Words and photo Neill Barston
Over the past years Pinocchio’s, in Castle Street, has established an enviable reputation among its loyal customer base. As its amiable owner Massimo Fierro explains, steering the restaurant’s development during his 15 years in Canterbury has been hugely rewarding.
“It’s a fantastic place to come to work, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know customers including families with young children who I’ve watched grow up over the years,” says the venue’s boss, who adds that he has worked hard to continue evolving its menu over time to include a range of seasonal specialities. To his credit, there’s an understated elegance to this traditional restaurant, with its tasteful decor offering hints of its owner’s heritage from Naples.
As Massimo revealed, its broad choice of food and drink includes some secret family recipes that have proved a winner with regulars and new customers alike.
As a starter, I chose garlic bread (£4.95) with mozzarella, while my wife opted for the Insalata Caprese (£6.95) with tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, oregano and olive oil, which set us off in promising fashion.
In terms of mains, I opted for a vegetarian tagliatelle zucchini, pancetta e zafferano (£12.95), homemade pasta with courgettes in a saffron sauce, which was particularly impressive. So too was my wife’s selection of the Pollo Milanese (£15.95), chicken deep-fried in breadcrumbs, served with spaghetti pomodoro.
Both dishes were typical of the venue’s generous portions, and its unfussy presentation and authentic Italian flavours really are something quite special.
The choice of homemade desserts is also impressive, with my wife selecting the tasty creme brulee (£6.99), while I went for one of the restaurant’s star products, its special Naples cheesecake, courtesy of a recipe from Massimo’s mother – which was one of the best I’d ever tasted!
• Pinocchio’s, 64 Castle Street, Canterbury CT1 2PY, call 01227 457538 or visit