Elisa’s Ristorante Café is a cozy, family owned Italian restaurant located in North Bellmore on North Jerusalem Avenue. The moment you set foot in the restaurant you immediately feel at home. Tuscan colors grace the walls, the subdued lighting creates a relaxing ambiance and the attentive, gracious staff is always there to greet you with a warm welcome.
is owned and operated by the Telese family and has been in business for over a
decade. Brothers, Paolo (Paul) and Rocky Telese learned a great deal about the
restaurant business from their parents, Anthony and Elisa, who were restaurateurs
themselves for more than three decades. Paul and Rocky’s first restaurant was
Casanova Restaurant, located out in the Hamptons, and in 1997 Elisa’s Ristorante Café
authentic, Italian cuisine served at Elisa’s is compliments of Chef/Owner, Paul
Telese. Educated at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Paul has taken his
culinary expertise outside the United States and throughout Europe in countries such
as Switzerland, Rome and France. The menu offered at Elisa’s ranges from
traditional, old-world Italian cuisine to uniquely, imaginative plates exclusive to
As we approached the dining area we were greeted by the intriguing smell of delicious Italian foods leaving us longing to begin our dining experience. Upon being seated, an offering of fresh Italian bread was presented to our table (below left). It was hot from the kitchen, served with garlic butter and regular butter. The option of Chef Paul’s signature spicy oil, which sits atop each table in the dining room, is also a great complement to the bread for those who enjoy a little spice to their palates (below right).
Chef Paul, along with our friendly and attentive server Freddy, worked together to ensure our party was always satisfied and accommodated. We began our meal with a few cocktails. The Dirty Martini was very tasty (below left), the Limoncello Martini was crisp and refreshing (below center) and lastly the Brandy Alexander was a delicious, classic drink (below right).
The Antipasti Freddi was the first appetizer to reach our table and featured fresh mozzarella cheese, Prosciutto, salami, red peppers, mortadella, ricotta salata, provolone and an assortment of olives (below left). All components of this appetizer were delicious and extremely fresh. The red peppers really stood out, as they were wonderfully prepared.
hot Antipasti (for two) was next to arrive (above right). This wonderful offering
features eggplant rollatini, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp oreganata and baked clams.
The eggplant rollatini, stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella cheese and creamed spinach,
was a very flavorful, innovative twist on your standard eggplant rollatini that
everyone thoroughly enjoyed. The stuffing inside the mushrooms was just delicious
and full of taste. The shrimp oreganata were butterflied, fresh, nicely breaded and
seasoned and last but not least, the baked clams were clearly fresh and quite
Our final appetizer was the Broccoli Rabe Con Salsicca, which consists of homemade cheese and parsley sausage, grilled and served over a fresh bed of broccoli rabe sautéed in garlic and oil (below left). The sausage was noticeably fresh, very lean and blended well with the flavors from the broccoli rabe. The sausage pairs nicely with Chef Paul’s spicy oil, but at the same time stands well on its own.
we sampled a specialty item off the menu. As the seasons change, so do the Italian
specialty items on Elisa’s menu. The Pork Skin Braciole, Paul’s father’s
recipe, has a texture similar to that of tripe, but more firm (above right). It is
something very different and was enjoyable. It is considered an Italian delicacy and
is a very popular item in Italy.
accompany our entrées we were presented some Coppola Rosso, a fine, red wine that
was pleasantly light and smelt as good as it tasted. It positively accented our
forthcoming entrées and was deliciously smooth.
Our first entrée was deemed an instant favorite amongst the table. The Gnocchi Bolognese is a potato pasta dish served in a light pink sauce (below left). For tasting purposes we were served a double portion, which we gladly embraced. The perfectly cooked, homemade gnocchi just melt in your mouth and paired with the flavorful, hearty Bolognese sauce presented an ideal combination of flavors. We were very impressed with this superb entrée and couldn’t bare to leave one bite uneaten!
The Pollo alla Portovino was next to come from the kitchen (above right). This fantastic entrée consists of chicken served on the bone, sautéed with Portobello mushrooms, cognac, port wine and a drop of tomato sauce. Topped with mozzarella cheese, this plate offers an interesting, delectable combination of flavors. The tender chicken was juicy and flawlessly prepared and the addition of cognac provided a nice sweetness to the dish. Potato Croquettes were served as an accessory to the chicken and surely did not disappoint (below left). They had a crunchy, fried exterior and were filled with soft, creamy mashed potatoes.
final entrée was the Zucchini Encrusted Flounder (above right). Braised with white
wine and garlic, the baked filet was surrounded by a generous portion of thin sliced
zucchini and tomatoes and topped with aromatic, homemade toasted breadcrumbs. This
dish is another inspired by Paul’s father, Anthony, and was beautifully presented
served alongside fresh, sautéed spinach. The flounder was buttery, tender and
perfectly cooked with an emulsion of flavorful seasoning.
To accompany our desserts we were served Elisa’s House Wine that is prepared using fresh grapes from Brooklyn. The wine smelt delicious and tasted even better!
Elisa’s offers a variety of delicious desserts ranging from Cannoli’s and Italian Cheesecake to Mississippi Mud Cake and Caramel Apple Pie alla Mode. They also offer Zodiac Delights – exclusive, homemade specialty desserts featuring a blend of vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit or nuts and a dash of flavorful liquor. These unique desserts usually change seasonally and feature a different delight for each Zodiac sign. We were lucky enough to sample the Aquarius, the Sagittarius and the Pisces.
The Aquarius is made with Butterscotch Liquor and crumbed graham crackers (above right), the Sagittarius with Almond Liquor and toasted almonds (above right) and the Pisces with Bailey’s Liquor and roasted walnuts (below left). Attractively presented in Martini glasses, all delights sampled were smooth and delicious and the liquors blended perfectly with the vanilla ice cream.
to Chef Paul, the end of your meal is what you’ll remember the most about your
dining experience and what better way to end a meal than with an Espresso (above
right). They take their espresso recipe seriously at Elisa’s in hopes that
patrons will remember just how delicious it was – and it was definitely something
to remember. With confidence we can say that the Espresso offered here is one of the
best around and was the perfect ending to our dining experience.
Pride and tradition play a big role in pleasing customers at Elisa’s Ristorante Café and the result is delicious food in a wonderful atmosphere. Elisa’s is a classic Italian Restaurant conveniently located in a residential area that offers extraordinary food at reasonable prices. The staff really makes you feel welcome and at home, especially Chef Paul who works hard in the kitchen and still found the time to deliver dishes to our table himself, as well as visit neighboring diners to ensure their satisfaction and enjoyment. Elisa’s Ristorante Café offers patrons a true taste of Italy - without the six-hour flight overseas!