2018-08-22 / Restaurant of the Week

Aunt Bella’s Restaurant

Aunt Bella’s of Little Neck is a hidden gem on the eastern edge of our leafy borough. Aunt Bella’s Restaurant has been the place to go for homestyle Italian dining since 1977 and epitomizes the nostalgia of an “old school” Italian restaurant. Make a quick turn off Northern Blvd. onto Marathon Pkwy in Little Neck and you’ll soon be transported to your favorite Zia’s house.

Aunt Bella’s Restaurant is in an unassuming building on the corner of Marathon Pkwy and Beechknoll Avenue. The quiet, carpeted dining room holds just 13 tables covered in peach linens. The soft lighting and simple décor allow you to focus on the extraordinarily good food and the friendly conversation at your table. Indeed, on a steamy summer weeknight, the dining room was nearly full of families and couples, many of whom have been coming here for 15 years and more.

Veteran servers Eileen and Autumn run the dining room, bringing glasses of wine and frosty cold beer to guests while they peruse the menu, which thankfully, hasn’t changed in years. What does change are the specials, with new items coming out weekly to take advantage of fresh, seasonal ingredients and seafood. The special appetizers of the week included Portobello mushroom stuffed with spinach, roasted pepper, and mozzarella, which could be a meal for one ($8.95). The stuffed artichoke served to me was just beautiful; an enormous green flower filled with crispy, golden breadcrumbs and seasonings. This could easily be shared by four along with the special salad comprised of broccoli, chick peas, and fresh mozzarella dressed in red wine vinaigrette. Entrée specials included fresh salmon prepared with ginger and balsamic glaze, pan-seared tuna steak or red snapper, to name a few.

The baked clams and fried calamari are house favorites, and there were a few bowls of mussels being shared, prepared in a garlicky tomato sauce with lots of bread for dunking ($10.95). Hot and cold antipasto plates are a great starter, as is the house-made minestrone soup, or Caesar salad.

Aunt Bella’s has generously sized pasta dishes from $10.75 to $12.95 covered in marinara sauce, meatballs, clam sauce, Alfredo sauce, vodka sauce, or broccoli, garlic, and oil. Whole wheat and gluten-free varieties are available upon request. Baked lasagna, manicotti, ravioli, and ziti are hearty with lots to take home. Eileen revealed a secret about Aunt Bella’s having the best individual pizza pies around, starting at just $6.25. You can get these light, crisp pizzas with your favorite toppings and lots of people share one at the table as a first course.

Whether you crave meat, poultry, or fish, Aunt Bella’s has what you want. Classic chicken, veal, shrimp, or eggplant parmigiana please the crowds, while I went for light, flaky fillet of sole Francese style with a lemony butter sauce. My request for capers to be added to this supremely delicious meal was honored, and it was accompanied by freshly sautéed broccoli for a wonderful meal that provided enough leftover for lunch. You can have filet of sole or scallops simply broiled or enjoy a plate of pasta with a mixed seafood sauce.

At lunchtime, hot hero sandwiches stuffed with meatball parmigiana, peppers and eggs, sausage and peppers, and chicken parm are served quickly for around $7. Hot entrees are available as a lunch special for the amazingly low price of just $8.95 from Monday to Friday from noon to 3pm. Choose one of their delectable dishes such as chicken scarpiello, chicken scampi, lasagna, or one of a dozen pasta dishes. Another lunch option is a crunchy salad and a half hero sandwich for the same low $8.95.

After lunch or dinner, you’ll want to try some espresso and a serving of fluffy, house-made tiramisu, crunchy cannoli filled on the spot, ice cream tartufo, or vanilla and chocolate truffles with a cherry center.

Children, teens, adults and seniors alike all love Aunt Bella’s Restaurant where everyone feels like they’re at home. Aunt Bella’s Restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner from noon to 10pm. They have a full-service catering business and have catered hundreds of family and corporate events, so check out the catering menu on their website along with tantalizing photos of some of their favorite dishes. You’ll find everything from 6- foot heroes to chafing dishes of their beloved recipes. Order on Seamless or Uber Eats for fast delivery and for the full Aunt Bella’s experience, visit soon. It’s worth a short trip from all parts of Queens. Buon appetito!

46-19 Marathon Parkway
Little Neck  718.225.4700

(Just 2 blocks south of Northern Boulevard)
www.bellarestaurantgroup.com

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