There is nothing quite like summer in the Hamptons. Great beaches, fantastic weather, outstanding people watching ops, and truly amazing food. Here is my list of tried and true dining picks, from the most casual, family friendly options to those worthy of a romantic evening en tête à tête.
The Golden Pear Café – This chain of upscale deli-style restaurants (locations in South, Bridge, and East Hampton) was our favorite post-workout spot because of their surprisingly healthy breakfast and lunch menu. I never got tired of (or bloated from) their fruit smoothies and “spa” (egg-whites, turkey, spinach, and avocado) burritos before hitting the beach.
La Fondita – Authentic Mexican food-truck style cooking in Amagansett that was one of our kids’ favorites. A great, no frills, spot to hit at the end of a long beach day, although don’t believe what the sign says – it’s a popular place so the “fast” in “fast food” is relative, to say the least.
Estia’s – A great spot for diner-style comfort food that’s off the beaten track (i.e. the backroads between Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor), but is always crowded by locals and tourists. The breakfasts and salads (most of the ingredients of which are from the vegetable garden behind the restaurant) are especially delicious.
Navy Beach – The location of this restaurant in Montauk, which literally feels like the “End of the World,” is one of the more interesting in the Hamptons. It feels a bit like a private beach club, with lovely outdoor seating and a simple but exceptional local seafood based menu.
Lobster Roll – This was by far our kids’ favorite restaurant, which was annoying because lobster rolls are a lot more expensive than, say, burgers. The place is always packed and it does have a very particular “Montauk” vibe that makes the trip, and the bill, worthwhile.
Babette’s – Another one of our favorite post-workout spots in East Hampton, but for this one, it’s all about the location. It’s on one of the busiest corners in the village, and the people-watching ops may be the reason that your breakfast will cost you the price of dinner.
Pierre’s Bridgehampton – Even if you are not a Francophile like I am, you can’t help falling madly in love with this lovely little restaurant in Bridgehampton. The food and wine is terrific, the decor is impeccable, and Pierre himself (he is often at the restaurant) is one of the chicest fixtures in the Hamptons.
The Surf Lodge – This spot in Montauk is by far me and hubby’s favorite for date night. They offer live music on an outside deck several times a week, which is a perfect pre-dinner treat (with cocktails), and the dining area, both indoor and outside, is always lively (and you never know what celebrity might be hiding in the corner). The food is outstanding, especially their watermelon salad that I start dreaming about the minute we leave the Hamptons.
The Crow’s Nest – This spot in Montauk feels a bit more upscale than The Surf Lodge, even though seating is on a first come, first serve, basis. We love the setting and the food which is a bit more exotic than other local options (several Greek/Lebanese dishes on the menu).
Scarpetta Beach at Gurney’s– We made a last minute decision to have dinner at this very elegant spot on the road to Montauk, which means we missed the sunset which I’m sure would have been glorious to watch from those floor to ceiling windows in the dining area. We decided to sit on the outside deck overlooking the ocean and private beach, and I must say, the delicious Italian food went very well with the sound of the waves crashing in the sand.
Meeting House – This spot in Amagansett was almost walking distance from our house so an obvious choice for hassle-free dining. The food and service is outstanding, and there was a definite local feel to the place. Dinner at the bar was our jam.
Nick & Toni’s – There is something very old school about this place in East Hampton, and we love it. The food and service is always great, and the crowd is always animated without being loud like some other places. It’s the kind of place I can see us going to well into our golden years (when I will still be wearing heels).
The 1770 House and The Tavern – This lovely spot is the essence of Hamptons charm with its old world decor (like literally, 18th century furnishings for the most part) and traditional menu. The intimate dining room is one of the more quiet dining spots in the Hamptons, while the newly opened Tavern downstairs caters to a livelier crowd while offering the same menu.
Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House – The vibe at this lovely restaurant in Bridgehampton has definitely improved since being taken over by Jean-Georges. What was once a rather stiff, upscale dining experience is now a much more gregarious, upscale dining experience. Excellent food and people-watching.