Fortunately there are no tempers on display here, but the thing you'll notice immediately about Criniti's is that they wear their passion on their sleeves. And on the walls. It reads like a who's who of Italian sporting and film personalities - signed soccer balls encased in Perspex on the ceiling, Ferrari memorabilia, signed Sopranos cast photos and, by far the best feature - a huge painting of ‘The Last Supper' (the Criniti version), featuring Al Pacino's Scarface, Marlon Brando's Godfather and select Sopranos and Goodfellas.
The extensive Southern Italian-focused menu is reflected in lots of tomato and olive oil-based dishes, grilled seafood and the most famous of all Southern Italian food, pizza. Our pizza azzuri (azzuri is the nickname for the Italian football team) arrives with prosciutto, mushrooms, artichokes, bocconcini and fresh ricotta on a thin base. Sometimes less is more, though- the toppings are abundant which proves slightly problematic when picking up a slice, as they seem to want to slide off.
The pasta menu offers a range of classics such as aglio e olio. Traditionally it's a dish of pasta dressed in garlic and olive oil but here they add basil, parsley, prawns and chilli. And though it's a step away from that simple southern dish we all know and love, they use good quality ingredients, the pasta is al dente and yes, there's plenty of big fat prawns.
The Seafood Spiedino - skewers of prawns, squid, octopus and scallops, char grilled and served with salad, chips and garlic aioli - looks as impressive as it tastes. The seafood has a great charred flavour and the octopus is marinated in balsamic vinegar, giving it a tangy lift but generally they leave well enough alone, flavour wise, and let the seafood take the lead.
In between courses, we notice several other tables ordering the grain-fed ribs with ‘homemade secret sauce'. If you are in a group of three or more, do try them. Why not less than three? They're huge. Fred Flintstone huge. In fact most of the dishes here are more than generously proportionate and are suited to sharing amongst several hungry people. Yabba dabba doo.
291 Church St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed 11.30am-10.30pm; Thu-Fri 11.30am-11.30pm; Sat 9.30am-11.30pm; Sun 9.30am-10.30pm|