Have you ever found yourself, when traveling through an area like New England, entering a charming restaurant and saying, “I wish we had a place like this on Long Island”?
Well, such a spot does exist at Rachel’s Cafe in Syosset.
I’ve eaten at La Piccola Liguria many times, but have yet to order from the menu. I am always so dazzled by the list of specials reeled off from memory by the waiter that one of those items invariably becomes my choice.
This daily interpretation of the specials is just one part of the ambiance of this excellent restaurant, which has taken its inspiration from Liguria, the region of Italy that stretches west in a narrow ribbon along the coast from France. La Piccola Liguria is located on Shore Road in the upper reaches of Port Washington.
Don’t speak Portuguese? Here’s a little vocabulary lesson to explain the name of this family-style restaurant.
Brasa — hot coal that is ready for roasting.
Churrasqueira — a restaurant serving wood-char grilled meat; servers come to the table with meat on a skewer.
Rodizio — a style of service, where diners pay a fixed price and waiters bring food several times during the meal until the diner says “Enough!”
If you somehow missed last weekend’s crowds and crush as St. Patrick’s Day washed over Nassau County like a green tsunami, and all of the sentimental songs, green beer and shamrock-shaped cookies made you pine for a real Irish experience, there’s still hope. It’s no blarney, there are local spots where everyone’s Irish (or at least feels it) 12 months a year and the experience is more fun—and typically more authentic—than you’ll find on the annual patron saint baccanalia. Here’s a selection, from pint-sized pubs to pitcher-sized restaurants.
Sea Cliff loves to have a good time. In fact, this wee village on Long Island Sound, hosts an annual Pub Crawl that takes place a couple of weeks before St. Patrick’s Day. One of the most popular Pub Crawl participants is K.C. Gallagher’s, a clover-sized pub on Sea Cliff’s main drag. It’s the real thing, with beer-battered fish ‘n chips (In Ireland, sold by “chippers”). Guinness and Bass? Of course. 325 Sea Cliff Ave., Sea Cliff
The moment I saw the counter-height, family-style tables, I wanted to call up a group of friends or my family and invite them to join me for dinner. With the copper ceiling giving off a warm glow, it felt like just the right place to enjoy wine and good food with a group.
The other dining areas in Lula are also inviting: there are two rooms where a double-sided fireplace adds ambiance, a marble bar with comfortable stools with backs and the private, and quiet, wine room tucked away in the back with a round table that can seat four or five people.
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