The Bottom Line
- Excellent Italian-inspired food
- Friendly, hospitable service
- Only $5 minimum for delivery
- Bit of a walk from the subway
- No delivery north of Grand Central Parkway
- Parking, as in most of central Astoria, can be a challenge
- Il Bambino Address - 34-08 31st Ave, Astoria, NY 11106 (between 34th and 35th Sts) (Google Map)
- Website - http://www.IlBambinoCafe.com
- Subway - N, W to Broadway
- Phone - 718-626-0087
- Hours - Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 8 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
- Menu - panini ($7-$8.50), salads ($7-$8), tapas ($6-$10), desserts and baked goods ($1.50-$6)
- Drinks - coffee, tea, and soft drinks - BYOB
- Major credit cards accepted
Guide Review - Il Bambino Cafe in Astoria
Il Bambino is very different from the Euro cafes in the area. There is a decided emphasis on the food, not the scene. The cafe has about 10 tables in the back, plus a small eating bar in the front window. The cheery peach walls are sparse, save for some black-and-white photos, and the lighting and music are similarly subdued. On repeated visits, I have found the waitstaff friendly and knowledgeable, always happy to explain anything on the menu.
In the morning, they pour plenty of coffee and offer tasty pastries like almond croissants. It's also a popular dinner spot, but lunch is the busiest time.
That's when you can move on up from your regular deli hero to Il Bambino's exciting panini sandwiches and crostini. The mozzarella, oven-roasted tomato, and basil pesto panini ($7) shines with clean, authentic, balanced flavors. The wonderfully smoky and salty speck and grana crostini ($4) is a taste sensation. Think ham and cheese in grand Italian style.
Il Bambino offers a range of delicious desserts, from the homey chocolate-peanut-butter Rice Krispie treat ($2.50) to a more decadent warmed chocolate truffle cake ($6).
It's BYOB since Il Bambino doesn't have a liquor license. But in addition to all the coffee drinks, they stock Italian sodas and a yummy hot maple milk ($3).
It's that adaptability -- whether morning coffee, a quick panini for lunch, or a meal of tapas and dessert -- that makes Il Bambino a true standout on a street of marvelous eats.