After over 5 years of living in Sunnyside, I finally went to dine at Donato’s Italian restaurant, on the corner of 39th Ave and 51st street (almost in Woodside territory). For some reason I always envisioned it as merely a “pizza joint with waiter service”, but I was happy to discover it’s actually a full-fledged Italian restaurant; but yes – you can just grab a slice of pizza there as well.
There is plenty of nice white-tablecloth seating inside, as well as some outdoor tables (around the corner, which is why you can’t see them here). There is even a parking lot a couple blocks away were patrons can park if there is no street parking nearby. You can also just grab pizza slices and a few other things for take-out.
Soon after ordering, the waiters brought a complimentary basket of bread (there was more stuff in there – I just forgot to take a picture initially). We ended up going through most of it as it took quite a long time to get our food. The menu is very extensive, but the waiters were really pushing for the daily specials (which we didn’t end up ordering), so I have a feeling that’s what caused the lengthy cooking time (they had to start from scratch).
The main entree menu is divided into a few main sections: pasta, poultry, veal, and seafood. The poultry menu is generally the most affordable (even more so than pasta, surprisingly). And yes, it’s also possible to order personal pizzas, large pizzas, and various types of heroes. This chicken cacciatore ($14) comes with a rich sauce filled with peppers, mushrooms, and onions. I was very pleased with this dish – the chicken was succulent, the sauce wasn’t overwhelming, and the portion size was just right. Highly recommended.
Each entree comes with a choice of side dish – spaghetti, rice, or salad. I obviously chose the salad. It was good, but nothing to write home about. The spaghetti would have probably been a better choice, but I wanted some greens in my meal.
This Shrimp Fra Diavolo dish, served over a bed of spaghetti, was tasty but surprisingly expensive at $22. First, note that the prices on Donato’s website are apparently no longer accurate. And it doesn’t even come with a side dish. The dish is supposed to be somewhat spicy, and when the waitress asked if we did want the spice, we said yes, but then the dish they brought was not spicy at all. My advice is to stick to the traditional poultry dishes, or the pizza.