2018-10-24 / Restaurant of the Week

Antica Trattoria

Step through the doors of Antica Trattoria into a classic Italian restaurant and a slice of old New York. Trends come and go, and so do new eateries trying to satisfy everyone’s cravings. Well, Antica Trattoria in Ridgewood has been serving classic Italian cuisine, made from scratch, for the last 37 years. Its 100-year-old copper ceiling has developed a rich patina that lends a historic note to the charming, old school interior.

The dining room resembles a garden in an Italian villa with a central mural painted on one of the stucco walls, and trellises painted on the others. Iron lanterns suspend from the copper ceiling providing soft illumination and a relaxing ambience. Meanwhile, Chef Elio works his magic in the kitchen as he has done for the past 16 years while 20-year veteran waiter, Albino, uses his charm in the front of the house. We ordered glasses of wine and dove into Albino’s suggested appetizers which were the polpette, or little meatballs made with mozzarella and prosciutto in Chef Elio’s rich, spicy tomato sauce. Don’t worry, it’s not too spicy, just extra delicious and full of chunky tomato. The stuffed mushrooms are a house favorite, filled with ground meat, peppers and pancetta, served in a puddle of creamy, pink tomato sauce ($12). Mozzarella in carrozza is breaded mozzarella that’s been fried to golden, gooey goodness and everyone loves the crispy calamari to share. The tower of eggplant parmigiana puts a twist on the classic dish by layering it vertically, a feast for the eyes and the palate. We shared a fresh insalata capricciosa composed of arugula, spinach, endive, radicchio, and cherry tomatoes that cleansed our palates for the next course.

Pasta comes after antipasto and Antica Trattoria has at least 18 pasta dishes to choose among, so you can try a different one each visit. Tagliatelle Capitano is homemade ribbon pasta tossed with crab meat, shrimp, fresh tomato and a touch of cream ($14). Our homemade gnocchi were toothsome and tender, smothered in delicious tomato sauce topped with fresh basil leaves and shaved Parmigiano cheese. Penne Siciliane is prepared with eggplant, tomato, and ricotta salata while the linguine and clam sauce is made with juicy clams, lots of garlic and fine olive oil. Secondi come next, which are entrees of meat, chicken, or fish. My friend and I shared the tender, flaky branzino fish sautéed with lemon and capers, flanked by several plump shrimp and we declared it superb. These juicy shrimp can also be prepared scampi style with garlic, oreganata with bread crumbs, Francese with lemon and white wine or fra diavolo in spicy sauce.

Tender cutlets of chicken or veal are sautéed with either sweet Marsala wine, fried Milanese style, or classic Parmigiana style. The grill sizzles with rib steak and baby lamb chops too. Don’t forget Antica Trattoria also makes fabulous Neapolitan style pizza to stay or to go with your favorite toppings.

Finish your meal with a cup of espresso and one of their tempting desserts including homemade tiramisu, light, fluffy cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake, berry tart, or torta di nonna, a flaky almond tart.

Enjoy a classic Italian meal in a charming, old world setting at Antica Trattoria. Even the surrounding neighborhood reflects old New York where you’ll feel like you’re on a movie set. Put Antica Trattoria on your list of ‘must try’ restaurants for its great food, ambience, good prices, and warm service. Salute!

68-10 Fresh Pond Road
Ridgewood  718.386.1559

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