2015-02-25 / Restaurant of the Week

Napoli Pizza and Pasta

“It’s like dining with family,” said one loyal patron at Napoli Pizza and Pasta. “We’ve been coming for years from Jackson Heights, ever since your aunt told us about this place.” Indeed my favorite aunt and sometimes dining companion agrees that Napoli Pizza and Pasta is like eating at home with family. Humble owner, Antonio Petito sees to the details in the kitchen where his own family recipes are used to make their great food.

On a recent, brutally cold evening, the little dining room was packed with families, friends, and couples enjoying their legendary pizza, pasta, and hot dishes, all served with a smile by Rosaria. The intoxicating aroma of fresh, crispy pizza from the oven and shrimp scampi with its heady, garlicky flavor made our mouths water. Now that we’re in the Lenten season, even more fish dishes will be added to the menu here at Napoli. Flaky, fresh tilapia is prepared marechiara style with tomato, Livornese style with onion, tomato, and capers, or Oreganata style with seasoned breadcrumbs that form a crispy topping. Filet of sole is gently pan fried or sautéed with lemon, butter and white wine sauce, while the salmon can be prepared in similar fashion or broiled. Best of all, each fish entrée comes with a side of pasta with their famous tomato sauce or a side salad.

Rosaria brought glasses of wine and suggested we start with eggplant rollatini, tender rolls of fresh eggplant filled with fluffy ricotta and topped with melted mozzarella and zesty sauce. We nearly devoured them, but there’s also crunchy bruschetta topped with chopped tomatoes, onions and a touch of olive oil and Napoli’s fried calamari, as well as the stuffed mushrooms, fried zucchini sticks and warm, toasty garlic bread. The Caprese is a beautifully presented salad of sliced, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fragrant basil leaves, all drizzled with virgin olive oil. Share a large antipasto salad composed of cheese, olives, salami, peppers and more, or split a large Caesar salad as we did, with their home made dressing.

I can’t get enough of Napoli’s great pasta dishes, starting at an incredible $6 for spaghetti and tomato sauce. Winter is a great time to try their baked pasta dishes including meaty lasagna, baked, stuffed shells filled with ricotta and herbs, baked ziti served in a heaping portion, or light, crepe-like manicotti ($6.50). Specials include pasta with clams, shrimp, mussels, and calamari in zesty tomato sauce. My aunt dug into a generous plate of angel hair pasta topped with garlicky shrimp scampi and had plenty to take home for the next day. At Napoli, you choose your pasta such as linguine, spaghetti, bow ties, fusilli, ziti or rigatoni, then choose your sauce so it’s 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. My special fusilli with broccoli, shrimp, and garlic was just great, full of jumbo, plump shrimp. At such great prices, it doesn’t pay to shop and cook yourself. They will also happily deliver to your home or office and catering is available.

Sautée dishes include chicken marsala which is fork-tender chicken breast in a light, Marsala wine sauce and chicken Francese, a classic dish with lemon, butter and white wine. There’s chicken Milanese with a crispy, golden breading and of course, the ubiquitous chicken parmigiana, made extra special here with their great sauce.

Napoli’s pizza is legendary, made around the clock with your favorite toppings. Freshly made pizza rolls, filled with eggplant parmigiana, sausage and peppers, ham and cheese, or chicken make a great lunch. You’ll need two hands for their hot hero sandwich stuffed with juicy 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.

For dessert we loved the Italian cheesecake made from scratch with ricotta, or you can spoon up tartufo ice cream for dessert, crunchy fresh filled cannolis, or house made zeppoles. Finish up with an espresso or cappuccino.

Napoli does expert catering with half or full trays of their home style Italian dishes delivered and set up in your home or office. Napoli Pizza and Pasta is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, to stay or to go. Warm up this winter and fill yourself up with a great meal and love,

Italian style at Napoli Pizza and Pasta.

33-02 35th Avenue  Astoria, NY

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