We are big fans of Piccola Venezia and a friend of mine swears by L'Incontro. I'd like to give it a try to compare the two places. Can anyone give me directions, coming from the LIE, from Bayside?
LIE to Grand Central
Grand Central to Exit 3, Hoyt Ave
Take a right onto 31st st (under the N/W train tracks)
Follow 31st St until the first intersection after the tracks end, which is 31st and Ditmars.
I strongly suggest you don't waste your money on L'incontro. The pasta is terrible and the sauce tasted a little old when we went.
Sorry for the rant, but -There are so many other places in Queens, I don't know of any good Italian places, unfortunately. Did you know it used to be considered an embarrasment for Italians (at least poor immigrants) to eat out in a restaurant? It meant their wife/mother didn't know how to cook, hence the terrible food in Little Italy is not close to real Italian home cooking. I think some of the "newer" places in Brooklyn might come close to serving real Italian food, there was a place in the Times a few months ago that described a cooking process just like home cooking (for ex. serving at room temp). But otherwise I have not been happy with the Italian food in NY, except for a couple in Manhattan.
My top fav's for a nice dinner in Queens:
Taverna Kyclades-greek seafood
Sabor Tropical-sao paulo style Brazilian -higly recommended if you want a more formal dinner.
Dosa Diner-informal but still decent atmosphere, the best Indian food in Queens.
The Persian Tea Room-out on the border of Suffolk, but absolutely amazing food.
Shanghai Tide in Flushing, great Shanghainese food, decent enough atmosphere.
I find Trattoria L'Incontro to be excellent, probably the best restaurant in Queens. I have sampled a wide variety of their menu and never been dissapointed. The homemade pasta has been consistently excellent, especially ravioli filled with chestnut, mascarpone and sausage. And the meats are always outstanding, I've had amazing venison, rabbit and their "kobe" pork chop. Their filet mignon was not quite as good as the rest but still very good.
I suggest you give L'Incontro another try, and explore the menu (and specials) rather than just pasta with red sauce, this is not a Southern Italian/Italian American place, as the chef/owner is from Abruzzo.
I think you may have been there on a bad night. I have been to L'Incontro a few times and each time it was excellent. The food was fresh and tasty and Roccy is very imaginative in the kitchen. In terms of creativity with Italian dishes, he may be Queens answer to Mario Batali.
Before ever going to L'Incontro my only foray into Astoria Italian was Piccola Venezia. The first time I went was about 10 years ago and it was excellent and the service was top notch. The next time, good, but not great. The last time (and it will be the last time) the food was mediocre, at best, and the service was worse.