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Nicolini’s Italian Cafe Bar & Bistro

3_half star rating
47 reviews

Cuisine: Bistro, Italian, Seafood

26 Courtenay Place
Wellington Central
Wellington City
04-802 4442
 

Hours:

  • Tues – Sun 5:30pm – 11pm
  • Payment Types: EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Diners
  • Price Range: Moderate, $15 - $25
  • Takeaways: Yes
  • Takes Reservations: Yes
  • Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarian, Gluten-free
  • Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
  • Outdoor Seating: Yes
  • Meals: Dinner

Nicolini’s is a locally owned restaurant, based on honest food at very honest prices, with the best ingredients, flavour and atmosphere in town. A wide variety of pasta is available, and main meals include fish, pork, white veal, beef fillet, sirloins, seafood and daily specials. The wine list is extensive, offering approximately 200 from around New Zealand, Australia and Italy. Takeaways available. Meals can be catered for diabetics, vegetarians, vegans and celiac.

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47 Reviews for Nicolini’s Italian Cafe Bar & Bistro

2nd July 2014
5 star rating
As always Nicolinis lived up to expectation. I would advise any creamy pasta lover to order the ravioli. It has to be one of my favourite meals in all of Wellington. The staff were polite and the room had a lovely setting. We also had the bruschetta and garlic mushrooms which were delicious. The mushrooms were pretty pricey for what they were but every mouthful made it worth it!

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Lucy B.

28

2nd July 2014
3 star rating
Went here on Saturday night whilst visiting Wellington. The service here is very good and the food is about average. I had the Puttanesca which was a bit too oily and didn’t have enough flavor. It needed more garlic, lots more garlic! Some fresh basil could have been nice. The garlic bread was very good as was the house wine. I will go back to Nicolini’s as it is an old favorite and the courtyard turned extra dinning room has a great atmosphere and decor. The food just needs improvement.

Visited June 2014

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James

4

24th June 2014
5 star rating
Boys Boys Boys, you never cease to impress me. The family run restaurant of Wellington. Every time I venture here I am made fuss of which is amazing. Classic Italian food cooked with a New Zealand twist. When you find a gem like this is the heart of Courtney Place you find yourself going back more and more which we do. Never change anything gentlemen. Purely amazing.

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23rd April 2014
2 star rating
Very unhappy with our meals. My wife’s seafood and spaghetti was very poor. Beards left on the mussels undersize scallop, they were tiny and a scrimp that needed to be spat out!
The spaghetti was packet variety with a tomato sauce that was overpoweringly tomato with no other subtle flavours expected….

My steak was drizzled in a mass of olive oil, literally floating in oil on the plate!!! A miniature ‘cup’ contained one slice of potato three small carrot pieces and 2 tiny broccoli heads…it all fitted in the cup!

Clearly unhappy with the poor quality food.

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Nancy

6

11th October 2013
5 star rating
Nicolini’s is by far my favourite restaurant in Wellington, every time I go I leave feeling completely satisfied.

The food is always consistently good, reasonably priced and the staff are always welcoming. Staff have a good knowledge of menu and wines, and what works well together. The desserts are superb, especially the Tiramisu and Cheesecake. The wait times for food aren’t bad, even when the restaurant is full.
And thats why I keep coming back!

Visited August 2013

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28th August 2013
5 star rating
My absolute favourite restaurant!! Could easily eat here every night! Was recommended to us by a friend and have since raved about the place to everyone. Pastas were absolutely Devine and could not have been more perfect! Love Italian food and often go to Italian restaurants but this has been by far the best I have been to. The service was great and the place is small and cosy and has a real authentic cute vibe about it! Definitely a must try!!

Visited February 2013

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11th July 2013
5 star rating
We turned up on a busy night without a booking, the lovely girl we spoke to squeezed us in so long as we were finished before the next booking, not a problem for us as we had to be somewhere else quickly anyway. The staff were attentive, friendly, knowledgeable and when I could not choose gave excellent further information for dishes on the menu. We were seated in the second dining room, which is gorgeous. The food arrived quickly, the portions were large and it tasted fantastic. Even though we were squeezed in we were not made to feel rushed and throughly enjoyed our meal and dining experience. Nicolini’s is now firmly on our favourites list and we will be back whenever we are in Wellington.

Visited June 2013

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sue

1

30th June 2013
5 star rating
Fantastic night out, the food was superb the staff great and atmosphere amazing. Our table loved it. The best Italian in NZ. Gutsy meals to die for,everyone at our table loved their choice of menu and we will all go back

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25th June 2013
5 star rating
I love this place and try and eat here every time I come to Wellington. It’s got that cosy familial vibe. All the staff out front know what they’re doing and you suspect the Chef is called Luigi. Generous portions and strong simple flavours that are all about Italy.

Visited May 2013

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20th May 2013
4 star rating
BeautifuI dinner, friendly and attentive staff. Will definately recommend to friends and family.

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Sarcha

6

18th August 2012
5 star rating
My hubby and I love this place, we think it is the best Italian in Wellington!!

The food and service is always excellent. The special’s board always has exciting and great meals! Recommend to all :-)

Visited June 2012

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16th August 2012
4 star rating
We went to Nicolini’s last week. It was awesome! The food was good, the service was outstanding. We had a really lovely time. Definitely go again.

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16th July 2012
5 star rating
We (a table of 4) went to Nicolini’s on Saturday night – it was a cold & wet night out but a warm and welcoming evening indoors. Dis-agree with the comments on poor service as we had great service from all the staff. The food was fantastic – I had the Lamb Fagotini and loved it, Lynda had the salmon risotto and raved about it. The restaurant is compact and a bit noisey but this just added to the great italian experience. We will be back.

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pip

1

7th July 2012
3 star rating
I used to love going to Nicolini’s when the old man and his wife were running the show! Although the food is still fantastic, the staff are subjected to rather abusive behavour by the owner and chef!! This in turn makes the dining atmosphere a turn off.

Visited November 2011

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Nicole

6

23rd June 2012
4 star rating
Contrary to reviews, we really enjoyed the service. Cosy and atmospheric on a cold Wellington night. Really delicious specials of the day (we’ve ordered the Lamb Fagottini) and the salad was a stand out side order. Would recommend being seated out the front opposed to the back room. Well priced too

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Nyl C.

8

21st April 2012
3 star rating
The highlight of the restaurant was the food – I had gnocchi which came in a portion that was much smaller than the other types of pasta, but was good. The garlic bread was excellent – filled with butter and garlic which is very indulgent! My friend had the penne (can’t remember the exact dish), but she liked it a lot. Another had the calamari which lacked taste and seasoning.

The worse part of the experience was the service. The waitress got our orders mixed up and after carrying my dish to two other tables and back to the kitchen, it was cold when it arrived on my table.

The place is not very big, and the waitresses keep on bumping into my chair, without any apologies.

Regardless, I would come back again ordering a bigger portion pasta dish with the yummy garlic bread and cross my fingers for better service.

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Sarah

25

19th April 2012
5 star rating
We came into Nicolini’s to escape the cold of night. It looked full at first, but when asking if a table was available we were shown into the back room. There was a heat pump going, and several tables of diners, so was a good atmosphere.

We were attended to quickly by a friendly waitress who gave an excellent recital of the day’s specials, which genuinely made us want to have each and every dish. Our food arrived promptly and was delicious. Each waitress that served us was friendly and smiling.

We’ll definitely be back. I was surprised to read the reviews on MenuMania following our visit, but the negative feedback seems to be centred around the manager (whom we didn’t encounter). The food is fantastic, and the service we received couldn’t be faulted.

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16th April 2012
1 star rating
Do not recommend, the customer service is disgusting and we’ve never been treated so badly in a restaurant before and we’ve eaten all around the world. Manager rude/abusive and arrogant. meals OK but should realise without customers you have NO business and word of mouth is the best advertising you can get. should have read other reviews before entering this circus. Manager needs a major attitude transplant or get out if he can’t handle the hospitality industry.

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Sola

2

29th February 2012
1 star rating
What a waste of time!
The food was only OK but with manager/owner yelling at his staff (customers must have had the night off), rude and impatient staff – although it’s got to be hard smiling just after being abused (the tone tells it all!), it just didn’t go down as well :(
At least the old git at Piccolo waits till you question the bill before he goes crazy spouting out Italian at 100miles per hr!
Won’t be going back – I pay for the food and the experience.

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6th January 2012
5 star rating
Had a wonderful meal with great service. Waited at the bar for a table because they were busy and got an apology for the wait which was only a few minutes and I didn’t even have time to finish my first drink.

We had wonderful tomato basil and garlic on our bread. With the calamari entree we had decided to share it because we wanted to leave room for the desert. It was so delicious we asked for a second entree. The waitress was great and it arrived in super quick time.

Our mains were great and the dessert divine. Service was fantastic in the new part out the back and the price was very reasonable. One of the family owners circulated and spoke with the diners to ensure every thing was fine. Good touch in our opinion.

Bang for your buck won’t be beaten.

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28th December 2011
3 star rating
Not too bad, although Zico is better in terms of food and service

Sometimes you wait for ages to get served here

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Ian S.

7

23rd November 2011
3 star rating
With previous mixed reviews I wasn’t sure what to expect. Its a small restaurant and on a busy night we were ushered through to the ‘back’ section – a recent addition that appeared to have been built on in largely plywood type materials. Despite being the only group in there, the waitress offered to shut the door to close the area off for us – given it was empty, music free and had no real atmosphere, that was the last thing we needed.
Menus and drinks list came on very worn pieces of paper, and covered a basic list, but no more.
Food was adequate and arrived promptly, and was delivered by another waitress who managed to serves us while remaining ‘detached’ throughout.
Not expensive, and ok for a quick meal but not much more.

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24th August 2011
4 star rating
Service is usually pretty average but the food more than makes up for it. the crumbed mushrooms are fantastic!

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Aimee

1

23rd May 2011
5 star rating
The food was delicious, the service was excellent and very friendly. I recommend the garlic mushrooms and profiteroles!!! We will definitely be going back soon and would not hesitate referring people there. The price also very affordable.

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30th April 2011
2 star rating
We were a group of 6 who went to Nicolinis on a Wednesday night and I had previously booked so they knew the size of the group and that we weren’t arriving until 7.30pm. Food was great but the service was lacking. We were looking forward to a relaxing night out as all our babies were less than 7 months old but instead the staff were quite pushy with getting us to order. They were so anxious to get rid of us, at bout 8.45pm, that we had to ask for dessert menus, then ask them to take our order then ask for the bill. We were basically ignored from from 8.30 once we had our mains as they wanted to get rid of us. We ordered entrees, mains, desserts and a couple of drinks each so we were spending a decent amount. Not sure if I would go again as although the food was good the service should have been a lot better.

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9th April 2011
3 star rating
Started out great with good service. Fried Aubergine and Picked the Veal which ended up very peppery and tough. Server asked me if i was happy with it. When I said no, they asked if they could get me something else. I said the Cannelloni which i was looking at before. Soon to find out that I was charged for both! I should be told if I was unsatisfied with a meal I would be charged for the second. Shame on them! They would not take off the charge. Never again! I have never received such service.

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28th March 2011
5 star rating
love love love Nicolini’s!
I went here on Friday night and ordered one of the specials, and it was fantastic!!
Every time I come here the service is excellent and the food is even better!!
Recommend to all!!

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14th February 2011
3 star rating
I`ll have to say my dining exprience at nicolinis was above expections and i was very impressed with the service and i would not hesiate to dine there again

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Alex

1

10th February 2011
5 star rating
Nicolini’s is just great. The food is amazing, and it is amazingly priced. Very warm atmosphere with polite, friendly and efficient staff. Would gladly recommend to anyone. We have been a few times and we have never once had a bad experience.

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6th February 2011
5 star rating
My partner and I recently dined here. Warm atmosphere, friendly, lots of laughter and chatter – the place was packed which added to the cosy ambience. Our meals were superb – undoubtedly the best salmon risotto I have ever had. Very authentic, & friendly attentive wait staff. Highly recommended, and will go again for sure – soon!

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Mattie

1

3rd February 2011
4 star rating
Amazing Italian food. Love the menu too- very Italian. The staff rush you a bit but are really nice and informative. You may not get the best table, or the best service, but the food really does make up for it.

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2nd December 2010
4 star rating
For an introduction to this quaint authentic Italian cafe and bar, walk past and smell the aroma. As a first time customer recommended by a student at Victoria University, I was satisfied with my experience. The staff were attentive and friendly. The service quick and the size of the meal possibly created a slight reluctance in my mind as to whether I could finish it. The setting is candle-lit and cosy with original artwork of Italy. I have read the negative reviews and strongly disagree. Enjoy life a little. A reasonably priced cafe.

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8th August 2010
1 star rating
Booked for dinner after show. Booking accepted. On arrival told half the menu was off and we had 2 minutes to choose our foor or we could leave.
We stayed as we had booked. Going to pay no thanks no was the meal ok questions or anything.
And the owner was abusive. Never ever again and today we lunched with friends who had the same sort of experience happen to them recently.
Shame in my ways than one!!!

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28th July 2010
1 star rating
I had dinner with 3 friends last night. None of us really impressed with the food and service. I ordered medium rare steak. After waiting for a while – a waitress brought the steak on a plate which was full of fresh blood. I felt so disgusted by the blood. I cut the meat and it doesn’t seem that saw so replate the steak after talking to 3 waiters there.

After finishing off the meal, one waiter came over and collected my plate. He saw that a mushroom fall on the table and became very obsessed with it. He kept telling me ‘Don’t put mushroom on the table’ – C’mon, just a tiny half piece of mushroom fell off, no big deal with it. My friend told him twice that It’s my birthday today and he replied ‘birthday or not birthday, you still don’t put mushroom on the table’.

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Sarcha

6

14th May 2010
5 star rating
Such good pasta, very cute set up!!
So romantic!!
Food is the best Italian dish I have had in Wellington, service is very fast.
If you like pasta and want good food, come here.
Nicolinis is my favourite restaurant in Wellington, actually favourite restaurant ever!

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19th April 2010
4 star rating
After reading pretty much all negative reviews on here I went in to Nicolini’s thinking something bad would happen, after we had our dinner I was surprised we actually had a really good night and will now never judge a restaurant based on a few negative reviews!

We had a birthday party with about 14+ guests and were seated out in the back. As we were waiting for guests to arrive our host suggested that we move our party inside as there was now enough room to fit us all, we were happy to move inside because it was warmer and had more light.

We were given a set menu where we could choose two options (either an Entrée or Main, or Main and Dessert) Once everyone had arrived they went straight to taking our orders and our dishes came out promptly.

Our host was friendly, talkative and thoroughly looked like he enjoyed himself and he got along with our Birthday boys.

Everything went on smoothly, the entrees were yum and the mains were huge (I got the Lamb Shanks) in fact it was so big I had to take the rest away in a container and the dessert was delicious.

All in all we all had an amazing night, our host was awesome, the meals came out fast and the food was fantastic!

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30th March 2010
1 star rating
I ate here once for my friend’s birthday dinner. We were a big group of about 10 people and I arrived the latest after finishing work.

When I was looking through the menu, the waiter rudely told me to hurry and order my food. I decided to order an entree as I wasn’t hungry but I didn’t want to just take up a seat without ordering anything. I would understand if they were unhappy to do this if there were only a few of us but it was a big group and everyone else ordered mains. The waiter then grabbed the menu away from my hand and didn’t come back until about 5 minutes later.

When she came back to our table she told me that the Maitre’d wanted me to know that they are not a coffee shop and the next time I’m there I’d need to order a main. She added that I was not allowed to order any alcohol either.

Well, there will never be a next time. Thanks to the terrible customer service. I will be more than happy to pay the same price or more at another Italian restaurant in town.

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Sian

13

28th February 2010
4 star rating
the food is fantastic, but the venue is a let down

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Eva W.

1

23rd February 2010
3 star rating
My sister who lives in Wgtn introduced me to this restaurant a few years ago and I have been there 3 times – I love it. It’s always crowded and noisy but just adds to the atmosphere – I kind of expect it when I go there. The food, especially the salmon risotto, is wonderful. I wish I had the recipe………. Would highly recommend it to anyone looking for good Italian food in a convivial atmosphere.

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Lance

3

20th February 2010
4 star rating
I love Nicolinis

Its what you expect when you go to a reasonably priced resturant which is crammed full every night.

The Food is excellent, the service is ok, and they take care of the kids and dont look down there nose at you when you ask to eat before opening ( thanks guys).

Rapheal has been in the biz for so long its a pleasure watching him work with 4 to 5 pans and smile at the same time.

If you want great food go to nicolinis.

If you want to be pampered, buck up the extra $100 per person and go to port nick.

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Leanne

2

19th February 2010
1 star rating
This restaurant needs closing down! Or at least needs to get a new Manager!

I have never felt so mistreated in my life!

My partner and I went to Nicolinis for a nice night out, we ordered drinks and entrees before coming to order our mains!
The main menu is okay – not that brilliant for non meat eaters, or anything slightly tailored to needs! I ordered the Seafood special, and ask very politely to have the heads taken off my prawns! wholey moley! this is the worst thing I could have done!

Basically the waitress got very angry over me asking for such a thing! She then got her manager! at this point all was still relatively calm! He came out and I asked the same from him, “please, would it be alright to take the heads off my prawns”

… there we had arms flying everywhere!!!! and we found ourselves getting yelled at by the MANAGER and we were sent out of the restaurant for questioning their menu! I asked him to explain why, so that I could understand, and he yelled back “do I come to you and ask you to explain your life to me!?”

He was darn right rude! I have never felt so humiliated… Please think seriously before going here. Also, if you are the owner of this restaurant, understand that Wellington is a small place and that business will be lost FAST!!!!

Thanks for reading
Lee

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Sarah

1

19th February 2010
1 star rating
Firstly you have to pay $10 for them to bring out a birthday cake! what a cheek.
Secondly most of the staff except a few are just plain rude and unhelpful.
Thirdly the place is very crammed and very noisy
Fourthly the food is not cheap and not that great!
Would not go back again

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15th September 2009
1 star rating
Visiting this resteraunt on the evening of 8th September ’09 with visitors from the U.K.. We were directed to what can only be described as a back-yard at the rear of the esablishment. When I protested about the seating to the manager, he was most rude and unhelpful, trying to demean my request, to sit in the main dining room. I was made to feel very embaresed in front of my friends. The food proved to be merely average.

I now wonder what has happened to customer sevice. On further enquiries this manager, has a reputation around the city, re’ his attitude toward his staff and a poor commication with customers. I will never return!!

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4th July 2009
2 star rating
I attended with 4 other friends offering them a fair amount of money when it came to billing time but refused to allow an extra wine glass for the couple sharing an entree and main. We are 25+ and had purchased 3 entrees and 4 main meals plus 2 bottles of wine, I found this to be very disappointing as the meals were delicious.

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27th April 2009
5 star rating
We attended on a Sunday night and found the service to be excellent despite the fact the restaurant was particularly busy.

The quality of the food was fantastic. After a recent trip to Italy we can safely say this was the most authentic Italian pasta we have found to date in New Zealand.

Will definitely be returning and would recommend this restaurant to anyone else.

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28th August 2008
5 star rating
i m marco from italy and i ve been living one year in wellington.i worked at nicolini s for 5 months and let me tell,that s the best italian food i ve ever tried in new zealand…..nico is a place where u can feel the true italian experience…….

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26th July 2008
2 star rating
As an Italian, I’ve eaten here quite a few times and happily brought guests who want to experience Italian food in the city. Tonight, we had a work group from out of town. The food was really good and everyone enjoyed their meals. The environment is really noisy here and we shouted over loud music. We also had a bench table squashed against the wall, with very little room to let people in and out, yet were told that we couldn’t pull the table out any further as there needed to be room in the aisle. Hmmm. The service was ok, although it’s not comfortable for guests to hear the manager shouting instructions and telling off his staff.

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