Great Neck Italian
Hounds, are any of the Italian restaurants in Great Neck better than the others, or are they all pretty much the same? In the neighborhood, I like Il Toscano in Douglaston and I mourn the loss of Altadonna in Little Neck. Is anything in Great Neck proper comparable?
Conti's to the west or Stressa to the east are worlds above anything in Great Neck proper. I used to like and recommend Vespa, but no longer, I had to many mediocre meals. As your post suggests, and I agree, all the Italian restaurants on Middle Neck road are indistinguishable, nothing terrible but nothing worth recommending.
I agree about the mediocre Italian on Middle Neck Rd. Classico has *ok* linguini with white clam sauce. If you want REALLY, REALLY GREAT Italian nearby, try La Piccolo Liguria in Port Washington, on Shore Rd. I have never been disappointed there. Every course was delicious, from salad & antipasto, through dessert. Reservations are recommended.
New to Port Washington is Livorno, which occupies the former digs of Nick & Pedro's, 95-97 Manorhaven Blvd., 516-944-2730. The restaurant is co-owned by Nick Cobi, who manages the dining room, and Carmelo Altadonna, who is in charge of the kitchen. Altadonna previously cooked at the recently departed restaurant Altadonna in Little Neck, where his brother, Joseph Altadonna, was chef. Although the restaurant is named for a Tuscan port city (where Carmelo Altadonna's wife's family has roots), many of the dishes reflect Altadonna's own Sicilian background: orange salad, tripe Sicilian style and penne alla Norma, made with tomato sauce, eggplant and ricotta salata.