2015-02-04 / Restaurant of the Week

Gaudio’s Pizzeria and Restaurant

Among the many pizza and pasta places in Astoria, Gaudio’s stands out for its warm atmosphere, its exceptional, traditional fare, and the welcoming smile of Dominico (Nicky) Gaudio, as he crafts his famous pizzas in the front. A family business since 1958, Gaudio’s was passed from father to son, and though the restaurant has been updated with cheerful, sunshine-colored walls, dark wood tables, and a clean, elegant décor, the high standard of offering great Italian food at great prices continues. My dining companion and I wanted to try everything, but limited ourselves to the things we knew would provide a good sampling of classic Italian cuisine: calamari, pizza, ravioli, and veal. The fried calamari passed the test with flying colors: light, crunchy, not greasy, and seasoned just right. Our mushroom pizza got high marks too: fresh mushrooms, a crisp-crust thin, but not too thin-a light tomato sauce; cheesy, but not overwhelmingly so-in a word, perfect. Out of the many pastas to be had: spaghetti with meat sauce, meatballs, sausage, Marinara, Carbonara, or clam sauce; tortellini or fettuccini Alfredo; Linguini with shrimp sauce or broccoli; baked ziti, lasagna, etc., we chose the lobster ravioli in vodka sauce, a special of the day. We were delighted when the beautifully presented plate arrived and we dove into the fresh black and white ravioli, mega-stuffed with tender lobster in a savory vodka sauce (it can also be had with pink sauce, which omits the vodka). It is simply not to be missed. The pasta, chicken, veal, and seafood specials change every week, but the lobster ravioli dish appears frequently, I was told, and was certainly a measure of how delicious the other specials must be.

While we exclaimed over the ravioli, the Veal Scalloppine Piccata was delivered by our charming and attentive waiter, Osvaldo. The simple, lemony brown sauce, sprinkled liberally with capers, set off the tenderness of the veal and made for a mouth-watering main course. Though it can be ordered with pasta on the side, we went for the fries and were rewarded with piping hot, plump, super crispy homemade French fries. It may seem silly to mention a thing as simple as fries, but those at Gaudio’s are worth noting a treat all on their own. We finished up with chocolate cake, layered with cool, light chocolate cream between the moist slices of cake, served with a generous dollop of whipped cream. It was a tough choice between that and the dark chocolate Black-out Cake, which Osvaldo told us we must try the next time we come back. And come back we will. Open seven days a week from 11:00 to 11:00, and available for delivery, directly by phone or through Main Street Hub, there is plenty of opportunity to try out this gem of a place.

Lunchtime is especially popular at Gaudio’s with its dizzying array of hot and cold heros, in every imaginable combination such as sausage, steak, shrimp, veal, eggplant, or egg with mushrooms, peppers, onion, or ala Parmigiana, Cacciatore, and Marinara, as well as cold heros with chicken, lettuce and tomato: tuna, or salami and provolone. And don’t forget the sausage rolls and pizza by the slice with every imaginable topping, always hot and fresh. I’m dying to try the Gaudio’s Salad for lunch, with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green and black olives, pimento, provolone, salami, prosciutto…and you can add chicken. A meal in itself, it can be made for one or two people. Of course these are all available any time of the day as are antipasti, clams, mussels, steaks, burgers, and of course the wonderful veal, chicken, and seafood entrees prepared with the all the traditional sauces and styles. Though it’s certainly casual for dinner, a great place to bring the kids or your buddies, you can enjoy lovely wines, beer, and cappuccino and espresso too, so why not enjoy a fun date night here? My sweetie and I might just drop in on Valentine’s Day for the heart shaped ravioli that will be featured on the menu that night. Oh, and don’t forget, Gaudio’s caters for every occasion, earning recent five-star reviews on Yelp for their exceptional food and attention to detail.

There are so many reasons to enjoy the delights that Gaudio’s serves up. This Astoria treasure awaits you at 40-13 30th Avenue, just off of Steinway. Don’t wait go-say hi to Dominico and Osvaldo, and discover, or re-discover, a level of deliciousness that will surpass expectations.

40-13 30th Avenue, Astoria

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