Family Sunday lunch at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!

 Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

So we were back to Via Vai in Astoria where Chef Antonio Morichini is now proposing a family meal on Sundays, called “Pranzo di Domenica in famiglia”. Yes, a family meal and not a brunch, although there are few dishes with eggs on the menu. As he said, if he would call it a brunch, not only people would expect eggs, but also waffles and pancakes, that are not items he is proposing. At Via Vai, you would only get traditional Italian dishes: no penne a la vodka or chicken parmigiana. Everything there is made from scratch, from the pasta to the tomato sauce, and some ingredients are even imported directly from Italy, like the mozzarella.

 Chef Antonio Morichini of Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Chef Antonio Morichini of Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

So we were really excited to go there and retrieve the warmth we found the first time we went, warmth not only from that place, but also from its owner, Chef Antonio, and manager, Manuel, who is also from Roma. The place has not changed at all, except the multiple carnival masks that are all over the restaurant.

 Bar at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Bar at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Decorations at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Decorations at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Dining room at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Dining room at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Condiments at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Condiments at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Carnival mask at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Menu wise, we were there for a treat. The way the family lunch works is that, for $28, you order two dishes from the large selection and get a dessert (so it is a 3 course meal). You want two pasta dishes? Get them! You want two pizzas? No problem. Well, I guess the only problem is the fact that there are so many choices that look appetizing, that you do not know which one to order...So, as we were making up our mind, they brought us some bread with some olive oil. The bread, that is the same dough as the pizza, was cooked in their pizza oven that gave it a wonderful crispness and char.

 Bread and olive oil at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Bread and olive oil at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Bread and olive oil at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Bread and olive oil at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Bread and olive oil at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Bread and olive oil at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Then, we got what I would call our appetizers, solely because they came first...The first one was Ueva al Forno or two baked eggs prepared with porcini mushrooms, fontina cheese and truffle oil. It was a delicious dish that had just the right amount of truffle oil so we could smell it and taste it, without being overpowering. The eggs were also perfectly runny.

 Baked eggs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Baked eggs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Baked eggs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Baked eggs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

The second appetizer was the Polpette di Manzo or beef meatball smothered in a San Marzano tomato sauce. Very comforting, the meatballs were succulent, not dry at all. And that sauce! It was so good that I could not resist dipping some bread in it.

 Beef meatballs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Beef meatballs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Beef meatballs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Beef meatballs at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

After that, came the entrées. The first one was the pizza spinaci e ueva or pizza with spinach and eggs. I was lucky enough to watch Chef Antonio Morichini make it from scratch and cook it in their authentic Italien oven for couple of minutes.

 Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Making pizza at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Et voila:

 Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Pizza with eggs and spinach at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

This was a very good pizza: the thin crust was crispy and nicely charred, and the eggs perfectly runny; I, in fact, dipped the crust in the yolk...Know that there was no tomato sauce, just some mozzarella, and a lot of it!

Then, as if we were still hungry, came the second entrée: homemade tagliatelle al sugo di carne or house made tagliatelle with a beef and veal sauce. That was delicious: the tagliatelle were exquisite and the sauce very good, with chunks of meat in it that made this dish both rustic and comforting.

 Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Tagliatelle al sugo di carne at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

I should mention, before talking about dessert, that I enjoyed the entrees with a glass of Nero d'Avola 2014, a well-rounded wine that was perfect with this last dish.

 Nero d'Avola 2014 wine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Nero d'Avola 2014 wine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

I enjoyed that wine and was glad to see that Via Vai goes beyond the classic Chianti, proposing a wide selection of wines, all Italian.

 Wine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Wine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Wine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Wine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

So, last was dessert. With the prix-fixe, comes a succulent panna cotta that was perfectly made and not too sweet, a good way to end a delicious meal.

 Panna cotta at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Panna cotta at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Panna cotta at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Panna cotta at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

I enjoyed it with an espresso made from this great machine that sits behind the bar, that might be a bit too big for my kitchen...

 Espresso machine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Espresso machine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Espresso machine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Espresso machine at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Espresso at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Espresso at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

 Espresso at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

Espresso at Via Vai in Astoria, Queens

We definitely had a great meal at Via Vai and enjoyed the conversation with Chef Morichini and Manuel, the manager of the restaurant, two people passionate about what they are doing. What I like about Chef Morichini is its simplicity that translates in his food. Via Vai is definitely a true gem that is worth a trip to Astoria.

Enjoy (I did)!

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Via Vai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato