Christmas is near and parties are underway. Here are three traditional Italian restaurants where you can enjoy your evenings. They’re also good for larger groups.
Casa Rustica in Smithtown arrived along with Hurricane Gloria in 1985. It has weathered all storms and remains one of Long Island’s best. Recommended: grilled octopus with lentils and arugula; meatballs with fresh ricotta; eggplant rollatini; lasagna Bolognese; all ravioli; lobster risotto; lobster oreganata or fra diavolo; branzino cooked in a salt crust; veal chop Milanese; all desserts. $$-$$$
Casa Rustica, 175 W. Main St., Smithtown, 631-265-9265, casarustica.net
Arturo’s in Floral Park-Bellerose is in its final weeks before closing. The proprietor is slated to take over Stresa in Manhasset. Recommended: torta primavera of cheese and cured meats; cold antipasti; clams oreganata; penne primavera; rigatoni with tomatoes, eggplant, basil, and mozzarella; baked snapper bonne femme; pork chops with vinegar peppers; osso buco; zabaglione for two with ice cream and strawberries. $$-$$$
Arturo’s, 246-04 Jericho Tpke., Floral Park, 516-352-7418, arturorestaurant.com
Verace in Islip offers a stylish setting and Italian fare with some flair. Recommended: polenta with Tuscan sauce Bolognese; roasted octopus; crisp calamari; mussels steamed with white wine and garlic; beet salad; cold antipasti; burrata Caprese; escarole and beans; cacio e pepe pasta; grilled swordfish; pork chop Milanese. $$-$$$
Verace, 599 Main St., Islip, 631-277-3800, veracerestaurant.com