At first, La Pizzetta looks like your basic pizzeria. But you'll find a lot more than a slice here.

The popular eatery covers all the basics, of course, from individual pizzas, hero sandwiches and various Parmigianas to baked pastas, fried seafood and the familiar soups and salads. And the stuffed artichoke is flavorful, too.

But on a recent evening, you could order a juicy, tender roasted Cornish hen with well-made polenta; and a fine, grilled red snapper atop broccoli rabe. The desserts went beyond tortoni and spumoni. Cannoli didn't overdo the sweetness and  arrived in a crisp shell. More impressive: zabaglione over strawberries -- better than the version you'd get in more formal, much pricier restaurants.

FYI: Those little pizzas also are good.

La Pizzetta,1008 Oyster Bay Rd., East Norwich; 516-624-7800. 

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Informal and buoyant, La Pizzetta is a very popular eatery along this busy stretch.

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It does impressive take-out business, as well as sit-down, all in a brisk, sometimes brusque manner. The food is homey Italian and dependable.

You'll like the individual pizzas. Barese translates into tomato sauce, mozzarella, garlic and basil; Margherita only the first two ingredients; primavera, adding vegetables; Napoletana, anchovies.

The pasta e fagioli and the minestrone are workmanlike and commendable. Respectable baked clams and stuffed mushrooms highlight the familiar appetizers.

While La Pizzetta is awash in red sauce, it also sends out a tasty fettuccine all'Alfredo. The staples include baked ziti, lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs.

Lobster fra diavolo does have a little heat, resting on linguine. Calamari marinara provides food company, too.

Chicken scarpariello and chicken alla Parmigiana are blunt and flavorful. Cornish hen, plump and juicy, is accompanied by a diamond of polenta.

And the veal thing is represented via piccata, Parmigiana, Francaise, Bolognese, Marsala and, of course, alla Pizzettta, which means artichoke hearts, pimiento and mushroom.

Desserts include creamy tiramisu and multiple sorbets and ice creams.

 

 

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