Italian-American specialties highlight a lot of casual and more formal restaurants on Long Island. Here are three that prepare them with care.
CIAO BELLA, 1310 Broadway, Hewlett; 516-569-2654
A little place with big flavors, Ciao Bella stands out with eggplant rollatine, stuffed artichokes, cavatelli Bolognese, sausage and peppers, stuffed calamari, shrimp marinara, and, especially, lemon chicken, a taste of Rao's in East Harlem without all the fuss.
MARIO, 644 Vanderbilt Motor Pkwy., Hauppauge; 631-273-9407
A dependable spot along Hauppauge's restaurant row, Mario offers a snappy seafood salad, clams oreganata and casino, savory cannelloni with meat, spaghetti all'Amatriciana, calf's liver Veneziana, tripe Neapolitan-style, and, for old time's sake, spumoni and tortoni.
CARNIVAL, 4900 Nesconset Hwy., Port Jefferson Station; 631-473-9772
There's plenty to choose from at Carnival, the shopping-plaza landmark. Openers include Clams Posillipo, escarole with beans, mussels marinara, pasta piselli and pasta e fagioli. Then: stuffed shells, pork braciola, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, pizza, hero sandwiches.