Manducatis has been a Long Island City stalwart almost uninterrupted since 1959. No one is saying it’s the City’s best Italian. But there is still something fun about walking through its non-descript door and into the cascading dining rooms that each feel like secrets. Development may have infiltrated Long Island City, but Manducatis’ owners, the Cerbones, have made their own progress in the past two years. Namely, when their daughter, chef Gianna Cerbone opened her Italian café nearby: Manducatis Rustica.
There is a doll-house, but thrown together quality to Rustica’s decor. An old oven. Mismatching chairs. Brick walls. There’s a large open doorway to the kitchen. The layout takes a cue from Manducatis, with a working fireplace in the back of the first dining room.