Featuring a Roman villa-like atmosphere with an emphasis on home-style cooking, Papazzio Restaurant in Bayside brings an Italian meal to life.
“When we say it is homemade, it is homemade,” owner Dominick Bruccoleri said.
The restaurant makes its own spice blend - as well as all meals - from scratch, Bruccoleri said. This home-style cooking keeps bringing people back.
“I tell people you pay once, but you get to eat twice,” Bruccoleri said about the large portions he serves.
The lunch portions of the menu are half the size of the dinner servings, but still enough for even the heartiest of eaters.
On my recent visit, Bruccoleri lavished me with three different appetizers to emphasize his restaurant’s cooking style. The vongole al forne ($10), clams with seasoned breadcrumbs and lemon sauce, were cooked to perfection and well seasoned, as all the spices harmonized nicely. The calamari ($10) rivaled my grandmother’s and the gamberi prosciutto con pesto ($12), shrimp with prosciutto and warm pesto, was a wonderful appetizer that looked as though it came right from Tuscany.
For main courses, the rigatoni messanaisse ($7), the restaurant’s signature dish, has an incredible marinara sauce that will please any pasta lover. There was also Talipie Orangato, fish and risotto with a lemon sauce. Individual flavors were heightened in this dish.
I particularly enjoyed the sweet potato gnocchi ($16). Even a small portion was quite filling and almost impossible to finish. The cream sauce brought out the sweetness of the potato and left me wanting more.
For desert, the restaurant has the traditional tiramisu, which is some of the best in the city. It also has an Oreo mousse cake for chocolate lovers.
Bruccoleri’s favorite kitchen appliance might just be his coffee and espresso maker. He told me that he has had the machine since he opened over 17 years ago and the coffee it produces is the perfect end to a meal.
Papazzio features a private dining room in the basement for a more intimate setting, Bruccoleri said. The room can seat up to 12 people and is a perfect place for a family gathering. The restaurant also has an informal bar where people can have a drink or even their meal.
39-38 Bell Boulevard
Hours: Open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
and dinner from 5 to 11 p.m.
Price: Lunch prices range from $7 to $10.
Dinner prices range from $10 for an appetizer to $20 for a pasta dish.
Parking: The restaurant offers valet parking on the weekends.
Take out and catering, as well as curbside pick-up
Reservations required for private dining room, but not needed for general dining.