El Sizzling Chorizo

4 star rating 65 reviews

Restaurant location map

09 3780119

Ponsonby Central, 4 Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland

  Argentine, Steakhouse
11:30 AM to 10 PM


Reviews for El Sizzling Chorizo

5 star rating
by Iamcii
12 days ago

My partner and I are big meat eaters so this place was heaven. No complaints about the food. There's a huge selection of meats and cuts. They are seasoned well and don't require much to do apart from digging in. It's not too expensive either. We did find the wait slightly discouraging but we were lucky to get a seat in 30mins. They serve quickly so seats are vacated relatively quickly too.

Food: 4.8/5 (could do with a bit more greens on the side to cut the richness of the meat)
Service: 4.5/5
Atmosphere: 3/5 (really packed all the time and really hot)
Value for money: 4.8/5 (we had enough takeaways to make 4 sandwiches the next day)

4 star rating
by Delyce
12 days ago

A must visit for meat lovers! Their orejano platter is great and offers a lot of variety as does their parrillada platter. These are great to try if you want a mix of the different meats. Be warned they are super filling! We shared two dishes between three people and still couldn't finish. The staff are fantastic, friendly and helpful. Definitely recommend a visit if your out in ponsonby

4 star rating
by Javier Yebenes
14 days ago

Fantastic food and great atmosphere. If you go there for dinner you have to be patient and know in advance that your orders will take at least 30 minutes to be delivered, but the wait is worth it. The meats are great and the service is friendly most of the times.

4 star rating
by Daiana Cordoba
26 days ago

Really nice place, definitely popular...make sure you go there early otherwise you will need to wait, taht's for sure. I had the parrillada which you can share, but if you do you will need and entree like an empanada. I am an argentinian so meat is a big deal for me and it needs to be well done, at this place I can say it was perfectly cooked. I am not gicing them a 5.0 just because the lamb they gave us was definitely a bit old and I could tell it had been on the BBQ for a while, wasn't bad tho

5 star rating
by Bubut
one month ago

Love the place a carnivore's dream come true. Place was packed but worth the wait. A worthwhile dining experience. I recommended to friends already. Will definitely be back.

5 star rating
by Axjw
2 months ago

One of my absolute favourite places in Ponsonby!

The sirlion steak is delicious and always cooked to perfection! It is what I always order each time. I have also tried the savannah sirlion, the parrillada, chicken thighs, and the BBQ deep fried potatoes with Dijon mustard. All are amazing and a must try.

4 star rating
by Monica
2 months ago

El Sizzling Chorizo is where your wildest carnivorous desires come to life. Boasting succulent aromas and a no-nonsense meat menu, we opted for the savannah sirloin and pork belly. That steak was heavenly. BBQed on the rarer side of medium rare, it was subtlety smoky, immaculately seasoned and oiled, with the chimichurri a nice finish to the high quality meat. The pork belly was good though not as desirable as the former, while the mesclun a tad overdressed. We had the perfect seats watching the Spanish-speaking Argentinian chef duo (love the authenticsm) literally play with fire to cook the cuts, while we convivially chatted to them in intermittent English. Pricing is reasonable with generous mains ranging $20-30 though I feel they should get more comfortable stools.

For more reviews around Auckland follow adl_taste_akl on Instagram!

4 star rating
by Trin C
2 months ago

Finally came here after many recommendations from friends. This place is so tiny so me and my friends were super lucky to get a table. It's so hard to find a table here! But their food is soo good! Definitely worth the wait!

5 star rating
by Johnine D
2 months ago

Order the Parrillada (which I believe comes from the word 'parilla' meaning 'grill' in Spanish) if you're here for the first time. The serving is huge and satisfied two empty stomachs. It comes with chicken, pork, beef, lamb, mesclun salad, and chimichurri. I'd say these are probably the best well done pieces of meat I've tasted. Not sure if you can request the doneness of your meat but I heard the Argentinians love their meat well done. My fiancé liked the lamb the most, I liked the pork best.

Tip: You can ask for a refill of the chimichurri. (We loved it and asked 3x!)

I'm definitely going back as I found it good value for money with the attentive and friendly staff, and great atmosphere (will probably sit at the bar next time).

5 star rating
by Natasha Furness
3 months ago

Awesome venue and the sharing platter is seriously reasonable for 2 people and so tasty. Great service and atmosphere too!! Flank steak was brilliant & highly recommend empanadas

4 star rating
by Sabrina Zhou
3 months ago

Went there in a Friday night with hubby. My recommendation is to book a table if you are going there after 7.30. The restaurant is getting busy after that. Excellent service. If you are sitting close to the counter and kitchen, you could actually see how ur orders done. Very tasty and juicy meat. But not sure if they are kids friendly though.

5 star rating
by Zell Dincht
3 months ago

Although the seating was not sufficient enough for demand (which could actually be regarded as a good thing), the venue and the resulting ambiance was still quite accommodating.

In addition, the food was great; and will be especially for those that love meat.

4 star rating
by Angela010
3 months ago

Meat, meat and more meat. Most of the meat was great. Some over-cooked, although I like my meat fairly rare. Not sure I would be rushing back.

4 star rating
by Ninjunkie
4 months ago

Been here at El Sizzling Chorizo twice and have always enjoyed their food! The place is always packed with people, I guess because they have a really good reputation when it comes to grills. They have all sorts but my favorite is the grilled steak and their delicious chorizo. 

The empanada is very nice too. It has got perfect crust with soft and juicy meat filling.  I would recommend that you try the Orejano Platter because it has everything that you'd want to eat at El Sizzling Chorizo. 

I'm looking forward to try their grilled chicken next time.

5 star rating
by Aimee
4 months ago

I have been to el sizzling chorizo a couple of times but I've only ordered the short ribs. The ribs were cooked perfectly! They seem to use good quality meat and the dish comes with a side salad.

The staff are friendly and it's great watching your food being cooked in front of you.

Tip: Get there early. It's a small place and tables aren't book able. When we left at 6.20 there was already a line forming.

4 star rating
by Alex James
4 months ago

Excellent value - meat platter (forget what it's called on the menu) fills you to the brim. Like the service also - though it's not a restaurant obviously. Maybe could do with a couple more sides on the menu? Broccoli for example? Maybe its not traditional. Find myself going for my meat fix once every couple of weeks. Delicious!

4 star rating
by Kiwi Foodie
4 months ago

This little Argentinian BBQ was packed to the brim on a Saturday night – we were told that the wait time was going to be an hour! Fortunately we weren’t too hungry yet, so we took a nice stroll around Ponsonby while waiting. True to their word, we were called in exactly an hour, and seated at the bar shortly after. Just behind the bar, we could see various cuts of meat sizzling on the grill and a good coal fire going, emitting a tantalizing smoky aroma.

Having been warned about the huge portions of meat here, we ordered one entree and one parrillada platter to share (“Good call!” says the bf later, as we struggled to finish the platter). Our entree of chorizo with bread and mesclun ($12) was good – the chorizo was perhaps a bit more fatty than what I was used to, but still very tasty, and the homemade (pita?) bread was delicious, freshly toasted on the grill.

The parrillada platter ($30) on the other hand was a bit of a mixed bag – the steak was excellent and juicy (I’ve read complaints about it being overdone, but in our particular case it was medium rare), as was the short ribs. The chicken was okay, pretty much what you would expect from grilled chicken (I’m not really a fan). On the other hand some parts of the lamb were quite dry and powdery, and the pork belly’s crackling was hard instead of crispy. The chimchurri sauce that accompanied the platter goes perfectly with all the meat and was so good we just had to ask for a refill.

All in all, still a great experience. There’s just a certain appeal in watching your meat grilled in front of you, and the flavours are amazing – a slight smoky taste to the meat and excellent sauce. You get a lot of meat for a very reasonable price, so it’s an excellent place to indulge in meat cravings. The staff was also friendly, helpful, and efficient, despite it being a very busy night. The only reason I might think twice about coming back is the wait – an hour is a very long time, and they don’t appear to take reservations.

4 star rating
by Portia Ross
6 months ago

Meat overload. There big meat platter is great to share and the guys were really friendly talking to us the whole time. Only let down is the limited space so expect a wait during the busy periods with a bigger group of people. Great value for money

5 star rating
by Jemimah
7 months ago

Amazing charcoal cooked meat right in front of your eyes. The portions are very generous, with the Orejano platter being enough for 3 females. On this occasion, had the Orejano platter and the meat platter and this was plenty for 3 adults, two of us being heavy meat eaters. The service is always lovely, and you always leave smelling of bbq meat

4 star rating
by Rebecca Smith
7 months ago

This was my first visit to El Sizzling Chorizo, but definitely not the last.  I went with a large group of Argentinians who all swore that El Sizzling Chorizo was the real deal when it came to Argentinian BBQ. We arrived at 8pm on Tuesday but they were full so we had a drink at Bedford Soda while we waited for about 45 minutes There wasn't much variety in the ordering as most of got the Parrillada which is a mix of the different meats, to share between two. The smells coming out of the kitchen were fantastic and it was interesting to watch the meat cooking over the coals. Parrillada is served on a wooden board with a side salad and chimichurri. There was two types of pork belly, chicken thighs, sirloin and short ribs. I was warned in the car ride that Argentinians cook meat well-done, not medium-rare as is standard in New Zealand however the meat was cooked to perfection. While it was well done, it wasn't tough or chewy at all. For $30 it was a lot of meat, too much for my partner and I to finish so we took the rest home for lunch today. I will definitely be going back to El Sizzling Chorizo, it was well worth the wait.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photo, I was too excited to taste it.

5 star rating
by GeorgieB
7 months ago

What I love about El Sizzling Chorizo is there is no other place in Auckland like it. It was a great to experience a real Argentinian meal - BBQ style! I had never tried food like this, so was really looking forward to it. My older sister and I had a late lunch here one Sunday afternoon. There was only one other small group in the restaurant - I think we had just missed the lunch rush!  We shared the Empanadas ($12) with mesclun and the Chorizo sausages ($12) also served with mesclun. These two dishes are both starters; however they were nice satisfying small meals. The Empanadas had the most delicious fillings inside (juicy beef and onions) and the pastry was cooked well. However, the Chorizo sausages were the stand out dish. Perfectly cooked and served with homemade bread straight out of the oven - yummy!  For drinks, they have a small wine and beer list and non-alcoholic drinks too - Antipodes water and Phoenix drinks. We love the ginger beer flavour from the Phoenix drinks range! I love that the restaurant is quite compact - if you are sitting inside, you can watch the chefs preparing the Argentinian BBQ right in front of you. It is an exciting experience and I recommend coming here! Next time, I will definitely try a main meal, possibly the 'Short Ribs' ($20) or the 'Orejano Platter' ($35) looks delicious too! If you are ever in Ponsonby Central, make sure you walk past El Sizzling Chorizo. Even if you do not go in, the smell and sights are heavenly!

1 star rating
by Miss Nawms
8 months ago

It was our first time visiting this Argentinian eatery, and it was a very disappointing and angry experience.

Got there at around 8pm, lucky to be able to find two seats at the corner by the bar table. However, the kitchen lost our orders and we ended up waiting for almost an hour for the the food to arrive (Short Ribs, Pork Belly, and the deep-fried potatoes).

The worst thing was, while we were waiting, one of the younger chefs with short black hair was standing right in front of us, busy chatting with the two customers sitting next to us. And without saying, their orders came before us even though they arrived after us. Moreover, we also noticed orders from other tables that arrived after us had received their food straight away. The kitchen was even starting to prepare takeaways from those who were unable to get a table.
I fully understand how busy a restaurant can get, let alone dinner time. But the utterly poor service and lack of acknowledgment from the front kitchen was absolutely disappointing.

It shouldn’t be hard for any of the chefs, who had been standing in front of us the whole time, to give us a little attention by at least asking if we are ok. There was zero eye contact between us and the staff at the front kitchen even when we were attempting to talk to them. Which led us to think that they didn’t seem to realise or care about our noticeably long wait with no food except a glass of lukewarm cider.
It was just very unprofessional.

I have been to many eateries with an open kitchen, but never had I felt so disrespected by the staffs who are just wandering around us within 50 centimetres!!
Seeing as we were the only people sitting there awkwardly waiting for our food to come, I was very shocked about the poor quality of the staffs.

Our wait eventually ended with a waitress giving us a smile, in which we found out they actually didn’t take our orders at all. After we talked to her about it, she immediately took our orders again and all the food came within 2 minutes literally.

I want to strongly point out that it was pretty obvious the chef completely ignored us. And instead of serving the dish to us (as it seemed to be one of his duties in the past hour), he made the waitress do it for him and continued talking to the new customers who sat next to us. He gave a very, very bad impression on the restaurant as a whole – it is to a point where the taste of the food doesn’t even matter due to the terrible service that was given to us.

We received a $20 voucher by another waitress because of this, but I really don’t think I will ever go back again.

Rating: 0/10.

4 star rating
by Pol
8 months ago

Really good flavours in the meats. Not the most tender of cuts but hey, I'd take taste over texture any day. Nice to be able to sit and watch the bbq chef in action - quite a skill. Also nice to be kept warm by the wood burning bbq fire. Breads, fried potatoes and a entree of chorizo also hit the mark.

4 star rating
by Fain Feasts
9 months ago

Happened upon an empty table outside at El Sizzling on a busy Saturday night in Ponsonby Central which is a rare occasion. The Argentinian BBQ is definitely worth the hype! We had the pork belly and the chicken thighs, both of which came with a size of delicious green salad and chimicurri. The pork belly was absolutely divine and the crackling was to die for. The chicken thighs were nice and tender but pork belly was definitely the star of the night. We shared a starter of empanadas that were well seasoned and the pastry was done very well. Also had a side of the nice crunchy potatoes that were a lovely accompaniment but definitely not needed - portion sizes are big enough as is! Would definitely go back!

4 star rating
by Lillian
9 months ago

Got here just before 2pm on a Sunday with a friend. Got a counter seats in the corner, which is not ideal because it's next to the till. Why would you have the till there anyway when there's people sitting in front?
We ordered the entree empanadas and the parrillada mixed grill to share. The latter came with steak, chicken, pork belly, and short ribs (listed in order of preferences).
The empanads were also excellent. Not sure how they can get that juicy beef and onion inside the pastry and it doesn't go soggy. The steak was definitely a stand out - people seem to not like how they cook it too well-done in previous reviews, but this one was about medium or a little bit over, and since it's a good quality meat it was still very tender. The chicken was also chargrilled well, tender yet crispy. The pork belly is not too bad but the crackling was too chewy for my liking. The short ribs was a bit of a let down, it kinda looked like it has been chewed on, so made me think we got a bad cut, and some parts tasted really bad (that mushy meat you sometimes get). Both of the dishes also comes with mesclun on the side and the meat comes with a chimichurri which I really liked. Yeah the sauce is oily and the salad well-dressed, but you wouldn't really come here if you were looking for healthy food, and I hate it when I get a undressed salad!
I was still a bit hungry after that, as I guess the parrillada is for one person, but that seemed like a lot for lunch.
The service could be a better, the servers are generally friendly but they don't really scan the room and I have to try to catch someone's eye to get my water filled even tho they were right in front of me. The BBQ pit was fun to watch, but yeah I was blocked by the till, and actually they do a slow coal burning, so it's not like a fiery flame type of BBQ.
Very yummy, high quality meat, a bit pricy but you get what you pay for, I highly recommend this place for a good meat fix.

4 star rating
by Mrs. Passionfruit
9 months ago

I came to El Sizzling Chorizo with a high hope, hungry and famished on a Saturday lunchtime. The eatery is as usual busy, so we waited around 15 minutes for a table, which is okay in my standard. I wasn't happy by the fact that we waited for around 30 minutes for our meal, maybe because I was already very very hungry! We ordered pork belly and sirloin with a side of bread and deep fried BBQ potatoes with mustard sauce, and the chorizo platter.

The meal was okay. It was delicious, yes, but there were some key points that were
missing. I've ordered medium sirloin to get it slightly on the tough side; I reckon it was medium-well on the verge of being well done! It was still tasty, but the texture's not as I wanted it to be. By this time I was already so hungry I couldn't be bothered asking for a replacement. The pork belly was a bit chewy, even though it tasted yum as well. The sides were brilliant; their homemade bread is certainly the star and the deep fried BBQ potato matches well with their (I'm guessing homemade) sweet mustard sauce. Two thumbs up for their chimicurri sauce, it was delicious and to die for! Their chorizo is very very tasty; plump, juicy and full of flavor.

I love how their kitchen is very interesting, you get to see the chefs preparing the Argentinian BBQ in front of you. It can get a bit noisy because it's packed most of the time, and be prepared to wait on busy hours because they don't have enough space.

5 star rating
by Vanessa Katsoolis
9 months ago

I have only ever had one other steak in the world that came close to being as good as the one I had at El Sizzling Chorizo. The meal I had there was one of the best I've ever had. Ever.
I made an account with menu mania just to review this place. We ordered the steak with the potatoes and mustard sauce as well as bread. The steak comes with a little green side salad with dressing. The flavours of the salad and potatoes alone was so amazing that I forgot about the steak and when I finally tried the steak... I actually moaned.
I don't usually write reviews but this place was great, the staff were really cool and the whole experience was neat.
The bill at the end was surprisingly low, I would have happily paid double.
Absolutely check this place out.

4 star rating
by Jessie
9 months ago

Love Love Love this place !!! The food is always sooo yumm and the service is great!! Small hidden GEM!

4 star rating
by Amy @ My Dining Journey
10 months ago

In attempts to try everything in Ponsonby Central, my dining pals and I made our way to El Sizzling Chorizo for 'afternoon tea' (aka early dinner) at around 4:30PM and the place was already filling up with customers. With limited seating in this Argentinian eatery, we took one of the two long tables outside which was warm and cozy under a big heater. Being the meat lovers that we are, all except one of us ordered the Savannah sirloin cooked to medium rare while she enjoyed the oregano platter which we all managed to try a bit of.

The quality and portion of the steak is superb. For the price of $25, we were served with a 300 gram steak with a side of salad. However, all our steaks were overcooked and this was tremendously disappointing. Instead of medium rare, the steaks were more like medium to medium well. But because they use good quality steak, it was still a good texture rather than an unchewable mess. The grilled steaks came with a green oily chimichurri sauce which was made of garlic, herbs and vinegar.

We ordered a side of fabulous deep-fried potato which was served with a cream Dijon mustard. It had a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior, the mustard made this side a very hearty accompaniment to the steak

Being a BBQ joint, my dining pals and I expected more but it was a pleasant meal overall. I can only recommend this place for meat eaters as they only have one option that does not consist of meat and that is their grilled provolone cheese. It's not a place that you can mingle for long because of the demands for tables but there are several other options around the area where you can stop by after dinner for dessert and coffee.

Like this review? Please check out my blog - http://mydiningjourney.wordpress.com

4 star rating
by NommyShotTreats
10 months ago

It was one of those afternoon where a group of friends and I couldn't decide on what to eat (this was on the 1st of May) and we ended up in Ponsonby. Which lead us to El Sizzling Chorizo. Reason being the chef cooking the meat openly for everyone to see and the fact that I was with 3 other males that love meat. So we decided to settle for some Argentinian food :)

Prices is a tad steep for some students that are studying, but for a good hearty lunch/dinner that is high on protein, definitely a good place of choice. Main meals are on a average of $20 (but refer to photos that I uploaded for the prices :)). They serve the food on wooden boards, which was cute. The staff were awesome to us, making jokes and was inviting. The sitting is like a bar style, with stools that are bolted to the ground. The meat was cooked thoroughly, good balance of flavour, not too much salt, but enough and heaps of sauce, all served with salad. By the end of that, we were all tired and full to the point we just wanted to knock out from our food coma haha.

Overall, this place was awesome to go with the lads, since they all loved their meat, the price is reasonable. Staff is friendly to us, good experience from this eatery in stuffing out bellies full :)

4 star rating
by Lisa Edgar
10 months ago

If you are looking for a delicious high protein meal, look no further, El Sizzling Chorizo is the place to go. I love coming here for a big lunch and always enjoy the lovely service and gourmet Argentinian BBQ meat that's smokey and juicy.
I like ordering the Parrillada which is a selection different meats. In the past I've had a combination of steak, chicken, lamb and short ribs. It's a smart way to try a bit of everything. I think the short ribs is my overall favourite, tender and packed with flavour but with a nice chew.
The signature chimichurri defines this place. You can really taste the garlic and parsley coming though. The oily chimichurri is just divine on the chargrilled meat mmmmm.....

4 star rating
by Updn
10 months ago

Had a platter to share $30 600g of mixed meat including lamb, beef, chicken and mouth watering pork belly.

Good value, good service and fixed my bbq deprive during winter.

4 star rating
by Daniel
10 months ago

Great steak! Although sitting across from the fire was a bit hot. Chips were great too! If the seating was a bit better this would be perfect.

4 star rating
by Chris Baldock
11 months ago

This is a good spot for a meat-fest and a beer with the lads.

Came here with my best mate on a Saturday arvo while the ladies were sipping over-priced cocktails somewhere else in the ever trendy Ponsonby Central.

We tried a variety of meat cuts - pork, beef, chicken and lamb - all deliciously cooked over the coals in true Argentinian style. The meats are served simply with only a tasty chimichurri sauce. The protein injection miraculously cured my hangover and put me in good spirits for the rest of the day.

The service is a bit cold, but this restaurant certainly is not (especially if you're seated directly opposite the BBQ as we were).

5 star rating
by Louise Cole
11 months ago

Called in randomly for lunch yesterday. Wow, what a find. The service was fantastic, with the menu being fully explained to us. We sat up at the bar and really enjoyed watching the BBQ. The meat was wonderful and smoky, melt in the mouth food. A carnivores dream. The potatoes were a highlight, flash fried after being boiled over the hot coals with a to die for mustard sauce and the bread, cooked over hot coals straight from dough was very good. We will be back.

5 star rating
by Angela Lina
11 months ago

Food was top-notch, enjoyed it thoroughly especially for meat, the pork belly was great but some of the items we could not distinguish from the other. Perhaps it was just our tastebuds but some of it tasted the same.
Service was good considering we were sitting at the bar.

Wine was simple but affordable.

Unfortunately it was quite hot sitting in front of the fire but that can't be helped. Also unfortunate for many other diners who were waiting for a table as the restaurant is quite small especially not able to cater for a massive crowd during an event. To be fair, I liked the smaller size of the place because it seemed more intimate .

4 star rating
by Lisa
11 months ago

First time to eat here, my 2 Brazilian friends with us recommended it to me and my partner. Great atmosphere, service and food. We got the PARRILLADA
(a taste of different meats), chorizo and fries. Fries were really crispy,hot and delicious. Meat was really good, my favorite was the lamb. My only criticism would be the salad being a tad too oily and the meat being a tad too salty. Otherwise a great place to go back to.

0 star rating
by Hung Dong Long
Apr 03, 2014

Great concept and full of promise but.... The food is just terrible. Chewy overcooked meats. Nothing like the quality found in a real Parrilla. Highlight of the night was the chips. What does that tell you?

5 star rating
by Sam Page
Mar 28, 2014

Had an awesome time here, would highly recommend to anyone who loves meat, barbeque and a tasty meal. Definitely try their house made choritzo and the mixed platter.

An awesome place for a casual date or a work social evening.

5 star rating
by Sunsetkiss27
Feb 27, 2014

It's a vibrant place for bbq cravings. The menu is simple which can feed 2 persons. Affordable prices. Friendly and accomodating staffs. Organic drinks available. Good seating. Great for casual meet ups for small to big groups. Tasty, well seasoned meats with a generous size of salad greens. Recommendable.

3 star rating
by Loved By Katie
Jan 24, 2014

We had an mixed platter with pork belly, beef, chicken and lamb which was only $30! I don't usually like lamb but this was pretty nice. Beef was a bit too chewy, pork was average. Chicken was nice though, the char-grilled taste came through which was amazing. We ordered an extra bread but it looked like it was baked sometime ago - wasn't soft or chewy, just a but solid...

I liked how they present all these on a wooden tray instead of a dish. It looked fancy and interesting. However there were a bit much oil on the wooden dish which I tried to avoid by using just a corner of my tray... I guess I like to have meats at a fine dining rather than place like this but my friend really enjoyed here.

Please visit ♥ http://lovedbykatie.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/el-sizzling-chorizo.html for more photos and stories.

4 star rating
by Craig Housley
Jan 17, 2014

Good food and great service. The meat platter is good value, even better if you share it between two people. Busy place, even on a Tuesday night which is a good sign.

4 star rating
by Os Shabbot
Nov 21, 2013

Yum Yum Yum! Best food I have had in a while. Fully satisfied. Good portion! OOOOH LAWD!

Only suckie part was the wait for a table :( But other than that! A PLUS!

4 star rating
by Rick V
Nov 13, 2013

We've been several time and enjoy everything, but favourite has to be PARRILLADA - can't be faulted

5 star rating
by Maree Mcwha
Oct 11, 2013

Had lunch here with family from Christchurch. Top notch service and the food was superb!!!

I am not usually a red meat eater but found it all cooked to perfection and so delicious!!

Definitely going to visit again!!

3 star rating
by Tim Warren
Oct 09, 2013

Lets be clear, the review is 3 stars split between 4.5 stars for the food, and 2 stars for service.

This is a delicious Argentinian BBQ, and authentic as I am told by the people I've eaten there with who have spent time in Argentina.

If big meat is your thing then come here and watch the spectacle of the giant BBQ with piles of meat charging away.
I loved the pork the most with its smoky crackling. The short rib is great, and the other meats are also excellent. The chicken is a little take it or leave it but still good. The sauce is an excellent compliment and salad is fresh.

By the way, ignore the people who say the meat is tough. There is a variety of cuts served, and as most people know, many of the tastiest cuts are not the tenderest.

No no, the food here is great. Service is what lets this place down. I've been there twice. The first time I was mostly ignored and had to ask for service several times after waiting at the counter for 10 minutes. The woman who I assume is the owner told me I just had to wait. There were no other diners there at that time...
The second time I went, I was waiting for a friend who took 20 minutes to arrive. This time the same woman told me I had to leave if my didn't arrive very shortly! There was no one else seated at the bar and there were plenty of spare seats. I told here that was no way to treat diners and she just argued with me, telling me "this is the way we do things".

My goodness, what a way to ruin an experience. Ill come back, but I won't want to see that same woman. The other staff seem really nice, but this person has been to the Joseph Stalin school of hospitality.

4 star rating
by Meagan Barclay
Sep 03, 2013

We've been here a couple of times and love the simplicity of the meals and the friendly relaxed staff! The chargrilled bbq meat is delicious, especially the the prime rib and their bread (dipped in the chimichurri sauce) is an excellent accompaniment. This is likely to be one of our regulars ...

5 star rating
by Luke Andrews
Aug 08, 2013

Love love love this place. Been here 5-6 times really enjoy the BBQ meat nice and salty well cooked just what an Argy BBQ is supposed to be about, washed down with good beer. Ever noticed how much good food makes good beer taste better!!!

2 star rating
by Trace
Jul 25, 2013

El Sizzling Chorizo

In the recently established Ponsonby Central is an Argentinian Barbeque restaurant. This has been one of the more popular establishments in Ponsonby Central and it has a certain obvious appeal. Meats cooked on the grill, with rustic flavours imbued with smoke. It seems like the sort of food that will be popular with a lot of people and fortunately for them it is.

The restaurant itself is small with a bar and stools facing the grill, a couple tables inside and two outside. It is simple and as lacking in pretension as a place can be in Ponsonby Central, which is perhaps not all that much, but it is clear the focus will be on the rustic food presented. The service is fine, although no reservations are possible and you must stand around and wait for a table.

The question is however have we finally gotten good South American cuisine, at an affordable price? The prices are not expensive, but are not cheap either. A sirloin steak will run you $25 for 300g, which is a big steak and not bad on price. Even better is 400g of Ribs for $19. A tasting plate is $30. An Entrée of chorizo is $10. Grilled bread is $3 I think and the most expensive side is the grilled potatoes with a mustard sauce, at $7. Given it is Ponsonby road, I think the prices are pretty reasonable, especially given the quantity.

All this however counts for little, if the food is no good. There are some real positives. Firstly meat that is basically hot smoked, is delicious. The subtle flavouring of smoke, with meat is an almost unbeatable combination. While I have little experience with Argentinian food, southern barbeque, is a wonder to behold. Meat permeated with smoke, falling of the bone with strong heady flavours makes the mouth water. In this respect the flavouring of meat from the smoke is delicious and gives some nice subtlety.

The food is simple and formulaic however. It is universally a protein served with the same side salad and sauce. I have no problem with this per se, it is fine that the restaurant is singular in its approach, but it will need to do that thing very well, if there is no real selection. I was fortunate enough to try all but two of the items on the menu, some several times. So I will give a quick rundown.

Sweetbreads – As I have mentioned previously I like sweetbreads a lot. This dish is simple, sweetbreads, grilled on the barbeque, served with chimichurri and side salad. This was probably my favourite dish. The smoke adds a really nice complexity to the sweetbreads themselves, they really benefit I find from the addition of other flavours. Secondly because this was cooked to order, it was actually quite well cooked. They had a nice colour and were delicious. The sauce was perhaps slightly overpowering for them, but it was good regardless. I will discuss the salad later.

Chorizo – This was served with grilled bread and the ubiquitous salad. I found the chorizo over seasoned and so salty. This was probably particularly apparent, because most of the other food was under salted. It was strong in flavour and was texturally acceptable sausage with plenty of fat. I would hazard that they were under coloured however on the grill. The sausage as a whole uninteresting, lacking an really subtlety. The grilled bread was a good idea, but was not wonderfully executed. It is a flat bread cooked right on the grill. However they were made a little too thick and so were not quite as cooked through as I would have liked. We had three breads in total of which I tried a piece of all off. Some were better cooked than others and the thickness was inconsistent. Those made at proper thickness, I found a nice accompaniment.

Empanadas - These are a kind of pastry, similar to a samosa, where a meat filling is encompassed by pastry. These were pretty good and the meat filling was well flavoured and balanced and while the shell wasn’t amazing, it was not a significant detriment, either.

The main attraction however of the place is the barbequed meat. This was really where the restaurant is to make or break.

Skirt Steak – Out of all the meats, this was the most reliably cooked, which is a good thing, because badly cooked skirt steak is really tough and unappetizing. The skirt steak was cooked medium rare with a healthy colour on the outside. I love skirt steak, is really well flavoured, even if a bit chewy. However two of the biggest weaknesses that I found with El Sizzling Chorizo, were evident in this dish. Firstly it was poorly seasoned. The salt had obviously been applied not thoroughly enough and not far enough in advance, so it lacked penetration through the meat. Secondly the quality of meat, was just not that good. For the price I can understand this, perhaps, but there just was no flavour in the skirt steak and this was very disappointing, given this is the whole point of skirt steak.

Chicken Thigh – The chicken thigh revealed the last and probably most critical problem with the meat and this inconsistency of cooking. On one occasion my chicken thigh was over cooked, dry and completely cooked through it offered little culinary value. On another occasion it was cooked medium rare, fortunately I have no problem with medium rare chicken, but I suspect most people would. All were under salted and lacking in flavour.

Pork Belly – This at least was salted thoroughly, however inconsistency was again a big let down. On one occasion, the belly was falling apart, unctuous and delicious, in fact I wished you could have just ordered pork belly. The second time however it was under cooked. This made the pork belly tough, which is unforgivable. Why did they not just serve something else on the plate? I cannot fathom, how the chef, would have seen clearly it was undercooked and chosen to slice a bit off and serve it anyway. It seems contemptuous of the customer, to serve such food.

Lamb – They slow roast lamb shoulder. This was probably the most consistent, other than the skirt steak. It was tender and falling off the bone. It had obviously been cooked a long time as some of the bit on the underside of the forequarter were dry and crispy, which was actually nice. In general though the lamb least interesting in terms of its combination with smoke, I think the beef and pork submitted most readily to its charms.

Short ribs – The beef short ribs, was the best of the lot. They were consistently cooked both times they were ordered. While annoyingly under salted, they were still moist and delicious on both occasions. I also think they match the sauce really well. Lastly they were the cheapest main, at $19, so I think they are well worth trying, if you are going.
Beef Short ribs

The chimichurri – The sauce that accompanies all the dishes is the same, it is a mixture of herbs, garlic and spices in oil. It is a good rustic sauce to accompany grilled meats and so I think this pairs nicely. The thing is that I do not think it works as well for chicken as I do for beef for example. I wonder if more detail could be paid to such pairings.

The salad – The same salad also comes with every plate. To be honest it is not very good. The greens are almost too obviously just supermarket bag mesculin. The dressing was overpowering and in general, it adds nothing other than a bit of green to the plate. I would happily not have had it and I love vegetables, but I see little point in serving greens with no flavour.

El Sizzling Chorizo delivers on two things people like. That is lots of meat and strong flavours. There is a time in my life when this would have been sufficient. I can see why it is popular, smoke in particular is a delicious flavour. However no amount of smoke or mirrors, can cover up the real failings of the restaurant. Even ignoring the chronic under salting and inconsistency of cooking, the meat itself, that fundamental underlying element, is just not that good. For the money, perhaps I am being to picky, but chicken for example is just flavourless, which I guess is hidden somewhat by the smokey flavour and the strong sauce, but the fundamentals are not there. Add to that the inconsistency of cooking, the lack of salt and the general technical problems and I think it is fatal to the restaurant, no matter, how much novelty value it has. Frankly El Sizzling Chorizo is ripe for the picking from competition, but it has no competition, in Auckland and so I think it can get away with serving, what is actually not good food. I perhaps am being overly harsh, but it is merely the expression of my frustration at the lack of attention to detail, when it seems without a lot more effort, we could have much nicer food. Real greens in the salad, slightly better meat (especially chicken), not serving underdone pork belly, and more commitment to the cooking process. The greatest difficulty I guess is that most of the food is not made to order. It is cooked and has to sit around waiting for people to order it. This inevitably leads to some inconsistency, but surely it is not an insurmountable hurdle and surely the staff can choose whether to serve something that is obviously under or overcooked. Underwhelmed, if you have to go, sweetbreads, empanadas and short ribs are the way to go.

Reposted from http://foodtrace.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/el-sizzling-chorizo/

2 star rating
by Marie Corcoran
Jul 18, 2013

We visited this restaurant on a Sat evening. We were out to celebrate a friends birthday, and were having a meal before we headed to the Blues game. We brought a cake to have after dinner, which the waitress kindly offered to put in the fridge for us. Within a minute the manager came out and said he would have to charge us a fee to eat the cake at the restaurant because they sell food and we would be sitting longer if had the cake. We said no worries. He wanted $20 to allow us to cut the cake. We decided to have the cake at home because that seemed a bit steep.
The starters were very tasty, had choriza sausages and empaladas. The sausages were definitely the highlight.
The mains were a major disappointment. Went for the mixed meat platter. The lamb was ok, but the beef was so chewy and very bad quality. I don't think that anybody was able to eat the pork belly. We got a side of ribs, which didn't look appetising at all, and tasted as bad as they looked. The sides of potatoes tasted like they had been deep fried and were super greasy.
The starters are definitely the best part of this restaurant. The bread that is served is also very tasty.
Will definitely not be returning to this place or recommending it to anyone.

2 star rating
by Aleks Lazic
May 14, 2013

I've eaten here a few times. I have to admit I was spellbound when I first saw it. So beautiful and awesome and such an amazing smell. First thing I had was the sausage and bread. Pretty straightforward, and nice. Can't fault it.

I've since had the mixed meat plate twice. So disappointing. I may be wrong, but being a chef myself, I think I'm right. The problem with this place is the quality of the meat. The chicken is very similar to what you get from the frozen section or from KFC. The back bones still in place, like it was cut by a band saw. The beef was super tough and almost inedible. The lamb was probably the nicest. Apart from that none of it was very nice. Which is such a shame, they pay great attention to detail, seasoning the sliced meat, etc. Beautiful... however the quality of the meat just isn't up to the same standard. I'd have the sausage and the lamb again probably, but definitely nothing else. I want you guys to do so much better, you're 90% there to being legends, don't use cheap meat.

4 star rating
by Olivia Campbell
May 08, 2013

We had a wonderful meal this evening , lovely service, absolutely delicious meats and a very good price - dinner for two at under $60 !! Can't wait to return .

4 star rating
by Tia-Marie Netto
May 08, 2013

Loved the food! The customer service was great! Friendly staff! Loved the atmosphere! Would definately recommend this to anyone!

4 star rating
by David Boshier
Apr 25, 2013

We headed a long for lunch on a busy hot Friday and were lucky to get a table..

The smell is rather welcoming and we waited very little time to be served our cold beers. Both steaks we ordered were cooked as requested and arrived hot and well seasoned. Our beers kept arriving at regular intervals and the service was good.

We will be heading back at somestage.

1 star rating
by Jarl Devine
Mar 23, 2013

There should be an option for zero stars!

I must admit, my experiences at Ponsonby Central have not been awesome - dire, in fact and my experience last night was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Like others, we experienced a longer than usual wait to get served but it was busy so was somewhat understandable. It took 25mins for the entree to come and our main meals probably 15min after that. My friend and I shared the meat platter and like Jodie S, it was also served up to us slightly warmer than room temperature. You're buying into the premise that the meat is come straight off the grill so when asked if everything was okay, I said in no uncertain terms it was cold. We honestly expected it to be thrown back on the grill but to their credit, they served us up a new one.

Had the troubles stopped there, they could have walked away with their reputation slightly tarnished but a place worth trying regardless. The second platter came out hot which was obviously what we were expecting - must admit I'm not sure if it was the finest cuts of meat, some of it was very salty - it just really didn't taste like anything special, no real spice or marinade or seasoning. It was just okay.

Then we cut into the chicken. The thing with chicken obviously, it's very easy to assume it's cooked from the white flesh on top. The further we cut into it, the pinker it got until we discovered blood at the bone and it was severely undercooked.

Obviously in these instances when the restaurant is putting people's health at risk, you have to say something. I took it to the chef and asked him if that's how it's intended to be cooked? Naturally, he apologised profusely.

And if only it that was the end of it. I made it clear that having first been served a cold plate of food then to have it served to me raw, that i didn't feel I should be paying for that. The chef's opinion was that they did us a great favour in serving us a whole new platter - as if I should be grateful to have been served raw chicken! I simply was not going to accept his rationale and he knew it, eventually agreeing to waiver this particular item from our bill. I saw him approach the lady who was about to serve my friends with the bill and utter something in her ear.

A satisfactory outcome. Or so I thought. We went to pay the bill, there was three of us and my two friends approached the counter first. Without presenting the receipt, the server verbally quoted a figure of $76 and we agreed to split the bill in thirds but to save the hassle we decided to put it on one card and split later. In the meantime, another gentlemen approached the server and another conversation took place as my friend presented her card and punched in her numbers without entirely realising the figure she was paying was different to what she had been told. With the transaction finalised, my friend was presented with the receipt of $106 with the $30 platter at the last second finding it's way back on to the bill. I heard my friend question this and I had to leap in there and let them know that this was not on. And if you've been to this place, you know the counter is right on the corner of the bar with patrons down either side. Now she was towing the party line that they have served a new platter but as I had agreed with the owner than I wasn't going to pay, this was not something I was going to let go. I don't think phrases like "you served us raw chicken" at a BBQ restaurant go down well in front of others customers, so the gentlemen in the shadows who seemed to be pulling strings comes up the lady again, whispers something in the ear, then somewhat defeatedly, she withdraws $30 from the till.

So not only a lacklustre and almost dangerous gastronomic experience, it was bloodied by underhanded and arrogant service.

Do I recommend El Sizlling Chorizo? No. No, I do not. Approach with caution to say the least.

4 star rating
by Gus
Mar 15, 2013

Went to dinner with friends and had a fine meal. The service was a little slow, but I can forgive as the restaurant hadn't been open that long. Besides the waitress was eager enough so it wasn't for lack of trying!! It was more than made up for by the food and wine at such reasonable prices!! We had the empanadas for entree; wonderful spicy filling and pastry, what's not to like? My beef steak was thick and juicy, and the chimichurri raised it to another level. Washed down with a few glasses of malbec I enjoyed my dining experience

1 star rating
by Jodie Salmond
Mar 05, 2013

Took ages to get my food, wasn't that busy - like half an hour. When it arrived looked great but was not hot only a little bit warm. Asked them if it was meant to be like that, apparently it's meant to be hot! They offered to reheat it for me and chucked it back on the grill - with bits of salad stuck all over it - and ten minutes later I paid for my beer and left still hungry and sick of waiting for my still heating meat.

1 star rating
by Atenita Noel
Mar 02, 2013

The aroma coming off this place is heavenly and for the most part the meats are delicious though inconsistent half the time. Service leaves a lot to be desired. We ordered the fries a couple of minutes after ordering the meats, and they arrived as we had finished our food.
And here's the worst part: we ate in the outdoor area and were soon strangely joined by a few of the staff members (cook included) who decided to take their beer and cigarette breaks at our table. They crammed in beside us on the bench and proceeded to talk loudly and really disrespectfully for the entire time we sat there. I'm quite easy-going but this was by far the most inappropriate behavior I have ever witnessed by staff. Absolutely zero regard for paying customers, did not enjoy the experience at all. Won't come back.
Get your act together people, this is a business.

3 star rating
by Wupping
Feb 01, 2013

I think a couple of the above reviews are written by the owners !

There is nothing wrong with the food but it is simply meat on a barbie.

4 star rating
by Sheridan Hancock
Jan 31, 2013

Went here on a Wednesday night with two girlfriends and it was great. The place was buzzing, the staff were very friendly and the wine cheap and delicious. The food came quickly and the short ribs were tasty although a little fatty. For $17 though, I can't complain and would definitely go back to try some more of the awesome food.

5 star rating
by Mirco Merazzi
Jan 04, 2013

Had the chorizos and fries for lunch. These sausages have to be among the best I've ever had. Not cheap but definitely worth the money. Good place to visit with children as they can run around. Certainly planning to go there again.

3 star rating
by Caroline Harper
Dec 22, 2012

Disappointing would summarise. Meat fatty and tough - bread and chips however were delicious. Staff very pleasant. Dogs, yes dogs everywhere - five in the immediate vicinity of our table waiting for scraps - found that pretty bizarre to say the least. Would not go back to Ponsonby Central.

3 star rating
by Isaac James Railey
Dec 13, 2012

A bit like an expensive barbie, beers were warm and food was expensive for what we received, on the other hand service and the wine was good. Probably would not go back.

5 star rating
by Phil Steele
Dec 09, 2012

I have eaten here twice now. Amazing grilled meats and delicious empanadas. The chorizo is succulent, combined with delicious chimmichurri sauce and for 10 bucks you get two of them plus salad and bread.

The sirloin is tender and grilled to your liking, nothing beats steak grilled over a real wood fired grill. The Malbec goes very well with the steak.

Amazing value for money, very friendly service. I'd recommend avoiding peak times if you are in a bigger group.

5 star rating
by Natalie Huggard
Dec 07, 2012

Delicious, authentic Argentinian food. Great to meet up with friends or have a lunch on the run. Love the atmosphere in this place, and nice to have a different type of ethnic food in the city.
I'll be back!