The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Romano’s – A Romantic Italian Dinner on Hamilton Island

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on March 19, 2010

On the first night of our stay on Hamilton Island, when reviewing the dining options on the island, we noted a nice Italian restaurant on the water called Romano’s.  Once we decided to book a Sunset cruise, we thought that having dinner afterward at Romano’s might be a nice way to end this portion of our vacation.  We stopped by the restaurant the first night prior to dining at Manta Ray Cafe and made a booking.  We also double checked on what the attire was and learned it was “smart casual” (aka no singlets or flip flops).  We booked the table for 7:30 ensuring that we wouldn’t be late after the sunset cruise.

When the cruise ended at 7:00, we decided to check in early to see if a table might be available.  One was and we were promptly seated directly next to the water.

IMG_2100 The restaurant was quite spacious and we don’t think any of the tables would have been a bad choice, but we enjoyed being able to have a direct view over the water (even though it was quite dark and cloudy).

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Looking through the menu, we began drooling at all of the amazing options to choose from 🙂 A waitress offered us a variety of water options (we went with tap water) and we began looking at the wine list.  A second waitress came to take our order (and stayed with us the rest of the evening as our waitress).  The Husband quickly noted that her accent was different than most and asked where she was from.  We learned that she was from Canada and was on a working holiday in Australia.  She had been in the country for about 10 months and was now on Hamilton Island and working to make a bit of money to head home.  It was fun meeting a fellow North American 🙂

We asked her how patrons normally order to gauge the size of the dishes.  In traditional Italian restaurants, we had the understanding that it’s common for each individual to order a primi, a pasta, and a secondi, and with the pretty expensive prices (about $30 per item) that made us a bit nervous.  We learned, though, that the pastas and entrees were quite large so we decided to order one from each course to share.

To start, we ordered a bottle of wine.  We saw that the menu offered the Wild Oats winery wines from Mudgee, the same winery that I’d enjoyed a Chardonnay from at Manta Ray Cafe.  It was also the featured wine in our mini bar (though we didn’t have it in our room) so we decided to get the Wild Oats Cabernet Merlot to share.  Although I’ve begun to drink red wine less often as I’m starting to like the dryness less, we’ve found that we like Merlots (we are fans of the Blackstone Merlot).  This one was quite good!

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For our first course, we ordered some bread with garlic and olive oil.  The bread was thick, almost cake like but not sweet.  The garlic was clearly roasted and made the olive oil so very flavorful.  We each also spread the garlic directly on our bread. If the rest of our courses were to be this good, we were going to have an amazing meal.

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Next up, we tried the  Scampi grilled with oreganata, tomato, and baby capers.  It was quite a small appetizer and if we understand the shrimp correctly, it was only two cut in half… IMG_2110

For our entrees, we shared to amazing looking meals.  Placed in front of me first was the Risotto with confit duck, mixed mushrooms, baby spinach, and herb oil. Yum! This was perfect 🙂 And it was good size dish.

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Placed in front of the Husband was the  Gnocchi with swiss brown cream, spinach, pine nuts, and truffle oil. I believe this to be the best gnocchi I’ve ever had in my entire life. Seriously. This was so good.  The gnocchi melted in our mouths. While we ate off of each other’s plates, toward the end we switched dishes and I couldn’t be happier 🙂

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IMG_2116While expensive, this meal was amazing and worth every penny.  If you find yourself on Hamilton Island and are interested in a nice, romantic meal, immediately book a table at Romano’s and eat the gnocchi! You won’t be disappointed!

Now, totally unrelated to our meal (other than it occurred afterward and the wine may have contributed to the idea), I share with you this picture 🙂 Once we get back from Australia, you’ll get a post about signs.  There are signs everywhere and so many of them crack us up.  This one was most relevant as I have flip flops with zero traction.  Luckily I haven’t fallen yet (at least on this trip), but the Husband insisted I not wear them this night.  Instead, I wore his nicer sandals as there were more traction.  With all of the rain, certain areas of the resort are quite slippery.  Probably within 10 feet, we saw 3 of these caution signs so to end the night, I went ahead and imitated the sign.  Luckily, I didn’t fall thanks to the trusty hotel umbrella 🙂

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Hamilton Island – we’ll miss you!

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