It’s late to the blog is this review, but the reason I’ve still done it is because I’ve been having a bit of a moan about the lack of great Italian restaurants locally. Although I wouldn’t say Pinocchios is local to me, it’s worth the drive because it’s brilliant.
From what I remember, when I first started eating in restaurants, Italians were quite fancy. Mounds of fabulous pasta with great sauces and fresh, creamy mozzarella salads were thought of as exotic. Possibly even sniffed at by some of the English meat-and-two-veg purists. In truth, Mediterranean food started my passion. I loved the fact that everything tasted fresh and was relatively easy to prepare. (It didn’t hurt that I’m a total carb monster at heart so fresh pasta and bread oozing with garlic butter was total heaven for me.)
Because I feel relatively comfortable in making Italian dishes, over time I’ve moved away from eating in Italian restaurants. Not to say I don’t love the food. Genuinely I do. But if I eat out, I like to eat something I probably wouldn’t have at home. I’m looking to expand my culinary horizon as it were. Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but the quality and number of Italian restaurants seemed to dip. Pizza joints are aplenty and there are a couple of decent chains but a real authentic Italian trattoria is much harder to find. And that’s what I loved about Pinocchios. It is a family run restaurant focussed entirely on the food.
Found in the back streets of Canterbury, Pinocchios dining room it’s self is cosy and welcoming, but there’s no pretence here. If you want fancy linens and an array of silverware, then this isn’t for you. The focus is wholly on producing great food using the best ingredients.
When we entered, there was a warm welcome and a decent sized menu in front of us within seconds. What I liked about the menu was the equal mix of meat, fish and vegetarian. Then the specials board caught my eye. Immediately drawn to the homemade seabass ravioli with clams and mussels (see post image), there was easily another five dishes I could have chosen from the specials or the main menu. As it was, the four in our party all chose differently, so we got to make a fair assessment across the board. Our choices included caprese salad, crispy squid, scallops, pizza, pasta and steak. Everything was cooked really nicely and tasted great. Make no mistake, this is not fine dining but it is wholesome, satisfying, flavoursome food. And any restaurant that serves a good spaghetti vongole is a winner with me.