Friday, February 24, 2012

Pinocchio's Pulling the Strings on a Great Meal?

Pinocchio Restaurant
3103 W Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505

I have returned to the home of Katie's forefathers, or as her Dad calls it, "The Motherland". Burbank is where he and his five brothers and sisters grew up. This is the place where some of them still reside. It is also the city where I may have disgraced the entire family. After eating across the street at Tony's Bela Vista, I wrote my review, and let's just say it did not go so well. It was not awful, but very average. That did not sit well with Katie's Dad, but he was not deterred, and he recommended we eat across the street at Pinocchio Restaurant.

Pinocchio Restaurant is connected to Monte Carlo Italian Deli and Market. The market has been opened since the 60's. Pinocchio Restaurant opened their doors in 1971. In those 40 years, it appears not too much has changed. Ordering is done cafeteria style. Lining up with a tray, and telling the guys behind the counter what you want is how it is done here. We got here at five and there was never a break in the line during the dinner rush. The guys behind the counter were busy bringing out trays and trays of food. Let's see how it came out.

Katie tried the Lasagna with meat sauce here. She felt this was an, "old school meal". She was completely satisfied with the amount of meat, cheese and sauce on this. She would definitely get this again on her next trip here.

I went a different route for dinner with the Large Meatball Sandwich with meat sauce. This sandwich was impossible to pick up, because it was served scalding hot, and also because of all the meat sauce that was piled on this. Definitely a knife and fork sandwich. I really liked their meat sauce here. Very meaty and full of flavor. The meatballs were good, but could have used a little more seasoning. The bread held up to the contents of the sandwich valiantly. I wish I would have added cheese to the sandwich, which would have made it even better. Also served with the sandwich, when dining in the restaurant, is your choice of two salads. I went with the Greek Salad and Potato Salad. The Greek was your basic green salad with hunks of feta cheese in it, but the salad was chopped into bigger pieces than I would have liked. The potato salad was pretty good. Good flavor, cooked right, and it reminded me of my Mom's. The sandwich was good sized, but when the salads were added, this definitely filled me up.

This solid brick of Baked Ziti belonged to Kevin. Again this plate of noodles, meat, and sauce came out lava hot. The meat sauce had plenty of meat, and the ziti was blessed with lots of cheese.  Kevin did a great job by finishing this plate in record time. Very proud of you Kevin!

Sara on the other hand, ate what my niece ate when she was five. Plain noodles, with a few pieces of garlic bread. Looked great, but I did not get to try this bland looking plate. Nice ordering Sara!

Luckily, Lynn made up for her daughter's horrible ordering, with this Chicken Parmigiana with Pasta. The chicken here looked a little odd to me. I would have thought it would have been pounded thinner, but there were no complaints from Lynn. She did feel that the sauce was a little on the runny side, but other than that, she was happy with her meal. She likes the consistency of the food here. The food is the same as it was years ago when they lived up in Burbank.

Papa Chris and Katie's Dad, Dennis, both went with the smaller version of the Sausage and Peppers Sandwich. This proves that great minds indeed do think alike. Even the smaller sandwiches come with two salads. I did not hear good or bad about the sausage sandwich, but both of them finished their sandwiches with no problem.

Even after the big meal, we wandered over to the market side, and tried one of their 24 varieties of gelato. Our choice was the Chocolate Hazelnut. This was a very rich gelato, with large pieces of hazelnuts embedded in the chocolate. If I had more room, I would have enjoyed this a lot more than I did. Very good though.

I really enjoyed walking around the Monte Carlo Italian Deli. They had almost anything Italian that you could possibly want. They had not just a few varieties of olive oil, but probably well over a hundred different kinds. They also had a very large selection of canned tomatoes. More than I have ever seen in a market before. It was six at night, and the deli case was still buzzing with activity. Customers were buying cheeses and meats to take home. Well worth a walk around the market.

Back to the Pinocchio Restaurant though. I am not going to tell you that this will be the best Italian food you have ever had, but everything we had satisfied us. The portion sizes were great at Pinocchio's, and that is no lie. You definitely get your money's worth here as well. All of the sandwiches and entrees are all under $10. They also have pizzas on the menu, although none of us went with that option. Maybe on our next visit. There is plenty of seating here, but the restaurant does fill up rather quickly during meal hours. Katie's Dad picked this restaurant, and I can safely say that it was a good pick. He has definitely redeemed himself for some of the less than stellar restaurant selections of the past. Very proud of ya big guy, let's keep it going.

Out of five crickets, (because Jiminy Cricket was Pinocchio's conscience), five being best to zero being worst, Pinocchio Restaurant gets 3 crickets.

For more information on Pinocchio Restaurant, click here:

Pinocchio Italian on Urbanspoon


  1. Great, great Italian restaurant. Love this place. The take out for large parties is the best.

  2. Anonymous/Dennis - Solid place, with big servings, for little money, makes this a go to place for sure in Burbank. Thanks for the comment.