2015-11-18 / Restaurant of the Week

Porto Bello

Porto Bello Pizzeria and Restaurant is celebrating 16 years in Astoria serving outrageously delicious pizza, pasta, entrees and more. Located in the La Guardia shopping center on Ditmars Blvd., the Maniaci Family owns and operates Porto Bello with a great sense of pride for the quality of food and provides a warm, friendly atmosphere for their customers. The comfortable dining room features cool terrazzo tile floors, upholstered booths and tables, and soft lighting. Charming black and white photos adorn sage green walls and set the mood for a traditional Italian meal. There’s a lovely private dining room that can accommodate up to 55 people so make that call to reserve your next private party or business luncheon or dinner. Joanie, the kind, veteran server, makes you feel at home while you enjoy a glass of wine or beer. It all started with pizza and Porto Bello makes some of the best around, made with hand made dough and sauce. They serve both American style pizza and Italian brick-oven pizza, available for free delivery to your home or office. A Neapolitan style 18-inch large pie is just $14.50 and Sicilian style is just $16.50. The house specialty is “Grandma’s” pizza, with fresh mozzarella and a smattering of fresh tomatoes. Brick oven pizza is available in a gluten-free variety topped with all your favorites.

We started with baked asparagus gratin, served hot from the oven with melted mozzarella and bread crumbs. Share an order of crispy, baked clams, fried calamari, or eggplant rollatini. The whole table can share the hot seafood combination with fried shrimp, baked clams, calamari, and mussels marinara ($20). Everything is served hot, on gleaming white plates.

Porto Bello caters to families and so the pasta dishes are available in single portion or family size portions to pass around, making this an economical choice for a group. Penne melanzana is topped with fresh mozzarella and cubed eggplant with plum tomato sauce ($14). Rigatoni Fiorentina is tossed with spinach, chicken, and diced mozzarella topped in a light pink sauce for a very hearty dish. Classic spaghetti Carbonara, Bolognese or spaghetti with meatballs keep everyone happy, even the kids. You can also choose whole wheat pasta or gluten-free pasta along with your favorite sauces. Entrees include freshly made veal, chicken, steak, and seafood dishes that measure up to those found at more expensive Italian restaurants. My filet of sole Francese was light and delicious with a lemony sauce, and the evening’s special fish was filet of Branzino marechiara style with tomatoes, onions, and olives. Salmon amore is prepared with artichoke hearts, capers, and mushrooms in white wine and lemon sauce. My companion enjoyed the hefty veal chop served with mushroom Bordeaux sauce and the portions are so generous, we took some of it home. Fork tender veal or chicken cutlets are prepared Marsala style, piccata with capers, Francese style or Sorrentino style layered with eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella in Marsala wine sauce. Try their delectable chicken Porto Bello, sauteed with Portobello mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in light brown sauce. These entrees come with your choice of salad or pasta.

Porto Bello does a nice job with a juicy ribeye steak, steak Florentine, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs, or the classic steak pizzaiolo with onions, peppers, and tomato sauce.

Save some room for their fabulous desserts, with Italian cheese cake, chocolate polenta cake, creamy tiramisu, Limoncello layer cake, cannolis, or their ice cream tartufo treats. The coffee and espresso are robust and delicious too. Porto Bello is open from 11am to 10pm weekdays and until 11pm Friday and Saturday. There’s plenty of free parking in the shopping center and don’t forget to book their private party room for life’s celebrations. Salute!

43-18 Ditmars Boulavard, Astoria
718.204.8766

www.portobellopizzeria.com / Follow them on Face Book

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