Ornella Trattoria Casual Italian Dining in Astoria

Posted on May 7, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Italian | Tags: , , , |

When Giuseppe Viterale decided to open a restaurant named after his wife, he created a place where locals can eat home style Italian cooking in a warm casual atmosphere. Italian food is easy to find in Astoria, but this place is unique because it offers a moderately priced menu in a relaxed environment and pasta selections you can’t find any where else. The regional specialties include hearty buckwheat pasta, chickpea noodles and, my personal favorite, Chestnut pasta and bread. The Viterale’s main focus is uncovering the authentic tastes from Italy and bringing them to you right here in Astoria. I had never heard of chestnut pasta or bread until I tried them at a tasting here, and they blew me away! The smooth nutty flavor is complemented by a subtle sweetness, unlike pasta dishes I have tasted previously. After hearing all the positive reviews, my mother and I headed over to 23rd avenue to see what else they offered. We found that the food was not the only thing to get excited about, the service was also  impeccable. They treat you like a king at Ornella. The wait staff was genuinely friendly and personable. We often felt as if we were dining as guests in their home rather than strangers in a restaurant. We started off with a special appetizer of fresh mozzarella atop of arugula and tomatoes. This was a the perfect introduction to our Italian feast. After we finished our first course, our server Sergio whisked away our empty plate to make room for the main dish, tonno all’aceto balsamico- grilled tuna served with vegetables in a balsamic reduction. This was a hearty cut of tuna steak grilled and served rare. The slightly smokey taste was a good contrast when smothered in the sweet vinegar reduction. Luckily we managed to save some room for desert. A fluffy Italian cheesecake with a hint of orange graced our bellies. This light dessert went down easy as we sat at our sidewalk table watching the sunset. Being the warm-loving Italian that she is, my mother instantly struck up a conversation with the friendly Giuseppe Viterale. We not only chatted about Italy and food but he also mentioned that he owns a beautiful farm upstate where he will soon begin hosting cooking classes in July. We can’t wait to try them! And more importantly we can’t wait to eat more delicious Italian fare. Ornella has unlimited mimosa brunch that I can’t wait to try, and inexpensive  lunch specials for those working (or not working) in the area.

Ornella Trattoria Italiana Astoria 29-17 23rd Ave 718-777-9477


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