Finding an Italian restaurant is relatively easy; there are so many around, whether they’re pizzerias, chain restaurants, or expensive, elegant ones. But to find the really great ones, with moderate pricing is a little harder. Yet in Queens and Long Island there are four that make exceptionally delicious food, all for relatively good prices, depending on your budget. Take a look below to find out a little more about these four Italian restaurants.
24-29 Jericho Turnpike
Garden City, NY 11040
Filled with plush booths, as well as tables with chairs evenly spread out throughout the restaurant, Mama Theresa’s is a welcoming facility where one can go for delicious food. With a large counter in the front, behind which stands tall, metal ovens, men making pizza and other select dishes, like chicken rolls or grilled chicken (or Portobello mushroom) Panini’s this always busy side of the restaurant is a great place to grab a quick slice, or take out. However, if you’re looking for a meal and not just a slice of pizza, you should take a look at their vast menu, filled with Italian specialties and favorites. The prices are a little high, but the portions and taste make dining here worth it. Start with the house salad with cheese, which is smothered in Italian dressing and filled with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and carrots. For dinner there is a wide selection based on what you’re in the mood for – some of the highlights: baked ziti, shrimp marinara, chicken sorrentino, eggplant parm and chicken francese.
Alcohol Served: Wine and Beer
Credit Cards Accepted: American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard
204-23 Hillside Avenue
Queens Village, NY 11423
Gaby’s is a very small pizzeria located in a strip mall along Hillside Avenue; almost a hole in the wall, it’s not the type of place one would expect to get a delicious meal. The neighborhood joint has a kind staff, the building is rustic looking, with brown being the overwhelming color of the store, with red and green signage and twinkling lights. The counter, which is in the back of the restaurant, stands in front of a large kitchen area that makes the award-winning pizza (they were featured on the Rachel Ray show, and won the pizza showdown over a pizzeria in Chicago) as well as some of the best Italian food you can find locally. Their pizza is thick, smothered with cheese and a tangy, signature sauce – try one slice, and you will undoubtedly be hooked. It’s the same sauce that makes the food here, available to eat in or take out (they deliver as well), the pleasant dishes that they are. While the selection isn’t as vast as the others, with large portions the prices can’t be beat. Menu highlights include the chicken parmigiana/spaghetti combo, stuffed shells and lasagna, all of which are served with a hot loaf of bread.
Alcohol Served: none
Credit Cards Accepted: Visa and MasterCard
73-28 Bell Blvd
Bayside, NY 11364
Attempting to make you feel as though you’ve travelled to Italy, the walls of Villa Rustica, half-pizzeria, half dine-in restaurant, located on 73rd Avenue, are adorned with the view of an Italian countryside. There are two entrances: one that leads you into the simple yet elegant dining room. The second entrance leads you into the front of the store, with a large counter filled with various types of pizza and has many tables available for those planning on staying. The pizza crust is thin, their sauce is delicious and light topped with cheese, there slices are one of the best and come with a variety of different toppings besides cheese (the most notable being ziti and eggplant). If you’re eating in the dining room, you’re also in for a tasty treat! They begin by placing a basket of hot, freshly baked varieties of bread on your table. The menu has a wide selection, all of which are reasonably priced; especially if you come the nights when they offer their specials (see below). Highlights of the menu include rigatoni filetto di pomodoro, chicken Marsala, eggplant rollatini.
Alcohol Served: wine
Credit Cards Accepted: American Express, Discover, Visa, MasterCard
Monday: any entrée comes with one free glass of wine or soda, coffee and dessert
Tuesday: order select pasta dishes and receive free salad, soda, coffee or dessert ($13.95)
Wednesday: order select chicken dishes and receive few side of spaghetti or penne, soda, coffee & dessert ($14.95)
23-70 Jericho Turnpike
Garden City, NY 11040
Uncle Bacala’s is a fine Italian restaurant, located on Jericho Turnpike. The room is large with lots of nicely decorated tables set up closely together; creating a warm feeling that is further complemented by the friendly staff. However, the draw to the restaurant is the food – a wide selection of Italian specialties with moderate prices. As a treat every meal ends with cotton candy, placed at the center of the table to share. The dishes come in extremely large portions, more likely to be shared than consumed by one person. Highlights include spinach and ricotta stuffed rigatoni that comes in a creamy sauce, chicken parmigiana, chicken francese and shrimp risotto.
Alcohol Served: Full Bar
Credit Cards Accepted: American Express, Visa, MasterCard
Official Site; “www.mamateresas.com.” Mama Teresa’s
Official Site; “www.gabyspizza.com.” Gaby’s
Official Site; “www.villarusticabayside.com.” Villa Rustica
Official Site; “www.unclebacala.com.” Uncle Bacala’s