Long Island's most popular cuisine today is Italian, just as it has been for decades. Here are three Italian classics, as dependable now as they were decades ago.
Casa Rustica in Smithtown is a polished, warm restaurant that serves fare both soulful and refined. Recommended: grilled octopus, eggplant rollatine, meatballs and ricotta, pasta con le sarde, lasagna Bolognese, ravioli of the day, branzino in salt crust, lobster oreganata or fra diavolo, veal chop Milanese, all desserts. Moderate to expensive.
Casa Rustica, 175 W. Main St., Smithtown, 631-265-9265, casarustica.net
Franina in Syosset prepares dishes with considerable style and a lot of flavor in an elegant dining room. Recommended: grilled octopus, boar sausage with cherry peppers and polenta, beet salad, pappardelle Bolognese, orecchiette alla Norma, Berkshire pork chop with cherry peppers; orata with cherry tomatoes, capers, and olives; Dover sole meuniere, panna cotta, zabaglione. Moderate to expensive.
Franina, 58 Jericho Tpke., Syosset, 516-496-9770, franina.com
Mamma Lombardi's in Holbrook excels at hearty, southern Italian dishes. The adjoining pizzeria also is a stand out. Recommended: seafood salad, octopus salad, spaghetti with olive oil and garlic, penne arabbiatta, pork braciole, pork chop with vinegar peppers and potatoes, chicken and sausage campagnola, sole Livornese, Moderate to expensive.
Mamma Lombardi's, 400 Furrows Rd., Holbrook, 631-737-0774, mammalombardis.com