There’s no shortage of Italian restaurants in New York City, but once in a while you stumble across one that stands out a little more than the rest, and we recently discovered one of our new favorites in Queens. A quiet cozy corner Italian bistro tucked away in Sunnyside, Senso Unico evokes a completely unpretentious neighborhood vibe while serving Italian cuisine. Laura and Chef Vincenzo, a warm and welcoming couple devoted to their hometown of Avellino, Italy, choose not to focus on the frills and gimmicks found in so much new city dining, and instead hone on on what’s most important: they just want to give you a really, really good meal.

Though the dishes are comforting, straightforward, and no-fuss, they do evoke a clear sense of culinary expertise – Chef Vincenzo handpicks the freshest ingredients himself and rotates the menu seasonally, with many of its components completely handmade.

The appetizers include a lush, creamy ricotta and a melt-in-your-mouth thin beef carpaccio, as well as a seafood dish of calamari and shrimp with vegetables, breaded with rice flour then fried (keeping the dish secretly gluten-free) and paired with a light aioli. Pasta is lovingly handmade, and the subtle star of the plates – generously sized, fresh, and plush. The handmade, pillowy gnocchi was delicated dressed with a sunny orange colored, slightly briny sea urchin sauce. A standout dish was the hand-twisted fusilli, served with pork sausage with a light tomato sauce – hearty and stick-to-your bones, a clear example of what everyone desires in Italian comfort food. The gluten-free have no fear, as well – gluten-free pasta is available for substitution.

A selection of specialty cocktails and desserts are also available – we enjoyed a dark, dense flourless chocolate cake that can only be described as indulgent, and a housemade beer tiramisu, creamy and overflowing in a mason jar. Pair any of the desserts with grappa, like we did, and guarantee you’ll ride your meal out on a high note.

You can visit Senso Unico at 4304 47th Avenue in Sunnyside, NYC.

This meal was provided by Senso Unico – all opinions are our own.