Sundried Tomato Cafe

127-3 Smithtown Blvd. Nesconset, NY 631-366-6310

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Type: Italian Special features: Lunch Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:

Although the basic feel of this restaurant’s menu is Italian, the personality extends across the Mediterranean, so anticipate moments of Spanish inspiration next to Sicilian ones. The selection opens with appetizer bites like grilled portobello mushrooms, fried calamari and eggplant rollatini—while mixes of field greens, gorgonzola, onion and mango or soppresata sausage, provolone, olives, onion and romaine are only two of the fairly exotic salad choices. Main courses of veal, chicken, beef and seafood are served in styles like Sorrentino, Marsala, Francaise and other often-encountered Italian preparations—but those seeking something more portable can partake of the many paninis and pizzas whipped up in great variation.

Hours: 11:30a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Reservations: Not Accepted Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Yes

In this sunny pizzeria-restaurant, you'll find an unusually caring staff serving up a lively menu of Italian specialties.It's difficult to exercise restraint when confronted with the basket of terrific garlic knots (made from pizza dough), but do your best. Portions here are copious, enough for at least two.

Shrimp ajillo in a spicy garlic wine sauce is made with lots of crustaceans over cappellini. A pasta dish that sounds over-orchestrated but actually works beautifully is the pollo con rosamarino, chunks of chicken and vibrant julinenne vegetables in a light rosemary wine sauce over farfalle.

Tiramisu - boozy but not too too - transcends the cliche.

So does the Sundried Tomato Cafe.

Joan Reminick 

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Sundried Tomato Cafe 127-3 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset

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