There are neighborhood eateries and destination restaurants. Here are three winning Italian kitchens that are both.
Jonathan's Ristorante in Huntington is a very reliable, very satisfying spot situated in a highly competitive downtown. The restaurant balances the creative and the traditional with equal ease. Recommended: beet salad with pomegranate, walnuts and robiola cheese; spaghetti with lobster in spicy tomato sauce; tuna tartare with avocado salad; fritto misto of calamari, shrimp and zucchini; bucatini Bolognese; spaghetti with manila clams, roasted garlic and habanero pepper; Long Island duck breast with blackberry sauce; double-cut pork chop with cipollini onions, potatoes and artichokes. Moderate to expensive.
Jonathan's Ristorante, 15 Wall St., Huntington, 631-549-0055, jonathansristorante.com
Dodici in Rockville Centre is a mainstay, popular since 1992. It's a dependable restaurant for Italian favorites, old and new. Recommended: clams oreganata; grilled octopus; cacio e pepe pasta; rigatoni with sausage, peas and spicy tomato sauce with a bit of cream; the Vesuvio panino, with grilled chicken, smoked mozzarella and hot cherry peppers; pizza Monte Bianco with arugula, prosciutto and fresh mozzarella; hot and sweet sausages with peppers and onions; chicken scarpariello; Italian cheesecake; tiramisu. Moderate to expensive.
Dodici, 12 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre, 516-764-3000, dodicirestaurant.com
Primi Italian Steakhouse in West Islip succeeds whether you want pasta or porterhouse. Fine service and considerable style also define it. Recommended: cacio e pepe with spaghetti; gnocchi with pistachio pesto, herbaceous whipped ricotta and Calabrian chilies; chicken scarpariello; chicken parmigiana; hanger steak with caramelized cipollini, potato puree and chimichurri; porterhouse steak for two; Tomahawk rib-eye steak; New York strip steak; tiramisu; panna cotta; cheesecake. Expensive.
Primi Italian Steakhouse, 999 Montauk Hwy., West Islip, 631-526-9779, primiitalian.com