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Marco Pellegrini, executive chef at Caci North Fork in Southold, prepares homemade tagliatelle pasta with seasonal mushrooms. (Rachel Young photos)

If a plate of spaghetti and meatballs is your go-to meal when dining out, then Caci North Fork, an authentic Italian restaurant that opened in Southold last Friday, probably isn’t for you.

The emphasis at the 28-seat Main Road venue, which was founded by Anthony and Daniele Cacioppo and is housed in the former Albertson Farmstead, is on fresh meat, seafood and homemade pasta, simply but elegantly prepared.

“Our doors are now open and our top priority is working toward making this the best dining experience,” Daniele Cacioppo said.

That objective is executed to an impressive degree by chef Marco Pellegrini, a native of Umbria, in central Italy. Pellegrini, who moved to the United States last year and lives in Mattituck, began honing his culinary skills as a young teenager by working in various restaurants.

“This is real Italian food with a touch of modern,” said Pellegrini, who noted with a laugh during a recent visit to the upscale but rustic restaurant that he refuses to cook popular Italian-American dinners like chicken parmesan. “But we respect the original recipe.”

The dining room at Caci North Fork.
The dining room at Caci North Fork.

That ethos is illustrated in dishes like calamari skewers garnished with homemade, seasoned breadcrumbs; delicately sautéed scallops with taggiasche olives and spinach; tagliatelle pasta made on the premises and garnished with seasonal mushrooms and olive oil; and lemon and thyme chicken breast with dried apricots.

Pellegrini only cooks with fresh ingredients; if something isn’t in season, he won’t use it. This is true even for the toppings that adorn the restaurant’s homemade gelato, which comes in a variety of flavors, including caramel and vanilla, and is dressed in toffee and blackberry sauces, respectively.

We recommend topping off your meal with a slice of the restaurant’s flourless warm chocolate cake, which is made using crushed-up almonds. The generously-sized portion comes with a heaping drizzle of rich raspberry sauce and a scoop of creamy vanilla gelato.

Buon appetito, indeed.

Caci North Fork is open for dinner weekdays (except Tuesdays) from 5 to 10 p.m. and weekends from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Open for lunch weekends from noon to 4 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, call 631-765-4383 or visit