New York City isn’t the only place with great Italian food. Long Island has long been a bastion of great Italian cuisine. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Italian spots – and included 12 in all because it was so hard to whittle it down to anything smaller. Leave your favorites in the comments section.
Long Island City
Get cozy by the fire at this longtime standby in Long Island City and enjoy a brick oven pizza with fresh mozzarella, pesto pasta or some of the best pappardelle in the area. Reasonably priced and with a homey atmosphere, Manetta’s has an ample menu that is bound to appeal to most. Website.
From the baked clams oreganato to the lobster kiss, if it’s Italian style seafood you’re after,Vincent’s is the place to go. Seafood isn’t the only thing on the menu, Italian classics like eggplant rollentini and pork saltimbocca are excellent choices. You can even buy their freshly made sauces to take home with you. Website.
A little bit of Tuscan sophistication on Long Island, Luce Ristorante’s open and elegant atmosphere is a perfect match for its refined menu. Don’t find something you like? Luce’s chef will make something just for you. Add an excellent wine list and top notch service and you can see why Billy Joel loves Luce Ristorante. Website.
Come for the Italian food and sushi, stay for the live jazz. Ample portions and a casual atmosphere make Cirella’s great for family dining during the day while evening entertainment offers something a bit more grown up. Be sure not to miss the antipasti. Website.
Eat in, take out or have your event catered. Whatever you choose, Carlino’s will provide an authentic and outstanding Southern Italian experience. The dining rooms are intimate, the staff friendly and the menu ample. Check out Carlino’s and bring your appetite. Website.
Voted Number One Italian restaurant by Zagat.com, Franina’s offers an intriguing mix of traditional Italian dishes such as grilled Mediterranean octopus and some more exotic choices for the adventurous foodie like wild boar sausage. There are a number of organic options and the organic pasta is hand cut by Franini’s own chefs. All in all, dining at Franini’s is an exquisite experience. Website.
With an emphasis on local ingredients, Da Noi is Islip’s hidden little gem. Da Noi’s pasta is made fresh and to order. That’s right, fresh handmade pasta on the spot. The veal has been described as heavenly and the sea bass is not to be missed. If you can manage to keep a little space for dessert, consider the tazzia di profiterole- puff pastries filled with Chantilly cream, ensconced in vanilla and chocolate cream. Yum… Website.
A crisp, clean, modern appearance enhances the fine Italian offerings at Galleria. Rated four stars by the New York Times, Galleria employs an attentive staff that makes every visit feel like going home again. A few nights a week, diners can enjoy live soft piano music. For some of the freshest fish on Long Island and an espresso that can’t be beat, try Galleria’s. Website.
Another authentic Italian find in Islip, Verace’s offers gluten free, fixed price lunch and late night dining menus along with its standard lunch and dinner menus. You’ll be hard pressed to decide what to order with all of the options but that won’t be a problem since you can’t make a bad choice. Any restaurant that serves something called a nutella bomb is a place that should be on your “must try” list.
The ossobuco is a winner by any standards. Website.
A straightforward family owned place, Manducati’s doesn’t put on any airs. What it does put on is a feast of the old school Italian variety. The menu is deceptively simple but all of the basics are covered and executed to perfection. Featured in Absolute Magazine, The Daily Meal, Eater.com and given a four star review by Newsday, don’t let Manducati’s no frills nature fool you. The cuisine is world class. Website
Old world charm and European elegance combine to give the impression that one is dining in one of New York City’s long established Italian venues. Tending towards Northern Italian fare, Stresa is reminiscent of the golden age of fine dining. The owners are known to go out of their way to make customers feel pampered. You’ll feel like a guest in someone’s home when you dine at Stresa. Of particular note is the Rigatoni Stresa and the Classic Creme Brulee. Website.
La Scala is know for serving some of the best thin crust pizza on Long Island, but you do yourself a disservice if you stop there. An unassuming little shop at the front, a peaceful dining room at the back, La Scala’s offers many excellent non-pizza entrees such as shrimp fra diavolo and mussels marinara. There are lighter options for lunch and La Scala’s does a booming takeout business selling slices, full pizza and heroes. Do yourself a favor and don’t overlook the stunning dessert tray. Website.