2018-06-06 / Restaurant of the Week

Acquista Trattoria

Acquista Trattoria was packed on a recent Wednesday evening as the setting sun cast a warm, golden glow over the lovely dining room. This corner restaurant, perched at the intersection of Union Turnpike and 178th Street, opened in 2001 by Fabio Acquista and has reigned supreme for its classic Italian cuisine made from scratch and served with pride to its loyal clientele and newcomers alike. They come for king-sized panini sandwiches, pasta dishes, fresh fish and chicken entrees and specialty pizzas, all of which can be enjoyed in the dining room, outside on the patio, or at your home or office thanks to free delivery.

Settle into your tidy table set against exposed brick walls, illuminated by modern light fixtures. A group dinner was underway when we entered at a long, communal table, and round tables allow for convivial family dining. Cozy tables for two are perfect for intimate meals for couples and friends. The ladies behind the bar mix up fabulous cocktails including a classic Negroni, Manhattan, and Aperol spritz, perfect this time of year. Of course, there’s a great selection of wines and beers to complement your meal.

Acquista Trattoria’s fabulous appetizers are sized for sharing, prepared on the spot, and simply delicious. My friend and I shared an order of juicy, baked clams prepared with golden, crispy bread crumbs and lemon sauce that we soaked up with the warm focaccia bread brought to our table. Verdant asparagus were gently sautéed and topped with melted Parmigiano for a delicious starter. Cold antipasto for two is a dazzling platter of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, imported olives, and shaved Parmigiano cheese. Everyone jumps into a plate of crispy, fried calamari and mozzarella in carrozza, which are golden-crusted, mini mozzarella sandwiches, served with the house marinara sauce ($12).

Our friendly, efficient waiter described the evening’s specials which included black linguine with shrimp, calamari, cherry tomatoes, asparagus and white wine sauce. The special chicken was topped with spinach and mozzarella in a light champagne sauce, served with mashed potatoes. Before selecting our entrees, we shared a tri-colore salad of arugula, radicchio, and endive with goat cheese. There’s also a classic Caesar salad, portobello salad with roasted peppers and arugula, and a Caprese salad with buttery mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, basil and olives.

There are 16 pasta dishes on Acquista Trattoria’s menu and I could eat every one of them. I chose my personal favorite: rigatoni Pugliese with broccoli rabe, crumbled Italian sausage, fresh tomato, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Buonissimo! Linguine Acquista is tossed with prosciutto, peas and mushrooms in cream sauce, and there’s classic linguine alle vongole, which are baby clams sautéed with white wine, parsley, garlic and a touch of red pepper ($20). Kids and adults alike love the spaghetti and meatballs, and those who prefer vegetables will love spaghetti primavera with broccoli, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, garlic and fine olive oil ($15). Farfalle are bow-tie pasta tossed with chunks of fresh salmon and asparagus in a pink vodka sauce, or you can have farfalle with chunks of chicken, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms in a light pesto sauce. I’ll be back for more of Acquista’s pasta dishes for sure.

Entrées cover Italian-American favorites like chicken, veal, and eggplant parmigiana, chicken or veal Marsala, or Francese style. My dining companion delighted in the fresh, grilled Branzino fish, served with lemon and herb sauce and fresh vegetables. Fresh salmon puttanesca is prepared with plum tomatoes, capers and black olives for a Mediterranean treat. Plump shrimp are prepared oreganata or scampi style, simply grilled, or parmigiana style.

Acquista Trattoria makes sensationally good pizzas in 12” and 18” sizes served straight up or with arugula and prosciutto, crumbled sausage and marinara, and quattro stagione (four seasons) with mushrooms, roasted peppers, prosciutto, black olives, tomato and mozzarella. The panini sandwiches are suitable for lunch or dinner and are constructed on your choice of Italian bread, baguette, or focaccia. The “Torino” is layered with grilled portobello mushroom, roasted peppers, goat cheese, arugula, and balsamic glaze. The “Milano” is filled with crispy, breaded chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, and olive oil. Get the idea?

Try to save room for dessert because the homemade tiramisu and Italian cheesecake are excellent, as is the Nutella pizza, a favorite with the kids. Cool, creamy gelato is served in a pretty glass jar and the chocolate “Vesuvio” lava cake is pure joy.

Acquista Trattoria is a family run restaurant offering Manhattan-like dining on Union Turnpike. It’s a favorite among the St. John’s University crowd just nearby and soon to be your favorite too. They’re open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, with delivery too. Check out their website for tantalizing photos, history and easy directions. Acquista Trattoria is your reliable, corner Italian restaurant where you’ll feel at home while dining on classic Italian dishes, made from scratch with love. Buon appetito!

178-01 Union Turnpike
Flushing  718.969.1411

www.acquistany.com

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