With a five-decade history behind the restaurant, owner Michael Marriotti said he has the pleasure of serving generations of families.
“It feels really good and is a responsibility we take seriously. These are people from our community,” says Marriotti, who took over the Manhasset mainstay in 1986. “The [previous owners] set a high standard and we want to carry that through.”
Not only is the clientele loyal but the staff is as well.
“Everyone is very warm and friendly, customer service is one of the most important things in our restaurant,” notes Marriotti. “It’s really a family atmosphere.”
Regardless of how many customers are in the inviting 75-seat dining room, staff are known for being attentive, friendly and helpful. They’re also happy to share their knowledge on the northern Italian fare, which is delightfully fresh and all made in-house.
The menu features all the best in northern Italian cuisine, with fresh homemade pasta and a tried and true sauce recipe that’s been in use for 20 years.
Popular dishes include the Fiore Ragu, featuring flower-shaped pasta in a tender and flavorful veal sauce; the Paglia e Fieno, a green and white spaghetti with a delicious smoky flavor courtesy of pancetta; and whole grilled branzino, a two-pound delicacy grilled to perfection and bursting with flavor. Other Café Continental staples include the veal saltimbocca and veal chops, as well as the gnocchi pesto.
The eatery’s food and service speaks for itself, as word of mouth is its main form of advertising.
“Our return rate is phenomenal, it’s not a one and done restaurant, it’s regulars,” he says. “And we still have people discovering it which is nice because it’s all through word of mouth. People who move into the neighborhood get sent to us because people have talked about us and their experience.”
Café Continental is at 1538 Northern Boulevard, Manhasset; 516-627-4269;
Read more from Manhasset Press Magazine‘s Manhasset Dining Guide.