When it comes to dining by Sydney Harbour, Darling Harbor and Barangaroo certainly turn heads. But scattered along the beach are a number of iconic restaurants that lure customers elsewhere with eye-catching menus, proper cuisine options, gorgeous decor, and wine lists suitable for every palate. For our latest restaurant adventure, we stepped out of the shadow of the Crown Casino and turned our gaze to the Woolloomooloo Wharf dining precinct, where champagne flows and fresh seafood is served.
A long lunch was the order of the day, and Il Pontile delivered. Helmed by Naples-born fourth-generation restaurateur and chef Mario Percuoco, the restaurant is making its mark on the Woolloomooloo Wharf dining precinct by offering a fresh and sophisticated take on Italian cuisine. The new restaurant opened in late 2021 and the design is beautiful, matched only by a menu that reflects Percuoco’s home, passion and attitude towards simple yet explosive flavors. We’ll see.
what we ate: Ricciola, Mozzarella in Carrozza (with Prosciutto San Daniele), Linguine al Cartoccio, Steak, Tiramisu.
what we drank: Pink Cartel, 2020 Juice Asylum ‘Il Terzo Grado’, Sangiovese.
Stand out:Linguine al Cartoccio (Baked Linguine in package with mixed seafood), excellent service.
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Il Pontile restaurant review
How is the place?
The first taxi in line as you approach the dock, Il Pontile is set back from a line of olive trees and is recognizable by its array of leather armchairs and exceptionally bright interior. White tablecloths are conveniently absent as traditional artwork lines the walls, with a bar set to one side and a cool room filled with Italian, French and Australian wines set in an intriguing central location. Our table set to the side of the main entrance would be our pick of the bunch, as you gaze out over the water and reconsider a life of investment banking, yachts and Ferraris.
From the moment we sat down at the table, the exceptional and knowledgeable service continued throughout our stay. While we typically receive services such as ‘VIP guests’ we noted that this level of service applied to all patrons, and although the waiters and waitresses changed intermittently, there was never a moment of confusion. Of course, it’s the kind of service you’d expect from such a prestigious restaurant, but all too often you’re left disappointed, not the case at Il Pontile.
Is the food good at Il Pontile?
Good service should always carry over to the menu. Staff recommendations were never hard to find at Il Pontile, and with a variety of red meat, seafood, and charcuterie options available, we had no trouble finding some of our favorites.
Of course we had to start with some fresh fish and cheese, opting for the ricciola, Kingfish with citrus and Tobiko, followed shortly by the Mozzarella in Carrozza, Breaded smoked mozzarella with breadcrumbs and candied cherry tomatoes. In our minds it’s as simple as this, “if you are by the water, start with a Raw Kingfish” Fresh fish is not only a great way to start a meal, but it’s also a great precursor to what you can expect in your main seafood choices. The saying rings true here, the ricciola delivered with extra freshness via fresh raspberries, but we would change the smoked mozzarella For him burrata with peaches and hazelnut.
Without even asking for a recommendation our waitress pointed us towards the Linguini al Cartoccio in the photo on top. The most famous item on the menu at Il Pontile, we had read good things about this seafood pasta concoction, but believe us when we say that no amount of thought can prepare you for this offering. We sit here and try to put into words what this dish tastes like, in simple terms, it’s exceptional, perhaps our favorite dish of the year: an absolute necessity for seafood lovers everywhere. Served for you at the table, the flavors are constantly changing and the combination on the palate is to die for. Alternating between mussels, pipis, prawns and squid, it presents everything we look for in a plate; texture, flavor, seasoning, a touch of umami and unmatched freshness.
“Visit Il Pontile, order this dish, buy a bottle of Italian wine and celebrate the weekend in style. That’s what dining by the harbor is all about.”
Our evening ended comfortably with a delicate tiramisu served in a tall glass accompanied by a shot of limoncello, paramount when sitting down in any quality Italian restaurant. Do we recommend Il Pontile? Absolutely. He Linguini al Cartoccio it’s so out of this world you could see us there next weekend. Or maybe every weekend until 2023… who knows?
Situated in: Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Direction: Road S2/6 Cowper Wharf, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Hours: Mon-Sun 12–3:30pm, 6–10pm
Phone: 1800 517 203
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