What's better than a great pizza? Great pizza al fresco. Two burgeoning styles — artisanal pizza and enhanced outdoor dining — come together in one delicious trend: pizza gardens.
Saverio's (929 N. Broadway, Massapequa): The pork store-meets-pizzeria's new Amalfi-themed outdoor space is dubbed "Piazza Saverio," for its cozy patio square serving artisanal Neapolitan pies. There's a shipping container that doubles as an annex galley kitchen with its own wood-burning pizza oven, plus a tented area with tables. Plush couches and lounge chairs invite visitors to linger — perhaps with a cocktail — from the service bar. More info: 516-799-0091, saveriospizza.com
Cena 081 (103 Post Ave., Westbury): Its outdoor patio offers an eyeful of attractions, from a moderately sized waterfall to a wood-burning oven that churns out calzones, focaccia and pizza, including a Buffalo chicken bacon pizza, "Quattro Stagioni," with capocollo, anchovies, olives and mushrooms, and an artichoke, spinach, Gorgonzola pizza. About 20 tables make up the area, which features light music, some standing heaters and a fire pit. A lounge occupies the space just outside of the restaurant’s back door. More info: 516-385-3795, cena081.com
Piñons (23 Birch Hill Rd., Locust Valley): The succinct menu of organic-flour crust pies includes simple mozzarella cheese with herbs to more unorthodox creations involving Vermont maple syrup and white Cheddar cheese. Rotating weekly specials draw on what's around. Diners can choose to sit outdoors in a dog-friendly walled-off sidewalk garden area bolstered, as needed, with heat towers. More info: 516-801-3200, pinonspizza.com
1943 Pizza Company (308 D Main St., Greenport): Since 2014, Greenporters have congregated at Matt Michel’s wood-oven pizzeria, whose seating begins on a small deck with a view of the oven and then spreads out all over Stirling Square and onto the sidewalk of Main Street. Specialties include the "New Haven," topped with mashed potato and bacon, and seasonal pizzas that draw on the bounty of the North Fork. Folks wait all year for the white pie with Comté cheese, red onion, rosemary and sliced potatoes More info: 631-477-6984, rollingindoughpizza.com
Mangia Bene (14 S. Park Ave., Rockville Centre): The menu at this new Rockville Centre trattoria ranges all over the boot, but attention must be paid to the individual Neapolitan-style pizzas, designed by executive chef, John Di Lemme, and owner, Maurizio Vendittelli, and baked in a newfangled electric oven imported from Italy. Crust and toppings are in perfect harmony, from the simplest marinara and Margherita to the "PLT" (smoked Tyrolean Speck, arugula, cherry tomatoes, lemon, mozzarella and Parmesan) and the "Calabrese," sparked by hot sausage and Calabrian chilies. Enjoy them in a tented "giardino" out back that has standing heaters to lengthen the al fresco season. More info: 516-447-6744, mangiabenervc.com
King Umberto (1343 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont): King Umberto erected a glass-enclosed pavilion last year to provide its restaurant diners with more social distance and, this summer, it added a huge, marble-floored, open-sided terrace with tables and couches for lounging. With more than 140 new seats, it was the perfect excuse to introduce a new menu, "pizza on the patio." Nor could the timing have been better for John Cesarano, who owns King Umberto with his brother, Ciro, and the 45-year-old venue’s original partner Rosario Fuschetto. It’s John who runs the pizzeria and, over the last three years, he has become obsessed with artisanal pizza, learning the centuries-old ways of Neapolitan wood-fired pies as well as the "neo-Neapolitan" traditions that have taken both Italy and the U.S. by storm. John set up a little shed along one side of the terrace, got himself a fancy new oven, and perfected a 14-inch pie that has the structure and refinement of a classic Neapolitan, but with the crunch and crackle of New York. Along with the classic Margherita and Marinara, there are more fanciful pies such as those inspired by cacio e pepe and Amatriciana pastas. Plus an amazing calzone, filled with ricotta and either meatballs or eggplant. More info: 516-352-8391, kingumberto.com