had read the reviews on this page so decided to try the antipasto for 2 as recommended. It was excellent! only $19.50 and heaps of little things to pick it as well as yummy warm bread and a few of those delicious manuka smoked tomatoes. The platter was definately the best bit about our meal! I also had a waipara (can't remember name) pinot noir with my meal and it was a really lovely wine that went really well with the food. Our mains were not so good, which is what resulted in the 7, mine was basically just slightly overcooked pasta with some cream and pesto and my boyfriends, although the lamb fillet in it was wonderful, everything in the entire dish tasted smoked and it was rather sickly. We were also seated right in what seemed to be a walkway with our chairs sticking out into it and also about 2 metres from the entrance, even though we had booked a table in advance. Altogether it was a nice experience because we really enjoyed the platter and would definately go back for that and a nice red, but possible not mains again and would be more specific about seating.
Had the garlic and chilli bread for entree which was lovely. Had lamb pasta for main which was absolutely divine, although there wasn't much lamb in it. It tasted amazing though. The desserts were generous in size and fantastically presented. The service was pretty average, was asked about 5 times if we'd like more drinks despite the fact that we all had wine in our glasses. Waitress wasn't very friendly and didn't have very good knowledge of the menu. Food was prompt coming out and overall a great dining experience
Pretty crowded and noisy so not good for a romantic meal but great for friends. I was impressed how quickly we were served after mentioning we had a show to attend later, even though they were very busy. Great pasta, will be back again to try something else.
This is my absolute favourite restaurant..even though we've only been there once. Their antipasto was incredible...I've got four words for you...manuka-smoked cherry tomatoes.Pasta was devine, great wine list, service very personable and friendly. Lovely atmosphere too...loved the autographed show posters on the walls. Would go again...and again...and again!
Like the other reviewers have pointed out, it's very good food, desserts etc.
Nice pasta. The sauce was a tad too rich, but I am nit-picking.
It's certainly a bit crowded and cramped. I noticed that there no couples in there. 90 % were groups of some sort and few were tourists.
I would certainly go back and recommend it to others who want good pasta.
Seated upstairs on a cold night next to the windows that could not be closed due to steam or fogging windows or something like that so it was a somewhat chilly experience. Food is good. Pastas are well prepared and tasty. Would recommend as a meeting point for groups up to 10 people.
Went here for dinner one Friday night, and was seated upstairs. What a pleasant setting... good for conversation to flow and the service was non intrusive and very friendly. Quite a dark restaurant, but it gives off a warm ambience. The food was great, my partner's pasta tasted DIVINE and was really well priced too! My lamb shanks were good too. And beautiful chilli and garlic bread. Overall, a lovely dining experience.
Excellent, the only word to describe this place!
If there is a restaraunt that has it all this is it.
The food is always exceptional and the atmosphere is great.
Can be noisy if sitting in the bar but its chatter noise and
still acceptable. The service is beyond compare which shows a good
staff morale. Always go back and will always enjoy it.
We weren't originally going to come here for dinner but we heard good things about it and decided to try it out. We got our garlic bread entree fast but our two mains took forever (over an hour) and it wasn't even all that busy. The rare steak was well worth the wait though. One of the best steaks I've ever had. My partner's main wasn't quite as good. He ordered the chicken dish and there was hardly any chicken on it. Mainly veges. LOTS of onion. The atmosphere was great. Very romantic and felt like I was in Europe. The music was nice, as well. I didn't like going outside to get to the toilet, but anyway, great night.
Very busy and buzzy! Arrived without a booking which was probably a mistake but a short wait in a bar with an open fire! was not a concern.
Truely an awesome range of pasta dishes. Great atmosphere and friendly staff completed our night out...
In hindsight we could have done without the chocolate cake but we didn't want to leave.
Our only complaint was the cold draught coming in every time someone opened the door but after drawing this to the attention of the staff we were shifted to a better table. We'll be back!
Yum. Vegetarian dishes very nice and they were happy to adjust any of their meals that could be accordingly. Service was good. Lucky to get a table walking in off the street as always very busy from what I've heard. Service was good - unobtrusive and attentive. The only small thing that we could find wrong was they claimed one of their wines was rated 5 stars by Michael Cooper which was inaccurate, otherwise the wine list was great too. It's a great place to go - but make sure you book first.