Pinocchio is a small and very friendly cafe-cum-restaurant at the Luas station in Ranelagh. It is one of our favourite spots for a cup of excellent coffee and a panino, with the added advantage of getting cooking tips from demonstrations on screens strategically placed around the room. It offers good quality and value for money for this kind of food. We’d seen that they had expanded the menu and are now offering restaurant dishes at lunchtime and in the evening. One recent Sunday evening, we decided to try it out.
Our first reaction was that prices were too high. The waiter informed us that several dishes on the menu were not available. I noticed that the missing dishes were the same as on two previous occasions when I had just ordered coffee and a panino. If there are going to be difficulties with availability, it would be better to use a smaller daily or weekly menu and be able to offer all of the dishes.
We ordered a large mixed antipasto dish at €16 to share. This was good but the accompanying bread was past its best and had been heated in an attempt to disguise the fact. For mains we ordered Penne alla Desperado, essentially a slight variation on Penne alla Arrabbiata, at €15.90, which was quite good and Ravioloni with butter and sage at €16.90, which was also good. However, the prices are way too high, especially for the pasta dishes. The ingredients for the Penne dish can’t have cost more than €1 at retail and the dish certainly doesn’t have much labour input. It is difficult to see how a price of €15.90 can be justified. Most main courses were in the mid-twenties.
Washed down with 4 glasses of very ordinary red wine at €5 per glass, the bill came to a much too high €68.80. While I appreciate getting real Italian food in Dublin, I’m afraid the prices will have to drop considerably before I go for dinner again.