Ask most Waiheke Island locals about their favourite restaurants on the island and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t mention Casita Miro. On my first trip to Waiheke Island, I was told about the restaurant by everyone we asked locals, but when we tried to make a reservation, we found they were fully booked – apparently quite common for this restaurant, which is always a strong sign of a very good establishment.
The next time we visited Waiheke Island, we made sure to book a table in advance via their website, as we were desperate to dine there. The restaurant is in Onetangi, which is the quieter end of the Island, although Waiheke is reasonably small, and taxis are inexpensive – we had travelled from our private villa in Surfdale via private taxi.
On arrival, we were completely blown away – the location is, to put it very simply, beautiful. High on the hills with views overlooking vineyards and olive groves, and little peeks of the ocean beyond, you feel like you have been transported to Spain or Italy. The rolling landscape looks spectacular, and the view took all of us by surprise as we didn’t have any expectations.
True to its Spanish name, the restaurant itself is styled with a Mediterranean design, with gorgeous Spanish wrought iron features, terracotta coloured walls and a vintage looking front door. Oversized bulb fairy lights trail the path to the entrance, and the steps up to the restaurant are decorated with colourful Spanish patterns. The restaurant itself is open sided, so on summer days or warm evenings, the sides are retracted for an al fresco dining experience.
When we arrived, we were taken straight to our table, our waiter introduced themselves and gave us the menus. It’s always tricky trying a new restaurant for the first time – we all have our favourite ‘go-to’ restaurants that we are familiar with, could recite the menu like the back of our hands, know exactly which dishes to order and could pick a bottle from the wine list without even opening the drinks menu. New restaurants require a little more studying of the menu, but our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable, and guided us through the choices. I loved the inclusion of supplier profiles in the back of the menu too – these were a little photo and bio for each of the New Zealand suppliers that provide the bulk of the produce to the restaurant, and I thought it was a great touch to know exactly where your food was coming from and the people behind it.
With our food order in, and a bottle of wine on the way, we settled into enjoying the ambience of the restaurant – a vibrant bar, with cured meats hanging from the ceiling, a wacky wallpaper adorning the rear wall and, of course, those views. All of the diners in our group were actually originally from Europe, and so we are all very familiar with Spain, and Casita Miro has nailed the authenticity of its Spanish theme.
But the décor takes second place to the fabulous food. Divine tapas dishes, beautiful flavours, local produce and everything was very fresh. In true tapas style, the dishes were served as and when they were ready, which was at a nice pace to enjoy the evening and food. We opted for the fiesta menu, which was a 4-course menu featuring the most popular dishes, and we were not disappointed! The dishes that stood out for me where the goats cheese croquets, the pomegranate roasted carrots and of course, the paella (is it even Spanish food if you don’t have paella?!)
The dessert was churros with an indulgent chocolate dipping sauce – perfectly delicious, but a little messy, so take care!
After dinner, we decided to aid digestion by wandering up to the on-site lookout point. Behind the restaurant bar is a gorgeous walkway, styled to look like Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcelona with colourful mosaic tiles and fluid lines bordering well cared for plant borders. The look-out point is elevated and offers views out to the ocean close by.
All in all, I thought Casita Miro was completely worthy of its reputation amongst locals, and the sort of restaurant I will remember for a long time. The food was divine, the setting was beautiful and felt casual and comfortable and the service was great – if you are visiting Waiheke Island, it is worth planning ahead and making a reservation!
Bookings can be made via the Casita Miro website here.
For accommodation options in Waiheke, take a look at our fabulous listings here.