Ombra is probably one of Wellington’s most loved and dearest restaurants. Poised elegantly on the corner of Vivian Street and Cuba Street, Ombra is a bustling hive of activity, with a turnover that seems to balance high-turnover with classy dining exceptionally well. The menu is Italian tapa style, small bites and sharing plates. We couldn’t make a booking, so we arrived and sat at the bar until a table freed up. The bar staff were extremely attentive and talked us through a few different wines based on our tastes and preference.
Once a table cleared up we started working through and planning our food. We had been advised that 2 – 3 dishes per person would be ideal. We were hungry, so typically we went for three and a half each. We ordered some honey and mascarpone bruschetta, prosciutto, lemon and rocket pizza, arancini, fried pizza, lamb meatballs, gnocchi and a raddichio based salad. We took into account the waitress’ recommendations, and amended our initial order slightly.
The bruschetta and arancini were each one serving so we cut both in half. I thought the arancini was exceptionally good, but Andy did think there could have been more cheese going on. The pizza was exceptional and the meatballs were very tasty. I have to say the fried pizza was highly disappointing – maybe I should have expected it but I found it way too oily and gross (and I’m certainly not opposed to a bit of grease every now and then). The gnocchi and salad were both pretty good, but by then we were actually so full that we needed to take some of it home with us.
The real sell of Ombra for us on this particular night was the ambience. The place just felt so alive, and the interior design is unique to most other restaurants in Wellington. It’s a good spot for almost any occasion, although the dollar signs do tend to add up by the end.
Ombra: 199 Cuba Street