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Nassau County Italian with Good Ambiance, Food & Prices?

I hate to admit it but after years of disappointment and dashed hopes my go-to places for moderately priced Italian restaurants with a lively ambiance, decent food and good prices in Nassau county have become Bertucci's and Papa Razzi, both in Westbury and both chains to varying degrees.

How could it be that a county so heavily populated with people of Italian decent can't produce a surplus of such restaurants?

Does anyone else feel this way? Can someone put me right about this?

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  1. Venere on Carmen Avenue in Westbury is a good option, along with Tesoro on Old Country Road in Westbury.My favorite is King Umberto in Elmont(Hempstead Turnpike and Meacham Avenue).

    2 Replies
    1. re: sagetom

      I've only eaten at King Umberto once, but am trying to find a good reason to make the trek to Elmont from Babylon to go again!

      1. What's moderate to you?

        Friends took me to a good Italian in Woodbury recently. Maybe Butera? Is Woodbury in Nassau county? Da Pino used to be my favorite Italian years ago when I lived on LI. They were located near Roslyn. Not sure if they are still around. Dario's on Hempstead Turnpike was also excellent. I believe they moved to Rockville Centre. There was also a moderate place, in a pink-ish building in Westbury (heading towards the park on the same street that Fortunoff's was on) that was very good. I went there with my Italian BF and his family. Not sure if they are still around. We also went to a very good Italian in the five Towns area. I'll post again if I remember the name. Sorry for my vague sense of direction. I haven't lived on LI in a long time and only go to visit friends. Don't know streets like I used to.

        2 Replies
        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          Try the new Frantonis in East Meadow. They have a great dining room in the back, and the food is fresh and tasty...

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            Butera's is on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury. Not 100% traditional, red-sauce Italian, but I enjoyed it when I was there a few years ago.

          2. check out spumante on hempstead tpke..just east of meadowbrook pkwy...highly reccomended..food is great...space has a good energy and the homemade deserts rock...tiramasu was amazing...enjoy..

            2 Replies
            1. re: steviet

              Went to Spumante for a party an found the food to be disappointing and the owner had an attitude- like he did not want to be there. Maybe it is better in the dinning room. We like LaViola in Cedarhurst (family style), La Novela in East Meadow and Ginos in the Plaindege shopping center on Hempstead Tpk.

              1. re: Eileen

                I believe LaViola in Cedarhurst is the Five Towns restaurant I could not remember the name of.

            2. Check out Fiore's in Floral Park. I know it's close to Queens but it's worth the trip. It's just what you are looking for

              1. Just tried Circa, on Jericho in Mineola. Excellent.

                For $12.50 lunch special (on Sat, too), we got a nice salad served in a bowl with 2 ice cold plates (nice touch). Nice bread basket. Wife got 3 baked clams, I got 3 fresh ravioli. Main I got nice grilled pork chop with potatoes in a nice butter, sweet onion, hot pepper sauce. Wife got excellent Chicken Franchese. Dessert was some ice cream and a big cannoli.

                3 apps, 3 entrees, 3 desserts as chioces...plus salad for $12.50. Nice place, too.

                Great food and deal.

                circali.com

                14 Replies
                1. re: GCGuy

                  Saturday night at Circa though is so loud you can't hear your dining partner. For lunch, if you don't order the lunch special and someone wants and extra canolli, it's $7. A little rediculous at lunch I think.
                  Financial district resident, I don't remember a DaPino's in the Roslyn area. And, I think the pink building you are talking about might be Giulio Cesare, which has a good reputation, but I have not been impressed.
                  Frantoni's is our local pizza place, so am happy to hear that their East Meadow restaurant is equally good.
                  In the Roslyn area, I like Pirandello on Warner Ave near the high school for Italian. There is also Piccolo Bussola in Mineola, and Piccolo, also in Mineola. Both of those are on Jericho Tpke, and I have had good meals at either.
                  We used to go to Pappa Razzi regularly, not sure why we stopped, but I don't think they are a chain, and are quite good, so don't feel bad. It does have a different type of atmosphere than any of the others.

                  1. re: robinsilver

                    One more, how could I forget. La Parma on Willis Ave in Williston Park. The king of red sauces. Served family style. You may have to leave your name and come back, but then again it may not be as busy as it used to be.

                    1. re: robinsilver

                      yes food a t la parma can be ok, but gosh when i think of good ambiance, la parma does not come to mind

                      1. re: intrepid

                        She said lively ambience, not good. I don't think Bertucci's fits the bill either.

                        1. re: robinsilver

                          pardon me lively thanks for the major correction lololo

                    2. re: robinsilver

                      robinsilver, thanks for helping jog the memory. It's not Giulio Cesare. Da Pino's (spelling?) was on the road (Willis Ave.?) heading to Miracle Mile on the opposite side of the street from Wee Tepee Inn (or something like that). Probably both gone. . .

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        Across from what was Wee Tapee Inn is Mateo's, which some may consider a lively atmosphere, but it is just a trendy, air-kissing hang-out for the Roslyn crowd. One of my been there, done that places that I can do without because the food isn't so great, IMHO. There was also Il Sapore, which is south of where Wee Tapee Inn was, on the same side of the street. It closed a number of years ago, and nothing opened in the building. As far as Giulio Cesare, I was thinking the building was pink when you said it, but realized that it is yellow. And old stand-by for some, but I never thought it was anything great. I don't remember anything Italian across from Fortunoff's, unless you are thinking of Baci, which is up the block.

                        1. re: robinsilver

                          Could be thinking of Spasso. Pretty sure it was pink and across from Fortunoff's.

                          1. re: MKS

                            MKS, it WAS Spasso (spelling?). It was close to the road that Eisenhower Park is on. Opposite side of street from Fortunoff's and building was pink. Gone?

                              1. re: MKS

                                I thought Spasso was the one that was closer to Roosevelt Field. That is now Cafe Fromaggio, or something like that.

                                  1. re: robinsilver

                                    Sorry for MY vague sense of direction. Spasso (the PINK) restaurant is now Caffe Formaggio which is 1/4 mile East of Roosevelt Field.

                            1. re: robinsilver

                              I too never thought much of Guilio Cesare. Went once and was unimpressed.

                      2. how about baci on old country road across from eisenhower park? i had lunch there a few weeks ago. dont know what your definition of moderate is,but the food was very good to excellent,service was good,and the owner-manager came over to make sure all was well and to welcome us-as it was my first time there. will definitely be going back soon..

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mrbeachy

                          FYI, Cafe Baci is owned by the former owners of Spasso, which used to be down the street. Baci is great, but the parking is horrible.

                          1. re: new2nyc

                            The parking at Spasso was horrible too. It was a popular place. We had to time our hunger and meals accordingly :)

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              We used to go to Baci frequently until we started agreeing that while they gave big portions...food looks great...and the staff was always very accomodating...all the dishes tasted the same, and very little flavor. We haven't been back since we had that conversation.