Trattoria L'incontro Vs. Parkside Vs. Roberto for Birthday Dinner
I've grown a little tired of L'incontro. The sports jerseys they now have hanging on the walls are cheesy and need to go.
The whole "we have 30 specials" spiel has also grown old. The specials are pretty much always the same and have been since the place opened. Just put them on the menu already.
It's also very loud.
I really like the straightforward food at Parkside, it's comfort food. Trattoria L'Incontro can be overly ambitious at times. I also like the ambiance at Parkside (more windows and natural lighting) as opposed to the mural and tile at TLI. TLI is also more expensive. I'm going to second Il Toscano as a solid choice. Al Di La should also be considered. You won't go wrong at any of the above frankly. Haven't been to Roberto.
All three, along with Piccola Venezia (see related discussions linked at right, including one started by you, how many birthdays do you have in a year?) are regular birthday venues for Italian families. Of the 4, I prefer Roberto's for the food, but they do not take reservations and there is usually a wait and the tables are closer together than in the others. It is also a little more expensive.
Never been to Roberto's but in regard to your two Queens options L'Incontro kills Parkside in the food category.
If you want to have above average red sauce Italian Parkside fits the bill. There is no ambience at Parkside. Rocco and his staff at L'Incontro offer many food options (wood oven pizza, game dishes like Pappardelle with rabbit ragu, great grilled baby portuguese octopus, to name a few..) that are delicious.
Make reservations for a weekend a couple of weeks in advance..
I dont go to Roberto's but, of the other two, I think that the food at L'Incontro is a little better and more interesting. However, the old time ambience and overall atmosphere at Parkside gets me there way more often. If it was my b-day and those were the choices, I'd go to Parkside.