Orien’s Cafe is a gem within the town of Greece on Long Pond Road. Owner Gianni (John) Catalano created a Sicilian inspired cafe that captures the atmosphere and essence of food he grew up with in Italy. John loves discussing his love and heritage and clearly has a passion for Orien’s Cafe. Nancy, John’s wife, is the chef and master creator of the enticing menu that lures you into what it must be like to travel and taste in a cafe in Italy. John and Nancy’s daughters also work at Orien’s, which truly give you the essence of the importance of meshing food and family (my two loves).
Upon walking into Orien’s Cafe, you are immediately struck by the long counter holding a variety of gelato flavors. Whether it’s the bright colors of the fruit based flavors that you are drawn to, such as strawberry, a seasonal flavor, such as a pumpkin gelato, or a classic tiramisu or chocolate flavor, you cannot go wrong. We were clearly planning our gelato flavors that we would share before we even ordered dinner. The staff was also excited to discuss the opportunity for creating new gelato flavors that instantly grab your attention when you walk in to the cafe.
What I particularly love about Orien’s Cafe is knowing that everything is homemade; made fresh right on site. They offer a variety of paninis, homemade soups, salads, pastas and risottos, as well as other dinner specialties. I luckily was dining with a good friend who agreed that we should divide and conquer, sharing as many items as our stomach’s could possible hold. We began with a spinach stuffed arancini, which was filled with sautéed spinach and the risotto was creamy and had a wonderful flavor. The seafood bisque was another starter to our meal. There was a hint of sweetness that settled in your mouth and filled you with that warm homestyle feeling…you know what I’m talking about.
When it came to decision time as to what we would share for dinner (remember...divide and conquer), we contemplated many of the items on the menu. After some serious discussion, we settled on the Breaded Veggie Panini and the Prosciutto di Parma Panini. The Breaded Veggie Panini had breaded zucchini, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, pesto and greens. The Prosciutto di Parma was made with prosciutto that is cut in house for orders, fresh made mozzarella, basil pesto, balsamic vinaigrette, and mixed greens. Both of the paninis were incredibly delicious and both had a crusty bread, just like you would have with your meal in Italy!
After our meal, we rushed over to the gelato counter to choose our flavors. We shared a cup (2 flavors) of Espresso and Italian Cheesecake gelato. The espresso had a well balanced flavor that brightened with each spoonful. The Italian Cheesecake gelato was absolutely my favorite. Each bite was bursting with flavor!
I don’t think I need to remind you again, that we chose to “divide and conquer,” so we of course could not leave without sharing a few pastries (and going home with a few also!). The pastry chef, Amanda Verhulst, creates classic Italian pastries, such as tiramisu, butter and hazelnut cookies, and ricotta cakes. This visit, we decided to sample the white, milk, and dark chocolate mousse like cake. The bottom dark chocolate portion was my favorite to scoop bites of! I saved the cannoli for my husband, who enjoyed the crisp bite of the shell and the cannoli pastry cream filling. I need to go back for another taste of the pistachio cookie… pistachio is one of my favorite flavors.
Catering is also offered at Orien’s Cafe, as well as a variety of gelato cakes and specialty cakes. Don’t forget to stop by, whether for lunch, dinner, a yummy treat, or fresh brewed coffee (there are 30 different varieties of coffees)!
1100 Long Pond Road at Maiden Lane