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Anniversary Dinner in North Shore

Any recommendations for nice place/great food near Sea Cliff, appropriate for anniversary dinner? I'm new to the area, but I have a long list of potential places. caveat--my wife is a red sauce girl and is not a fan of gamey meat, seafood, middle eastern...that's why a place like Bistro M would be a waste (unless I'm wrong and please lmk if that's the case). She typically orders red sauce and/or pasta dish, chicken or steak. I like all food. we don't want to go far as it will be on a weeknight and both of us are working late and will have late start and will therefore be hungry! and we plan to drink vino so the shorter the drive the better...
Here's my list--hopefully I'll try every one of these over the years:

Trattoria Diane: Will she like the menu? Is it nice inside?
Besito: Appropriate for anniversary?
Thyme: I've seen mixed reviews on the food--is there outdoor seating?
Il Mulino: Is it a ripoff?
LA BUSSOLA RISTORANTE,LA GINESTRA RESTAURANT, LA PACE RESTAURANT--are they too cheesy for anniversary dinner? (I love food in Parkside in Corona, Queens but wouldn't go there for anniversary)
Roots: Local place we would like to try anyway...
Stresa: Only heard good things, is furthest away though...

Any/all help is appreciated.


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  1. This may be too far for you, but if your wife is a red sauce Italian person, try La Parma on Willis Avenue in Williston Park. Not sure if the atmosphere is what you would be looking for and they do not take reservations, but they have a lot of red-sauce Italian dishes, as well as others.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Shayna Madel

      Of your Italian choices, I would say La Bussola first, followed by La Pace, but La Bussola is much better IMHO. And, both have the atmosphere you seek and the white glove type service, although, La Pace is slightly more white glove, but I prefer the food at La Bussola hands down.

      I think La Parma would be a terrible choice for an anniversary. It's loud, obnoxious, auction-style service, big tables of loud people, etc. And the food is mediocre at best, IMHO. Plus, family-style is terrible with two people, b/c you have to want to eat the same things.

      In the future, for good "everyday" Italian, try Iavarone Bros. Cafe in the Lake Success Shopping Center on Union Tpke, just west of NHP Road.

      It's very underrated I think. Great food, good service, and not too pricey. Fabulous bread and fried zucchini too die for!

      1. re: JGS

        fyi, Iavarone bros. are opening a new restaurant on shore rd. in port washington. It will be called Prime View. Not sure when it's opening... it might even be open already.

        1. re: monalisawoman

          Interesting...is it going to be in that bad luck space...where the Indian place was and then it was Wreck?

          1. re: JGS

            It's in that house on the corner by the nice little park,

            1. re: JGS

              yes! but you forgot Cinnamon Club, & a couple of other versions.

      2. You might want to try Jonathan's in Garden City Park on Jericho Turnpike. I have never visited but they have a fairly extensive menu and seems like a nice enough place for a n anniversary.


        1 Reply
        1. re: foodieforthought

          Jonathan's is nice and I have been many times (more often for lunch). I probably wouldn't select it for an anniversary dinner. My post is a bit late because by now OP has probably celebrated his anniversary.

        2. I totally agree with JGS about La Bussola and La Pace. La Parma is not what I would call an anniversary place, but it is the premier red sauce establishment. If you are talking parmigiana, they may not even have that on the menu at La Pace, they have changed chefs in recent times. I love Stressa for northern Italian. I would not put Jonathan's in their league.
          If, by the way, you want a fun place to go to with a crowd, Caio Baby in Carle Place or Massapequa are great, and you can get plenty of red sauce.

          1. La Pace is awesome , I love it there.

            Also , you may want to consider Barneys , very good food and romantic atmosphere , ask to be put in the dining room where the fireplace is.

            8 Replies
            1. re: egoer

              Since this post I've been to Stresa and Trattoria Diane. Stresa was good, not great, and a little depressing. . Diane, however, was great. The food, atmosphere and service were all top notch. ( I had osso buco, my wife had Tuscan stew). Can't wait to go back...

              1. re: abu applesauce

                Trattoria Diane is great food and I love the atmosphere. The three berry pie is very good !

                Try On 3 in Glen Head also, I love that place too. Scallops appetizer and the bananas foster praline parfait or two of the best appetizers and dessserts I have ever had. Service is great there also , spot on and one of the waiters there is outstanding.

                1. re: abu applesauce

                  While trolling for Stresa comments, I noticed your post.

                  2 Questions: why "good & but not great' and what's up with the "depressing" bit?

                  1. re: kelvin8r

                    Good is still good, just not great. I liked the food, I just don't feel the urge to run back there as I do with Diane. Diane's food was great (In my humble opinion of course) and I think about running back there every Friday night.
                    As for the atmosphere (note I said a "little" depressing), I felt like I was in an Italian restaurant in Miami Beach. Maybe it's because I'm just new to the Island (Grew up in Brklyn lived in Manhattan and Queens), but I like a resaturant with a little life, a little vibe...
                    I guess what I'm dancing around is that Stresa is boring, ugly and for my grandma. But the food is good. :->

                    1. re: abu applesauce

                      That's how i feel about Piccolo Liguria (in Port Washington)... the food is truly amazing. Every sauce is bursting with flavor. The atmosphere, on the other hand, is like being in Boca Raton at an early bird special.

                      1. re: abu applesauce

                        Great. My Grandmas' birthday is right around the corner, thanks for the suggestion!

                        I'd like to try Dianes with my SI. You say the atmosphere is great, but Googling a bit, I noticed more than a few mentions of an "attitude issue" plus cramped quarters and a alleged downhill slide. Unanimity abounds about the bakerys' greatness though. Any thoughts?

                        1. re: kelvin8r

                          I had a great meal the one time I dined at Diane's. As for "attitude issue" that was not my experience at all. Can't really comment on the downhill rumors, but you might as well try for yourself and let us know. hell, I have to go back.
                          Bakery: I have heard amazing things--never really indulged.

                          1. re: abu applesauce

                            I had diner at Diane's with my wife a few months ago and enjoyed my meal. Space was simple and nice, we sat downstairs. It was a subdued atmoshere despite the fact that it was early on a Sunday and there was a mix of ages from seniors to families with young children. Food was very good and a little bit cutting edge, not the same old choices. Sunday is a great night to go as they have a multi course prix fix menu at a reasonable price. Service that night was fine and we did not detect any attitude issues.
                            I ate at Stressa one time and I though the food was merely o.k, prices were high and the private club feel was a real turnoff. I can understand extra attention to regulars, but not at the expense of non regulars. I would not return even with an insider.

                2. stay away from il mulino in roslyn food is mediocre

                  1. Stresa East is a good choice, but their branch in Manhasset gets very Pompous crowd And that kind of turns me off. IMHO

                    1. I ate at Stresa East this week for the third time and am baffled about why this restuarant gets so many good reviews. The food was not good at all. In fact, if I were not at a business dinner, I would have sent it back. The fish was overcooked and fishy, and was paired with a very unappealing vegetable medley. The others in my party were underwhelmed as well.

                      With so many excellent Italian restaurants on LI, I can't imagine why this one is so popular.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: valmar

                        you may be right, I havn't been there in a long time. I know that their other place Navona that went out of business in Great Neck was highly over rated yet it always got great reviews.
                        It's a puzzelment or some one has good connections.

                      2. I guess its too each his own. We only went to Navona once, but we thought it was a great meal. La Bussola is probably the best of what the original poster was looking for, and Not a shlep from Sea Cliff. Not open when he originally posted the question, but don't forget Brivo, which opened in the old L'Endroit building. Had a great meal there, and we brought our own wine and paid a corkage fee, if you are a wine person. Mind you, this is not to be cheap, but so that we can drink the wine wine that they will charge $200 for, that we have in our cellar, for the $25 corkage.
                        There's a little place on Jericho Tpke in Mineola, Piccolo, that specializes in home made ravioli, and makes some good red sauce dishes. We had something there that was really terrific, it was a special a few weeks ago, a veal cutlet, topped in sauce bolognese with melted mozzarella. I could only eat half there, but was happy to take the other half home in a doggie bag. What a surprise for an impromtu dinner out with my mother.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: robinsilver

                          I found Brivo to be exactly as you did, and yes, I am a wine person.
                          Thanks for the reply

                        2. Forgot to mention Piccolo Bussola on Jericho Tpke in Mineola as well. This is a different restaurant, owned by the people who own LaBussola. Food is served family style, and they do it very well. More upscale and a different atmosphere than Caio Baby, which is also a place that we go.