115 Riley St (Cnr Stanley St)
Darlinghurst, Sydney

Verde (not to be confused with renowned Italian operatic composer Giuseppe Verdi) means green in Italian. With green often being associated with life, Verde certainly showcases this! The whole place is alive - it has a home away from home feel to it but at the same time you know you're in a lovely restaurant with the smell of great food wafting across the room. Verde opens out so you can watch the world go by - and its corner position and two floors (the upper one with a balcony) it takes in all the activity of Darlinghursts "Little Italy".

Owner and Head Chef Antonio Ruggerino has created a lovely relaxed place transformed from its former fine dining into a comfortable homey place. He also pops out to greet guests quite regularly - a nice touch that people appreciate.

The first nibble to arrive were some lovely Sicilian green olives - and a dish for the pips! We then tried the arancini balls with grape tomato salsa - so nice and great flavours, then chilli dusted calamari - so tender, it melted and again plenty of flavour, and finally the zucchini flowers filled with ricotta and spinach - these were also tender and had a subtle taste that was delicious. Any of these would have been a great starter on their own, but having all three together was a delightful way to start the meal.

Italian pasta dishes are a staple - and for good reasons.

We couldn't resist trying the spaghettini crab (picked blue swimmer), grape tomato, garlic, chilli and white wine.

This was extremely tasty with plenty of sweet crab and a great combination of flavours. We devoured it eagerly.

Our next dish was the pan fried snapper which came with saffron pappardelle, peas, baby capers and butter sauce.

We loved the presentation of this dish. The vibrant green of the peas and capers offset perfectly with the crisp white fish and al dente papardelle. It was a beautiful piece of fish as well that was perfectly cooked and it had a  lovely crisp skin on top - just what Mlady loves!

Show me a duck dish on a menu and I'll probably order it! So the confit of ducks leg, herb gnocchi, caramelised balsamic pear was something I really wanted to try. This was a very very nice dish that was again perfectly cooked. The duck was so tender and so full of flavour and the herbed gnocchi was a great addition and one of the best we've had!

Being red drinkers we sipped a lovely 2011 Salvali Valpollcella from Quinzano Italy that was recommended by Restaurant Manager Ronnie.

Our first dessert was a generous serving of buffalo gelato with berries.

This was so refreshing and tasty.

It was a lovely vanilla gelato that came with honey - a combination that went extremely well. Mlady is a bit of a vanilla ice cream connoisseur and she said that this was great vanilla ice cream! It was very moreish and went so well with the fruity berry mix.

Our second and final dessert for the night was an Italian favourite - tiramisu.

We've tried tiramisu at many many places, it's something we both love. This version at Verde not only looked great, it was also very light and delicate and yet full of flavour. Just lovely again!.

It was again a generous sized serving too - which certainly satisfied us.

Owner and Head Chef Antonio Ruggerino

We had a really lovely meal at Verde in lovely surroundings. Service was relaxed and friendly but also efficient.

The food here is impressive - plenty of flavour, decent sized servings and great combinations.

The place has charm - added to with the periodic appearances of Antonio briefly chatting with his guests.

Sir and Mlady dined as guest of Verde and its owner and head chef Antonio Ruggerino. Thanks to Ronnie for looking after us so well. Special thanks also to Sarah Steel from Platinum Media and Communications for arranging our visit.

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