There are features and amenities that separate good restaurants from great ones. While it seems like there is an Italian restaurant on almost every corner on Long island, there are a select few that have been in business for more than 20 years.
Villa Sorrento in St. James is one of those old-school establishments with linen-covered tables and impeccable service, reminiscent of Little Italy, that has survived and thrived in a very competitive business.
Villa Sorrento serves authentic, delicious Italian cuisine that’s made with only high-quality ingredients by a chef who respects food.
Like the best relationships, it’s nice and uncomplicated.
The elegant atmosphere at Villa Sorrento is reinforced by the warm welcome every guest receives when they enter the restaurant.
Walter Smith has been the general manager since Villa Sorrento opened and is greeted with hugs by the regulars, of which there are many. First-timers receive a hearty handshake and a smile.
On a recent evening, the dining room was aglow in candle light and the mood, like the table, was set for an elegant dining experience.
Guests were having a good time, and as the wine flowed, so did the conversation and laughter.
At most restaurants, a basket of bread can no longer be expected to begin a meal, but our waiter, Chris, appeared with an assortment of warm crusty breads accompanied with red pepper hummus and rosemary-infused olive oil. It was a welcome starter before our appetizers arrived.
A professional waitstaff elevates the entire dining experience and under Walter’s supervision, it is attentive, efficient, and knowledgeable.
Each course revealed a dish with a personal touch, all homemade by Chef Julio Mendez.
We ordered an appetizer special, Pan Fried Fresh Mozzarella, prepared with Prosciutto, Artichoke Hearts and Basil in a Lemon Garlic White Wine Sauce. Wow. Our waiter, Chris, seeing our enjoyment, said, “It’s like grown-up mozzarella sticks.” His analogy was right on the money.
Each ensuing course was perfectly prepared and served.
Twenty years of being a successful restaurateur means that owner Sal Coppola visited every table to ensure that each one of his guests was having an enjoyable dining experience.
Sal explained that for special occasions, Villa Sorrento can accommodate smaller gatherings in their private dining rooms on-premise. With the holidays on the horizon, off-premise parties are given special treatment with unique menus created for every occasion.
“We offer personal party planning for small intimate gatherings to large gala affairs. Holiday celebrations, backyard barbeques, tent weddings and corporate luncheons are among the many special events we enjoy arranging for our customers. We service Montauk to Manhattan, and have several catering halls available for our use at various locations,” Sal says.
With Villa Sorrento located in the heart of Long Island, there’s no reason to trek into the city for “authentic” Italian food when you can enjoy delicious Italian fare right in town.
Open seven days for dinner. Lunch, Monday-Friday from 11:30 am. Monday-Thursday $25 Prix fixe dinner menu.
823 Middle Country Road St James, NY 11780