“I’d come here for espresso martinis and the chocolate tart,” declares my dining companion at the end of our meal. She’s not wrong – the smooth Sovereign Espresso Martini ($18) with Patrón XO Café and Grey Goose would make an affable post-meal companion for their standout Warm Chocolate Tart ($12). I’m sipping Old Smokey ($18) another martini-style drink uniting Remy Martin VSOP Cognac and Ardbeg 10-year whisky using a dash of Disaronno Amaretto. It’s a cut above what I’d expect to be drinking in Darling Harbour, at the site formerly known as Casa di Nico; and testament to the success of their shift from a family-style red and white tablecloths joint, to a more sophisticated eating and drinking venue. And if you’re after drinking snacks, the pumpkin and smoked mozzarella Arancini ($16.90) here, eat better than most. Paul Papadopolous’s (DS17) redesign included making space for a traditional wood fire pizza oven, so do try out Sicilian-born pizzaiolo Salvatore D’Avola’s work, perhaps alla Gamberi ($27.90) dotted with prawns, goat’s milk fetta, semi-dried tomatoes and rocket? You’ll also find a charry 400g Angus Bistecca Alla Fiorentina ($34.90) cooked on the bone and served with lovely rosemary potatoes; plus Lobster and Crab Ravioli ($29.90) in a shellfish butter sauce – pasta a shade thick for my taste, but decadent none-the-less.
Casa Ristorante Italiano
42-48 The Promenade, King Street Wharf, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9279 4115 lovecasa.com.au
Italian, Pizza, Cocktails $$$-$$$$