When it comes to harbourside dining in Sydney, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo certainly grab the attention. But scattered around the foreshore lie a number of landmark restaurants that entice customers elsewhere with attention-grabbing menus, fitting cuisine options, gorgeous decor, and wine lists suitable for every palate. For our latest restaurant venture, we stepped outside the shadow of the Crown Casino and turned our gaze towards the Woolloomooloo Wharf dining precinct where Champagne flows and seafood is served fresh.
A long lunch was the order of the day, and Il Pontile delivered. Piloted by fourth-generation Naple-born restaurateur and chef Mario Percuoco, the restaurant is making its mark on the Woolloomooloo Wharf dining precinct by offering a fresh, sophisticated take on Italian cuisine. The new restaurant opened in late 2021 and the fit-out is beautiful, matched only by a menu that reflects Percuoco’s home, passion, and attitude to simple yet explosive flavours. Let’s check it out.
UPDATE 12/04/2023: Il Pontile has sadly closed as of April 2023.
Il Pontile Restaurant Review
What we ate: Ricciola, Mozzarella in Carrozza (con Prosciutto San Daniele), Linguine al Cartoccio, Steak, Tiramisu.
What we drank: Pink Cartel, 2020 Juice Asylum ‘Il Terzo Grado’, Sangiovese.
Highlight: Linguine al Cartoccio (Linguine baked in a parcel with mixed seafood), outstanding service.
What’s the Venue Like?
First cab off the rank as you approach the wharf, Il Pontile is situated behind a line of olive trees and recognised by its array of leather couches and exceptionally bright interior. White table cloths are suitably absent, as traditional artwork lines the walls, with a bar set off to one side, and a cool room filled with Italian, French and Australian wines placed in an intriguing central location. Our table located off to the side of the main entrance would be our pick of the bunch, as you cast your eye over the water and reconsider a life of Investment Banking, Yachts and Ferraris.
From the moment we sat down at the table, exceptional, knowledgeable service continued for the duration of our stay. While we typically receive such services as ‘VIP Guests’ we took note that this level of service followed through to all patrons, and while the waiters and waitresses changed intermittently there was never a moment of confusion. Of course, it’s the kind of service you expect from a restaurant of such acclaim, but far too often you’re left disappointed – not the case with Il Pontile.
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Is the Food at Il Pontile Good?
Good service should always carry through to the menu. Recommendations from staff were never hard to find at Il Pontile, and with a range of red meat, seafood, and cured meat options available we had no trouble honing in on a few favourites.
Of course, we had to start with a little fresh fish and cheese, opting for the Ricciola, Kingfish with citrus fruits and Tobiko, shortly followed up by the Mozzarella in Carrozza, Smoked mozzarella coated in breadcrumbs and confit cherry tomatoes. In our minds it’s as simple as this, “if you’re next to the water, start with a Kingfish Crudo” not only is fresh fish a great way to start a meal but it’s a great precursor for what to expect in the seafood main you choose. The saying rings true here, the Ricciola delivered with added freshness by way of fresh Raspberries, but we’d swap out the smoked Mozzarella for the Burrata with peaches and Hazelnut.
Without even asking for a recommendation, our waitress pointed us toward the Linguine al Cartoccio pictured above. The most famous item on the menu at Il Pontile, we’d read good things about this seafood pasta medley, but believe us when we say no amount of thought can prepare you for this offering. We’ve sat here and tried to put into words how this dish tastes, in simple terms it’s exceptional, maybe our favourite dish of the year – an absolute must-have for seafood lovers everywhere. Served for you at the table, the flavours are ever-changing and the combination on the palate is to die for. Switching between mussels, pipis, prawns, and squid it features everything we look for in a dish; texture, flavour, 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. This is what harbourside dining is about”.
Our afternoon was brought to a comfortable close with a delicate Tiramisu served in a tall glass accompanied by a shot of Limoncello, paramount when sitting at any quality Italian restaurant. Do we recommend Il Pontile? Absolutely. The Linguine al Cartoccio is so out of this world you might see us down there next weekend. Or maybe every weekend until 2023… who knows?
Located in: Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Address: S2/6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Hours: Mon-Sun 12–3:30pm, 6–10pm
Phone: 1800 517 203
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