Mon-Thu, 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-11pm; Sun, closed
7 at Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Ave.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Long Island City residents can only hope that when the dust settles on their neighborhood’s frenzy of loft conversions and East River tower-building, sincere family-run restaurants like Manetta’s will remain. At this Italian corner spot, prices are low, the level of cooking is high, and a matriarch named Filomena runs the kitchen. Opened in 1992, the restaurant has since undergone a slick, “Tuscan kitchen” renovation, but its earnest, rustic soul isn’t obscured by a terra-cotta tile floor and dark wood wine cubbies. During lunch, workers from Citibank headquarters throng the dining room and takeout counter. Dinner service attracts all sorts, including groups of old-timers who enjoy the fact that waiters will chime in at the sound of the first few notes of “Happy Birthday.” Manetta’s stock-in-trade is robust, informal Pan-Italian fare. Its brick-oven pizza boasts thin, savory crusts and harmonious toppings like Parmesan and fontina cheeses dotted with porcini mushrooms and truffle oil. Salads taste freshly composed and dressed, and the Mediterranean seafood preparations are simple marvels of sweet white flesh, lemon, and olive oil. House-made pastas are a point of pride; the trenette with four cheeses is the height of nutritionally incorrect deliciousness. Even Manetta’s humbler specialties, down to the luscious, almond-flavored tiramisu, beg to be split and savored.Extra
Manetta Matriarch Filomena learned her chefly ways growing up in Monte Cassino, south of Rome, where the first Benedictine monastery still stands. Daughters Lisa and Rose Ann were born in New York and now run the ristorante.Recommended Dishes
Insalata Mediterranea, $9; pasta ai quattro formaggi, $14; pizza alla diavala, $12; almond tiramisu, $6