Tony Pecora knows Italian cuisine like the back of his hand.
Growing up in Sicily, he was always working with food. And when he moved to New York City in 1970, Pecora started out washing dishes and worked his way up in the industry until he owned multiple successful restaurants specializing in his home country’s cuisine.
“Hospitality is in my DNA,” he said in an interview at Magna, his restaurant in Flushing.
And, simply put, the 35-25 Farrington St. eatery is one of the neighborhood’s best-kept secrets. It has a wide range of unforgettably delicious Italian dishes.
“We have a Sicilian and Roman specialty,” said Pecora, who lives in Douglaston. “But we do food from all over Italy, from the Alps to the two islands.”
A great appetizer to start off with at Magna is the mouth-watering calamari fritti, which comes with an outstanding garlic marinara sauce. The meat is fresh, not frozen, and you can taste the difference.
The filet mignon, served with gorgonzola cream sauce, is easily the best this writer has ever had.
The pasta choices are always popular at the restaurant, too. You can’t go wrong with the linguini alle vongole, which is served with garlic, clams and a red or white wine sauce, or the rigatoni alla vodka.
One of the many top-tier seafood dishes at Magna is the salmone ai ferri, which comes with some delectable julienne vegetables.
Those in the mood for soup will enjoy the tortellini en brodo, which comes in a tasty chicken broth.
Magna’s desserts are to die for, too. The tiramisu, strawberry panna cotta and Italian cheesecake are among the best in the city.
The Flushing eatery’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menus can be found online at magnarestaurant.com.
Drivers will be happy to know that Magna provides free parking to customers after 5 p.m.
Those interested in catering from Magna should call (718) 445-3352. Folks who want to have a private party — up to 70 people can be accommodated — should call (347) 368-6033 or email email@example.com. The restaurant is also an excellent place for business meetings.
Magna is open for a breakfast buffet every day of the week between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Lunch is available each day except Mondays from noon to 3 p.m. Dinner is also available every day except Monday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Italian food lovers should also check out Il Punto, Pecora’s top-notch restaurant at Ninth Avenue and 38th Street in Manhattan.