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Good Evening

Weekend picks: Italian-American celebration

Casual tables make for comfortable dining at the

Casual tables make for comfortable dining at the Blue Moon Pizzeria in Rockville Centre. Credit: Michael E. Ach

Happy birthday, amici.

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification would require at least 20 different parties, or one for the cuisine of each province. The nation is one, but what's on the table is very regional.

So, instead, have some fun at one of Long Island's many Italian-American eateries. Here are three informal dining rooms where you can wave the tricolor.

The newest is La Piazza in Melville, the third branch of the group that has restaurants in Plainview and Merrick. It's buoyant and bursting with popularity. Very good pizzas and pastas, soups and salads, plus panini and heros. There's also not simply a listing, but an entire menu category devoted to "Parmigiana." How can you resist?

La Piazza is at 512 Walt Whitman Rd., on the east side of Route 110, Melville; 631-425-0500.

Emilio's in Commack is a mainstay for Italian-American specialties. The pizzas are excellent and the pastas often rival them. The meatball appetizer with a dollop of ricotta on garlic bread is a meal in itself. And sample the pasta e fagioli and the Gorgonzola salad with mesclun and tomatoes,  too.

Emilio's is at 2201 Jericho Tpke., Commack; 631-462-6267.

Rockville Centre's Blue Moon is known for its pizzas, which are fine, but deserves a visit for the husky pastas and the generous panini, and the comfortably retro look of the place, too. It's a welcoming, no-nonsense eatery. You expect to see DiMaggio and Furillo still gracing outfields and Louis Prima making music.

Blue Moon is at 26 North Park Ave., Rockville Centre; 516-763-4900.

Photo: At Blue Moon.

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