Tuesday, September 13
A warm Italian restaurant after watching the penguins come up to shore on a freezing, windy evening.
Location: Pino's is located in the central town of Phillip Island. Address: 29 Thompson Avenue, Cowes (see map)
Website: official website, a yummy looking blog, and urbanspoon
Price: around $20 to $25 for mains, $15 for pizza, $10 for dessert. A menu is available online, but annoyingly it doesn't state prices.
Pino's chicken parmigiana - "Grilled crumbed chicken breast with layered napoletana sauce, virginian ham and melted mozzarella cheese served with seasonal vegetables." Tasty, crunchy parma served steaming hot. However I wasn't satisfied by the amount of vegetables - just a wedge of potato and a piece of brocolli.
Calamari fritti - "Calamari rings crumbed in house and fried and served with a garden salad." My calamari expert friend (who had this dish) should give a description of how this compared to the three or four other calamari dishes he had that weekend!
House special (main) - "Onions, bacon, mushroom, tomato sauce & a touch of cream." Options of fettucini, spaghetti or penne. Of course I chose fettucini - fresh, smooth, but thick texture, yum. The sauce was actually delicious and unique. However, there was too little "stuff" and we ordered a main but the serving was still small.
Marinara (entree) - "Selection of seafood pan seared with garlic finished in Napoletana sauce." Again, great pasta, great sauce, a few prawns and scallops. But still a stingy serving.
Potato pizza - "Mozzarella cheese, roast potato, garlic, onion & rosemary." I thought, why would you order potato pizza! But this was amazing, great crispy dough which was soft inside. The mix of hot melted cheese, potato and herbs was perfect. I totally regret not ordering a large pizza for dinner.
Crostata al cioccolato - "70% calabuat chocolato filling inside a dutch cocoa pastry served with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream."
Other: Pino's has capacity to cater for a lot of people, but as it is in the centre of a busy tourist town, I'm sure this restaurant would be packed during peak seasons. Relaxed, comfortable atmosphere inside. Interesting round glass flasks are used to serve water.
Rating: 4/5 great food, really surprised by the amazing pizza. However, after ordering a "main" sized meal - we do expect to be full. Instead, we all went back to our motel, heated up a frozen pizza, some nuggets, and had a second dessert of ice cream and mochi afterwards.