Port Washington’s new Italian eatery: Flora’s Wine Bar & Restaurant

Port Washington’s new Italian eatery: Flora’s Wine Bar & Restaurant
Flora's Win Bar opened its second location on Port Washington's Main Street. (Photo courtesy of Flora's)

A new Italian eatery has made its way to Long Island. For those on the prowl for an authentic Italian dining experience, say no more, Flora’s Wine Bar and Restaurant is here. Ervis and Gabriella Xhelaj, owners of Syosset’s Flora’s Pizza Café, have expanded their brand, right in the heart of Port Washington.

Flora’s Wine Bar and Restaurant takes over the previously vacated spot left by Olive Room Meeting Pointe late last year. The newly renovated 40-seat space is highlighted by brick walls, lit-up wine shelving, sleek red booths, and antique mirrors with a touch of Italian- inspired artwork.

Ervis describes his newest restaurant as “Authentic Italian, Warm Ambiance, Friendly Service, Intimate, and cozy”.

“Our goal is to make our restaurant a neighborhood place, a place that you come to two to three times a week and you feel like you belong there, you feel at ease, you enjoy the food, but also the ambiance,” said Ervis. “ We’re a place where you can spend time and relax away from the stresses of everyday life.”

For Ervis his journey in owning a restaurant serving authentic Italian dishes along with fresh organic wine both started in Italy. Ervis began his restaurant career in the kitchens of Central Italy (Umbria) working as a pizza maker and sous chef while he studied in Perugia, Italy.

Ervis would eventually take his food industry experience to New York City in 2013, and in 2017 he would work for SA Hospitality group, which owned the restaurant Felice 64 in Uptown Manhattan. Over the course of the ensuing years, Ervis would manage multiple locations of the Felice brand until he helped open up Felice Roslyn here on Long Island in 2022.

After finding a house on Long Island for himself, his wife Gabriella and their three children, the couple decided to open up their own restaurant, Flora’s Pizza Café in Syosset, in 2023. Now in 2024 the couple opened their second Iteration of Italian delicacy in Flora’s Wine Bar.

“We always wanted to stay on the north side of the island. Our customer base is from the Roslyn and Syosset area, so we wanted to expand close to our customers,” said Ervis.

Flora’s brings to Port Washington what Ervis calls “a little bit of all around Italy” with  biodynamic organic wine and dishes made with only premium ingredients.

“All of our recipes come from me and my wife’s experiences in Italy and Manhattan.The goal is to bring some of that energy and experience from the city and live it on Long Island,” Ervis said.

His recipes are from all around Italy, indeed, with their pasta dishes including Cacio e Pepe, a signature dish in Rome;  Mafaldine alla Bolognese with veal ragu,  a signature from Bologna; Paccheri Genovese with slow-cooked veal, a signature from Napoli; Fettuccine al Funghi with porcini mushroom ragu and truffle oil,  a signature from Umbria; and Fusilli with sausage and broccoli rabe, a signature dish from the Polia region.

On top of it all Ervis highlights that his recipes include fresh handmade pasta and 24-month-old aged parmigiano-reggiano for heightened quality. In addition, dietary and allergy restrictions are met with whole wheat and gluten free pasta along with popular appetizers such as Melanzane and Meatballs that are not fried at all. The meatballs are made strictly from high-quality veal featuring no pork or chicken.

Flora’s Pizza Café signature pizzas have made their way to Flora’s in Port Washington, with the honey pepperoni pizza and Flora’s truffle pizza both including gluten free cauliflower crusts.

For those with a sweet tooth the dessert menu features Tartufo Classico, zabaglione cream center surrounded by chocolate gelato, and caramelized hazelnut topped with cocoa powder, and a Pistachio and Ricotta Cheesecake.

You can’t forget wine — the Silician organic orange wine, Montepulciano, Chianti, Cabernet Barolo, and Lambrusco all originating from Italy.

Flora’s is also known for some of their signature cocktails like an Arugula Spritz and Floras Manhattan, which consists of bourbon, aperol, sweet vermouth, and lemon Juice.

Ervis will primarily be at their Port Washington location while Gabriella will be working from their Syosset one. One of the biggest challenges so far for Ervis has proven to be accommodating large parties since it’s only a 40-seat restaurant.

“We hope that everyone understands we can’t accommodate large groups — that’s our biggest challenge at the moment.  We would love to host private events, but we can’t accommodate them for dinner at least. For lunch we can be more practical.”

Now that Flora’s Wine Bar and Restaurant has opened in Port Wasington, you can grab a glass of something delicious at the bar or enjoy an intimate dinner date at a table taking in what Flora’s has to offer.

Flora’s Wine Bar & Restaurant, 172 Main St., Port Washington, 11050

Open Tuesday through Saturday 12 to 10 p.m., Monday and Sunday 12 to 9 p.m.

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