Mon.-Thurs. 11am-10pm, Fri.-Sat. 11am-11pm, Sun. 11am-10pm
By Marc Piperno
Tastefully decorated with hand painted murals on the walls and ceiling will remind you of the east coast of Sicily, where on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea is the town of Taormina. Owners Peter and Joe Maccarone of Café Taormina pay tribute to their homeland by bringing a little bit of Italy to 34 Veterans Highway in Commack.
Upon entering, you can’t help but to take note of Taormina’s contemporary décor. Brick ovens put out the most mouth-watering display of pizza pies found anywhere in town. “Our pies are not show alone. Our pies are made with the best and freshest ingredients. In fact, many of our customers have underestimated how tasty our pizzas really are,” says Peter Maccarone. For one, try their Margherita Pizza; prepared with a light amount of cheese, plumb tomato, garlic and basil on a crispy thin crust.
Joe Maccarone takes care of preparing all of the Café Taormina’s sumptuous Italian Specialties, while brother Peter works the front end of the restaurant, ensuring that every customer leaves with a smile. I like when the owner mingles with customers. It’s a telltale sign of a successful restaurant. Joe and Peter have that winning combination and meticulous attention to detail that keeps their customers faithful, with many new ones coming into the fold every week. Peter and Joe also believe in healthy cooking. Everything is prepared fresh and cooked to order. If it takes a few minutes longer for your meal, you’ll know why.
The appetizer that everyone raves about that you must try is the “Stuffed Portobello Mushroom.” It’s big enough to share and it’s stuffed with sausage, roasted peppers, and broccoli rabe, then topped with mozzarella cheese. Also the sausage with broccoli rabe is another excellent choice, with two hearty size sausages resting on top of a heap of broccoli rabe. By the way, should you have a special request not found on the menu, just ask. The staff at Café Taormina is more then willing to please. For an entrée ask for the Shrimp Oreganata, laid over a bed of spinach. Succulent shrimp is served in a scampi sauce with seasoned bread crumbs. Don’t forget to ask for a side of spaghetti in the same scampi sauce. For the hearty appetite, try the “Chicken a la Taormina,” chicken breast stuffed with fresh proscuito, mozzarella, topped with roasted peppers and mushrooms in a light brown sauce. It’s a huge portion, and a popular favorite. Café Taormina also has a wide variety of veal chops, aged steaks and the freshest seafood.
For the finale, we chose from what appeared to be at least a dozen desserts. The Chocolate Mousse Cake with white chocolate shavings is delicious. Ask for fresh cannolis, they are out of this world. Ask the waitress to overstuff them, you’ll thank me. A couple of cups of fresh Cappuccino brought us back to Sicily without our feet ever touching the ground. Bravissimo Café Taormina. For reservations and information call 499-9600.