Working the Darlo Italian wine bar turf is newcomer DiWine.
It’s tucked in between perennial favourites, Lucio Pizzeria and Phamish, in the lively Republic 2 courtyard.
With time in the kitchen at Il Baretto, it should be no surprise that owner/chef Vittorio Esposito is making pasta in-house.
It scrubs up particularly well as Strozzapreti with Swordfish ($26), which you might even be able to nab for just $25 with the wine of the week, if chef dubs it ‘pasta of the day’.
For those more interested in the wine part of the equation, you’ll find a decent by-the-glass list with good descriptors, covering Italy, New Zealand and Australia. Better yet: snaffle a whole bottle for (mostly) less than fifty bucks. The 2012 Bertani Soave Sereole DOC ($11/$44) gives you a taste of the Italian seaside when taken with sweet, fleshy Figs ($10), prosciutto and Gorgonzola.
Spot-on cooking keeps Mussels in Black Pepper Broth ($15) plump and briny, even when they’re physically small.
And I’m not telling you anything new when I say buddy up those bivalves with beer. Sardinian Ichnusa ($7) is clean and well balanced, though artisanal Birra Gjulia TOZ ($14) from Friuli is more where I'm at.
Finish with a straight-ahead Beef Tagliata ($26) – well-charred on the outside, and pleasantly pink within.
248 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 8354 1086