Criniti’s Darling Harbour, ($$)

Criniti’s, Darling Harbour

Address: Shop 461, 2-10 Darling Drive, Harbourside Shopping Centre,  Darling Harbour NSW 2000

Phone: 1300274 648

Website: http://www.crinitis.com.au/

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A half day at work meant the colleagues and I headed over to Darling Harbour (via monorail) for a day of food, drinks and bonding!

The monorail ride over was something different and as I hadn’t been on a monorail in a while. I thought that it was a great way to get another view of Sydney and although windows and building facades blocked the view some of the way, there was a fantastic view of QVB and Darling Harbour from the monorail.

If only the windows were cleaner and didn’t have pictures on them, we could actually see out of them better to take photos!

I can see why they are planning to take the monorail down this year- there weren’t many people on, the tickets are a little pricey considering you could walk the distance in the same time (it is quite slow), and it is hard to take photos out the window when there are stickers and pictures on them blocking the view.

That said, I wish they would have added it on to a hop on hop off bus price and use it as a bigger tourist attraction as it is definitely a unique part of Sydney.

Atmosphere

After our monorail trip, we walked over the Pyrmont Bridge to Harbourside shopping Centre.

As always, Criniti’s restaurants are very well presented. The decor is fabulous, taking you to Italy with the large woodfired pizza ovens, exposed brickwork and football jerseys.

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The gorgeous view of Darling Harbour

On this occasion we visited during the day and sat outside. I had only ever been to Criniti’s at night so it was interesting to see what the place looked like by day.

There was plenty of bright light coming in from the balcony and while the restaurant wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it is at night, there were still quite a few tables of people around us.

Service

Service wasn’t as good as during the night. We had 2 waiters look after our table during our meal and, as we all ordered drinks and food at different times, some taking longer to peruse the menu than others (guilty!), there was some confusion over who had ordered and who had not.

Overall however, they were pleasant and professional.

Food

We all ordered a variety of things.

I went for the Chicken Skewers with Lemon & Herb seasoning. They were served with three delicious sauces which tasted like aioli, chilli and prego. They also came with a fresh half a lemon (I love lemon and the fact that they weren’t stingy with it!), and a large basket of chips which was more than enough for me.

The chicken was juicy and well-seasoned; the meat had really absorbed all the flavour of the marinade. The charred capsicum and onions added some smokiness and the crispy chips definitely hit the spot!

Despite the fact that this dish cost $36.90, which is a fair bit for a casual lunch, there was plenty of chicken in the dish, it was well-cooked, the chips were perfectly crunchy and well salted, and the sauces and dish were presented nicely on the plate. Definitely work the money!

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Others in the group ordered a variety of things including:

Beetroot, pumpkin, goats cheese and walnut salad with grilled chicken $19.90 + $9.90 for the chicken

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Pizzas from $26.50

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The Prego Burger, $21.90

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Chicken Schnitzel with chips and salad $33.90

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Grilled chicken with side salad, $29.90

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The consensus was that Criniti’s had fantastic portions, delicious food, and great presentation. Everyone enjoyed their meals and we left there very full!

Cost

All of our meals + soft drinks came to about $310.

Rating

Overall I would rate my dining experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 6.5
  • Food- 8.5
  • Ambience- 6
  • Value – 7.5

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Criniti’s, Darling Harbour ($$)

Address: Level 2, Harbourside Shopping Centre, Darling Harbour

Tel: 1300 274 648

Website: http://www.crinitis.com.au/gift-voucher-darling-harbour.html

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My friend, MDS was telling me how she had never been to Criniti’s before. I couldn’t believe it as it seemed like exactly the type of place she would love.

We decided to head over there for dinner and were lucky enough to get a table despite the fact that it was busy (it being a Friday night).

Atmosphere

Criniti’s always has a fabulous atmosphere. I’ve dined here previously and it’s always been a great experience. There is something about the loud music, flaming pizza ovens and good looking Italian waiters that adds to the party vibe at Criniti’s.

On top of that, the restaurant is nearly always busy and has a great cosy feel to it. The locations- near busy hot spots like Darling Harbour and Parramatta make it easy for people to get to, and the food- crowd-pleasing-Italian, appeals to a wide range of tastes.

Service

Service is always excellent. MDS and I had one waiter who took our orders throughout the night and other waitstaff cleared the plates for us. Our waiter was polite but not very friendly and talkative. He was however, very professional and the food came out quickly and with no hiccups.

Food

MDS and I decided to order a few dishes to share.

First up was pasta. We ordered the Parpadelle Palizzi- homemade parpadelle pasta, king prawn cutlets, pancetta, basil, garlic, chilli and cherry tomatoes. The pasta was delicious. Fresh and soft pasta, well-cooked prawns and fresh tomatoes. The sauce was rich and thick, the prawns plentiful and the smoky bacon perfect with the fresh basil!

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The wedges were out little guilty side order- an alternative to salad :p. We really enjoyed them as they were crunchy, hot and served in a cute little basket which we both loved. A great snack to munch on while waiting for food or as an entree or side dish.

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The Fat Joe’s Schiacciata was delicious. The bread was doughy and soft yet cooked through, the buffalo mozzarella cheese inside was melting and gooey, the salami and olives were salty and tangy, and the herbs and sea salt added the finishing touches. My favourite part of this dish was the soft bread and melting cheese. My least favourite part was that it was a little too salty. Nonetheless a fantastic dish, full of flavour.

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Here’s a photo of the inside of the schiacciata:

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Cost:

The meal came to about $35pp.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-6.5
  • Food-7.5
  • Ambience-8.5
  • Value –7.5

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Criniti’s, Darling Harbour ($$)

Criniti’s, Darling Harbour

Address: Shop 461, 2-10 Darling Drive, Harbourside Shopping Centre,  Darling Harbour NSW 2000

Phone: 1300274 648

Website: http://www.crinitis.com.au/

* * *

So I’d been to Criniti’s once before but it was a while ago and I couldn’t really remember how much I liked it. A friend’s birthday and a group catch up was the perfect opportunity to refresh my memory!

So I had made a booking for 6 people from 7-9pm as we were told that there was a reservation for that table at 9pm.When I got there they eventually found my booking and led me to a table. However, when my friends arrived they were told that no booking existed under my name, even though I was already sitting at a table with 5 empty seats! I had to go out the front of the restaurant to retrieve my friends, which needless to say I was not too happy about!

The restaurant was very busy but there were plenty of staff available to look after the diners and it was easy to get their attention if you wanted something. It was a good atmosphere for dinner on a Friday night.

Drinks

When my friends arrived we ordered a “Dolce Vita” which was a 6 person cocktail with red wine, brandy, triple sec, strawberries, peaches, club soda, and a cinnamon stick. At $59 it was pretty pricey but between 6 people it worked out to be less than $10 each. It also lasted us the whole night!

The drink tasted like Sangria and although I don’t really like alcohol that tastes like alcohol (yes I’m an alcopop person!), it was okay. Also, the fruit that was left in the bowl after we drank the cocktail tasted great!

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Dinner

We were all pretty hungry after work so we decided to order the famous 1 metre pizza. You get to choose 3 toppings and so we decided on:

  • Bosco– chives, ricotta, D.O.P fior de latte mozzarella and porcini truffle paste;
  • Maiale– confit pork belly, caramelised onion, sugo di pomodoro, radicchio marinated in aged balsamic and olive oil;
  • Fichi– baked figs with D.O.P. mozzarella di buffala, gorgonzola cheese and prosciutto with basil.

Some of the ingredients did confuse us quite a bit, including D.O.P fior de latte mozzarella (which turns out to be mozarella made from cow’s milk), sugo di pomodoro (which is a tomato-based sauce- see http://www.theartisan.net/sugo_di_pomodoro.htm), and D.O.P. mozzarella di buffala which is buffalo mozzarella.

This huge 1 metre pizza came to $97.50. Doesn’t it look amazing?

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We also ordered a”mediterraneo” side salad for $16.90. It had lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onion, goat cheese, olives, cucumber, wood fired capsicum and aged balsamic. It was a little soggy (perhaps they have it pre-prepared?), but the dressing was delicious! We could have done with maybe one more salad as we each got only a small serving of it.

Although the pizza looked MASSIVE, we did manage to finish it off (quite proud of our efforts!), and it was definitely a winner! I am a big fan of pork belly, figs and prosciutto so those two pizzas were my favourites.

Dessert

I was already full after dinner so when a friend suggested we get the dessert platter ($49), I was a little unsure if I could handle it. However, it was a friend’s birthday and it wouldn’t be a birthday without cake, so we decided to order it.

We asked the waiter to bring out the cheering waiters with bongos along with the dessert platter to give our birthday girl three cheers! However, whilst she had gone to the bathroom a group of about 6 waiters came out and clapped and cheered the missing birthday girl! When she returned the dessert platter was already on our table waiting for her.Our waiter kindly organised for them to come out once more and cheer for her, despite being quite busy, which I thought was very nice of them.

The dessert platter consisted of cannoli, tiramisu, zeppole, creme brulee, torta di ricotta and panna cotta.

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I really LOVED the creme brulee which had a perfect toffee on top, and the yummy cinnamon sugared doughnuts dipped in hazelnut spread were heavenly! I am not a big ricotta and cannoli fan so I didn’t really enjoy those dishes. My friends told me they loved the sticky date pudding and tiramisu.

Cost

Overall the bill came to about $221 which we split between 5 people (birthday girl excluded). It was about $46 per person. I thought it was pretty good value considering it included drinks, food and dessert. The food tasted great and the service was good.

Rating

Overall I would rate my dining experience (out of 10):

    • Service- 8
    • Food- 6
    • Ambience- 8
    • Value – 6

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