Tue-Thu, noon-10pm; Fri-Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, 1pm-10pm; Mon, closed
N, Q at Astoria-Ditmars Blvd.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
One of Astoria’s most popular Italian restaurants may also be one of its most welcoming. Though it presents a large space awkwardly divided by wide, earthen-tiled aisles, this outpost of Abruzzese cooking shrinks some when the natty and effortlessly efficient waiters take over—especially when reciting the day’s two dozen or more specials without hesitation. Matriarch Tina Sacramone whips up a nightly ravioli special, such as large rounds stuffed with minced lobster and slightly sweet mascarpone dressed in a mellow pesto with sautéed baby shrimp. Sacramone and her son, owner and chef Rocco, master an enormous menu of classic dishes and those of their own creation—appetizers like charred escarole with cannellini beans spiked with rosemary, lemon and olive oil; and tender calamari tossed with olive oil and red onions. Among the rotating specials are grilled branzino and a meltingly rustic osso buco, served complete with marrow fork for thorough digging. A rarity for quality NYC Italian restaurants, split dishes are routinely dished out shared.Recommended Dishes
Grilled escarole, $11.95; grilled branzino, market price; osso buco, market price