My mother had her bridal shower at Bamonte's. When her bridesmaids booked it, they were concerned the place might be a bit old-fashioned. That was 52 years ago. Now, there's no doubt: Bamonte's is old. Pasquale Bamonte opened the Italian restaurant in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn in 1900—and it hasn't changed much since then. The kitchen moved from the side of the dining room to the back, and the photos on the walls have been updated. Somewhat. But being old is what makes this red-sauce, white-tablecloth landmark so popular. It harks back to a different time: It's got a phone booth and a cigarette machine. And the food—basic, classic Italian-American—is so beloved that it draws regulars over the bridges from Manhattan.
Pasquale's grandson, Anthony Bamonte, who owns the restaurant along with his daughters, says the most popular dish is the pork chop sauteed with hot or sweet vinegar peppers, but linguini with clam sauce and penne with bolognese sauce are favorites, too, while the beef-and-cheese-stuffed agnolotti is a clamored-for special. If you have a hankering for something that's not on the menu, your tuxedo-clad server will likely convince the kitchen to make it for you. Speaking of the crew, they've all been at Bamonte's forever. Recently, when my parents, who had not been there in about 20 years, walked into the restaurant, John, the bartender, took one look at my father and said, "Artie, where ya been?" It's that type of place.
32 Withers Street
Brooklyn, New York