Every so often I find myself in Darling Harbour and this Friday night was no different. It’s mainly because of Happy Hour and I like to make the most of the $5 drinks or 241 cocktails that I know Darling Harbour is well known for. We had just had a happy hour drink at Hard Rock Café and decided as we had a 25% off voucher for Criniti’s we might as well dine there.
Located on level two of the Harbourside Shopping Centre in Darling Harbour, Criniti’s occupies a vast area with fantastic views overlooking the water below. There is even outside seating with heaters if you prefer to dine outside, but you might need to book this in advance as when we asked to sit outside we were told there was no room.
We hadn’t made a booking but we were soon shown to a table to seat three of us. Menus were brought out and were extensive in size. One of the highlights is of course the wood fired pizza which can be as large as one, two or even three metres in size. You can view how large each size is by the entrance which has the one and two metre boards hanging up. We did think about ordering a two metre pizza to share between the three of us as a challenge to see if we could eat it, but for $150 we quickly decided against this!
If pizza isn’t your thing then there are plenty more Italian favourites including homemade pizza, salads, steaks, ribs, burgers, fish and seafood. There is also the option of takeaway and you can take advantage of the 20% saving if you decide not to eat in.
My friend and I decided to share a half metre pizza between the two of us – the Suprema (tomato, mozzarella, double smoked ham, pancetta, salame, roasted capsicum, mushrooms, olives & red onions) for $54 (the more toppings the better in my books!). My boyfriend ended up going for the lasagne with a side of sweet potato chips.
We ordered some tap water and a bottle of wine to share, but the wine order took three attempts as the waiters did not realise they did not have a number of the wines on the wine menu. All of the waiters that had served us were foreign so I assume there is a high turnover of staff and a lack of knowledge of what is currently available.
Service was painfully slow and it actually took 15 minutes for some tap water to be brought to the table, swiftly followed by the bottle of wine. Not the greatest thing when you’re thirsty. Our tap water actually arrived at the same time as the lasagne and sweet potato chips; however our pizza which arrived a few minutes after was wrong. To me it looked like the traditional size pizza, and when we finally stopped a waiter to check, she told us this was the traditional size and not the half metre which we had ordered. She took the pizza away and we had to wait a further 15 minutes for the right pizza to arrive.
Unfortunately for us we were sat at a table which had a dud light bulb which kept flashing bright and dim throughout the duration of the meal (perhaps a sign of how we were currently feeling!). This was pretty frustrating and nothing could be done about this when we asked the waiters.
Criniti’s is a bustling Italian restaurant and very noisy so holding a conversation can be quite difficult. The views are fantastic though, if you manage to get a table by the windows, and there were lots of large groups here who were seated by the windows. However, if you are seated further back like we were, there are still opportunities to take in the views.
Finally our Suprema Pizza came out and was the correct size – hooray! There was plenty of toppings and cheese and the crust was slightly charred and super crunchy. Somme of the centre pieces of pizza were a bit soggy due to the amount of toppings, but overall the Suprema Pizza was a welcome delight and had a bit of a kick to it, contrasted with the sweetness from the roasted capsicums and saltiness from the salame and pancetta. The half metre was the perfect size to share between two, but could cater for three or four if you were sharing other sides and were less hungry.
When it came to paying the bill we experienced further delays and took 10 minutes to get someone to come over. We had the entertainment book which gave us 25% off the bill and our main waiter had told us they would only charge us for a traditional sized pizza instead of the half metre due to the mistake, which was kind of them. We gave our discount voucher to the waiter when we asked for the bill, but we ended up getting the incorrect bill and were charged for two pizzas. This mistake only added to our frustration having to wait even longer for them to rectify the bill and then wait for them to take our payment.
Overall, our dinner at Criniti’s was a disappointing one. The food was actually very good and came out within a reasonable amount of time. It was the poor service that let down the whole experience from the episode of not having two of our wine choices to the slow service and wrong pizza to finally the incorrect bill.
Would I come back to Criniti’s in Darling Harbour? Not anytime soon if the service remains like this.