Time Out Sydney

When was the last time you sat down at an Italian restaurant but really felt like sushi and dumplings instead? 

Criniti’s at Woolloomooloo are either mad or genius, offering Italian-Japanese mash-ups like prosciutto sushi and dumplings stuffed with truffle porcini or tomato and mozzarella. It sounds a little trippy to us, but staff reckon they’re a hit with diners, even if they’re not looking to extend the concept to other Criniti's outlets just yet. 

This 320-seat Woolloomooloo outpost is determined to dazzle, adorned with two working Ducati motorbikes suspended from the ceiling and a gleaming Ferrari engine upstairs. Criniti’s has always had a loyal following from families and groups of young people, but here they’re also looking to crack the local corporate market, with a few suits dotting the dining room.
Not into Italian sushi? Never fear. The standard Criniti’s menu is all here: a map-sized list of options that lists a staggering 187 different dishes in old-school typewriter front. 
There are over 30 kinds of wood-fired pizza but classics like the Margherita are a lesson in quality over quantity. Fat slices of true D.O.P. buffalo mozzarella melt into stretchy puddles on a thin and blistered tomato base. You can upsize any pizza to a half-or-full-metre. Keep an eye on the free dough-tossing show in the pizza kitchen too.
The pastas are a standout, all handmade and cooked al dente. Get the spaghetti e polpette and you’ve got two dishes in one, with a hefty Mama Criniti’s meatball taking centre stage. The gnocchi ai quattro formaggi is not for the faint-of-heart: light-as-air potato pillows are smothered in a four cheese bonanza of gorgonzola, parmigiano, mozzarella and scamorza with cream.
The behemoth menu features everything from organic saltbush lamb spiedini skewers to lobster mornay to an eye-popping 750g triple decker burger. Vegetarians are looked after too, with wood-fired mushrooms, Calabrese heirloom tomato salad, corn fritters, battered zucchini flowers and more. 
Knock back a Goodfellas-themed Martini or Italian artisanal beer from the comprehensive wine list but if you really want to get into the spirit, order one of the communal cocktails served in giant novelty barrels and gondolas. You can even drink out of a ceramic Colosseum or a Leaning Tower of Pisa. Whatever you do, save room for some zeppole, hot Italian donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with warm Nutella.


Want more restaurant reviews and food events? Sign up to our monthly Food & Drink newsletter

Updated on 24 Apr 2014.

By Helen Yee   |   Photos by Helen Yee

Criniti's - Woolloomooloo details

Shop 2
6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo 2011

Telephone 1300 274 648

Price per person including drinks $51 to $100

Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-late; Sat-Sun 9am-late

Criniti's - Woolloomooloo website

Criniti's - Woolloomooloo map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby


Manta is a seafood and steak restaurant in the middle of the row of...

Aki's Indian

Pancake fanciers, let us introduce you to the magical world of...

China Doll

Stepped-up pan-Asian gear with water views. 

Otto Ristorante

This waterside Italian restaurant offers one of the best vegan menus in the...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

Blue Hotel

13m - The former W hotel in the historic Woolloomooloo Wharf is now owned by Taj,...

Woolloomooloo Wharf

44m - Woolloomooloo Wharf (also known as Finger Wharf) is a historic timber wharf...


74m - Many have called Woolloomooloo’s historic Gunnery Building ‘home’ over...

Frisco Hotel

205m - This petite bed and breakfast has a personalised atmosphere. If you are...

More venues nearby

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more