2012-09-26 / Restaurant of the Week

Antika Family Style Pizzeria

Antika Family Pizzeria opened on 30th Avenue just about two months ago and is already a hit, thanks to delicious, fresh made pizza, pasta, salads, entrees, and sandwiches for everyone. The décor is romantic enough for couples on an intimate date, yet casual enough for friends enjoying a meal, and families with kids. The interior features exposed brick, warm wood, soft lighting and a handsome bar with tiny chandeliers above highlighting the spirits, wine and beers available. Old-fashioned white tile floors are reminiscent of European bistros, and the doors open to the sidewalk to take advantage of cool breezes.

Owners Theo Dimitropoulos and Kosta Grivas have years of experience in the restaurant business and have considered all details when they opened Antika. The result is great food, using only the freshest ingredients, excellent service, and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The menu was designed with family and group dining in mind, as there is a price for an individual serving as well as a money-saving Family price.

We started with the freshly mixed sangria, made with either red or white wine and lots of chopped fruit. Reasonably priced bottles of wine are available as well as domestic, imported and craft beers on tap and by the bottle. The bartender mixes up strawberry mojitos, peach Margaritas and all your favorite cocktails. Sit back, relax, and enjoy sipping while you consider the menu.

We started with the house special fried calamari, made extra crunchy and flavorful here with a special blend of secret seasoning that makes them irresistible. Fresh mussels are steamed with Morretti Italian beer, hot pepperoncini and a touch of mascarpone in the broth. Golden fried eggplant and zucchini slices are served with roasted garlic and yogurt sauce ($10/$25). The cold antipasto platter is ideal for couples or families, loaded with fresh cuts of prosciutto di Parma, soppresata, Grana Padano cheese, roasted peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, grilled zucchini, tomatoes, and cannellini bean salad ($11/$25). Everyone gets to taste their favorites along with warm, focaccia bread right from the oven.

Everything is made from scratch including delicious soups. Pasta e fagioli is classic pasta and bean soup, made special here with a bit of smoky pancetta. Ask your server about the soup of the day, or start with a salad. We shared a generously sized, beautifully presented insalata Siciliana, tossed with organic Romaine hearts and red leaf lettuces, fresh, buttery mozzarella, olives, capers, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and house vinaigrette. The baby spinach is another popular item, laced with gorgonzola cheese, Portobello mushrooms, roasted walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette.

Everyone loves pizza and Antika has a great variety of handmade, hot-from-the-oven pies with toppings that suit every taste. When it comes to pizza, I’m kind of a purist, so the old-fashioned, grandma style square pizza is my pick for its tender crust, smattering of San Marzano tomatoes, four kinds of cheese, extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of oregano ($18). This can easily be shared by two to three people, along with a salad or soup for a complete meal. The classic New York style round pies are prepared with the same quality ingredients and come in a small 12-inch size for two people, or a large pie that serves three to four people. The list of toppings includes mushrooms, olives, broccoli rabe, capers, grilled eggplant, Italian sausage, arugula and much more, so that you can create your own custom pie, to stay or to go. Antika offers free delivery with a minimum $10 order in a delivery zone that you can see on their Web site.

Antika’s pasta dishes are great too, all made to order with fresh ingredients. The family size orders make a meal here very affordable, and always delicious. Penne alla vodka is a popular dish, executed very well here with al dente pasta and a zesty tomato cream sauce and a touch of pancetta ($11/$25). Orecchietti Calabria is one of my favorites. Ear shaped pasta is combined with savory Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, lots of garlic, white wine and hot pepper flakes for a hearty meal that begs to be shared and sopped up with more focaccia. Classic linguine alle vongole is made with fresh Cherrystone clams, garlic and either a white wine sauce or tomato sauce. Vermicelli Scampignola is a similar dish made with plump, juicy shrimp, herbs, garlic, white wine, garlic and fine olive oil.

Entrées include fork-tender chicken Marsala with mushrooms and sweet Marsala wine, chicken parmigiana, where you can actually taste the chicken, and eggplant parmigiana made with layers of sliced, breaded eggplant ($13/$28). Chicken or veal bruschetta Milanese is a tender cutlet of breaded chicken or veal, resting atop a mound of arugula, tomatoes, and basil dressing.

At lunchtime or anytime, try a sandwich made on the same great pizza dough. Layer tomato and mozzarella, prosciutto, grilled vegetables or chicken cutlet on that fluffy, light pizza bread and enjoy. There’s a special personal pizza served for lunch from 11am to 4pm. For dessert, try their crunchy, creamy cannoli, classic tiramisu, melted chocolate cake or New York style cheesecake.

Antika serves a nice brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm with blueberry ricotta pancakes, French toast, apple pancakes, waffles, frittatas, eggs Benedict or breakfast Americano. You can also order pizza and those great sandwiches at brunch.

Join us in welcoming Antika Family Style Pizzeria to the neighborhood with great pizza, pasta, entrees, sandwiches, and salads to eat in their cozy restaurant or to take home. Buon appetito!

36-08 30th Avenue, Astoria
718.545.0555

www.antikapizzeria.com

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