Great cocktails and pizza at DiWIne are worth the wait

I used to live right around the corner from DiWine but the tumbleweeds blowing through the dining room kept me (and many others) from going in for a while. Once last winter I didn't want to cook and the ladyfriend wanted to brave the cold for a nice dinner. The closest place to my front door that sold food was DiWine. Since that fateful January night I've been coming and bringing friends to DiWine on 31st Ave and 41st St in Astoria with the promise of great cocktails, the neighborhood's best pizza and a warning of notoriously terrible service.

Speaking of tumbleweeds...

On my latest visit I sat in the draped lounge area for the first time. I've sat at the bar and at tables but there was something about eating on a couch and a coffee table that made me feel like I was in my living room.

An update to the menu since I was here last shows my favorite blue cheese fondue 86ed. Guacamole is a recent addition but I don't usually order guacamole that isn't made at my table in a molcajete by a polite, mustachioed, ESL young man. I've eaten appetizers and main dishes here but the reason I come is the pizza.

It's simply the best deal in the neighborhood. The biggest, best quality pizza you can get for $10 is at DiWine. The Gigi with smoked beef is a personal favorite but this time my guest and I went for the Capriciossa that comes with pepperocini, mushroom, mozzerella, and a fried egg. The warm egg yolk oozing all over the pizza made me very happy in the mouth.

In addition to a few great slices, I come here for the cocktails. A casual atmosphere lets me order anything I want and not feel intimidated even when my girlfriend gives me a hard time about ordering a Peanut Butter Cup Martini (which is EXCELLENT, by the way). Above is the Cucumber fauxjito. Describes as a vodka based mojito with an infused twist, I'm not sure what's so faux about it. I do know that it is delicious and they should serve it in a fishbowl a la CANZ.

The reason the drinks are so good here is the house made infused alcohols and syrups displayed behind the bar in all the classy fashion of a Sharpie-labeled bottle. Above is the Marie la Poire - Grey Goose la poire, rosemary and juniper infused simple syrup, lime juice.

Basil limeade - basil infused vodka, lime juice, simple syrup

As I said before, the food and drinks here are excellent. The service, however, is awfully slow. The staff is kind and courteous when they appear but sightings are few and far between. Constantly understaffed in the front and back of house, food and drinks take forever to get to the table. I used to get the same server every time who I swear popped a mixed handful of pills before her shift. We called her "Crazy" and, thankfully, she hasn't been seen at DiWine in a while. I, on the other hand, have been and will be again very soon.

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Comment by Sdub77 on August 13, 2010 at 3:24pm
Hi all ... what happened to the awesome waitress Nicole and the chef that used to be at Diwine?? We have loved going to DiWine for the past 2 yrs but recently we went and everything has changed! And not for the better :( All new waitstaff with no personality and the menu has changed. We used to always go in and get a bottle of wine with a pizza and goat cheese salad. The pizza used to be like my grandmother from Italy made ... now it's just ok. Salad was not good not as we remembered. You do get bigger portions now but the quality of the food is poorer.

Please Diwine ... get your wonderful original chef back!! Anyone know where Nicole went? To a different restaurant??
Any comments welcome .... thanks!
Comment by DiWine on June 29, 2010 at 8:18pm
Yeah we will most likely, we just want to give the new menu some time to settle, along with some other changes. We are shooting to get everything back in a couple of weeks.
Comment by Ran Craycraft on June 28, 2010 at 11:55am
Any plans to bring back your Tuesday wine tastings? Would love to check out some of your summertime offerings.
Comment by DiWine on June 28, 2010 at 11:45am
Hi Evan!

Thanks for the review! We changed the menu for a couple of reasons, to introduce more summertime items(which is why we took off the fondue), and more importantly to build it around the kitchen we have. We have one brick oven where we cook literarily everything in at DiWine which is why the old menu kind of slowed the kitchen down, it wasn't quite tailored for our setup. Putting food out on time had been one of our biggest problems, we tried to best address that with the new menu. Hopefully you don't have such a problem with wait time for food anymore. Also, during the winter, we planning on putting back items like fondue, so it's not entirely gone.

Also, we changed our staff from top to bottom, so hopefully the service got a little better :).

Thanks for the review again, and say hi when you drop by, I am the really tall dark haired guy who is always there, my name is Arman.
Comment by Melody on June 27, 2010 at 2:06am
Was there tonight. They raised the price of their pizzas from $10 to $12. I had a mild breakdown over their removal of the blue cheese fondue from the menu. No offense, but if I want guacamole, I will head to a Mexican restaurant.
Comment by Chad Marra on June 26, 2010 at 12:06pm
i live right around the corner and this place is by far a gem to have so close by. everything is good/affordable enough to try. technically i think it's at 42nd and 31st ave just in case anyone may miss it.

and as Ran mentioned, WLA card = buy one, get one...come on! also, they usually have acoustic guitar dudes playing once or twice around weekend nights, so that can sometime be worth checking out as well.

and a great brunch!
Comment by Regina on June 26, 2010 at 11:22am
Great read...I have been here only for drinks, want to try the food!
Comment by Ran Craycraft on June 26, 2010 at 10:22am
Love DiWine. They call it a "faux-jito" because it uses vodka instead of rum. Definitely a winner...mmm
Also, WLA-ers should take note that a WLA Card gets every second round free at DiWine--a deal you can't afford to not take advantage of.

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