2013-03-06 / Restaurant of the Week

Napoli Pizza and Pasta

If you aren’t lucky enough to have an Italian grandmother, then Napoli Pizza and Pasta will satisfy your craving for home style, comforting, Southern Italian cuisine in the humble surroundings of its homey dining room on 35th Avenue in Astoria. Antonio Petito is the molto gentile owner who is always on hand to greet and chat with his steady clientele.

It all starts with their great pizza, topped as you like with fresh mozzarella and tomato, sausage or pepperoni, vegetables for the verdure, and my favorite, the casalinga pizza with fresh eggplant, mozzarella and tomato. Freshly made pizza rolls, filled with eggplant parmigiana, sausage and peppers, ham and cheese, or chicken make a great portable lunch. Wrap your hands around a hot hero sandwich stuffed with nonna’s meatballs, chicken cutlet Milanese or parmigiana. The phone rings off the hook and these crispy crusted pizzas are delivered swiftly to your home or office.

Meanwhile, in the tiny kitchen, the chefs use Antonio’s family’s own recipes to make delicious pasta, chicken, meat, fresh fish and seafood. Rosaria, the friendly and courteous server sat us down and brought two glasses of red wine, then described the evening’s special: pasta with clams, shrimp, mussels, and calamari in zesty tomato sauce. Veal or chicken piccata was also on special for the night, along with everything else on the menu, making it hard to decide. We started with crunchy bruschetta, constructed on country Italian bread, rubbed with garlic and grilled, topped with chopped tomatoes, onions and a touch of olive oil. Next came their eggplant rollatini which was delicious, filled with light, fluffy ricotta cheese and topped with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. Even the kids love Napoli’s fried calamari, as well as the stuffed mushrooms, fried zucchini sticks and garlic bread. The Caprese is a beautifully presented salad of sliced, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and verdant basil leaves, all drizzled with virgin olive oil. Two or more could share a large antipasto salad composed of cheese, olives, salami, peppers and more.

No one does pasta like Napoli and with prices from $5.50 to $8.95 everyone in the family can have their personal favorite. Choose from over a dozen pasta dishes including traditional spaghetti pommodoro with their fabulous tomato sauce or creamy, smoky carbonara sauce. My dining companion dug into a very generous plate of spaghetti puttanesca flavored with black olives, capers and a touch of anchovy, melted into the tomato sauce. I love the pasta with fresh broccoli, garlic and oil and this dish can be made with any kind you like. At Napoli, you choose your pasta such as linguine, spaghetti, bow ties, ziti or rigatoni, then choose your sauce and each dish is made to order and served piping hot. Try rigatoni with rich, meaty Bolognese sauce or creamy fettuccine alfredo. Pasta alla Napoli is their specialty, combining plum tomatoes with chunks of tender chicken breast, mushrooms, basil, garlic, white wine and parsley. Linguine or spaghetti with red or white clam sauce, made with

juicy clams is another popular dish. Baked manicotti and stuffed shells filled with ricotta, and the homemade lasagna is layered with pasta, meat, and cheeses. These pasta dishes are ideal for your next party. Ask for their catering menu.

We decided to try the chicken piccata and loved the fork-tender chicken breast in a light, lemony sauce flecked with capers. Chicken Francese is a classic dish sautéed with lemon, butter and white wine. Chicken Marsala gets a touch of sweetness from the wine used in the recipe, or try chicken Milanese with a crispy, golden breading. Napoli serves fresh fish and seafood every day including shrimp scampi over pasta made with plump, tasty shrimp and savory, garlicky scampi sauce. The fillet of sole Francese is fresh, flaky and delicious in a delicate lemon butter sauce.

Share tartufo ice cream for dessert, crunchy cannolis, Italian cheesecake or house made zeppoles. A steaming demitasse of espresso puts the final touch on this classic Italian meal. Napoli will happily cater your next family or business affair. Order half or full trays of their home style Italian dishes now for upcoming graduation, communion, or confirmation parties..Pizzas and heros satisfy your hungry crowd and there’s free delivery too. Napoli Pizza and Pasta is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, to stay or to go. For a heaping helping of comforting, Southern Italian cuisine, visit Napoli Pizza and Pasta. Buon appetito!

Napoli Pizza and Pasta

33-02 35th Avenue  Astoria, NY

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