Between Westpac and Gloria Jeans on Willoughby Road.PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Having turned the respectable age of 36, Pino’s Ristorante Pizzeria – previously known for its great food and daggy decor – has dressed up for the occasion. Simple dark wood tables have taken over from red and green table coverings and coffee-coloured stone floors have replaced old terracotta tiles. The wooden service stations and pizza kitchen which for so many years floated awkwardly at the front of the restaurant have been scrapped in favour of a large white marble bar, bright coffee machine and modern lighting. A generous white frame now also hangs above this new feature lending an air of distinction to the flashy (and well-stocked) bar. And, in a narcissistic touch, a white-framed mirror allows the new area to admire its own reflection. However, if you look carefully, you can still spot a few familiar faces – photographs of Italy, old bottles, textured walls.
Another thing that hasn’t changed – or at least not much – is the menu. And understandably so; it’s hard to improve on something that’s already so good. The Crows Nest crowd, which has frequented Pino’s since 1973, has long established the restaurant as a favourite. If you’re yet to become acquainted however, expect simple, traditional, tasty Italian cuisine. Pino’s does not break any culinary boundaries, but delivers generous servings, pleasant, well-informed service and fare that is worth coming back for – quite frequently at that. Pasta and sauces (made in-house) are fantastically flavoured – the linguine a la mare filled with succulent mussels, calamari, prawns and scallops is a particular standout. Colosseum-sized pizzas come in a range of options – 13 to be exact. And if neither suits, there is also a selection of veal, chicken, seafood and beef dishes as well as a specials board. Complete your meal with a selection from Pino’s wine list or its tempting dessert menu.