Address: 483 Khyber Pass Rd, Newmarket
Ph: (09) 524 6725

In a part of the city where restaurants open and close with alarming speed, Eduardo's has been a fixture at the bottom of Khyber Pass Rd for more than 30 years.

But those 30 years or so have left their mark. The decor at Eduardo's is faded, more exhausted than shabby-chic.

And this is part of its charm. The mismatched photos on the walls - and there are lots of them - the scuffed tables and chairs and the soundtrack, looping over and over, reprising Dean Martin and others of his ilk.

The overall effect is surprisingly relaxing and comforting. It's homely without the disadvantage of Mother's terrible cooking.


The eponymous Eduardo, alas, is no more, or at least not here. He left in 1997, selling out to a Chinese family who onsold, in 1998, to Iranian Mehrdad Soulati, who remains to this day.

We are greeted by the charming but harassed Soulati, who seems to be doing everything this night; the one waitress disappeared halfway through the evening, never to be seen again. But no matter, we soon have water, wine, beer and menus. A shared starter seemed to be in order, as both Barbara and Kevin were expecting to be late, and pizza bread and dips will survive a little delay. By the time said pizza bread arrived so had Barbara and Kevin, so all was well.

And it was delicious. Thin, crisp pizza laden with olive oil and garlic and a dip so heavy with garlic it was almost solid. Wonderful.

Italians can be sparing when it comes to pizza toppings - a margherita has tomato, mozzarella and basil and that's it. Soulati follows the same principle with his pizzas, albeit with more cheese of lesser quality, but the taste was still rewarding.

Barbara went for the vegetarian choice and received a large helping of vegetable stew, cooked to perfection so that the freshness and quality of the ingredients shone.

Bill's cannelloni were stuffed full of meaty goodness and smothered in a very good passata, creating a dish he wishes I could replicate at home. I probably could.

And Kevin braved the chef's special pizza, topped with so many ingredients that space restrictions prevent me from listing them. He ate the lot.

We still had room for dessert, though it was a close-run thing. Another shared effort, we decided and ordered, so it was an extra-large serving of chocolate cheesecake with cream and icecream and raspberries. That disappeared as well.

The result of the staff shortage meant that service was a little slow, but it was worth waiting for. If you're in the market for a meal before a show or a movie, you couldn't go far wrong with a visit to Eduardo's.

Rating out of 10
Food: 8
Service: 7
Value: 8
Ambience: 7

Our meal: $153 for a shared starter, four mains, one dessert, four beers and three glasses of wine.

Wine list: Brief but acceptable. The Peroni beers ordered by Bill and Kevin disappeared with alacrity. My Stoneleigh sauvignon blanc was to its usual standard.