The Ultimate End-of-Summer Hamptons Dining Guide

By Beth Landman  |  August 20, 2013

Knowing where to dine in the Hamptons for specific occasions takes experience and inside knowledge. We’ve done the legwork for you. Below, a list of options, from the perfect place to watch a sunset to a casual local favorite and a special new spot in Montauk. There are only a few weeks left in the season, so make those reservations and get going (once you've spent sufficient time on the beach, naturally). 

  • When you want to go Italian, but can’t score a table at Nick and Toni’s or Tutto Il Giorno

    Cinzia Gaglio, whose family comes from Sora, oversees the kitchen at the Sicilian spot Osteria Salina, which she opened with her husband, Tim. Only a year old, it’s been discovered by Billy Joel, Bradley Cooper, Liv Tyler, Matt Lauer and Bobby Flay, but you can still get a reservation if you plan ahead. Menu offerings range from regional dishes like bucatini con sarde with sardines, pine nuts and currants, and line-caught swordfish with caponatina, to interesting specials such as melt-in-your-mouth wreckfish with fennel and squash.

    95 School St., Bridgehampton; 631-613-6469

  • When you’re looking for a great new find in Montauk

    Chef George Anthony Berkhofer, who grew up in a family of professional fishermen, often reels in the evening’s specials, which taste like they are just hours out of the water at The Coast, which opened last summer. The menu, full of local produce, has an Asian accent: Appetizers include seaweed salad and soba noodle roll, and there is a little sushi bar. Don’t miss his daily catch, which is pan-roasted and served with chilled quinoa salad, fried artichoke bottom and roasted yellow-tomato pesto. Berkhofer’s wife Susan, works up front and makes sinful desserts.

    41 S. Euclid Ave, Montauk; 631-668-3212

  • When you want to show your love for Amagansett, culinary-style

    Sotto Sopra, which opened last summer, fits right in with the town’s charm. Front windows open completely onto the street, inside tables look out on ivy-covered walls, and the garden out back has tables for alfresco dining. A wood-burning oven turns out fish, chicken and pizza, and produce is outstanding, from grilled figs in an appetizer dish, to Brussels sprouts perfumed with garden herbs, and fresh local corn. Fans run the gamut from Scarlett Johansson to Joan Rivers.

    231 Main St., Amagansett; 631-267-3695

  • When you’re looking for a breathtaking sunset over the water

    East Hampton Point sits on Three Mile Harbor, and has one of the best vantage points to view the boats and the sun’s orange and magenta descent. The restaurant’s interior has a nautical theme including a large mahogany boat with a sail that reaches the ceiling. Chef James Carpenter, whose focus is on seasonal, local ingredients, turns out some impressive fare ranging from crudo with raw fluke, tuna, salmon, fennel, tomato & citrus; to lamb meatballs with sheep ricotta gnudi, cavalanero, San Marzano tomatoes & truffle pecorino.

    295 3 Mile Harbor Hog Creek Rd., East Hampton; 631-329-2800

  • When you’re Jonesing for lobster, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg

    After 44 years, Bobby Van’s is known not only for its steaks, an active bar scene, and boldface diners like Howard Stern, Bruce Springsteen and Hugh Jackman, but also for nightly specials. On Tuesday, the restaurant serves a pound-and-a-quarter local lobster, along with baked potato and corn for only $21. The trick is to get there on the early side - otherwise they run out and you might miss the boat.  

    2393 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton; 631-537-0590

  • Sure, everyone in the Hamptons eats fish, but when what you’re really craving is steak

    Excess is celebrated at the East End branch of The Palm. Unlike some locations of the legendary steakhouse, which have sawdust on the floor, this one sits in a quaint hotel with a beautiful front porch and fireplace. Ron Perelman and the Clintons are among those who indulge in oversized lobsters, mammoth steaks and Palm favorites like the Monday Night Salad – a chopped up mix of tomatoes, roasted peppers and onions. There is often a wait for tables, even with a reservation, but the cozy bar area has booths of its own given out on a first-come, first-served basis, and the crowd in that room is friendly and fun.

    94 Main St., East Hampton; 631-324-0411

  • When you need a Greek place to jive with your Mediterranean diet

    Like most top estiatorios, Nammos lays out glistening fresh fish on ice so diners can choose the most appealing, which is then charcoal-grilled and simply brushed with olive oil and lemon. In case you don’t want to look your dinner in the eye, you can choose octopus, skewered swordfish or lamb chops. The room itself is Hamptons perfection: soaring ceilings and white wainscoted walls dressed with modern art.

    136 Main St., Southampton; 631-287-5500

  • When breakfast is your favorite meal, and you want a killer morning feast

    Not only will you smell the vanilla and cinnamon of thick French toast along with a smoky whiff of bacon as you walk through the door of Babette’s, but most ingredients in the sumptuous morning treats are organic and healthy. Try the Sante Fe omelette with avocado, scallion, salsa and jalapeno; or the Champignon with mushrooms and herbs de Provence. A Tuscan quinoa bowl is make with kale and butternut squash, then topped with sunny-side-up eggs. That French Toast comes in a classic cinnamon swirl or a vegan version dipped in soy, covered with fresh fruit, sprinkled with granola and drizzled with tahini custard. The crowd is as much fun to gaze at as the plates - Bill Clinton, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Russell Simmons, Derek Jeter, Robert DeNiro and Jessica Alba have all been spotted there this summer.

    66 Newtown Ln., East Hampton; 631-329-5377

  • When your idea of a relaxing day in the Hamptons includes live music on the beach

    Navy Beach, which sits on Fort Pond Bay, has outdoor tables on a private 200-ft. private beach, and each Sunday, from 5 to 7 PM, a live reggae band sets an upbeat mood. One of the owners is Leyla Marchetto, daughter of legendary restaurateur Silvano Marchetto, so no surprise the food is worth a trip. The culinary theme is coastal: lobster and clam bake shares a menu with more creative options like miso-marinated hake with charred scallions, shiitake, mache, kale and balsamic. There are also more casual options like a burger with hand-cut fries, along with a kids’ menu.

    16 Navy Rd., Montauk; 631-668-6868

  • When you're a foodie who can’t depart with your shorts and flip-flops while at the beach

    Even though dishes at Bostwick’s Chowder House are served on plastic plates, specials are listed on a blackboard and the place is a modest stop on Route 27, the kitchen turns out some of the best seafood around. Try fish or lobster tacos with roasted corn salsa and chipotle lime sauce, an Oyster Po Boy or something from the raw bar. The chef's nightly creations, like local striped bass or halibut tossed with jicama and oranges are more memorable than some of those whipped up at white-tablecloth spots.

    277 Pantigo Rd., East Hampton; 631-324-1111

  • When it’s time for sushi (aka always)

    After nearly 20 years, Sen is more popular than ever, transforming local catch like fluke, striped bass, black sea bass and tuna, along with fish flown in overnight from Hawaii, into artfully sliced sashimi and creative rolls. The calorie-conscious will love summer rolls filled with vegetables, salmon, tuna or yellowtail; lettuce wraps stuffed with shiitake mushrooms and wrapped with kampyo; and micro greens and other produce from local organic farms. Co-owner Jesse Matsuoka is a sake aficionado and can guide you through the impressive list.

    23 Main St., Sag Harbor; 631-725-1774

  • When you're coming in on the new Cannonball train to East Hampton and want to catch dinner somewhere close to the station when you arrive

    David Loewenberg, one of the Hamptons top restaurateurs, co-owns Fresno with Michael Nolan, who once owned Miracle Grill, where Bobby Flay got his start. It’s just a walk from the train station, and whether you sit on a banquette in the dining room or in the picturesque pergola-topped garden with its fountain, you can appreciate Gretchen Menser’s creations. Check out grilled shrimp with sticky rice cake, charred spring onions and spicy miso butter; arugula salad with duck prosciutto, black mission figs, spiced Marcona almonds and white balsamic; slow-braised pork Osso Buco with Mascarpone polenta and tart cherry-pistachio gremolata; or roasted local cod with gigante beans, pancetta, cremini mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and fennel pollen. Leave room for Fresno’s version of warm Vahlrona cake, which has a surprise Nutella-fluff center and gets a hit of hazelnut gelato. If you stop in on a Thursday, there is a great bossa nova band along with caipirinhas.

    8 Fresno Pl., East Hampton; 631-324-8700

  • When you want to be entertained by dinner and a show

    Sienna, which opened this summer, has been run by New York’s popular T-Bar team, so the famous chopped salads, steak and fish are available out east as well. Conveniently enough, the nightclub Pink Elephant is on the other side of the same property. Friday of Labor Day weekend, there will be an added bonus: cutting-edge exotic burlesque show "The Box," with its 25 performers, will put on three shows. There is a minimum of $1,500 per table, which holds up to eight.

    44 Three Mile Harbor Rd., East Hampton; 631-604-6060