On the Waterfront

Otto's Ristorante Italiano, Sydney

For a city with one of the world's great harbors, Sydney is curiously short on places to enjoy it over lunch without straying too far from the central business district. That's why Otto's Ristorante Italiano, a trattoria on the lively, century-old Woolloomooloo Wharf, has been so welcome since it opened in May 2000. Diners sit either outside, on Philippe Starck's plastic Dr. No chairs at umbrella-shaded tables, or in the dark, clubby interior, with a private room for 14 created from a former industrial elevator. Standouts on Nino Joseph Zocali's inventive menu are simple, succulent whole baby barramundi, an Australian freshwater fish, baked with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon and a sweet-tart salad of quail saltimbocca, grilled pear, and baby Treviso radicchio. The wine list presents topnotch selections from the Hunter and Barossa valleys. A perfect pairing: the suave pear-and-honey Pieropan La Rocca 1999 and the velvety roast blue-eyed cod. Dinner, $150. At 6 Cowper Wharf Rd.; 61-2-9-368-7488; fax 61-2-9-360-6988.

Restaurant prices reflect a three-course dinner for two, excluding beverages and gratuity.