2018-09-26 / Restaurant of the Week


Oro Restaurant and Lounge has set the gold standard for fine, yet casual Italian dining in Long Island City. Oro, which means ‘gold’ in Italian, exemplifies their fine Italian cuisine. In fact the Celic Family, led by father and son Walter and Mike, has years of experience in the restaurant business with past successes in Astoria and Manhattan. Since Oro Restaurant and Lounge opened two years ago, a steady clientele has grown at its convenient location on Crescent Street, quickly becoming “restaurant row.”

Oro Restaurant and Lounge provides an oasis from your work day routine and the perfect weekend destination. The modern, sleek, and very spacious interior is decked in light and dark woods illuminated by chic lighting. The bar lines nearly the entire space and sinews around to allow for convivial conversation, especially during their classy Happy Hour which runs Monday to Friday from 4:30-7:30pm. You’ll find ocean fresh oysters from their raw bar for just $1, $6 beer and $7 wine from their extensive cellar. One wall of the restaurant is decorated with 200 fine bottles behind glass. Here, you’ll find the private party room as well, with accommodations for up to 80 people for your next family or corporate event. Mike Celic will arrange the menu and all the details to ensure an unforgettable birthday, baptism, shower, anniversary, graduation, or company holiday party.

Start off with samplings from the raw bar with fresh oysters, shrimp cocktail or Little Neck clams on ice, perfect with a freshly mixed cocktail to awaken your palate. A classic Negroni, martini, or Manhattan goes well with the briny shellfish. The tricolore salad with arugula, endive, radicchio, and goat cheese is so colorful when set upon the crisp, white linen tablecloth. Next, crispy golden baked clams came steaming hot from the oven along with a wooden board set with their own home baked rolls and ramekin of garlic-infused olive oil. A gorgeous platter of buttery burrata cheese topped with prosciutto and delicate greens drizzled with syrupy balsamic vinegar tasted like summer on a plate. Arancini are rice balls filled with ground beef, peas and Parmigiano fried till golden ($14). Fresh eggplant slices are delicately filled with ricotta and rolled into eggplant rollatini topped with house tomato sauce, ideal for soaking up with the warm rolls ($14). Who could resist a plate of crunchy, fried calamari or perhaps a starter of plump shrimp scampi, swimming in lemon, butter, and white wine sauce. The pizza oven renders light, crispy pizza which makes a great appetizer to share among the table, or a meal, especially if you have children in tow.

Some of their most popular pasta dishes are the squid ink linguini topped with a mélange of seafood in a light tomato broth. My dining companion and I tried a small sampling of three of their pasta dishes. Hand rolled gnocchi were lighter than air, topped with rich, meaty Bolognese sauce, or you can have them with pesto if you prefer ($20). Linguini with clam sauce is a Friday night favorite in my family and Oro’s version offers lots of chunks of juicy, tender clams and perfectly cooked al dente linguine. Tender pillows of handmade ravioli came filled with lobster meat then topped with shrimp in a light Champagne tomato cream sauce that was just perfect.

Oro Restaurant has a variety of fish, chicken and meat dishes on their seasonal menu. Whole roasted branzino is topped with lemon gremolata, while the pan seared black bass is prepared with shrimp, capers, and parsley with lemon risotto.

Nothing says Italian comfort food like Oro’s free-range chicken cacciatore with peppers, mushrooms, and herbs in garlicky tomato sauce ($23). If you’re more of a meat-and-potatoes person, the Butcher Block has a 14-ounce NY Strip steak, a hefty 32-ounce Rib Eye, or a 10-ounce filet mignon. There’s even a prime burger that you can top with smoked bacon if you like. Sweeten your palate with an after-dinner cordial such as Amaretto and one of their fine desserts like vanilla bean crème brulee, fluffy tiramisu, or the chocolate mousse cake which we loved for its rich chocolate flavor and light texture.

Visit Oro Restaurant and Lounge for dinner six nights a week or Happy Hour weeknights. They’re closed on Sunday, except for private events, so book now. End of the year company holiday parties will be upon us before you know it and Oro’s private room is the perfect venue. Oro Restaurant and Lounge is located just one block from the Queensboro Plaza train station and just down the street from the Queensboro bridge, so access is easy for all. Visit their website for great photos. Accept nothing less than the gold standard for your next Italian meal with a visit to Oro Restaurant and Lounge on Crescent Street. Weekend reservations are suggested.

41-17 Crescent Street
Long Island City  718.729.1801


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