Taglierini flambéed in a Parmesan wheel with black truffle at Osteria...

Taglierini flambéed in a Parmesan wheel with black truffle at Osteria Umbra in Smithtown. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Long Island has no shortage of Italian restaurants. Whether you're craving nuanced regional specialties or straightforward penne alla vodka, here are the standout eateries to consider.

1653 Pizza Co.

80 Gerard St. Huntington

There’s a lot going on under the hood of this dashing cubbyhole of a restaurant, one that’s not quite a pizzeria — but serves superlative pie — and not quite a wine bar, but pours some of the most interesting wines (and cocktails) in town. It might start with a sincere greeting, a watermelon Negroni or sparkling Vouvray and plates of blistered, subtly briny artichoke hearts, crispy orbs of cacio e pepe suppli (aka rice balls) or oven-charred prawns that shatter as you eat. Then, segue to supple house pasta and the coal-oven maneuverings of pizzaiolo Michael Vigliotti, whose pies bear ample char and are layered with both playfulness and restraint. A clam pizza vibrates with pickled banana peppers and lemon zest; another pie smeared with pistachio pesto, piled with folds of mortadella and dotted with stracciatella cheese; a near perfect Margherita pizza anointed just so with sauce and pools of fior di latte. Friendly but serious, unpretentious but elegant, 1653 sets itself apart with warmth, quiet exuberance and being its own idiosyncratic self. More info: 631-824-6071, 1653pizzaco.com 

Cafe Testarossa

499 Jericho Tpke., Syosset

Still going strong at 33 years old, Billy Sansone’s modern Italian is the very model of a chef-driven restaurant. Where other trattorias of its era are gone, Sansone’s has evolved: Gone is the pizza topped with salmon, roasted peppers and mozzarella; the tagliatelle with Gorgonzola and grilled chicken. Sansone still cooks every day, and his dishes evince an appreciation for the forthrightness and seasonality that are the mark of Italian cuisine. Milky burrata is offset by arugula and crostini smeared with Sicilian-pistachio pesto; paccheri (big, Neapolitan rigatoni) are veiled with braised pork shank, cannellini beans and tomato ragu. No surprise that after three decades, Sansone has assembled a crack team of servers and bartenders, the latter are affable companions for a solo meal at the bar. More info: 516-364-8877, cafetestarossa.com

Linguine with fava beans, English peas, asparagus and Corbari tomatoes is...

Linguine with fava beans, English peas, asparagus and Corbari tomatoes is served at Cafe Testarossa in Syosset. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Edoardo’s Trattoria

300 New York Ave., Huntington

Edoardo’s is a trattoria of a decidedly different stripe. The front room of this bi-level space is a cafe-market-pastry shop where you can start your day with a pastry and an expertly pulled espresso. Or have a seat in the dining room and have a frittata, omelet or uova in purgatorio (eggs poached in tomato sauce). For lunch there are sandwiches on homemade focaccia, among them, the “after hours” with sausage, roast potatoes, caramelized onions, caprino cheese, pesto and arugula and “il gladiatore” with roasted vegetables, spicy zucchini, pecorino and three pestos, and seven pastas including linguine with shrimp and lemon sauce, fettuccine ai funghi (with wild mushrooms, cream and Parmesan) and pappardelle alla Bolognese. All the pastas are made in house and all are for sale in the market. Edoardo’s recently added a dinner menu, the creation of Trieste-born chef Marco Costanzo: seared scallop with cauliflower purée and porcini threads, octopus with potatoes and tomato confit and a big ol’ raviolo stuffed with ricotta and an egg yolk and topped with a little Parmesan hat (frico). BYOB for one of the most elegant meals In Huntington right now. More info: 631-683-4964, edoardostrattoria.com


58 Jericho Tpke., Syosset

Franina has been a mainstay of Long Island’s Italian fine dining scene since 1980, an elegant spot where you might glimpse other Italian restaurateurs dining on a Sunday afternoon. Chef-owner Franco Zitoli and his family maintain a magnetic, timeless oasis where tradition blends with imaginative preparations of fish and produce at the height of the season — think sautéed fennel and apple gratin over a Berkshire pork chop, orecchiette in a fresh eggplant-and-tomato sauce and showered with ricotta salata, or frutti de mare threaded with lobster. Seafood dishes are consistent showstoppers, from delicate Dover sole meunière to a curl of grilled octopus over white beans. On cooler nights, gossip at the bar with a martini or settle into one of the Tuscan dining rooms for wild-boar sausage with cherry peppers and polenta or classic pappardelle Bolognese. Franina is most definitely a place to consider splurging on wine — there’s a small army of Barolos in the wine cellar — and dessert, whether cloudlike zabaglione with berries or panna cotta with raspberry sauce. You will never feel hurried here. More info: 516-496-9770, franina.com

Desserts are bright and beautiful at Franina in Syosset.

Desserts are bright and beautiful at Franina in Syosset. Credit: Doug Young


1382 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn

After two decades, Roslyn’s long-vacant, pond-side property has come back to life in the form of Felice, the tenth location of the Manhattan-based SA Hospitality Group. Partner Jacopo Giustiniani said Roslyn’s “charm and beautiful trees … reminded me of Tuscany.” Giustiniani, Felice’s culinary director and Roslyn’s chef, Niccolo Simone, are all Tuscan by birth and, with its exposed wood beams spanning its vaulted ceilings, the golden-hued dining room evokes a rustic Italian fantasy. The menu features a few Tuscan specialties — crostini topped with chicken-liver mousse and crisped sage leaves, imported prosciutto Toscano (a little softer and saltier than Parma) and grilled steaks alla Fiorentina. More of the fare is pan-Italian: fried calamari and baby artichokes, arancini (rice balls), eggplant Parmesan, tonnarelli cacio e pepe, baked gnocchi with cheese and truffle, linguine ai frutti di mare, pappardelle alla Bolognese, and branzino baked in parchment. Tuscany produces some of the country’s greatest olive oils and many of Felice’s dishes are drizzled with its own proprietary oil from San Casciano Val di Pesa, outside of Florence. Felice’s mostly Italian wine list includes many Chiantis, Brunellos and Super Tuscans, as well as a number of bottles from Fattoria Sardi, the restaurant’s own organic vineyard. More info: 516-933-5432, felicerestaurants.com

Grotta di Fuoco

960 W. Beech St., Long Beach

In the six years since Andrew Allotti opened this subterranean "cave of fire," it has evolved from ambitious and promising to one of Long Island’s most assured and dependable Italian restaurants. Once you get past a trio of Parms served with a side of rigatoni, the menu veers sharply away from the cuisine of Southern Italians in America and back to their roots in Naples, Sicily and other regions of the "Mezzogiorno" whose cooking relies not on tomato sauce and mozzarella but vibrates with lemon, chilies, capers, bottarga (dried mullet roe) and lots of fresh, seasonal vegetables. Much of the pasta, from spaghetti alla chittara to twirls of bellflower-shaped campanelle, is homemade; beans show up underneath grilled calamari or supporting a dish of monkfish and fat shrimp. Pizzas, baked in a wood-burning oven, are stellar. More info: 516-544-2400, grottalbny.com

Baccala, or salt cod, alla puttanesca at Grotta Di Fuoco...

Baccala, or salt cod, alla puttanesca at Grotta Di Fuoco in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Linda Rosier

Gusto Osteria Wine Bar

551 Hauppauge Rd., Hauppauge

Gusto Osteria opened in December, an assured new eatery that blends Southern Italian with pan-Italian and New American influences. You could pass a happy evening sitting at the bar, working your way through the excellent wine list while consuming successive plates of olive all’ascolana, fried olives stuffed with beef and spicy sausage, and bruschetta topped with honeyed goat cheese, walnuts and mushrooms. But a full meal affords the opportunity to sample the a Naples-style zucchini Parmesan, served in its own earthenware casserole; the curly Sicilian pasta busiate, here sauced with a pesto of broccoli rabe; spaghetti with seafood, black garlic and lemon zest; gnocchi with tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella. There’s a whole Cornish game hen cooked with lots of garlic and rosemary al mattone (under a brick) which renders the flesh juicy and skin crisp and a mustard-crusted rack of lamb. More info: 631-652-0150, gusto-osteria.com

King Umberto

1343 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont

Elmont’s bastion of Italian American cuisine has been serving pizza, pasta and Parms of the highest caliber since 1976, first at a modest pizzeria and now in a sprawling establishment that also encompasses a fine-dining restaurant furnished in old-fashioned white-tableclothed splendor. There is little more to say about the Italian American classics here than that they are prepared as they ought to be — the calamari delicate and crisp, the baked clams plump and savory, the eggplant tender under its mantle of bright marinara and pillow-soft mozzarella. Ditto the veal Francese and penne alla vodka. Further off the beaten path are mellow braised tripe and "fire in the hole" sausages and peppers. The house specialty, fried capellini balls, is one Long Island’s best starters. Excellent service is equaled by the wine deep wine cellar. More info: 516-352-3232, kingumberto.com

The cacio e pepe pizza at King Umberto in Elmont.

The cacio e pepe pizza at King Umberto in Elmont. Credit: Linda Rosier


93 Main St., Stony Brook

When Luca opened in Stony Brook Village Center in August, it faced a challenge that doesn’t arise for most new restaurants: It was replacing a beloved eatery, Pentimento, whose closing in 2021 became a local cause célèbre. The strategy employed by David Tunney and Rory Van Nostrand was to make the space virtually unrecognizable: In place of Pentimento’s rustic, homeyness, Luca is cool and sleek, with surfaces of white and gray warmed up by the rich wood of the tables and chairs. Luca’s menu is elegant and modern — with modern pricing: three courses (appetizer, pasta, entree) for $79. The presentations are precise, but the flavors draw inspiration from regional Italian cuisine: Sicilian orange and fennel salad, here gussied up with dates and pistachios; Campanian buffalo mozzarella with basil and balsamic vinegar; Roman rigatoni carbonara; Bolognese tagliatelle. Entrees skew more New American: halibut with hazelnut, sunchokes, artichokes with a Nebbiolo reduction; Crescent Farms breast and confit leg with agro dolce and herb salad; dry-aged New York strip with blistered tomato, roasted garlic and porcini dust. For dessert: tiramisu, lemon tart, marotozzi (stuffed brioche buns) and more. Except for the gelato, all desserts — plus all the pasta and bread — are made on the premises. More info: 631-675-0435, lucaitalian.com

Luigi Q

400 B S. Oyster Bay Rd., Hicksville

Three years after a fire closed the place down, Luigi Quarta’s singular Italian ristorante returned this year in fine form, with many of the same precepts in place: No kids, no shorts or sweatpants (don’t even ask) and no takeout. Once you pass the initial vibe check, you’ll be seated in a modern dining room of white tablecloths, red leather accents and a backlit bar. An unhurried phalanx of regal gentlemen will attend to your table in languid circuits. Chef Jorge Gonzalez still exemplifies a cool control over the nightly specials, and first-timers can trust him implicitly, whether with vodka-doused oysters set alight tableside, seared diver scallops with a fan of Parmesan, a sublime, creamy rigatoni Bolognese or a tomahawk veal chop served Milanese-style. A gossamer Napoleon signals the evening has drawn to a close — that is, if Luigi himself doesn’t offer you a digestif. More info: 516-932-7450, luigiq.com  

Gnocchi tossed in pesto on a bed of tomato sauce...

Gnocchi tossed in pesto on a bed of tomato sauce at Luigi Q in Hicksville. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Mangia Bene

14 S. Park Ave., Rockville Centre

Maurizio Vendittelli has spent a lifetime in Italian restaurants, working his way up from busser at Cafe Donatello in Plainview to general manager at Il Bacco in Little Neck. The kitchen turns out toothsome homemade varieties such as garganelli with Sicilian eggplant and ricotta, bucatini bound by an eggy, creamless carbonara and strozzapreti bathed in a verdant pesto along with cubes of potato and lengths of green beans — a Genovese preparation rarely seen on these shores. There are neo-Neapolitan pizzas (don’t miss the Calabrese with crumbled sausage and hot chilies) and a raft of crowd-pleasers that split the difference between the Italian food you find in Italy and the Italian food you find on Long Island: rice balls and baked clams, Caesar salad and fried calamari, a pork chop stuffed with Fontina and speck, and shrimp scampi on a bed of spinach. The restaurant has a large back patio for most-of-the-year dining. More info: mangiabenervc.com

Nick & Toni's

136 N. Main St., East Hampton

This restaurant’s name is evocative of celebrity perhaps more than any other place in the Hamptons. During the summer, the hundred or so seats (as well as another 60 outside) in this jewel box of a place are hot properties, reserved long in advance, though your chances for a table radically improve during the off season. It’s in the cooler weather, when Nick & Toni’s toasty vibes really soar, especially if you land a seat near the glow of the wood-fired oven. The hickory fire flickering inside lends a signature smokiness to executive chef Joe Realmuto’s the famous pizza, or maybe littleneck clams charred along their edges and fattened with pancetta and garlic butter. The telltale pop of a bottle of Champagne at the bar punctuate Michael Jackson’s "Billie Jean" blasting from the speakers as you consider some oysters, or corn risotto, or housemade potato buns stuffed with lobster, or a grilled veal chop with eggplant caponata … This is unfussy, seasonal but always elegant food, a true class act, and you’d be remiss not to see it straight through to dessert. Strawberry upside-down cake, maybe? More info: 631-324-3550, nickandtonis.com

Wood roasted mussels with fregola verde, white wine, garlic, and...

Wood roasted mussels with fregola verde, white wine, garlic, and shallots at Nick & Toni's in East Hampton. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski


90 North Country Rd., Miller Place
From both inside and out, Orto appears to be a rustic Italian farmhouse caught outside of its usual space and time, and that would also be an apt description of chef Eric Lomando’s food. His devotion to seasonality and local ingredients is deeply Italian at its root, and finds expression here in superlative pastas that feel rendered with love. Lomando rode out the darkest days of coronavirus doing exemplary takeout such as asparagus-ramp ravioli or paccheri (a large, tubular pasta) with wild-board ragu. It’s little surprise that year after year, Lomando retains a passionate, Island-wide following for his food, even when the dining room was closed and he was still comforting the masses with dishes such as smoked pork shoulder and an egg over polenta, or smoked-ricotta tortelloni with pureed herbs and bottarga, or swordfish a la plancha with a white-bean puree. And if there’s pistachio cake or brown butter cake on offer, you’re having dessert. It’s just that simple. More info: 631-862-0151, restaurantorto.com

Osteria Morini

630 Old Country Rd., Garden City

Founding chef Michael White left his Altamarea Group in 2021, but his most casual eatery, Osteria Morini, remains a destination for the cuisine of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, birthplace of prosciutto di Parma, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar as well as tortellini, tagliatelle and lasagna. Morini’s kitchen breathes new life into simple dishes such as spaghetti pomodoro, while stuffed cappelletti evince an artist’s skill. The Bolognese ragu here is the meaty, virtually tomato-less sauce that they make in Bologna. Pasta avoiders will enjoy the mortadella-enriched meatballs, or any of the chops. At the comfortable bar, you can chat about the Negronis on tap, the terrific, all-Italian wine list and the finer points of Emilia-Romagna’s singular sparkler, Lambrusco. More info: 516-604-0870, osteriamorini.com

A meat and cheese board with Prosciutto di Parma, mortadella,...

A meat and cheese board with Prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, Robiolina, Parmigiano Reggiano, lardo pesto and Parmigiano, served with crostini at Osteria Morini in Garden City. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Osteria Umbra

197 Terry Rd., Smithtown

Umbrian-born chef Marco Pellegrini turns out Italian food of astounding purity and vigor at this Smithtown restaurant, a partnership between Pellegrini and builder-brothers Daniel and Stephen Bragoli. The interior rocks with modern Italianate bling, but an ancient provenance informs the dominant design feature — a massive wood-fired grill-rotisserie, where slowly revolving birds and beasts lend their drippings to waiting pans of vegetables directly below. Pellegrini’s greatest hits include skewers of breadcrumb-crusted calamari, a Caprese salad topped with basil sorbetto, a bruiser of a wood-grilled veal chop and deep-dish tiramisu. You’ll also find whole roasted suckling pig and rotisserie duck leg with pork belly. Pellegrini serves his homemade bread and focaccia in Umbrian olivewood bowls, offers tastes of award-winning olive oil from Trevi and stocks a cellar of Umbrian wines that is probably unequaled on Long Island; there are also plenty of Super Tuscans and selections from the Piedmont. More info: 631-780-6633, osteriaumbra.com

Scarpetta Beach

290 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk

You could literally drink in the ocean views from the deck or seductive dining room of Scarpetta Beach, the restaurant inside Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, and feel a little bit tipsy. It’s when the seasonal, Italian-inflected dishes from executive chef Dane Sayles begin to arrive that things get really magical. A gin gimlet and plate of crudo — whether flaps of yellowtail with pickled red onion or Montauk fluke vibrating with horseradish — pave the way toward luxe pastas such as squid-ink tagliolini threaded with lobster and basil breadcrumbs. Intuitive servers will keep the pacing crisp as the table segues to larger plates, say wild striped sea bass over a ragout of summer squash or crispy-skinned duck breast under a lavender glaze. There may be a proposal at one table, a birthday song at another, but really you shouldn’t need a special occasion to get to Scarpetta Beach, where the enchantment level matches the flawless food. More info: 631-668-1771, gurneysresorts.com

Butternut squash mezzaluna at Scarpetta Beach in Montauk.

Butternut squash mezzaluna at Scarpetta Beach in Montauk. Credit: Gordon M. Grant


76 South St., Oyster Bay

Chef Fabrizio Facchini started his culinary career at a Michelin-recognized restaurant in Italy’s Le Marche region. Stellina, the chic little spot he owns with Oyster Bay residents, Tom and Adriana Milana, has an open kitchen that boasts a pizza oven and a lot of finesse. Don’t miss the light-but-chewy pies that issue from that oven, or the fried baby artichokes with lemon aioli. You won’t find a more refreshing salad on the island than Facchini’s pinzimonio, paper-thin slices of beets, carrots, watermelon radish, and cauliflower with an olive-oil-lemon emulsion. The chef heaps glory on Italian manufacturer Pastificio G. di Martino's paccheri (giant tubes) with a suave golden saffron sauce marbled with pistachio pesto. The bucatini all’Amatriciana is as porky as it is tomato-y, with the sauce barely veiling the pasta. Main dishes run the gamut from a roast chicken with rosemary and thyme to a 16-ounce veal chop served Milanese-style. More info: 516-757-4989, stellinany.com

The Trattoria

532 N. Country Rd., St. James

It’s easy to whiz past The Trattoria — squirreled away as it is from North Country Road in St. James — but this deceptively humble nook is the staging ground for confident, imaginative Italian cooking from chef-owner Steven Gallagher. Bright house ricotta is a year-round given, as is sun-dried tomato tapenade, braised meatballs over polenta or an unmatched lasagna Bolognese. Each successive season holds something new, too, whether gazpacho and or chicken-liver mousse with cherry agrodolce. Gallagher’s vivid pastas make decision-making hard, whether bucatini carbonara or rigatoni in a kale sauce with stracciatella and toasted breadcrumbs. For the carnivores, there’s a pork porterhouse chop with broccoli rabe and a potato cake; for pescatarians, seared ahi tuna with eggplant caponata. For those with a sweet tooth, Nutella pound cake. Hungry yet? Our work here is done. More info: 631-584-3518, thetrattoriarestaurant.com

The Lasagna Bolognese at The Trattoria in St. James.

The Lasagna Bolognese at The Trattoria in St. James. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

The Farm Italy

12 Gerard St., Huntington

This eatery conveys the elegance and hospitality of a Tuscan fantasy, although its menu roams all over the boot — and into steakhouse territory as well. Starters include an antipasto platter, mussels in Pernod, spicy ’nduja sausage with ricotta and honey on toast, octopus and salmon crudo and beef cappelletti in brodo. Among the pastas are a classic bucatini cacio e pepe, pappardelle Bolognese and malfadine with crabmeat and gremolata butter. In addition to four steaks, mains include branzino fillet, hake with white-bean ragout, grilled spicy shrimp with eggplant and salsa verde, grilled chicken with arugula and tomato, chicken Parmesan and veal Milanese. The décor, in tones of weathered wood, bleached brick and rich leather, read as Italian without veering into theme park. From the outside, the restaurant looks huge but, aside from the imposing foyer, the bar and dining rooms still feel intimate. More info: 631-824-6000, thefarmitaly.com


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