Vite Vinosteria: Cozy, Italian, Amazing
By Ilija Sekulovski
We stopped by Vite on a rainy night, and were eager to step inside. The first thing you notice at Vite is that it’s not very large – but the perfect word to describe it is intimate. It’s comforting and home-y.
The second thing you notice is that it’s really Italian. You’re greeted with a boastful Buonasera (good evening) and led to your seat.
The Italian doesn’t end there – throughout the night our waiter made it a point to stay “in character” and wish us a good meal in Italian, as well as offer his thanks and welcomes in the language. While some might find it heavy-handed, we thought it was a great way to keep the authentic vibe, and it never felt forced – more like we were sitting in the kitchen of a long-time Italian friend.
Another thing we noticed is that two of the three owners, Carmelo Bennici and Pinnucio Uras, were constantly floating around – from tables, to serving behind the bar, to the door – and they were just talking. They joyfully greeted everyone like they were old friends – which they might have been – but after the third our fourth time we realized they’re just like this with everyone. Though it’s a small thing, it seemed to make a huge impact on the vibe of the restaurant – Carmelo shaking hands and Pinnucio making tables roar with laughter.
Now – let’s get to the food.
The food at Vite Vinosteria is extremely authentic. The chef, Fabiano Manca, had creates many of the dishes – including homemade pastas, and phenomenal homemade desserts.
When you first sit down, you’re offered a bread bowl with fresh, homemade bread that is warm and fluffy. Instead of the regular olive oil, it’s paired with spiced oil – and if you like spicy food, it’s amazing.
We started off with the Arancini di Sicilia, which are golden fried rice balls with tomato sauce and thyme. While traditionally made with meat, these are simply just cheesy and warm, and a phenomenal appetizer that left us really excited for our meal.
We moved on to salad – and ours was the perfect mix of salty and sweet. There were nuts and red onion, and creamy gorgonzola cheese. After that we had the Baccala Mantecato – which is creamy whipped cod fish with fried polenta. Now, if we were looking a moment when I was sold on Vite – this would be it. Guys, I’m going to be honest: I hate fish. I love seafood otherwise, but I can’t do fish. And I am going to continue the honesty and say I loved this. It was a confusing moment. I still don’t know what to think. But the polenta somehow perfectly paired with the cod fish, which was so creamy that I somehow couldn’t dislike it.
We moved on to the Tortelloni del Bosco (homemade stuffed pasta with selected mushrooms and fontina cheese), and it was easily our favorite dish of the night. The homemade tortelloni was perfectly made, and it really shined.
The others we tried were the Melanzane alla Parmigiana (eggplant parmesan) and Cavatelli di Grano Intergrale con Ragu d’ Agnello )whole wheat pasta with meat ragu), and an amazing lamb dish which was served on a bed of creamy polenta.
We finished off with dessert – we had the Tiramisu Vite, a flan, and a type of Italian cream puff (I’ve tried searching the online menu – but can’t figure out what they were!). We were torn down the center – half loving the flan, me obsessing over the flan, and both loving the cream puffs.
Overall, Vite Vinosteria went beyond what we expected. They’ve been around for such a short time, and yet they’ve really honed and perfected their menu in such a way that there wasn’t a single dish we could genuinely say we disliked. We will absolutely be back.
31-05 34th St
Astoria, NY 11106