Long Island restaurants serving great appetizers

By Newsday Staff

Food enthusiasts know first impressions are essential -- an appetizer can make or break a dining experience. Here's a roundup of some standout starters on Long Island, from cheesy to spicy and everything in between....

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Food enthusiasts know first impressions are essential -- an appetizer can make or break a dining experience. Here's a roundup of some standout starters on Long Island, from cheesy to spicy and everything in between.

Arancino at Dodici

Dodici (12 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre): The arancino is a a soft-ball-sized rice ball topped with ricotta at this Italian restaurant. More info: 516-764-3000,

Kaburamaki at Stirling Sake

Stirling Sake (477 Main St., Greenport): Kaburamaki, slivers of salmon, shiso leaves and avocado wrapped in paper-thin turnips and dotted with spicy miso sauce, is a refreshing jumping-off point at this Japanese eatery. More info: 631-477-6782, 

Arancini at Viaggio Italian Chop House

Viaggio Italian Chop House (324 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Center): Arancini, or rice balls, finished with a tasty tomato sauce, are generous and flavorful at this restaurant that carefully balances Italian and steak-and-chop house cuisine. More info: 516-208-7789, 


Fried calamari at Prato 850

Prato 850 (204 Jericho Tpke., Commack): This Italian-American gastropub serves fried calamari tossed with a sweet chili sauce and toasted peanuts. More info: 631-543-1400, 

Cream-filled burrata at Ruggero's

Ruggero's (5768 Rte. 25A, Wading River): Cream-filled burrata nestled with shavings of prosciutto and drizzled in basil-infused olive oil is a delicious starter at this Italian restaurant located inside the Shoppes at East Wind. More info: 631-886-1625

Bacon flight at The Craft House

The Craft House (42 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport): A flight of house-cured bacon comes with brew cheese and very pungent mustard at this eatery on the Nautical Mile, which serves upscale tavern fare. More info: 516-665-3950

Grilled oysters at Kingfish Oyster Bar & Restaurant

Kingfish Oyster Bar & Restaurant (990 Corporate Dr., Westbury): Grilled oysters accented with peppery Sriracha-sauce-spiked mayo highlight the appetizers at star chef Tom Schaudel's seafood spot, located in The Vanderbilt. More info: 516-640-5777,

Nacho Mountain at North Tavern

North Tavern (2028 N. Country Rd., Wading River): Share the Nacho Mountain, a hefty pileup with Buffalo-style chicken, cheese, salsa and house-made guacamole, at this casual, family-run restaurant. More info: 631-886-2102,  

Bone marrow at Harleys American Grille

Harleys American Grille (283 Main St., Farmingdale): Deep, fatty innards of bone marrow are smeared with gremolata and bacon-onion jam for our hands-down favorite starter at this steak and seafood spot. More info: 516-586-8000,

Smoked-sausage corn dogs at Bunker Hill American Taproom

Bunker Hill American Taproom (1912 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh): This clever take on corn dogs -- smoked sausage encased in crunchy, golden cornmeal batter, and served with a formidable mustard -- aims straight for your inner child and is a don't-miss dish. More info: 516-679-1775,

Baked littleneck clams at Piccolo Mondo

Piccolo Mondo (1870 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington): Light and appetizing baked littlenecks are finished with garlic and flavorful breadcrumbs at this Italian spot. More info: 631-462-0718,

Loaded disco tots at Copper Pot Chicken Co.

Copper Pot Chicken Co. (65 N. Village Ave., Rockville Centre): House-made potato tots at Copper Pot are crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, and even better as an appetizer of "loaded disco tots," finished poutine-like with brown gravy, scallions, two kinds of melted cheese and a crown of shredded pot roast. More info: 516-600-9656, 

Mozzarella in carrozza at Locale

Locale (15 W. Main St., Patchogue): Mozzarella in carrozza, golden fried triangles of mozzarella, is served over greens with basil oil, and a side of house made marinara. More info: 631-714-5220, 

Charred octopus at City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill

City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill (1080 Corporate Dr., Westbury): The best opener at City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill is this tender and smoky charred octopus, a meaty arm atop avocado salsa verde and truly smashed potatoes, finished with a vinaigrette that hints of chorizo. More info: 516-693-5400,

Pigs in a blanket at The Wild Goose

The Wild Goose (75 Main St., Port Washington): At The Wild Goose, start with the pigs in a blanket -- meaty chunks of bite-sized pups that are wrapped in buttery puff pastry and served with a hearty mustard. More info: 516-441-5505,

Oysters at Finley's Seafood

Finley's Seafood (44 Green St., Huntington): Oysters, from local bluepoints to Washington Kumamotos, are briny, sweet starters at Finley's Seafood. More info: 631-351-3440,

Sriracha deviled eggs at The Brixton

The Brixton (111 Deer Park Ave., Babylon): These sriracha deviled eggs, topped with bacon, chives, dill and paprika, are pleasantly smoky. More info: 631-587-2000, 

Baked clam 'stuffies' at Catch Oyster Bar

Catch Oyster Bar (63 N. Ocean Ave., Patchogue): Baked clam "stuffies" are flavored with herbs and bacon at this seafood spot. More info: 631-627-6860, 

Barbecue duck wings at Stone Creek Inn

Stone Creek Inn (405 Montauk Hwy., East Quogue): Here, barbecue duck wings are meaty and vividly sauced. More info: 631- 653-6770, 

Hummus at Petra Grill

Petra Grill (373 Old Country Rd., Carle Place): Hummus is topped with chopped grilled lamb and garnished with toasted almonds, olive oil and tangy red sumac at this Middle Eastern eatery. More info: 516-743-9045, 

House-cured slab bacon at The Preston House and Hotel

The Preston House and Hotel (428 E. Main St., Riverhead): Definitely try the house-cured slab bacon at this New American spot. It features pork belly that's cured for four days, air dried for one more, then braised, then cold smoked, then served glistening with fat and perched on a concentrated tomato jam. More info: 631-775-1550,