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Otto Ristorante, Sydney

Ben Hall

Where Is It: Finger Wharf, Woolloomooloo.

Why Go: Great location coupled with fine dining.

Best For: Couples, groups of friends, special occasions.

Three Things We Loved: Al fresco dining even in winter, the seasonal menu, the fresh seafood.

The Ultimate Factor: Views of multi-million-dollar yachts and the CBD skyline.


In a city that teems with waterfront restaurants, visitors to Sydney and couples on a romantic getaway can be overwhelmed with choices of dining experiences with a view. For many of them it's all about that - the view - and the food and dining experience can be a bonus in most cases. Otto Ristorante, however takes the "dining with a view" concept to another level and has become THE place that captures the essence of The Harbour City with the added advantage of a memorable culinary experience, with a laid back attitude. It’s become so popular over the years that a second venue has been launched on Brisbane’s Queen Street. The Sydney eatery overlooks the marina at Finger Wharf, with the city skyline rising above the Botanic Garden and only a 10 minute walk away. About half the restaurant is al fresco to take advantage of the city skyline view, and it's an elegant space where you feel like you can linger for a long lunch or a late dinner; you should get a little dressed up otherwise you may feel a little out of place.

The menu:

As you'd expect, Otto's menu is dominated by Italian choices with some modern touches thrown in to make the most of the fresh produce on offer in this part of the world. As Head Chef Richard Ptacnik says: "My mission is to let the freshness of the produce and the quality of the ingredients do the talking." Fresh seafood was recommended on the Sunday night we visited. The fresh oysters were delivered that day, as was fresh water barramundi from the Northern Territory, and true to their word, the quality was remarkable for both. Being an Italian restaurant, we put a pasta dish to the test. Linguini Fraser Island with spanner crab meat, chilli, and garlic crumb appeared to be a popular dishes at Otto and for good reason. This one is classic Italian fused with great Australian produce and it pretty much sums up the essence of the restaurant. Unfortunately there was a lineup of dishes which would have to wait for another time, including some vegetarian and vegan options. The wine list is impressive, featuring Australian and New Zealand varieties alongside Italian, French and German choices hand picked to complement the menu. There are wines by the glass, and by the bottle the range is extensive including separate ranges for Northern and Southern Italy and some hard-to-find domestic offerings. The wait staff is decked out immaculately but there is an unpretentious, yet attentive, approach from all who work here which helps when it comes to the difficult task for choosing what to order from a good menu. The staff also take great pride in the quality of the food and are more than happy to pass on their favourites, if asked.

The verdict:

If you’re a couple looking for a romantic or special night out in Sydney, coupled with great views, high quality food and friendly high end service, Otto is definitely worth experiencing.

Otto Ristorante is located at 6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomoolo, NSW 2011, 02 9368 7488,

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