2015-08-19 / Restaurant of the Week

Ani Pizza Palace

Ani Pizza Palace may have a small façade, but the pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and entrées are fit for a king. Gregory Makarian has owned

Ani Pizza Palace for the last 10 years and named it after his daughter. Gregory, who rarely takes a day off has been making pizza most of his life and you can taste all that experience in the delicious pies, rolls and calzones that fly out the door all day and night.

It doesn’t get more local than Ani Pizza Palace, where everyone seems to know everyone else and the conversation and laughter flow from the petite tables inside, to the counters and stools outside. The summer special allows you to carry out a large pie for just $11, which draws a steady crowd after work. If you prefer a delivery, it’s fast and free and Ani Pizza does professional catering for up to 250 people. Check out the catering menu on their website.

Nearly everything is made from scratch at Ani Pizza Palace from fine ingredients including imported Italian tomatoes and high quality mozzarella. They make the dough here, the sauce, hand-cut mozzarella sticks, and great meatballs too that go into sandwiches, pizza, and also rest on a mound of spaghetti. Starting with Ani Pizza, there are two dozen varieties, including the only ‘stuffed’ pizzas in town, filled with either meat (sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, bacon and mozzarella) or vegetables (eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, olives, fresh tomatoes, ricotta and mozzarella). You’ll need a fork and knife to eat these twocrusted pizzas. One of the most popular pizzas at Ani Pizza is the chicken bacon ranch pizza, topped with fresh made, hand sliced, grilled chicken, crispy bacon, and onions. There’s bruschetta pizza, roasted pepper pie, the primavera loaded with veggies, Greek pizza with feta cheese and olives, Buffalo chicken pizza, chicken Francese pizza, white pizza, Hawaiian with pineapple and ham, and “Ani’s Love Boat.” If those don’t satisfy your pizza fantasies, just ask Gregory to make you your favorite. Me? I’m a pizza purist and enjoyed a simple slice with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella. The square Grandma pizza is topped with light tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and herbs. You can even get a gluten-free pizza. Large pies start at $13.25, a bargain for such a delicious, crowd-pleasing dinner or lunch.

It doesn’t end with pizza, because Ani’s does a great job with full-size pasta entrees, meat, and seafood dishes, all made to order and served or delivered hot and delicious. I was told the penne alla vodka is one of the most popular dishes and with its flecks of ham and zesty sauce, I can see why. Pasta dishes start at just $8 and include pasta primavera with garden fresh vegetables, spaghetti carbonara with smoky bacon, and spaghetti Bolognese with a rich meat sauce. Fettuccine or tortellini Alfredo have rich and creamy sauces while the ziti with broccoli, garlic and oil is a lighter choice. Manicotti and lasagna are just like grandma’s and these are great to order when considering a catered event.

Plump shrimp can be prepared scampi style with lots of garlic and butter, or Francese style with a touch of lemon and white wine. Spice it up with shrimp fra diavolo or the classic linguine and red or white clam sauce. Dishes are served with a side of pasta or salad.

Ani Pizza Palace does a great job with your favorite standbys like eggplant, veal, or chicken parmigiana, sausage and peppers and chicken Marsala. You’ll also find the “Jeremy Special,” which is grilled chicken, sautéed spinach and broccoli with garlic, layered with fresh mozzarella ($12.25). This dish is cooked just right so you can taste all the individual flavors. All the meat and seafood entrees mentioned here are served with pasta or salad, making a meal at Ani’s Pizza Palace a great bargain, so order for the whole family. Besides, it’s just too hot to cook!

Many of those great recipes can be piled onto crispy Italian bread for a hero that will keep your hunger at bay all afternoon and into the evening. The outrageously good meatballs make for a great, hot hero, topped with mozzarella. Potatoes and eggs was a childhood favorite of mine and who could resist a chicken cutlet sandwich with lettuce and tomato on homemade pita. If you must, there are burgers and gyros too, as well as cold combo heroes, so Ani’s has you covered.

Cheesecake, tiramisu, cannolis and a chocolate mousse cup sweeten your palate after your satisfying meal. Ani Pizza Palace is open seven days a week for dining in and delivery to your home or office. Don’t forget their expert catering for parties large and small. Stop in for a slice, a big dish, or just a smile because everyone’s happy at Ani Pizza Palace! You can order online with Grub Hub, Seamless, Eat24, Delivery, and MyPizza.com

43-18 25th Avenue, Astoria
www.anipizza.com • 718.278.8806

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