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Astoria Resident Opens Italian Restaurant With Focus on Neo-Neapolitan Pizzas

Figlia, a restaurant that offers neo-Neapolitan pizzas, opened in Astoria Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Melanie Meilinger)

Nov. 9, 2022 By Max Murray

A new restaurant that features neo-Neapolitan pizzas opened in Astoria Wednesday.

Figlia, which is located at 23-02 31st Street, is owned by Astoria resident and restauranter Riccardo Dardha and offers a menu of neo-Neapolitan pizzas from a custom-built pizza oven, along with antipasti and housemade pastas.

The restaurant is Dardha’s first in Astoria and will highlight local purveyors such as Astoria Seafood, International Meat Market, Murray’s Cheese and Pain d’Avignon in LIC, as well as Earth & Me, a zero-waste home and personal care products store in Astoria

Dardha owned a restaurant in Manhattan called Bread & Tulips, located at 365 Park Avenue South, which specialized in rustic Italian cuisine. It closed earlier this year.

Figlia Margherita Pizza (photo courtesy of Michael Tulipan)

Figlia offers pizzas that come with toppings such as Burrata & Pomodoro with burrata cheese, heirloom cherry tomatoes, garlic confit, oregano;  Mortadella with pickled fresno peppers, pistachio, fior di latte, grana padano; Maitake Mushrooms with mozzarella, caciocavallo, pickled shallots, thyme; Nduja & Burrata with crushed tomato, roasted onions, garlic, basil, Quattro Formaggi with mozzarella, grana, fontal (fontina style cheese), gorgonzola and caramelized onions; Arugula & Speck with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, grana; and classic Margherita San Marzano tomatoes, Jersey Girl mozzarella and basil. Riccardo developed the menu and pizza dough with his longtime baker and chef de cuisine Ariel Villegas.

Figlia Pizzas (Photo courtesy of Michael Tulipan)

Figlia’s neo-Neapolitan pizza marries Neapolitan and New York City styles, with the dough undergoing fermentation for more than 48 hours and baking at around 750 degrees.

The dough is a mix of two kinds of unbleached King Arthur flour, one of which is high protein which results in more flavor and a slightly chewy texture. The menu features meticulously sourced ingredients from local suppliers such as Astoria Seafood, as well as Jersey Girl Cheese, Niman Ranch meats and more.

Other highlights include antipasti such as Little Gem Caesar with radishes and grana padano; Grilled Octopus over herbed beans; and Polpette housemade meatballs. Housemade pastas are geared toward the fall and winter with hearty options like Radiatore Con Salsiccia with Niman Ranch Italian sausage, rapini pesto and pangrattato; Rigatoni Bolognese with a veal and pork ragu; and Pappardelle with braised leg of lamb, tomato and parmigiano but there will also be classic Aglio e Olio and Amatriciana. For dessert, there will be housemade Tiramisu and Chocolate & Hazelnut Mousse Cake.

The restaurant offers a full bar menu featuring cocktails, beer and a global wine list of small producer wines. Cocktails play on classics with Italian twists like the Negroni Sbagliato with Campari, Carpano Antica and prosecco; Solerno Sidecar whiskey, Solerno blood orange, citrus, bitters, Evening Vespers with Lillet Blanc, St. Germain, vodka and orange twist, along with classics like Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Bee’s Knees.

The main dining area consists of 25-seats and is anchored by a large, curved marble topped bar on one side, which seats eight. The wood-fired pizza oven built by artisans of Fiero Group is in the rear. There will be an additional 10 seats outdoors depending on the weather.

Interior (Photo courtesy of Michael Tulipan)

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