Monday, May 14, 2012

Al Dente

The restaurant is located on Halstead Avenue just a short ride from the train station. The place was definitely not busy but I think it was due to it being New Year's Day. We decided to choose a table in the bar area instead of the large dining room. The menu has typical Italian fare along with a blackboard filled with specials of the evening.

We began by ordering drinks; two unsweetened iced teas as we perused the menu. We decide to share the clams oreganata as an appetizer. I chose the Rigatoni Vodka and Liz chose the Gnocchi in marinara sauce with fresh mozzarella. Our waitress brought out a bread basket along with a plate of bruchetta, salt cured black olives and stuffed roasted peppers. The bruchetta and olives were quite good but the peppers were very spicy.

Our appetizer arrived steaming hot to the table. The portion was perfect for two and very tasty. The sauce was perfect for dipping pieces of Italian bread.

Our entrees arrived a few minutes after our appetizer was cleared and were large servings. My rigatoni was perfectly cooked and I must admit it was one of the top three Vodka sauces I have ever tasted.

My wife loved her Gnocchi and upon tasting some myself, I was impressed by the freshness of the pasta. Needless to say we couldn't finish our plates and asked for the remainder to be wrapped up.

Our waitress then brought us a plate of assorted Italian cookies while Liz ordered a cappuccino. The cookies were a perfect finish to the meal and my wife loved her cappuccino. This place is an excellent find and so close to our house; we will definitely be back for another terrific meal.

Al Dente
60 Halstead Avenue
Harrison, NY 10528
(914) 835-2535

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ornella Trattoria

Ornella is one of our absolute favorite restaurants.

Ornella's is a new Italian restaurant in Astoria and quite honestly a gem. The owners are friends of my brother in law. We have been here twice for family diners as well as several solo trips or with out of town friends and have loved it. The restaurant is small but comfortable; we didn't feel cramped. The walls have painted murals to depict Italian street scenes. The walls are decorated in warm colors with colorful stained glass sconces on the walls. Ornella and her husband Giuseppe welcome every customer warmly; as if they are family. The menu has some Italian favorites and don't forget the specials. The food here is excellent and you can't go wrong with any item you chose. The portions are large, the prices are affordable, the food is incredible and fresh and the service is very attentive. What I really like about Ornella's is that you never feel rushed. You can relax and enjoy each course of the meal properly; savoring every bite.

Once you have been seated and settled in; your drink order is taken. They now have a liquor license but you can bring your own wine for dinner if you choose. The waiters bring delicious fresh bread and bruchetta to the table. The foccacia bread is delicious and the bruchetta is very tasty. The hardest part is choosing from the menu and the specials....there are so many delicious items. Each course is served without rush; you can enjoy your food and wine as if you are in Italy. I dislike the American way of rushing diners to eat quickly and vacate a will not find that here at Ornella. After a delicious meal, enjoy some of their tasty desserts and a cappucino or espresso.

If you are in NYC, you must come to Ornella. It will be an memorable meal!

The waiters brought over some incredible bruchetta and a bread basket to start. The bruschetta was excellent and the home made bread was incredible. I liked the rustic bread dipped in their extra virgin olive oil. Our wine was opened and water was brought to the table as we perused the menu. After deciding on some appetizers of fried calamari and clams oreganata we ordered our main dishes. I had the Seafood Risotto; Liz and Bessie had the gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce, Rob had the Spaghetti Omadoro and Marie and Bob had the penne with chicken. The appetizers were good but nothing to rave about(this has since changed for the better) but my entrée was incredible. The shrimp, clams, crab-meat and mussels were very fresh and the risotto was creamy and delicious. Everyone agreed that their entrees were very good especially Liz and Bessie who finished their plates before anyone else.For dessert a large platter was brought over with some Italian cheesecake and Tiramisu. The cheesecake and Tiramisu was very good and we enjoyed stuffing more into our already full stomachs.

I would recommend this restaurant for its great atmosphere, god service and delicious food. It feels as if you are eating in Ornella's home and not a restaurant.

My favorite dish is the Penne con Pollo. The pasta is very fresh and the chicken is delicious.

The appetizers here are very good especially the baked clams and fried calamari. Our last visit here Giuseppe brought out a plate of lightly battered and fried Sardines; they were excellent.

My wife loves their Gnocchi Gorgonzola. The gnocchi are nice and light while the gorgonzola cream sauce is creamy and thick.

Ornella Trattoria
29-17 23rd Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 777-9477

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Monday, May 7, 2012

We've gone Live!

Travel Through Food is now live! That is right. We have finally put together our restaurant and food review website. We hope you will find Travel Through Food to be helpful and informative in selecting your dining experience. It is our goal to have new content on Mondays and Thursdays for now until we find either more writers or have specials to let you know about immediately. And so it will begin this Thursday with our first restaurant review. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. Thank you. TTF.