2013-11-06 / Restaurant of the Week

Pasta Del Giorno

a s we entered the cozy, friendly environs of Pasta del Giorno, a festive, Friday night was well underway with nearly every table full of happy diners enjoying scrumptious Italian cuisine, fine wine, and exceptionally good service. Indeed a family gathering of eight who frequents Pasta del Giorno, sat nearby with adults and kids alike enjoying their favorite dishes. I witnessed friends and couples too sharing a memorable meal together. In fact, it’s been this way for 25 years, as charming owner Anthony Gauna just celebrated a quarter century of fine dining here on October 4.

The secret to their success is consistently delicious menu items and nightly specials that never disappoint. Case in point, the chef’s special meatballs, served as an appetizer on a bed of sautéed spinach and cannellini beans. The combination of veal, pork, beef and herbs makes these tender meatballs extra good. Next, the chef prepared an appetizer of sautéed calamari and shrimp with chopped tomato and basil that was out of this world. Of course the regular menu features crispy fried calamari rings, but if you have the opportunity to try this preparation, please do. Soak up steamed mussels in white wine and garlic or crispy baked clams in a heavenly sauce. Eggplant rollatini is filled with fluffy ricotta and the soup of the day will warm your soul. Everything is made fresh to order and the chef will accommodate special requests. Order a bottle of wine to complement your meal or start with your favorite cocktail from the full service bar.

With more than a dozen pasta dishes on the menu, you could eat at Pasta del Giorno every day and I wish I could, because their pasta is great. The chef’s special pasta of the day was handmade spinach ravioli, filled with spinach and ricotta, topped with filetto de pomodoro and fresh, fragrant basil leaves. This generous portion could be a meal in itself, or can be shared as a first course, as my companion and I did. Menu favorites include perfectly cooked, homemade pappardelle ribbon pasta prepared simply with sautéed porcini mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. One of my favorites is taglierini Toscana. This spaghetti-type pasta is prepared with sauteed spinach, white beans and roasted garlic for a healthy, satisfying dish. Tortellini della Nonna are toothsome parcels of pasta topped with rich meat sauce, peas and mushrooms. Classic linguine alle vongole is made with juicy Little Neck clams in white or red sauce. Ask about the risotto of the day, which might be prepared with fresh seafood, or woodsy mushrooms and savory saffron.

Savory meat and poultry options include chicken Castello Romano, sauteed with artichoke hearts and mushrooms in a light brown sauce or try chicken Caprese, with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella. Petto di pollo alla Toscana is tender chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, peas, cream and a touch of sherry. We shared an entrée of tender veal rollatini layered with prosciutto and fontina cheese, finished with a light cognac sauce with mushrooms. The accompanying mélange of fresh vegetables made the whole platter almost too pretty to eat.

Pasta del Giorno serves juicy steaks and pork chops grilled to order, as well as a phenomenal roasted rack of lamb. Fish lovers choose among salmon, trout or fillet of sole, prepared in a number of delicious ways, or listen to the fish special of the day for the best the market has to offer. All meat and fish entrees come with your choice of roasted potato, pasta or vegetables.

Even the desserts are special here and made on the premises. Crunchy cannolis, chocolate mousse cake, Italian cheesecake and fluffy tiramisu make deciding difficult. Our Napoleon was composed of light, crunchy layers of pastry filled with frozen peach sorbet for a unique and delicious treat, accompanied by a lovely glass of Moscato dessert wine and a steaming cup of coffee.

The service is attentive and friendly, delivered by Jessica and Willy, who are as consistently great as the food served here. Pasta del Giorno is open for lunch from noon until 4:00pm Monday to Friday, and all day Sunday. Dinner is served until 11pm on weeknights and until midnight on weekends. Let Pasta del Giorno host your next family or business function and leave the cooking and serving to them. Delivery is available from seamless web or by calling them directly. Congratulations on 25 years of delicious Italian cuisine and excellent service in Forest Hills…grazie!

70-49 Austin Street, Forest Hills


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