August 31, 2012 by Emily Pergament
At Broadway and 35th Street in Astoria, there are two Italian restaurants on opposites sides of the street. On the north side is Bartolino’s, which was probably opened a few days after the first Italian immigrant discovered northwest Long Island. The meals there are long, reasonably priced, filled with all the classics, and topped off with a grizzly but lovable maitre’d/waiter who will give you a free limoncello after dinner if you order wine or go with a groupon.
The other is Donato’s, on the south side, which was opened a few months ago. Let’s just say Bartolino’s has nothing to worry about.
That’s not to say our dinner there was not good. We both had seafood pasta dishes. Emily had grilled calamari marinara and I had shrimp fra diavolo. The sauce was spicy but not too spicy, and the calamari were a good texture. It just did not have the same family feeling as Bartolino’s. Our waitress asked us weird questions that I cannot really replicate in writing. She also asked us how our entrees tasted literally two seconds after they were placed in front of us before we could even pick up a fork. Again, it was a pleasant enough meal, but if you want Italian at Broadway and 35th, and Bartolino’s isn’t on its annual summer hiatus, then that’s your place.