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Sep 22, 2008 12:44 PM

Best red sauce Italian restaurant in Brooklyn?

Nominees? I've been to Da Tomasso, Ponte Vecchio and Bamonte's and enjoyed them all. Anyone think there are others out there that are better?

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  1. Queen is pretty good, not great, but is quite a solid red sauce joint.

    36 Replies
    1. re: NYJewboy

      The QUEEN is a fine restaurant, not a red sauce "joint".

      This is serious, well thought out, and often perfectly executed Italian food. The daily specials menu is outstanding. Far from the ubiquitous "red sauce" dishes at many Italian -American restaurants.

      Italian-American cuisine, often American take--offs from the South of Italy and Sicily can be great. QUEEN is more authentically Italian.

      For great Seafood Italian- American red sauce dishes, check ouy RANDAZZO'S in Sheepshead Bay.

      1. re: Fleur

        Randazzo's is horrible just on its face. I like Tonio's on 7th Ave by 8th Street in Park Slope. It's the last of the original Italian joints left over from the Slope's good ole days. That and they make a nice veal cutlet.

        There's also a couple of places in Boro Park. I don't remember the exact streets though. One is Ft. Hamilton Parkway near Maimoides, the other on New Utrecht Ave. near Miller's diner. Can anyone help elaborate? I also hit Rocco's a month ago and liked it. They're on Ft Hamilton and 65th Street.

        And this may sound silly but you might want to try Di Fara's meatballs. Get them with some pasta and cheese. They're great as a stand alone dish.

        1. re: bigmackdaddy

          I also think Randazzo's is horrible. I know the place you're thinking about on New Utrecht Ave. I think it started with a "C". maybe "Collaro's?", but I can't come up with the name. As for Rocco's on Ft Ham Pkway, isn't that more like a self serve cafeteria?
          I always rec New Corner on 8th Ave for both traditional "red sauce" dishes and a wide variety of Northern Italian dishes. Huge, wide spectrum menu, reasonable prices, professional service, great neighborhood. Can't go wrong..

          1. re: Tay

            Re: Rocco's

            It's a working man's environment, I'll be the first to admit but the way I see it there are a quite a few Italian places which can only tout a certain ambiance and not their food. I find Rocco's has pretty good food and service.

            1. re: bigmackdaddy

              Please don't misunderstand. I like Rocco's food a lot. The food is fresh and there is always a nice variety. I'm fine with the 'Blue collar' environment.I just don't think I'd rec it as a place to eat unless I explained about the total lack of ambiance and the cafeteria style dining. Of course I think the service is great b/c, aside from the guys behind the counter I'm basically serving/bussing my own table. I don't know if it's still open but if so, you might enjoy the HUGE self service buffet served on 2nd Ave in the 40's, near LMC. They have all sorts of good stuff including some red sauce favs. When I worked in BR, that was the 'go to' place 1-2 a week :-}

              1. re: Tay

                I think you might be misunderstanding me as well. I agree with you, lol.

                1. re: bigmackdaddy

                  Great! Then we can both wholeheartedly rec Rocco's for the food. I noticed the restaurants the OP mentioned in his/her OP and in terms of ambiance, Rocco's is not going to provide the same type of dining experience that, say, Ponte Vecchio will

                2. re: Tay

                  Tay I agree on the buffet place on 2nd ave in brklyn I think it was called BEST DELI had the parking lo in the back they also served really goo hot sandwhiches from the conter I would gwet a beef brisket on a roll w/ the hot & cold buffet I have to go back one day havent been there recently. but I think it was a good place rto have breakfast & lunch

                  1. re: howster

                    I know the deli. I'd stop in there every time I had to order from Abbott's Paints. They do make good corned beef sandwiches as well as the typical sandwiches you can get from a pizzeria. Their pulpo salad isn't bad either. Nice and spicy.

              2. re: Tay

                Re New Corner, Robert Sietsema gave them a nice writeup recently in the Village Voice.

                That reminded me that I've long had this place on my list but haven't gotten around to visiting. It's time to go.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  I am one of the New Corner non- supporters. Don't see what the magic is.

                  1. re: carfreeinla

                    I don't get it either. Very middle of the road Italian food. What I do like though is you can order a dozen Clams Oreganata at a reasonable price. I loves me some baked clams.

                    1. re: Scagnetti

                      I usually agree with Sietsema so I figured the review was worth posting.

                      I'm going in a few weeks along with some other posters and will report back. My benchmark red sauce place is Tuzzio's in Long Branch and it's very good. Lets see how New Corner compares.

                      1. re: Scagnetti

                        Count me in this anti- New Corner group. I've been there many, many times (never my choice, but as a compromise in order to accompany friends). I never understood the extremely positive reviews this place gets. It's good sized portions of at best, average food, usually made from subpar quality ingredients.

                        And as far as addressing the original post on this thread, my last favorite Brooklyn casual neighborhood red sauce joint used to be Nino's on Coney Island Avenue, one block north of Kings Highway. That place closed six years ago. I've heard rumors that the former Nino's owner was planning on opening up another restaurant but haven't heard any follow-up to the rumor.

                        1. re: pizmet

                          The former owner of Nino's now runs a restaurant named Il Posto in Bergen Beach [Southern Brooklyn]. Here's a link to google maps for the exact address, location, etc.


                          Il Posto
                          7409 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11234

                          1. re: mryan2686

                            Have you been there? Any reviews? How do you know that the owner used to own Nino's on Coney Island Ave?

                          2. re: pizmet

                            Ninos was one of my favorites, many many 1st dates. Try Maria's in sheepshead bay great lobster fra diablo. I tried another spot under the bridge in williamsbuge forget the name great shrimp scampi

                    2. re: Tay

                      Collaro's (the real one) was on McDonald Ave off Quentin Rd. and is long gone. I grew up eating there and still miss it. The other Collaro's on CIA off Kings Highway is long gone as well but not missed.

                      At any rate, Ortobello's is probably the name you're trying to remember and I think it's still there at N.Utrecht and Bay Pkway. Not bad for a home cooking red sauce place, but you have to order carefully and hope its a good day. I havent been in years but remember it fondly.

                      As a regular at Queen, I agree that its much more than a "red sauce joint" but, if it's good old time red sauce stuff you want, Queen has it and does it well. I sit there with my Chicken Parm, Eggplant Parm. or Lasagna entree, watching the rest of my dinner companions eat more upscale stuff, but enjoy every minute of it.

                      Stay away from Bamonte's, Tommasso's is a notch over ok, Manducatis is usually good and I've always heard similarly good things about Frost. I think that Park Side in Queens is also worth going to.. one of the only places left w/valet parking and all the other "old line" extras. Been there 3 times this year and liked it each time.

                      1. re: Steve R

                        Just for the record, Steve R, Ortobello's is at Bay Parkway and 64th Street. New Utrecht Avenue and Bay Parkway don't even come close to intersecting. Ortobello's is great. Reasonable prices and everything is cooked to order, plus it's a neighborhood spot, therefore there are no long waits.

                        1. re: Brklynbobby

                          No wonder I couldnt find it again :-) Seriously, thanks. Now I gotta go back again.

                        2. re: Steve R

                          I called Queen a red sauce joint out of fondness and respect. I think their red sauce is amazing, and that's where I go when it is what I am after. It is far better than Frost or Bamonte's.

                          By the way, Parkside in Queens is quite good. I would put it in the same catagory as Queen; a red sauce joint that also makes the American northern-Italian style dishes.

                          1. re: Steve R

                            I think Tommaso' is more than just a notch over ok. It's not Al di La, but Ive had several excellent meat and pasta dishes. You do need to order carefully, but the good stuff there is really quite good. Definitely better than Bamonte's.

                            1. re: ropa vieja

                              What EXACTLY do you get at Tommaso that is "quite good"?

                              1. re: Scagnetti

                                osso bucco, rabbit pappardelle, veal cheeks, pasta with veal ragu, duck liver appetizer,

                        3. re: bigmackdaddy

                          Are the Di Fara's meatballs beef, pork, or a combination?

                          1. re: NYJewboy

                            Dunno to be honest. They taste like all beef to me. The lady behind the counter wouldn't tell me much except that garlic and nutmeg is used. Then again she was pretty busy taking orders.

                          2. re: bigmackdaddy

                            I've been going to Tonio's since it opened and it's my favorite restaurant :-)

                          3. re: Fleur

                            By red sauce you must mean terrible

                            1. re: NYJewboy

                              Do you really think all red sauced based dishes, ( Other than DiFara's pizza of course!) are indicators that the food must be terrible?

                              1. re: Tay

                                No way Tay! I love old time New York style red sauce, especially over cutlets and meatballs. I grew up on it. I was just responding to the comment above which objected when I called Queen a red sauce joint. OK, maybe its a fancy red sauce joint with some northern dishes. It ain't Al Di La, that's for sure.

                                1. re: NYJewboy

                                  I'd say Queen was probably 60% Northern Italian and 40% classic red sauce dishes. I've eaten there many times, most recently in early May. The meals have ranged from very good to great.

                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                    It seems that a while back (I haven't been there in a while) it was more on the red sauce side. Its good to hear it is expanding its menu.

                                    1. re: NYJewboy

                                      They have their standard menu which is probably weighted 60-40 in favor of the red sauce entrees. Their daily specials menu, which is really pretty extensive, skews the other way.

                                  2. re: NYJewboy

                                    Ahhh... I see. I was wondering how a true pizza person could NOT like red sauce. :-}

                                    1. re: Tay

                                      Oh how I love red sauce, it is in my blood (on my wife's side). I was just responding to how that moniker is viewed as a negative on this board. But like anything else, it can be done well or poorly.

                              2. re: Fleur

                                Red sauce "joint" or not, I will say that the other night I had Linguini with red clam sauce from Queen and it was the best I'd ever had before. Their baked penne is a little bit of a miss in my opinion, partly because I prefer ziti, and partly because of the cheese.

                            2. Frost on Frost St. in Williamsburgh.

                              193 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                              1. Only one on your list I have been to is Bamonte's, will have to check out some of the other suggestions here. Here are good choices I know of:

                                Cono O'Pescatore Graham Williamsburgish area
                                La Sorrentina 11th ave Bensonhurst
                                Fiorentino's Ave U Gravesend (one of the main cooks passed away not too long ago but still good from last vist)
                                L&B Spumoni Gardens restaurant Gravesend

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: dhs

                                  I'll have to respectfully disagree about L&B's. I've found their food to be less than mediocre. Whn in that area, better food is found at Casa Bella's on Cropsey and 26th Ave. They also make a very good brick oven Margarita pie.
                                  I will say that I like L&B's square pizza but that's only b/c I like that practically all tomato paste and grated cheese sauce they slather on top, not b/c it's really good pizza. :-}

                                  1. re: Tay

                                    Interesting. I have not been to Casa Bella in a long time but usually go to where my family is favoring at that time (La Sorrentina at the moment)

                                    I have not been to L&B in a while as well but never felt it was mediocre. Blow my doors off, no. Really no Italian American place seems to do that to me since it is my childhood food. I usually don't eat the heavy red sauce dishes save a weakness for fried calamari and L&B's makes a solid version of that. I don't eat the pizza though. Never liked it.

                                    1. re: dhs

                                      I know what you mean. Like Scotch, their pizza is an aquired taste.
                                      BTW, I've had some tasty calamari from Casa Calamari, but like most fried foods, I find it's one of those dishes that really doesn't travel well.

                                  2. re: dhs

                                    I second Fiorentino's! I may be biased since I grew up going there but I went earlier in the week for lunch and it did not disappoint. The zuppa de clams (red sauce, no pasta) was incredible, and my boyfriend's eggplant parm was a fine example of its kind. The fried zucchini was flaky and perfect and the coffees were delicious. Others got cafe romanos, and each had very generous anisette pours. The whole thing was so yummy that I ate too much and had to take a nap!

                                  3. I haven't been there for a while, I don't even know if they're still around, but Anthony's on Ave X off of Ocean Ave was pretty awesome. It's place that is so off the main Sheepshead Bay drag, that only the locals really go there. My family used to go there all the time. It used to be called the Pizza Bowl.

                                    1. Kenny's Trattoria on Withers St. in Williamsburg hands down, best homemade pasta and sauce anywhere. Run, do not walk!!!