There's nothing in the world like coming home to Long Island for college breaks. There are so many restaurants to try, but because I am a college student, I'm on a limited budget.
One of my signature moves when ordering at a restaurant is to get a few appetizers or small plates as a meal since they taste just as great and are way more affordable than main courses.
This winter break I tried several new restaurants on LI and tasted as many apps and tapas as I could. Each restaurant had endless options and I often had a hard time deciding what to order. Believe me when I say there is something for everyone.
For any college student (or person in general) who lives in Nassau or Suffolk, these restaurants are definitely for you, and each appetizer is affordable.
On a random day over break when I happened to be in Port Washington, I tried La P'tite Framboise, which translates to "The Little Rasberry." This is a classic French bistro so every option on the menu reflects this theme.
The first appetizer I ordered was the Tartare De Thon, which is a tuna tartar with an English cucumber, avocado mousse, citrus aioli, and toasted sesame seeds. This was so fresh and every flavor complemented the tuna perfectly. My mouth literally watered at each bite.
Next, I had the Tarte A L'oignon, which is a caramelized onion tart with warm goat cheese. The tart had the perfect ratio of onion to cheese, and each bite melted in my mouth. While I have never been to France, I can only imagine that this appetizer tastes just as good if not better than it does in its native country.
Location: 94 Main St, Port Washington, NY 11050
Salumeria Pomodoro is an Italian restaurant in Huntington. The menu includes your favorite Italian dishes and certainly does not disappoint.
The first appetizer I had at Pomodoro was the burrata. This was served with tomato and basil. I am a burrata lover and this one fueled my addiction. The cheese was so fresh and creamy, it even oozed when I cut it (in a good way). Not to mention, the basil added some great flavor. 10/10 would recommend the burrata.
For my second appetizer, I had the calamari, which came with pomodoro sauce. I am not typically a calamari person, but Pomodoro's version was crispy and not even close to being overcooked, soggy, or greasy. Additionally, the sauce was flavorful and all of the seasonings blended together to complement the calamari.
Not pictured is the caesar salad. Often with caesars, the dressing is bottled or way too heavy. This was not the case with Pomodoro. The dressing was light, plentiful, and you could easily tell it is homemade.
For dessert, I had a decaf cappuccino and it seriously tasted as good as those I had in Italy a few years ago. It was strong and absolutely delicious, amazing for any coffee addict.
Even though Pomodoro is not located on Main Street in Huntington, it is worth the visit to satisfy your Italian cravings.
Location: 46 Gerard St, Huntington, NY 11743
Cafe Buenos Aires is an Argentinian restaurant that has both main courses and tapas. I personally love tapas and as a college student, tapas are very affordable. I had such a pleasant visit here and tried so many different tapas that I don't even know where to begin. Hugo, the manager, was so attentive, hospitable, and kept bringing me different samples to try.
Pictured above are empanadas with cheese and corn, chicken, as well as shrimp and cheese. My favorite was the cheese and corn, but all three were very tasty, and a great start to what turned into a mouthwatering five-course meal.
At Cafe Buenos Aires, I even tried octopus for the first time in non-calamari form, and surprisingly, it tasted really good. The octopus came with Peruvian potatoes, which were super flavorful.
I have to say, my favorite tapas was the New Years Eve special. This consisted of hearts of palm, corn, avocado, and lobster tail and claw in a citrus dressing. Each flavor complemented the lobster so well. I can honestly say, this was one of the best dishes I've ever had in my life.
Perfect for any college student's budget is Buenos Aires' five tapas chef's selection for just $14. Yes, you read that correctly, for just $14 you can try five tapas on the menu. Mine consisted of seafood soup, seafood croquet, Peruvian potatoes, cream of spinach, and shrimp with bacon and cheese.
The Peruvian potatoes typically come with chorizo, and while I only eat chicken and fish, I can see how the chorizo adds an extra kick to this dish. I didn't try the shrimp with bacon and cheese for the same reason, but if everything I had at this restaurant was incredible that probably is too.
For dessert, I had a crème brûlée trio. The three flavors were mango with fresh fruit, a traditional topped with banana, and chocolate with pistachio crumbles. Each one was so delicious. If I had to choose, I would have to say my favorite was the chocolate, because I'm a chocolate addict.
Buenos Aires is 100% worth a visit, and if you make the right decision and try this place out, please tell Hugo hello for me.
Location: 23 Wall St, Huntington, NY 11743
Aria Melanie is located near the Fire Island ferries where the Lake House used to be. The restaurant itself is beautiful and located on the lake. This is a great place to come for drinks and appetizers after a day spent in Fire Island.
To start, I had the fritto misto, which is fried calamari, shrimp, scallions, and zucchini in a honey chipotle sauce. This appetizer was not greasy and was perfectly crispy. Additionally, the honey chipotle sauce added a nice flavor to the seafood.
Next, I had the roasted cauliflower salad. The cauliflower is served hot and the kale is served cold, which created a nice balance. The salad also comes with pignoli, raisins, and a lemon tahini dressing. There were so many amazing flavors in this salad and the dressing was not too heavy.
For my third appetizer, I had the eggplant caponata crostini. This comes with eggplant, onion, carrots, celery, red pepper, gastrique, and goat cheese on naan bread. The eggplant was slightly sweet and paired perfectly with the tanginess of the cheese. I love eggplant and goat cheese, so my taste-buds were extremely happy with this app.
Finally, for dessert, I had the tiramisu. Rather than a classic, traditional tiramisu, Aria Melanie's comes with three flavors: raspberry, banana, and coffee. While this sounds a bit unconventional, this version was so creamy and delicious. The three flavors truly worked well together and created a masterpiece.
Aria Melanie has a great ambiance and the employees are all very friendly. On Tuesdays, there is a prix-fixe menu for $34 that comes with an appetizer, entree, and dessert. I had a very good experience here and I'm sure you will too.
Location: 240 W Main St, Bay Shore, NY 11706
In my opinion, Long Island is one of the best places to grow up in the world. Its location is incredible and you have access to so many amazing restaurants. Tbh, it is definitely an expensive place to live as a college student because of NYC and beach visits, but that's why ordering appetizers as a meal is my favorite trick to living on a budget.
While you probably already have your favorite restaurants, I highly recommend trying all four of these for a new experience that will definitely not disappoint. All of the appetizers I tried were so delicious, I can't even begin to choose a favorite. For any college student, these appetizers and small plates are truly the best option because they are tasty and affordable. When you are home on a break, not checking out these restaurants would for sure be a mistake.