Just hearing the name “Umberto’s” brings a smile to my face. I know the Original Umberto’s of New Hyde Park well, as do generations of Long Islanders. You can imagine my excitement, then, upon hearing Umberto’s had opened a new location on Bellmore’s popular Bedford Avenue.
Umberto’s of Bellmore’s rustic open kitchen décor makes the interior comfortable and inviting. Its simple-yet-decorative table settings, large flat-screen television and outdoor patio were nothing short of impressive. Its service was extremely prompt.
I wasted no time ordering a slice of their legendary Grandma Pizza ($2.50), along with two glasses of wine at the friendly waiter’s suggestion. The crisp slice came cut in half and tasted exactly as my wife and I imagined; one of the best. We couldn’t resist the complimentary basket of fresh bread and garlic knots, despite knowing a large meal was on the menu for the night.
The fresh garden house salad accompanying the meal came with red wine vinegar and Italian olive oil dressing. It featured large, crunchy cucumbers reminiscent of freshly picked produce straight out of Dad’s garden.
On nights such as this, I truly enjoy the wait staff menu suggestions. We were then enticed by two wait staff appetizer suggestions: the hot antipasto for one ($9.45) and the fried calamari ($9.95). The calamari featured two delicious styles: one lightly breaded and fried; the other a “must try” Ariabiata sauce. The calamari dish arrived with a wonderful, but spicy, marinara dipping sauce.
The hot antipasto consisted of two large, tender, stuffed mushrooms with a moist breadcrumb filling, whole baked clams, stuffed peppers, jumbo fried shrimp and eggplant rollatini. The plate was large and a great value for the price. It was “had-to-finish-it-all” delicious.
For our main course, the waiter suggested fish dishes that Chef John is well known for. My wife was offered the Shrimp Francese ($16.95), consisting of about six large shrimp dipped in egg & flour, sautéed in white wine, lemon and butter.
The selection for me was a house special for the night, the sautéed Red Snapper ($26.95). It was a colorful and impressive presentation.
The large dish had steamed clams and mussels with chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions and tasty green basil. It even had two pieces of toasted bruschetta bread that soaked up all of the juices. This dish was off the charts. As a side we ordered sautéed spinach with garlic ($8.25). When finished, we could not fit in another bite except, of course, for dessert.
In a neighborhood filled with sweet options at every corner, Umberto’s stands out. I put them to the official Italian Restaurant test with an order of cannoli. My wife could not resist the delectable Rainbow Cookie Cake. They both passed the dessert test with flying colors.
We topped off the night with a double espresso for me and a very creamy cappuccino for the lady of the house. I knew that I was in a true Italian establishment when the bottle of Sambucca arrived, tableside, with complimentary cordials.
Umberto’s Pizzeria and Restaurant of Bellmore proved to be a worthwhile selection for date night! For a great dinner with family or friends, bring your appetite to the new Umberto’s of Bellmore.
Umberto’s Pizzeria and Restaurant of Bellmore
208 Bedford Ave., Bellmore