It is easy to drive right by Villa Napoli , an Italian restaurant with a small storefront and no sign all last winter. Luckily, the pizzeria and restaurant has 35 years of history in Smithtown and a long list of regular visitors who know exactly where to find it.
Customers access the sit-down restaurant through the small pizzeria in front, which is decorated only with a simple glass counter, pizza ovens and some sparse tables. A television mounted to the ceiling consumes the small space, broadcasting whatever game is playing.
Within three steps, the atmosphere changes, as customers push through wooden screen doors into a hidden formal dining area. The music of Bobby Darin and other old-school Italian-American favorites drown out the banter of the pizzeria, the sports game now merely an echo in the background.
Diners sit at square tables with red tablecloths, walls are a yellow-gold and bear the signature look of Tuscan-influenced distress.
Servers deliver the menus with a basket of fresh garlic bread, convenient for the hungry diner to snack on while exploring the four-page menu of traditional Italian favorites and a standard beer and wine list.
Appetizer options include cold and hot antipasto and a variety of seafood, soups, and fried mozzarella. We chose the stuffed mushrooms ($6.59), which were served on a bed of lettuce and sprinkled with fresh parsley. The mushrooms were generously topped with flavorful breadcrumbs that were not heavily seasoned and not too spicy or too bland. The appetizer can easily serve three adults comfortably but two orders would be necessary for larger parties.
Next came the small house salads, which come standard with all the dinner entrees. The dressing was very unique, a pleasing mix of French dressing taste and Italian vinaigrette's consistency. The salad had too many onions for some, easily rivaling the number of lettuce pieces.
Much to the indecisive customer's delight, the menu contains a dinner dish called "A Little Bit of Everything" ($12.99) which features small portions of stuffed shells, ravioli, lasagna, sausage and eggplant parmigiana. Though, the individual pieces were unrecognizable under the blanket of thick cheese and sauce covering the platter. The sauce was thicker than traditional thin Italian "gravy," and was served warm.
All of the pastas in the dish were very fresh. The eggplant was skinless and sliced very thin. The lasagna had a good top layer, but the sauce was a little watery inside.
Villa Napoli dishes are so heavy and filling that dessert is almost impossible to consider. A small coffee was a great ending to this traditional meal.
Villa Napoli is open Monday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon - 9 p.m. All major credit cards are accepted.