Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bar Reggio, Darlinghurst

A few weeks ago, the boss decided to plan a staff dinner which ended up being our Xmas party. They were all in the mood for pizza and somehow it ended up being at Bar Reggio because the boss and a colleague really loved it when they were there a while ago. We were originally planning to show up without a booking but after hearing that it gets really packed (and it was a Thursday night), it was my job to book a table at the very last minute. Thankfully there was only 8 of us so it wasn't too bad but we were reminded that we had to finish off after 2 hours.

Despite being quite close to each other, Bar Reggio is much cheaper with a traditional, old-school Italian appeal than the nearby modern-Italian Verde Restaurant. It is strictly BYO only at $2 pp so remember to buy your drinks beforehand if you feel like having a beer or wine with your meal. The atmosphere is incredibly noisy so it was hard for me to speak to my colleagues a few seats away without getting out of my seat or screaming my lungs out (mostly the latter because the table space was quite cramped). But that's the charm about this family-run restaurant. Bar Reggio has serving hungry customers for more than 20 years with little changes to the interior decor and yet it still gets the crowds and even the queues outside the door to this day. Just cheap and cheerful Italian fare with no fuss. They even have a courtyard if you want to dine and chill outside. 

We didn't bother with any entrees or sides this time. There was so many choices for pizzas and pastas so we went straight to ordering them. There is even some decent vegetarian options for pizzas and pastas which should satisfy those who cannot eat meat and seafood for personal, dietary or religious reasons. The pizzas and pastas were more towards the rustic, simple appeal with uneven slices and even quite a few burnt edges rather than the more fancy, neat gourmet ones that have been opening around recently. A crisp pizza base which isn't too thin nor is it too thick with stringy mozzarella cheese are a winning combo for me when I got to try a slice of each pizza. 

The Palmer Street was the first slice that I tried out of the 6 different flavours of pizzas that we tried. It was stacked with pepperoni, pineapple, onion, chilli and mushrooms. The flavours tasted quite nice together. Also for me, any pizza with pepperoni makes me happy.

Palmer Street (S - $14, L - $17)

I know that Supreme pizzas packed with every single topping except for seafood and chicken isn't authentic Italian but I still enjoy trying them. It's also a fave for my folks whenever they order from Domino's or Pizza Hut because you get to try a bit of everything on the pizza. Bar Reggio's version is made fresh and on the spot in their wood-fired oven near the front. The many ingredients were quite flavoursome and satisfied the many hungry diners at the table.

Supreme (S - $14, L - $17)

Like most pizza restaurants, seafood pizzas are generally the more expensive items on the menu. Bar Reggio is no exception. Their Reggio pizza contains only garlic and chilli prawns but it's one of the most expensive out of the pizzas. While I really loved the taste, I was hoping there would be more prawns since there were a few slices when there was almost no toppings.

Reggio (S - $16, L - $20)

There were a couple of vegetarians in our group so a few non-meat pizzas were necessary such as the above and below. Scattered with various seasonal veggie toppings including onions, olives, mushroom and green capsicum; I will certainly be trying this again next time I'm planning a meatless day. Lots of flavours and toppings to enjoy and satisfy your taste buds even if you are a carnivore.

Vegetarian (S - $14, L - $16)

After ordering 4 large pizzas, we realised that this wasn't enough for 8 hungry people! We ended up deciding on ordering the Marinara which turned out to be the favourite for everyone on the table. It is topped with perch fillet, prawns, calamari, chilli and garlic. The prawns had a nice bitey and plump texture that matched well with the softly shredded perch fillets. While there was chilli, we did feel compelled to use the extra chilli provided on our table for the added flavour. Regardless, the Marinara was the winning pizza for us and worth the $20.

Marinara (S - $16, L - $20)

I was getting terribly full by this point but I'm a sucker for prosciutto. The trecolore came to our table topped with prosciutto, rocket, garlic and mozzarella. Unlike the other pizzas on the menu, this is the only one that has a white base instead of a tomato sauce base. The taste remained fairly tasty and I do loved the sliced prosciutto. The rocket was quite strong though especially when a bundle of it is stacked on top of your slice.

Trecolore (S - $14, L - $17)

Looks rustic but not too soft or hard. The texture had a bite which I liked although I don't usually eat risotto. The winner for me is the tangy napoli sauce that adds a fruitful taste to this dish that will please those who want to try risotto but not a fan of creamy bases (like me lol).  

Vegetarian Risotto with mixed vegetables and napoli sauce ($16.00)

I try much nor was I able to catch the name of the below dish (Penne Napoli possibly? - $12.00) but the flavour seemed ok for me. My colleagues said that they preferred the pizzas and found the pasta overcooked though. 

Penne Napoli (I think?)

We all ordered a variety of desserts which were actually incredibly cheap and easy for those who do not want to spend on too many dishes but still feel like something sweet. No seriously. The prices of the desserts here range between $5 to $8 and you get more out of it with its generous servings. I didn't try my colleagues' desserts but they seem very satisfied in the end.

Baked Ricotta Cheesecake ($6.00)

One of the more heavier and creamier (and cheesier!) versions of tiramisu that I've noticed. It will get you even more full than you already are. It's the most expensive out of the desserts but worth the buck.

Homemade Tiramisu ($8.00)

I was indecisive about my dessert selection but eventually chose the Bianco and Nero which is basically a profiterole filled with vanilla custard and covered with milk chocolate. It may be $5.00 but the serving is pretty big too. Didn't mind the whipped cream on the side as it does take away the bitterness when it gets to you. Cannot get enough of that creamy vanilla custard that oozes out of the profiterole once you take a bite out of it.

Bianco and Nero ($5.00)

Would love to try the below dessert next time I'm at Bar Reggio. Anything covered with chocolate sounds heavenly to me.

Baci ($5.50)

It may not be fancy and the seats and tables can be cramped at time, it's definitely cheap and cheerful. The colleagues loved it too. The service was not bad though very busy at times especially with the increasing number of diners as the night progresses. With decent servings and affordable prices, it's no wonder that it's been around for at least 20 years. Great place for large groups and family gatherings. Just prepare to wait in queues at peak times if you don't book in advance. Many thanks to my colleagues for being patient while I take the shots and even offering to be hand models for the night!

Bar Reggio
135 Crown Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9332 1129
Lunch and Dinner: Mon - Sat 12:00pm to Late
Bar Reggio on Urbanspoon


  1. this used to be our go to place for italian when we worked down the street! i actually miss it

  2. Dear Annie,

    The pizzas look like great value and that huge tiramisu for only $8 tells me this place is a cheap and happy old world Italian.

  3. We used to have our work xmas party here too. It's cheap and cheerful but I agree that the pastas can be a little soggy.