During the summer season, merely being “in” the Hamptons does not mean you are close to all the Hamptons restaurants. Make reservations according to which town you’re staying in. Here are Indagare’s favorites, organized by town, moving from west (Southampton) to east (Montauk), and everywhere in between.
1. Southampton Dining
Nello’s menu is prohibitively expensive, but stop by for the buzzy after-dinner scene. Located in the Southampton Inn, Oso on the other hand is distinctly reasonably priced. San Ambroeus is a great stop for a coffee or a snack, while Shippy’s Pumpernickels Restaurant East is a good place for a casual meal–it’s reminiscent of an Irish pub. Lunch is delightful at Silver’s, a casual, family-run café while the Sip n’ Soda diner has been around for over 50 years. The Plaza Café has been ranked as one of America’s Best Restaurants by Zagat.
2. Water Mill Dining
Dish, with space for only 16 diners, is not your average restaurant (it is only open Thursday-Sunday nights). Mirko’s, located in the back of Watermill Square, was long considered one of the Hamptons’ best kept secrets. Robert’s consistently turns out very good sophisticated Italian fare in an 18th-century house and Suki Zuki is frequently tagged as the Hamptons best sushi spot. Trata Estiatorio offers a light and healthy menu and a sleek and colorful interior.
3. Bridgehampton Dining
The original Bobby Vans in Bridgehampton was a 1970s hangout for writers, poets and artists long before it was a bankers hangout in Manhattan. The little French bistro Pierre’s buzzes all summer long with a beautiful crowd and The Candy Kitchen is retro luncheonette and soda fountain. Hot newcomer, Topping Rose House is headed by famed chef Tom Colicchio and is making waves. For more casual bites, grab some pizza at World Pie or sushi at Yama-Q.
4. East Hampton Dining
1770 House’s restaurant is a local favorite amount Hamptonites and Babette’s is a health food restaurant for the cashmere-clad. Blue Parrot is a great spot for snacking on taquitos and sipping potent margaritas. East Hampton Point offers great views of the nearby Three Mile Harbor and Fresno is set in a minimalist space with exposed wooden ceiling beams, and a chic, zinc-topped bar. The famed Nick & Toni’s is simpler than you’d expect from all its hype but The Palm is an old school steakhouse set in what could be an East Hampton family house complete with antiques and a wood-burning fireplace. Rowdy Hall is a little bistro where the most popular item is fish and chips. Sam’s Restaurant serves excellent thin-crust pizzas, pasta dishes and salads and The Juicy Naam is a great stop for a healthy snack or light meal. The Living Room emphasizes locally grown, seasonal products to great success.
5. Amagansett Dining
Clam Bar at Napeague is an iconic seafood shack on the long stretch of highway between Amagansett and Montauk. From the same owners as Nick and Toni’s, La Fondita is a casual taco stand. Lunch is the best spot in the Hamptons for lobster rolls and Meeting House on the edge of Amangansett’s grassy square is packed with a buzzy crowd almost every night.
6. Montauk Dining
Duryea’s, a no-reservations seafood shack is about as quintessentially Montauk as you can get. Gosman’s Dock sits at the entrance of Lake Montauk and offers one of the best views of boats coming in and out of the harbor. Harvest on Fort Pond has long been a crowd pleaser in Montauk not only for its wonderful outdoor space but for its consistently stellar Mediterranean fare. Navy Beach is the perfect option for a lazy Sunday bunch or sunset cocktails that melt into dinner. The restaurant at Ruschmeyer’s provides an overall carefree vibe, fueled by a cool mix of boho-chic guests. Happy hour at South Edison includes $1 oysters and their cocktail list features martinis and a to-die-for crab Bloody Mary. Surf Lodge features an innovative seaside menu that includes fresh, local seafood and a market-driven menu.
7. Sag Harbor & Shelter Island Dining
Dock House is a popular take-out seafood joint sits right in the marina of Sag Harbor. Estia’s Little Kitchen has only eight tables (and a counter) though fans don’t mind in waiting in line for breakfast, which is available every day until 2:30 pm. Laurent Tourondel (of BLT fame) has outdone himself with LT Burger and André Balazs’s brilliant beach café Sunset Beach is one part St. Bart’s seaside restaurant and one part East Coast beach motel. The American Hotel restaurant has four spacious dining rooms and an 85-page wine menu while Vine Street Café remains a bit of a foodie’s secret of the Hamptons.
8. Further Afield Dining
What may be the best restaurant on the East End is actually not in the Hamptons at all; it’s across Shelter Island Sound in the unassuming hamlet of Southold on the North Fork: North Fork Table & Inn.
In East Quogue at the Stone Creek Inn, dishes include oven-roasted local monkfish, goat cheese ravioli with black truffles and an herb-encrusted rack of lamb.
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