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“We have everything flown in from Italy
twice a week — fresh cheese, herbs, tomatoes
— that's what makes the difference.”
The desserts at Basil are also made inhouse
each day, created by expert pastry
chef Antonio Diaz. Popular choices include
tiramisu, panna cotta and ricotta cheesecake.
After securing a liquor license in late
December 2017, Mattei was finally able to
combine his lifelong passion for great food
with his expertise as a certified sommelier,
replacing the restaurant’s gelato area with
a fully stocked wine bar with cozy, informal
“We needed something like this in Astoria,”
Mattei said, “something in the style of
New York City, where wine lovers can come
and enjoy a nice glass of wine at an affordable
Since then, Mattei has personally selected
more than 120 different vintages stored in
Basil's ever-growing wine cellar, where the
inventory is already at over 5,000 bottles,
procured from wineries all over the world.
One of the most popular wines at Basil is the
Aglianico, a deep, complex red made from
black grapes that are indigenous to Mattei’s
native Campania, where his family still owns
land, and his father and grandfather continue
the tradition of making their own wine.
The wine list at Basil changes on a weekly
basis, ensuring a steady flow of regular customers
eager to try the latest arrivals.
“Every week, we have new wines coming
in,” Mattei said. “We taste, sample and shop
around for the best quality wines we can find,
and then we get them at the best price, so
that it stays affordable for our customers."