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Maiella, Italian dining on the water...

David Stone
At Maiella, 4610 Center Boulevard, Long Island City, one block from the Ferry.
At Maiella, 4610 Center Boulevard, Long Island City, one block from the Ferry.

Zagat's composite review of Maiella is like others online: "With “first-rate” fare from Rocco Sacramone and “stunning” skyline views, this Italian “sleeper” on the LIC waterfront delivers an “exceptional” Queens experience; “attentive” service, an “inviting” rustic-chic space and a patio are other reasons many swear it’s “worth the drive from the city.” But the thing is, we don't have to drive, although we can, because Maiella is a quick, 4-minute ferry ride to LIC and a single block walk past the Pepsi Cola sign.

The thing that struck me when I walked into Maiella for the first time was the comfortable "Welcome" feeling, so much like experiences during evenings in Rome, Florence and other Italian cities.

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The rooms are large, situated around a well-stocked bar, and unlike too many Manhattan venues, the tables are comfortably separated from each other, room to stretch your legs, and the acoustics are quieting.

A poorly kept New York secret with most New York restaurants is that cramped seating is paired with deliberately noisy acoustics, intending to keep diners from lingering. At Maiella, you're invited to feel at home, to enjoy the casual elegance of a first class Italian dining and a rare kind of respect by design.

Starting with tempting Antipasti/Appetizers, the menu is both familiar and exciting. Specialty of the house Fettuccini Maiella gets rave reviews.

"This place was beyond great. Everything we ordered left us speechless. Really recommend the Fettuccine Maiella as the primi and can't go wrong with any entres," wrote a reviewer on OpenTable, where Maiella also earns a 4.5 star rating after 850 reviews.

(Five star ratings are unheard of in restaurants as young as Maiella.)

Read Synie W.'s review of Maiella on Yelp

Love seafood? Consider the Gamberoni Maiella.

But you can discover delights on this menu on your own - they even have pizzas - five minutes from Main Street.

Why we love Maiella...

Long Island City Ferry Landing. Maiella is one block past the historic Pepsi Cola sign.
Long Island City Ferry Landing. Maiella is one block past the historic Pepsi Cola sign.

With my wife's family background and our mutual love for Italy, we often think Italian for special meals - anniversaries, birthdays, etc. We've spent evenings at Bricco on 56th Street, Porto Bello in the Village and, close by, Felidia on 56th. We still love Bricco and Porto Bello while Felidia fails to live up to the prices, these days.

But neither of our remaining favorites is as much in our neighborhood as Maiella. You can already see the LIC Ferry Landing when you board on Roosevelt Island. Find a comfortable seat, on the upstairs deck in good weather, and cruise smoothly and quietly past Cornell Tech and FDR Four Freedoms Park which tapers into the East River directly across from Maiella.

You take a quick turn along the riverside path at the historic Pepsi Cola sign, and one short block later, you're at the door.

The atmosphere will turn you on. The full dining experience will have you coming back for more.

As sweet as that is, you walk back out to Manhattan's dazzling skyline with a pathway filled with comfortable benches where you can extend your stay until the next ferry comes to carry back across the water.

This is all new for Roosevelt Island. And it's not something you want to miss. Italian dining beside the water... only begins to tell this story. 

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Maiella, Italian dining on the water...

Maiella, Italian dining on the water...

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