Dining Out: Some of Staten Island’s best offerings

Let’s eat!

Staten Island has become a terrific destination to dine. Sure, there are tons of established chain restaurants. But to stick to just the usual suspects would be to deprive yourself of the unique and diverse local experience that the booming borough has to offer. From Italian to Asian to high quality diners, this borough has it all. Here are just a few favorite places to eat.

Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern (524 Port Richmond Avenue)

This is a famous destination that every New Yorker, not just Staten Islander, should visit. It has a laid-back atmosphere where you can drink, watch a big sporting event, or bring the entire family. Known for its delicious gourmet New York style pizza (you can’t just have one slice, or three for that matter) you’d be hard pressed to find a fresher, more mouthwatering slice with the perfect amount of crisp crust, sauce and cheese.

If you’re in the mood for something else, that’s fine because the appetizers are also terrific. You can order delicious fried calamari, shrimp, buffalo wings and addicting garlic bread.

Prices are great too, with specials on drinks. They only accept cash and it can get crowded during peak hours, so keep that in mind when you head out to the S.I. fixture.

Max’s Es-ca (1559 Richmond Road)

This award-winning Italian restaurant offers delicious dishes, from appetizers to well-portioned entrees, and unique desserts that you can’t say no to even if you’re completely stuffed.

The new space caters to all types of occasions, whether a date, party, family outing or watching a big game.

Favorite appetizers include the Fried Calamari with a delicious flour coating and spicy marinara sauce, superb Baked Clams Oreganata that you won’t be able to get enough of, and the flavorful Spicy Tuna Tartare.

Entrées are where the establishment excels. They have several steak options, including the favorite Montreal Crusted NY Strip Steak and Filet Mignon. Pasta lovers are in luck as the robust menu has plenty of dishes to choose from, such as Max’s House Made Ravioli.

Save room for dessert, as everything is especially tasty. A favorite are the Beignets, French-style doughnuts filled with raspberry jam. The dish includes three delicious sauces you can dip the beignets in: Caramel, Chocolate and Creme Anglaise. There’s also a scoop of airy whipped cream.

Z-One Diner & Lounge (1821 Richmond Avenue)

Z-One feels like a restaurant/diner hybrid. Not only does it include the usual dishes that you’d expect from a diner menu, but it’s a great place to have fun. Local bands play on select nights performing classic tunes that are a welcome addition to the diner atmosphere.

Breakfast food is always popular with diners and this eatery delivers in that regard, with such specialties as the Belgian Waffles, French Toast and Pancakes.

Dinner is also solid, from tradition fixtures like hamburgers to more complex and equally delicious eats, such as Chicken Francaise.

Drinks are tasty too. This is the place to go to relax and have a great meal on the cheap.

Gatsby’s On The Bay (695 Bay Street)

This eatery offers unique, historic and quaint ambiance to go with exceptional new American cuisine.

The restaurant is designed to mimic the 1920s. It features live jazz music, tons of décor from the beloved American era, and terrific food.

One of the favorite dishes is the Filet Mignon. The healthy eight ounce portion is grilled to perfection. The meat cuts smoothly and is incredibly juicy and soft. It’s topped with onions and is served with asparagus and grilled potatoes, both of which complement the beef.

The salmon is also delicious, filling and hitting all the right notes, with a great pineapple chutney dressing that is out of this world, as well as peppers, onions and shallots.

Don’t skip the delicious appetizers. The Shrimp Cocktail keeps it simple, with a sauce consisting of ketchup, horseradish and various seasonings. However, the result is sweet with a hint of spice and a kick that doesn’t dominate the taste of the succulent shrimp.

East Pacific Restaurant Inc. (2665 Richmond Avenue/Staten Island Mall)

For those looking for great Chinese food with top-notch service and a nice ambiance, East Pacific Restaurant Inc. will fit the bill. Located inside the Staten Island Mall, the restaurant offers a wide variety of tasty selections. The dumplings, whether you select pork or vegetable, and fried or steamed, are terrific. The Honey Ribs are great and the Satay Chicken or Beef is a must try.

Entrée selections are plentiful, however the Lemongrass Pork Chops are delectable. Portion sizes for most meals are large, so you are definitely getting your money’s worth.

Drink selections are also vast.

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