It has been a couple of years since I last visited Baia the Italian at Cockle Bay wharf, but I was pleasantly surprised by the revamp that the place has undergone in that time. It used to be a restaurant with mediocre Italian food that was fairly overpriced but they have really upped their game now.
We’re shown to a harbourfront table with comfy cushions on the lounge type seats and have a fantastic view of Darling Harbour, to peruse the menu with many Italian dishes on offer. It’s a bit hard to get our waiter’s attention because we’re seated away from the main restaurant area as a result of our harbourfront location but he eventually comes over.
We’re in for a treat tonight – the food is much better than I remember and tastes just as mouthwatering as their descriptions on the menu suggest. My favourite dish was the housemade ravioloni with prawn and scallop, shellfish cream and salmon roe. Ravioloni is like a larger version of ravioli; basically they’re pasta parcels filled with a juicy scallop and prawn each and drizzled with a creamy sauce. It was a shame that there were only 5 ravioloni parcels because I could have definitely eaten more.
We also had the Arctic crab risotto with roasted squash puree and basil. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste any of the other flavours except for the crab and potentially some squash which turned the risotto yellow, although that could have been because of the saffron. It wasn’t bad and was quite a well portioned serving which left us fairly full.
Arctic crab risotto, $26
My friends are fans of meatlover pizzas, so we got the more gourmet version of that called “The Butcher” pizza which came with tomato, mozzarella, roasted leg ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni and BBQ chicken. All the toppings tasted great and fresh and I liked the thin crispy base.
The Butcher pizza, $26.50
We also had the housemade gnocchi with basil, cherry tomatoes, ricotta and white wine sauce, which was light but fairly filling due to the potato inside the gnocchi. After all the flavour overload with the ravioloni, this pasta dish tasted a bit bland in comparison.
Gnocchi special of the day, $24.50
It was lovely to spend a few hours with friends by the glistening harbour, as the sun slowly went down and I would recommend this place on a warm, balmy summer’s night to make the most of the location. I also had a glass of 2007 Italian moscato which was the cherry on the cake, capping off a great experience here.
Italian 2007 Moscato, $15 per glass
Baia the Italian
Shop 114 Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9283 3434