2011-06-08 / Restaurant of the Week

good old gaudio’s

Don't let the humble facade fool you. Gaudio's Pizzeria and Restaurant serves top quality Italian regional dishes that rival those in "fancy" restaurants. The advantage is the casual atmosphere, come-as-you-are dining room, low prices and free delivery. Oh, and the food is better than ever! Gaudio's has been a family-run restaurant and a fixture in Astoria on 30th Avenue, since 1958 when Pappa Gaudio first opened up. Today, son Nicky runs the place with Chef Fernando in the kitchen, and Osvaldo working the pleasant dining room. The menu has been turned up a notch with wonderful nightly specials, in addition to their bounty of Italian dishes from all regions of Italy. Sure, there's great pizza too, but first let me tell you what's cooking at Gaudio's We started with a beautiful Gaudio salad, composed of crunchy lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes with thin slices of savory salami, prosciutto and provolone cheese, garnished with red, roasted peppers and zesty Italian dressing. The special pasta of the day was handmade spinach ravioli with a light vodka tomato sauce. These tender pasta pillows were made with spinach pasta and filled with spinach and ricotta for a delicious flavor and healthy twist. The regular menu features over a dozen pasta dishes, from the simplest spaghetti with tomato sauce ($7.95) to linguini with plump shrimp ($11.95). In between you'll find creamy, smoky spaghetti carbonara, linguine with broccoli, garlic and oil, tortellini with creamy Alfredo sauce and gnocchi dumplings with pesto. Baked pasta dishes such as baked ziti, meaty lasagna and tender manicotti make you feel good over and even the kids will like them.

Next I chose the entrée special of the day, a fresh and flaky fillet of sole prepared oreganata style which involves sautéing the filet gently with butter and lemon, then finishing it in the broiler with bread crumbs until they are golden and crispy. Believe me when I say this fish melted in my mouth. You'll find fillet of sole on the menu pretty much every day, just ask for it. There are plenty of shrimp dishes on the menu so you can choose among shrimp parmigiana, marinara, fra diavolo in spicy sauce and scampi style shrimp. They all come with a choice of pasta so dig in.

My friend cut into a tender veal cutlet Milanese which is breaded and simply fried till crisp and golden, tender and never greasy ($13.95). This makes a light meal with a salad, also served with pasta, French fries or lettuce and tomato. We also split a healthy platter or sautéed escarole prepared simply with garlic and a touch of olive oil. Broccoli, spinach and other seasonal vegetables are also available. Enjoy a glass of red or white wine, or a cold beer to complement your meal. Tender veal can also be prepared parmigiana style, veal piccata, Francese or more. The same dishes can be ordered with chicken breast, if you prefer. Our dishes were served in beautiful square plates that were gleaming white and presented beautifully with basil, parsley or carved lemons. The portions are very generous, so there was plenty for lunch the next day and Osvaldo is a warm and friendly gentleman. For dessert, try house made Italian cheesecake made with ricotta cheese, tiramisu or Tartufo ice cream treat.

There are traditional dishes you'd expect, such as sausage and peppers or meatball parmigiana, (both great as a hero), and freshly made eggplant parmigiana. OK, now for the pizza. Up front you'll find the pizza kitchen, where people stop in all day and night from 11am to 10pm for the delicious, crispy pizza with all their favorite toppings including sausage, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, peppers and more. My favorite is "grandma's pizza" which contains fresh mozzarella and a smattering of fresh tomatoes on a thin, crispy, square crust. Round and square Sicilian pies are available as well as pizza Bianca (white pizza), calzones stuffed with creamy ricotta and sausage rolls. Hero sandwiches made on fresh bread are filled with potatoes and eggs, chicken parmigiana, grilled chicken breast and much more. There's free delivery to your home or office. For your kid's next birthday, try a pizza party and be a hero.

If you thought Gaudio's was just a pizzeria, come take another look and enjoy a three-course meal in the dining room that tastes like it costs twice as much. Something delicious is always cooking at Gaudio's and has been for the past 53 years. Buon appetito!

GAUDIO’S PIZZERIA AND RESTAURANT

40-13 30th Avenue
Astoria, NY  718.721.2882

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