Il Pontile is the newest Italian restaurant in Sydney. It sits pretty beside the harbour along the glam Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf. Reviewed by Cathy Wagstaff
There’s a new kid on the dining block along Sydney’s heritage Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf. Sitting beside some of the city’s finest dining venues – the likes of Otto Ristorante, China Doll and Manta Restaurant and Bar, among others – the expectations for Il Pontile’s fresh foray into Italian cuisine are high.
Il Pontile means ‘wharf’ in Italian, a fitting name inspired by the restaurant’s location. The menu is sophisticated and diverse. It showcases fare from across Italy’s different regions, with a strong focus on fresh seafood and the best of local seasonal produce.
The best views in Sydney
I – like many Sydneysiders – love nothing more than outdoor dining, especially when I can spend an afternoon or evening with a view of luxury yachts on the harbour, casually people-watching while enjoying live jazz, great cocktails and divine Italian fare. Il Pontile has a solid appeal.
Prosecco in hand, my fellow diner and I begin the difficult task of choosing just what to eat. So many dishes catch my eye. We decide to share three entrees: the Ricciola, a crudo of kingfish beautifully presented with the tiniest edible purple blossoms, fresh raspberries and fish roe.
Then the incredible zucchini flowers in the lightest tempura coating filled with whipped ricotta. Our third was a personal favourite of burrata. This was served on a bed of peach slices surrounded by hazelnuts and drizzled with a delicate dressing. Our selections were all prepared perfectly, and just writing about them, I am salivating.
The standout of the day was the signature dish: Linguine al Cartoccio, a seafood pasta baked in a parcel, opened and served at your table, letting the steam and exquisite aromas waft over the restaurant. It was served with suitable pomp and flair, the process well worth videoing – but I missed the opportunity as I was too engaged with the presentation.
Next up on the main-front was the Tagliata di Tonno in Crosta di Pistacchi, a melt-in-your-mouth pistachio-crusted yellowfin tuna fillet. We shared both dishes and the generous sizes were perfect.
We finished the meal with a perfectly made Tiramisu that was a great finale to the dining experience.
The service was impeccable, which is a feat in itself considering the current shortage of trained hospitality staff Sydney now has thanks to COVID. Waiters were mainly Italian with exceptional knowledge of the menu and the extensive wine list, which was predominantly Italian, with a few great Australian and French varietals sprinkled throughout.
The venue itself is as memorable as its menu, with Il Pontile engaging a local firm, Bang Architects, for its interiors. The result is a space that reflects true Italian sophistication – think natural materials and tones across two levels. Larger groups will appreciate the private dining area on the mezzanine – perfect for celebrations and events.
While a glass cellar in the middle of the restaurant on ground level showcases an impressive selection of wines, each bottle hand-chosen to partner well with the cuisine. A few more plants around the outside dining area would make it feel even more exclusive.
For special occasions, consider booking the chef’s table, the only one of its kind among the wharf’s restaurants. This is the ultimate intimate setting for small groups to enjoy a parade of delicious dishes.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 12pm till 4pm and 6pm till 10pm. Make a reservation here.
Located inside Ovolo Woolloomooloo, at S2/6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
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