Il Buco

Il Buco has been a much-awarded cheapeats restaurant for many years. How it has eluded our reviews until now is a mystery!

The team at Il Buco makes traditional thin-crust pizza and sells it by the slice ($6). The pizza is partially cooked, and you can choose to either have Il Buco finish the pizza off in their oven or take it home to finish cooking it yourself. The soup and soldiers option ($8.50) would be welcome on a chilly day. Rotisserie chickens ($25) are ready at 5:30pm and you can pre-order one to pick up and take home for dinner.

Owner Jonny Rudduck uses the best of ingredients and the care that he shows in making the pizzas shows in the flavour of the food: it is arguably the best pizza in town.

The day I popped in for lunch I dithered over the showcase just brim full of slices with different toppings. Classic Margherita or potato with rosemary and Italian sausage or puttanesca (with chili, olives, capers and anchovies) or broccoli with gorgonzola were just some of the many options. Gluten-free pizza slices were offered in a separate showcase. In the end I went with Jonny’s advice and tried the Boscaiola – tomato, mushroom, mozzarella, Italian sausage and capsicum.

Il Buco also offers “little bites” to whet the appetite or have as a quick snack, so I also ordered a pesto filled mushroom cap and a risotto ball. I could have added a potato croquette to my order but knew it would have been “a bridge too far”.

The restaurant is only slightly larger than the pizza slices that it sells, and seating is limited to a couple of small outside tables and a counter with stools facing the buzzing Ponsonby Road. I set myself down and watched the activity across the street to the new Ponsonby Central while waiting for my pizza and snacks to be finished in the oven.

Lunch arrived in short order and was attractively presented on a small wooden board. I couldn’t resist the filled mushroom cap and so popped it into my mouth. Beware! It is very hot! After I coped with the scalding food in my mouth (my own fault), I loved the intense flavour burst of the pesto filling. The risotto ball was less challenging. It was nice and crispy on the outside and the rice had been mixed with tomato. Pleasant but not the flavour impact of the mushroom cap.

The best was yet to come. Having eaten one of those chain-style pizzas last week, I had forgotten just how good authentic pizza can be. The Boscaiola pizza slice was everything I was looking for: melting, oozy cheese, with the bite of the capsicum and the savoury meatiness of the clumps of Italian sausage, all on a light crispy crust. Divine!

There are biscotti and chocolates to eat with your Supreme coffee, or you can indulge in a little cup of real hot chocolate ($3). Go the whole way and have the hot chocolate poured over some ice cream!

Il Buco also caters and can supply pizza slices and sides for a crowd.

Buon Appetito!


Location: 113 Ponsonby Road, Auckland Central
Phone: (09) 360-4414
Hours:  Monday-Saturday 7:30am-9:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-7:00pm
Prices: Nibbles $1 each; pizza slices (1-9 slices) $6/slice; 10+ slices $5/slice; soup and soldiers $8.50; lasagne $12.50; rotisserie chicken $25; biscotti $1; affogato or tiramisu $7.50; hot chocolate $3.
Credit Cards:  Yes
Licensed: No
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
Takeaways: Yes
Bathrooms: N/A
Wheelchair Accessible: Very cramped inside; seating area is on the footpath 
Get Directions

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4 Responses

  1. Victor says:

    Nice pizza, sure, but I don’t think I’d describe a $6 slice of pizza (which if I recall isn’t super big) as a ‘cheap eat’ (perhaps on Ponsonby Rd, but that’s a different scale). Put it this way, for $12 you can have a fantastic meal at numerous (usually) Asian restaurants all over Auckland; at Il Buco, it’s two slices of pizza. Not being picky, but Il Buco gets way too much cheerleading in the media (Metro, the Herald etc) for what it actually is: a pricey but cool-looking pizza place in a location where people don’t think twice about paying $6 for a slice which you can devour in a few bites. If we’re talking ‘cheap eats’ for quality pizza, then I would think Stumpy’s or Crust in Parnell offer more bang for your buck.

  2. Cheapeats says:

    Fair call Victor. Have you seen our reviews on Dante’s (now new location), Gorgeous Pizza and Epolitos? Agreed Stumpy’s do a good pizza too. We mainly put these things in to balance our reviews up a bit as we tend to have lot of Asian restaurants and feel people need a change sometimes (not us personally, we would eat Asian food every day!)

    • Victor says:

      I can totally understand that. I can (and pretty much do, when I go out for lunch or dinner) eat Asian food every day. That’s the thing though: if you want to eat cheaply in Auckland (or, eat fantastic food that costs <$15 and represents good value for money), 9 times out of 10 it has to be Asian. I literally don't know any non-Asian 'cheap eats' spots I'd truly recommend in Ponsonby or the CBD (the two areas I hang out/have searched intensively for places to eat). Maybe a few cafes, but they're more in the $16-20 range, and that's mostly breakfast/brunch. So I guess in that context, if you're in Ponsonby and you're sick of Asian food (somehow), Il Buco is pretty much a good choice, but for me it's more of an indulgence (in a cheap eats sense) than walking 200m to Kuta Bali at the Food Court (again) or Yuzu (on the same block as Il Buco) again.
      Btw that's one of the reasons I read your blog, I'd love to find a cheap eat I've missed that isn't Asian (just to mix it up now and then).

  3. Natalie says:

    Have to agree like the balance of not just cheap Asian food. Although it must be difficult to find. I’m surprised their aren’t more affordable Italian places.

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