2014-02-19 / Restaurant of the Week

Napoli Pizza and Pasta

Dining at Napoli Pizza and Pasta is like eating at mom’s house, that is, if mom is an extraordinary Italian cook! In the family-friendly dining room that’s just beyond the pizza counter, you can get fresh, delicious versions of traditional Neopolitan fare, as well as dishes from all over

Italy: the famous Pasta Napoli (chicken breast, mushrooms, chicken broth, plum tomatoes, basil, wine, garlic and parsley), Pasta Putanesca

(olive oil, anchovies, tomatoes, black olives, capers, red pepper flakes, basil and spices), Penne all Vodka (fresh tomatoes, herbs, vodka and a touch of cream and mushrooms), Spaghetti alla Carbonara (butter, onions, ham, bacon, and egg yolk), Pasta alla Bolognese (ground beef, spices, and tomato sauce), entrees such By Georgina Young-Ellis as the popular chicken and veal parmigiana, and so much more.

The night we were there, my dining companion and I asked if there were any special pizzas we should try, and our waitress, Rosa, recommended one not listed on the menu, the Upside Down pizza. It was a perfect square of heaven: a thick, crispy crust topped with a light layer of cheese with the sauce on top rich with herbs, spices and a dusting of parmesan. For accompanying appetizers, we tried a crisp Caesar salad bathed in savory dressing, and crunchy fried calamari with spicy red sauce on the side. As a main course, we enjoyed the Chicken Marsala and the oven baked lasagna: the chicken was tender with large chunks of mushrooms in a rich gravy, and the lasagna was perfectly cheesy and packed with meat in a flavorful sauce. We also each partook of a glass of delicious Cabernet, though other red wine choices include Montepulciano and Merlot. In the white wine category Napoli offers Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. If beer is more to your taste, you can choose from Corona, Peroni, Heineken and Bud. And any of those beverages go great with the many kinds of pizza on the menu, for example the Bianca, which is topped with ricotta cheese, the Primavera, which is a vegetarian’s delight of broccoli, tomato, peppers, mozzarella, olives and sauce, or the Casalinga: mozzarella, eggplant and sauce. And, course, you can always get the basics like sausage and pepperoni on a Sicilian or regular pie. By the way, did I mention the prices are incredibly reasonable?

Rosa was helpful in pointing out that customers should always ask about the specials. There is fish every day, though it’s not on the menu, including Fillet of Sole Milanese and a lemony Flounder Francese. There are also different soups each day, as well as a seafood pasta on the weekends.

For dessert, we tried the Torta di Ricotta, or Italian cheesecake, which was artfully presented, light and fluffy, and not overly sweet. There’s also cannoli, tartufo, tiramisu, and zeppole, which can all be accompanied by espresso, cappuccino, macchiato or caffe latte.

This Astoria gem, owned by Antonio Petito, has been a neighborhood institution for the last 16 years. It’s also the perfect place to grab a bite to go, from pizza by the slice, to hot, homemade Italian heros, to rolls and calzones. Petito also offers catering every day of the week for office parties, watching the game with friends, or special family occasions. You can order heros by the foot, or half and full trays of all the delicious entrees the restaurant offers. They are open 11:00 to 11:00 every day, so you can enjoy Napoli’s abbondanza day and night. Whether taking out, getting delivery, or eating in, Napoli Pizza and Pasta bring you the exquisite flavors of Italy, while always making you feel like you’re right at home.

33-02 35th Avenue  Astoria, NY

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