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Three great casual Italian restaurants

Patrons dine at the Primo Piatto restaurant in

Patrons dine at the Primo Piatto restaurant in Huntington. Every Thursday is parm night at the restaurant. (Dec. 23, 2011) Photo Credit: Yana Paskova

The informal Italian eatery, where all ages eat happily without spending too much, is as basic to Long Island as the shoreline. Almost every neighborhood has one . . . or more. Here are three reliable choices.

PRIMO PIATTO

This Huntington spot prepares very good panini and salads. The pastas range from fettuccine alla carbonara to bucatini with sardines to rigatoni alla Bolognese. Chicken pizzaiola, too, along with savory arancini, or rice balls.

Primo Piatto, 138 E. Main St., Huntington; 631-935-1391, primopiattorestaurant.com

FANATICO

The offspring of ever-popular Emilio's in Commack takes a familiar route. Enjoy the pizzas, especially the Grandma and Grandpa pies; and the Old World marinara. The appetizer of meatballs, ricotta, roasted peppers and country bread: sure to vanish.

Fanatico, 336 N. Broadway, Jericho; 516-932-5080, fanatico-restaurant.com

LA PIAZZA

Here's the newest branch in the group with establishments in Merrick and Plainview. It's a monument to mozzarella. Try the stuffed pepper, bruschetti, meaty lasagna, linguine with clam sauce, brick-oven pizzette, minestrone, pasta e fagioli.

La Piazza, 512 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville; 631-425-0500, lapiazzaonline.com

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