Pasta night isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience, one that can be enjoyed with four generations of family or at a corner table with that very special someone. Walk into an Italian restaurant, and the smell of sauce will bring back memories of simpler times and your mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. No one can quite top mom, but these seven Long Island pasta restaurants are ready to help you make new memories with must-try dishes. Leave your winter whites at home and dig in.
The spot is a true taste of Italy from the moment you step onto the cobblestone pathway that leads to the restaurant entrance, which is at the rear. The staff actually encourages you to order a three-course meal like a true Italian, with pasta coming between the appetizer and entree. Go ahead and take a trip down memory lane by ordering the spaghetti and meatballs. You’ll dream about the rich sauce until your next visit. Dessert is recommended, too, of course. Go.
Nina’s Pizzeria, Northport
Nina’s has kept the look simple: marbled tables and an outdoor patio with umbrella-covered tables for warm-weather dining. The menu follows suit with a focus on cooking the perfect Italian comfort food. The Northport crowd has been buzzing about Nina’s pizza, but if you haven’t tried the pasta you’re missing out. Go.
The Matteos traveled the world to sample different cuisines and now bring the world to the South Shore. Round up the whole family or a big group of friends to enjoy large portions of nostalgia-inducing dishes like baked penne and ravioli off the family-style menu. Rumor has it the pours are just as generous. Go.
Ristorante Gemelli, Babylon
Named for the s-shaped pasta, every pasta dish on the menu from the Linguini San Remo to the Fettucine e Polpettini will leave you satisfied. An airy dining room with brick accents, cream-colored walls and draped curtains make it a gorgeous choice for celebrating a special occasion or just toasting to Saturday night. Go.
Pasta Pasta, Port Jefferson
Wooden accents, vases filled with flowers, antique mirrors and large windows flanked by gracefully draped curtains make you feel as if you’ve wandered into a Tuscan Villa. The candle-lit tables make for a romantic evening at a spot that, after more than 20 years in the business, has stood the test of time in the oft-fickle restaurant scene down Port. Go.
La Parma, Willston Park, Huntington, Oceanside, Port Washington
Western Long Islanders have treated La Parma like a second home since it opened in 1984. The family-style menu of Southern Italian fare inspired by Chef Dominic’s Italian roots and friendly service make it a hotspot in all four locations even on weeknights. Go.
Cassariano Italian Eatery, Mineola
This winter, warm up by requesting a seat by the fireplace at the Long Island outpost of the Venice eatery (Florida, not Italy). The large dining room makes Cassariano Italian Eatery ideal for large groups and birthday partiers looking to indulge in Northern Italian cuisine. Be sure to try the Gnocchi con Pollo e Pesto di Pomodori Secchi of gnocchi, chicken and creamy sundried tomato pesto regulars rave about. Finish off your meal with the chocolate mousse. It’s to-die-for. Go.
If you’re looking to spend the night in, whip up one of these three simple, delicious recipes.