Monday, July 5, 2010

Restaurant Review: Ornella Trattoria Italiana by David Oliva

Hi everybody! This is my second review for Wine Taters.  This time I’m reviewing an Italian restaurant called Ornella Trattoria Italiana located in Astoria close to Ditmars Blvd. Ornella has been open for a few years. A co-worker of mine highly recommended it. I was filled with anticipation and hoped it stood up to its reputation.

We arrived at Ornella Trattoria around 7 PM on a very pleasant Friday in June. The front of the restaurant is entirely glass. The door and front wall allowed a fresh breeze to come in. There are a few tables outside if you choose to eat there.  My wife and I were greeted immediately as we entered.

The restaurant is not wide but it is long. There is just enough room to walk through as the waiters and waitresses scurry by. The walls are painted nicely with artwork depticing an Italian village.  We did feel as if we were in Italy. Once we were seated we were ready to order. 

Here is our order with estimated prices:

Antipasti:  Buffalo Mozzarella, Arugula, and Prosciutto di Parma (special of the day) - $10 (estimated)
Dinner: Rigatoni Alla Matriciana - $15, and Short ribs with Gnocchi and Brown Sauce - $21
Dessert: Tiramisu - $5 (estimated)
Wine: Half Carafe of Pinot Grigio $15 (estimated)
Total Bill: $85 w/tip (estimate)

Source: Ornella Trattoria Italiana

We were first served brucshetta on toasted Italian bread. The brucshetta was very good. I remember tasting all of the ingredients when taking a big bite.  I could eat this all day, it was so good. As a free item, the brucshetta was a great piece of the meal.

Buffalo Mozzarella, Arugula, and Prosciutto Di Parma

This special antipasti of the day interested me the most. I can never refuse a Buffalo mozzarella dish.  Since my wife (Angela) loves Arugula (I do not), I was able to taste the mozzerella and Prosciutto di Parma in its finest forms. The mozzarella was good, not great, but good. The prosciutto was excellent! The slices were cut thin and the taste was amazing.  Angela said the Arugula was outstanding. Overall, everything on the dish was well balanced.

Rigatoni Alla Matriciana

The Rigatoni Alla Matriciana contains tomato sauce, guanciale, onions and fresh peas (I do not like peas so I told the waiter to hold them). The rigatoni was cooked Al Dente. The sauce had some tomato skin and a great taste. There was a little kick to the sauce. As I started to eat I liked it more and more. I think the reason for that was that I started to taste more of the garlic, which I love. For $15 the portion size was average but the quality was above average.

Short ribs with Gnocchi and Brown Sauce

Angela ordered the ribs and found them very tender with the meat falling off the bone. The gnocchi was light with a perfect texture. You can tell that the gnocchi was homemade. I have been in restaurants where the gnocchi is hard and tasteless. This gnocchi was one of the best I have ever eaten in my life. To top if off, the brown sauce complimented the whole meal. If you are to put all the ingredients in your mouth at one time, you will be in heaven. This dish was simply amazing. . The quantity was just right. But the price of $21 was expensive for my taste. With the price aside, when you go to Ornella’s this is a must order!

Pinot Grigio

The wine was a simple house wine, a Pinot Grigio.  The wine was not fantastic, but it went well with the meal.  I have had better wines, but this wine was satisfactory for the dinner it accompanied.  Basic Pinot flavor, nothing outstanding.


The Tiramisu had a wonderful balance between the Marscapone and the Espresso.  The Lady Fingers were perfectly soaked in the Espresso.  The flavor of this Tiramisu was unique and different from other Tiramisu's I have had.  I cannot put my finger on it, but whatever it was, it took the Tiramisu to another level of flavor. The Tiramisu was homemade and the texture was phenomenal. The cake melted in my mouth while savoring the flavor. I was full from eating dinner but couldn’t refuse the cake once I had one taste of it.
I highly recommend Ornello Trattoria for both the food and the friendly service. The owner Giuseppe spoke with us and is a very pleasant man. He is filled with energy and passion towards his restaurant. Thank you Giusseppe, we had a great time and will be back!

Scale 1-10 (1 is gross and 10 is stupendous)

Location: 8
Décor: 9.5
Food: 9
Service: 9.5
Price: 7
Overall: 9

Ornella Trattoria Italiana
2917 23rd Avenue, Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 777-9477‎

Mon    12pm    –    10pm
Tue     12pm    –    10pm
Wed   12pm    –    10pm
Thu     12pm    –    10pm
Fri      12pm    –    10pm
Sat     12pm    –    11pm
Sun    12pm    –    11pm

Transit: Astoria-Ditmars Blvd Station (0.2 mi) 

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Dr. Robert M. Oliva said...

Ornella sounds like a place I would want to go to. You can really find superb Italian cuisine in Queens. Thanks for the review, Dave.

angelmoon said...

This is a great review. I really enjoyed Ornella. We will definitely be returning to this restaraunt.

djoliva said...

Thanks Dr.! Ornella is certainly a place where you will enjoy eating. We should all go down there one day.