NileGuide Expert Says:
Stuck for something different and laid back to do on a sultry Sunday evening? Choose your pizza and a glass of house wine or Italian boutique beer for only $25.
21 Hickson Road
2000 Sydney, Australia
tel: 9247 4444
Not just a pizzeria, Ventuno also bills itself as part wine bar and part pub. But it's much more than the sum of these parts.
The Walsh Bay location helps. So does the casual open plan design and feel. By day, it's light and breezy with shimmering views to the adjacent harborside marina and wharves from an alfresco area shaded by large market umbrellas; by night Ventuno gets all moody with blues tunes, dark wooden interiors, sumptuous leather lounges and sexy selective lighting courtesy of some very sharp pendants.
Nothing unusual or inspiring about the drinks menu. Standard cocktails and beers abound, which is fine (although the Chilean Pisco Sour seemed a little out of place), but things get very Italian with the wines, with many by the glass, including an 'intense' Caldora "Yume", Montepulciano.
As for the kitchen though, it's classic Italian fare, ranging from antitpasti platters (try the Cicciona - meatballs, rice balls, mix bruschettine, fried calamari and eggplant roulade), to insalata, pasta (orecchiette with broccoli, roasted sausage and shaved Pecorino), and of course pizzas (more than a dozen to choose from).
Service can be a bit hit and miss, so if you're not in a hurry to catch a show at the nearby Wharf or Sydney Theaters, Ventuno is a little bit of the Italian Riviera right on Sydney Harbor.
PS: Ventuno is one of the few restaurants with its own marina berth. Perfect when you're feeling peckish while out boating.