Celebrate Independence From Cooking At Pinocchio Palace
On an early summer evening, we joined a contented crowd at outdoor tables to feast on a wide array of freshly prepared, homemade Greek and Italian dishes at Pinocchio Palace, enjoying a taste of the Mediterranean way of life right here in Astoria. Amiable owner Nico Gregorious is always on hand to make sure all his guests are happy.
We sipped glasses of wine and icy cold beer while we scooped fresh eggplant dip with warm triangles of pita bread and sopped up the juice from tender, grilled octopus. Other tempting appetizers include a savory treat called saganaki, a slab of tangy haloumi cheese sautéed in sweet brandy that offers a unique and delicious flavor ($6.95).
Pinocchio’s famous grilled octopus or grilled calamari, marinated in olive oil and vinegar, are tender and tasty. Sheftalia, handmade sausages of ground pork and spices, grill up tender and tasty. You can also share chicken or lamb kebabs. A Cypriot salad consists of lots of baby greens tossed with chunks of creamy feta cheese, olives, red onion and a zesty dressing. A tender grilled chicken breast atop a crunchy Caesar salad makes a light and refreshing meal on a summer night ($9.50).
Pinocchio Palace proudly serves fresh fish brought in daily from the waters off Long Island. Porgy is equally popular grilled whole with lemon and olive oil or prepared as a filet. In Greek cuisine, fish is traditionally served with vegetables such as horta (dandelion greens) sautéed in garlic, or okra stewed with tomatoes and garlic. A number of seafood specials, such as fried shrimp, scallops or flounder filet are available. Never greasy, they come with salad and side dish. Broiled fresh fish is also available. For a real treat, try the fish and seafood kebab: plump, jumbo shrimp, enormous, juicy scallops and chunks of flaky flounder filet marinated in olive oil and lemon marinade. This light and healthy meal, served with seasoned rice or lemon potatoes, is just perfect. Check the Pinocchio Palace blackboard for specials of the day. Everything is made fresh and the prices are very reasonable.
Pinocchio’s has always been famous for its charcoal-grilled juicy souvlaki sandwiches on pita bread ($4.95). Complete souvlaki platters that include Greek salad and French fries are $9.95; both are a great bargain. Juicy lamb chops and shell steak and tender quail also come from the grill every day.
If you crave pasta, try one of their inventive dishes such as rigatoni contadina with broccoli, mushrooms and sausage, $9.50 for an individual serving or $22 for a family, a real money-saver for families and large parties. Fettuccine alla Toscana, xsun-dried tomatoes, wild mushrooms, white wine, Parmesan and peccorino Romano cheese tossed with ribbon pasta, is just $8.95 or $20.75 for a family portion. Pinocchio Palace often hosts family parties of 20 to 30 people. Families come for the great food and festive atmosphere.
Pinocchio also makes crisp brick oven pizzas with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. You can choose from a number of favorite toppings, including prosciutto, olives or sausage for a great lunch or dinner. Pair up a pizza with a Caesar salad and you’ve got a great meal at a reasonable price.
At lunchtime, try one of their fresh wrap sandwiches, stuffed with grilled chicken and Caesar salad, grilled steak or shrimp and greens. Burritos have also become quite popular for lunch at just $5.50. Order one filled with chicken, shrimp or avocado.
Finish your meal with some steaming hot coffee, cappuccino or Greek coffee and a slice of lavani, a semolina cake soaked with honey. Cheesecake and crème caramel are also popular choices.
Pinocchio Palace is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and they will deliver until midnight. The airy dining room can accommodate large groups and private parties of up to 50 people. Gregorious will be happy to cater any party, anywhere—his special catering menu will suit all your needs. Pinocchio Palace Restaurant offers great food, friendly service and low prices. Enjoy the outdoor seating during the summer months.
32-02 30th Ave.