Arancini, or rice balls, are served at Spezia in St....

Arancini, or rice balls, are served at Spezia in St. James. (Dec. 2013) Credit: Newsday Peter Gianotti

Just in time for Christmas season, Spezia arrives with enough carbs to fuel the marathon.

The bright, friendly Italian spot is a comfortable refuge from the rush of the work week and long lines at the mall.

Alex Camargo, formerly a waiter at Casa Rustica in Smithtown, is among the principals at the new restaurant, which moves into the address previously occupied by Mauricio's Orlando II. Dago Flores is the chef; Michael Navas, the manager.

Current specials include a $40 two-pound lobster dinner. There's a $23.95 fixed-price dinner menu, too.

Try the arancini, or rice balls, filled with ground meat and cheese. Enjoy the homey, meaty lasagna. And carve into the double-cut pork chop packed with fontina cheese, crumbled sausage, and prosciutto. Lobster fra diavolo: very good. Tiramisu is the right dessert.

Spezia, 645 Middle Country Rd., St. James; 631-265-9228.

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