When Sydney duo Robert and Natalie Santoro first set eyes on Ristorante Pinocchio, the search for the perfect site for their new Italian eatery ended then and there. They took over the restaurant in April and commenced a full transformation to give the space a fresh new vibe, while keeping that warm, homely appeal that Pinocchio was renowned for. Robert heads up the kitchen, producing an authentic Italian menu that gives a respectful (and delicious) nod to his Sicilian heritage.
The food and drink
Hand-cut pasta and pizza, both made on site daily, form the core of Italian Kitchen Company’s menu. Get started with Sambuca-spiked Sicilian green olives with crusty bread or a traditional antipasto platter, before moving on to the pasta offering where you’ll find everything from a blue swimmer-crab spaghetti to an eight-hour slow-cooked lamb-shank ragu gnocchi and a traditional Sicilian beef lasagne. Over in pizza territory you’ll find simple classics like pepperoni on a tomato base (seriously, is there anything better?) through to more progressive creations like the vegan pizza with chargrilled eggplant, potato and fresh zucchini. The menu is capped off with a traditional eggplant-topped chicken parmigiana and a series of Italian salads including a simple potato arrangement with garlic, parsley and white vinaigrette. As for the sweets – good luck choosing between the tiramisu and the Nutella pizza.
The space itself was steeped in history and character, so Robert and Natalie opted to retain certain elements like the old-world light fittings, rustic dark-timber beams and textured roof to ensure the Pinocchio legacy lives on. It’s in (very) good company, nestled in the same Mermaid Beach highway-side complex that houses Bonita Bonita, Lupo and Glenelg Public House.
Jump over to our Stumble Guide for Italian Kitchen Company’s opening hours, address and contact details.