Table for Two

Hidden treasure by the sea

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Dino’s Villa Mare

99 The Plaza, Atlantic Beach

(516) 792-3323

www.dinosvillamare.com

Tucked away in Atlantic Beach, Dino’s Villa Mare is a place worth discovering. And, once you find it, you’ll want to return. It’s all about the food — exquisitely prepared Italian cuisine, made from scratch with fresh top-shelf ingredients, beautifully presented. Backed by his fine reputation, Mike, who owned Dino’s in Rockville Center for 11 years, purchased and revamped the restaurant a year ago.

Décor is cozy and inviting — wood, stucco and stone, massive wine racks, an authentic brick oven, a festive bar, and a lovely view of the Atlantic Bridge. Generous portions and reasonable prices are an added bonus.

Service was friendly and accommodating, starting with a basket of warm bread and garlic knots. Pizza lovers should try their thin-crusted pies … just perfect. Of the many salads, we were wowed by samplings. Seafood Salad offered shrimp, calamari and octopus over greens with olives, capers, peppers and onions. Pears poached in white wine, Kaluha and brandy topped the Pear Salad, dotted with roasted honey walnuts and gorgonzola. Half Avocado Salad was a creamy mix of diced avocado, tomatoes and onions, encircled by grilled jumbo shrimp. Grilled Octopus on a bed of arugula and red onions was as tender as could be. Eggplant Balls (think mock meatballs) were soft and flavorful, dressed with marinara. Stuffed Artichoke with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and wine sauce, was sensational.

Homemade Lobster Ravioli with roasted peppers and shitake mushrooms wore a creamy cognac sauce. Sole Marechiara — a filet with tomatoes, garlic and white wine sauce — came with mussels and clams. Stuffed Shrimp, served on rice, boasted pure crab meat and vegetable filling. Veal Osso Bucco was served in brown gravy specked with carrots, and melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi. Asparagus topped Dino’s Pollo in lemon white wine sauce. Pollo Valdostana — stuffed with mushrooms, prosciutto and mozzarella — was crowned with mushroom Marsala sauce.

With coffee we enjoyed Lava cake — a mound of warm chocolate cake, molten ganache, and vanilla ice cream. Desserts are homemade with many to choose from.

Soups, appetizers, salads and paninis range from $7 to $13. Pizzas are $12 to $17 and a bit more with toppings. Pastas are $13 to $19, and entrees, $17 to $36. Desserts are $8. Children’s choices are available. Specials change weekly. The wine list boasts dozens of well-chosen vintages.

Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday, 1 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Lunch is served on weekends. Takeout and catering is available. Onsite parties for up to 100 can be accommodated. They deliver to Atlantic Beach only. Reservations are recommended. During the summer months, lunch will be served everyday.

Recommendations:

• Brick Oven Pizza

• Half Avocado Salad

• Pear Salad

• Seafood Salad

• Spinach Salad

• Stuffed Artichoke

• Stuffed Mushrooms

• Eggplant Balls

• Grilled Octopus

• Veal Osso Bucco

• Stuffed Shrimp

• Sole Marechiara Lobster Ravioli

• Dino’s Poll

• Pollo Valdostana

• Veal Parmigana

• Lava Cake