Originally from Calabria, she grew up in Melbourne where she met her German husband Bodo Luckfiel. They moved to Auckland in 1973 opening their first restaurant in Mt Eden. Gina says her biggest challenge in those days was sourcing basic ingredients like olive oil (which she bought from the pharmacy) and Italian cheeses and salami, which were sometimes smuggled in from Melbourne by visiting family and friends.
They soon opened their second restaurant in Victoria St in Auckland City and their third in Symonds St which remains today.
Like many Italian women, Gina is a wonderful cook. And like many Italians, she is the epitome of generous Italian hospitality. With their warm and gracious hosting – not to mention delicious home-cooked food – Gina and Bodo introduced the beginnings of true trattoria-style dining to Auckland.
My friends and I became a regular fixture at Gina’s around 1995. They were die-hard pizza fans and for me, well, it was the beginning of my love affair for all things Italian. The food, wine, culture, L’amore … I met my Italian husband Alessandro and oh my God he could cook! Friends and I would invite him over and he’d make pizza, pasta and gnocchi from scratch! “Marry him!” they all cried.
Then I introduced Alessandro to Gina. “Marry him!” she said. And so we did. Not long after we married, Gina and Bodo asked us to take over their business. Theirs were big boots to fill, but we were up for it. To this day we continue in their tradition of preparing warm, hearty Italian food served in a style that is generous and down-to-earth.
Thank you for visiting us online, we hope to see you soon at Gina’s!