Manetta's is in a section of Queens I call the pizza triangle: cornered by Long Island City, Astoria, and Forest Hills. It's also a stone's throw from Silvercup Studios, where they shoot The Sopranos. If Tony and Carmela and Dr. Melfi are in the mood for pizza, they call over to Manetta's. So if your pizza order is backed up at lunch, chances are it's because the cast of The Sopranos has placed an order for 50 pies. Don't complain, if you know what's good for you. You may end up like Adriana or Steve Buscemi's Tony B.
Manetta's owner, Mario Manetta, built his oven with his own two hands, so when I asked how it worked, the pie man working that day said, "Ask the boss. He built it." The oven is in the back of the room you walk into off the street, past the display case of desserts and antipasti and salads.
Mario's pizzas are Roman-style individual pies, ultra crisp and very thin. He uses delectable mozzarella made in the neighborhood at Spatola, and sauce he strains himself from San Marzano tomatoes. Mercifully, he goes fairly light on the cheese, thereby achieving a fine balance on his pies between sauce and cheese and crust.
Manetta's is a full-service Italian restaurant, but I couldn't tell you how the rest of the food is. I've never had anything but the pizza (well, OK, I've also had a piece of pretty good cheesecake and a delicious rice pudding studded with macerated Italian cherries trom Mario's hometown of Monte Casino in Italy).
Address: 10-76 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City NY (Queens, 49th Avenue; map)
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