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The 11 Best Restaurants in the Hamptons

best restaurants in the hamptons 2021

The world is your oyster once again, but there is nothing like summer in the Hamptons. The rites of passage that are your annual summer traditions out east are like Christmas, Hanukkah and Festivus for the rest of us. It’s not summer unless you get in your beach time, barbecues, farmers markets and all that is comforting and familiar. We agonized over this list, as the competition is fierce among the best restaurants in the Hamptons. Here’s our list of the top 11. Let the debate begin.

Joelle Mentis, Writer

dining area at Sant Ambroeus - one of the best restaurants in the Hamptons

Sant Ambroeus

The Location: Southampton

The Cuisine: Italian favorites. Sant Ambroeus is a fave in the city as well as one of the best restaurants in the Hamptons. Pastas, meats and salads are all amazing, but even better are the brunch options, like the paninis and eggs, which pair perfectly with the rich Italian coffee and gelato.

Why We Like It: There is nothing like the real thing. This Sant Ambroeus is the original and the only restaurant within the existing chainlette owned by the original proprietors. Dinners here are a scene, but it’s backed by good to excellent food. Specials shine – we wait all year to have the grilled prawns and the gelato makes the list of the best ice cream in the Hamptons. Whether you’re staying in Southampton or heading further east, a stop here for a cappuccino and gelato means you’ve arrived.

 

 

photos on wall above the seating area at the Highway Restaurant Hamptons

Highway

The Location: East Hampton

The Cuisine: Cheeseburgers and French fries, but from the restaurant group responsible for Eleven Madison Park and Charlie Bird. Elevated and healthy salads, stir fry, pastas and roast meats are perfected in this restaurant that is a comfortable neighborhood joint despite its prestigious parentage. Korean Chicken Buns and the house-made rigatoni are musts. Locals who live there year-round, always have this on their list as one of the best restaurants in the Hamptons.

Why We Like It: We love the restaurants under the EMP / NoMad umbrella, and Highway is no outlier. The location is a little off the beaten path, but it’s a great place to share a good bottle of wine with a big group. The menu is wide ranging, but every dish is delightful. If you ask locals, Highway is almost always on their list of the best area restaurants.

 

 

lobster roll at the clam bar

Clam Bar

The Location: Amagansett

The Cuisine: Fresh-off-the-boat seafood baked and fried perfectly. Lobster rolls, fried clams, crab cakes and simply grilled fish take center stage at this institution where everything on the menu is as delicious as it sounds. It’s not a fancy place, but it’s definitely one of the best restaurants in the Hamptons.

Why We Like It: Beach time is not complete without a seafood beach shack. It’s made all the more authentic by its location on the side of the highway, and there’s nothing fancy about it, except the people. We love the laid-back vibe, plastic chairs and good, honest fried food – essentially the trifecta to make this list. There’s less guilt loading up on clams, shrimp, scallops and whatever else they decide to throw into the fryer that day. They have multiple renditions of the lobster roll and a BLT, and the seafood Cobb salad is a sleeper hit.

 

bowl of mexican food at coche comedor

Coche Comedor

The Location: Amagansett

The Cuisine: Authentic and family-friendly Mexican. Inspired flavors shine through dishes such as chicken adobo and pork rib carnitas. The menu is short but sweet, and all orders are cooked to the diner’s preference. Meat and seafood are featured heavily, with flavorful spices blended in every dish.

Why We Like It: The sister restaurant to La Fondita, which otherwise would have been on our list, is our favorite for Mexican. We like that it’s not a glamorous scene but yet smack dab in the middle of the Hamptons and still filled with beautiful people. Load up on the duck fat potatoes and, of course, the chips and salsa.

 

 

seafood salad in a bowl at Duryea's Lobster Deck

Duryea’s Lobster Deck

The Location: Montauk

The Cuisine: The lobster rolls, clam strips and calamari you’d expect from a harbor side clam shack. Except it’s the Hamptons, so cranked up a notch. Now, small plates are paired with rosé. Steamed lobster is a must here, but there’s also an impressive skirted steak for those land-lovers.

Why We Like It: We may just love the seafood here the most. We’re the people in the corner eating a dozen oysters each, and we don’t care if you judge. Duryea’s is where to load up on lobster rolls, baked clams and a big lobster Cobb, but make sure you bring as many friends as you can for sharing. The traditional clam bake with steamed lobster, clams and corn harkens back decades, when that was pretty much all they served at what was then more of a takeout joint. Today, it is a proper restaurant with a fun Hamptons crowd of all ages and tables overlooking the water, which makes for a fantastic sunset dinner. There’s also an Orient Point location with an even more elevated atmosphere. It’s great to go to by boat, and of course, we have you covered for that here.

 

appetizers at the East Hampton Grill in the Hamptons

East Hampton Grill

The Location: East Hampton

The Cuisine: When you want comfort food, this is the place. Burgers, fish, steak and fries are always done well. They also have fun additions like po’ boys and tuna tartare. But regardless of what you choose, you’ll be unbuttoning your pants by the end.

Why We Like It: There’s something about this place that reminds us of the restaurants you would go to with Mom and Dad as a kid. The fried oysters over creamed spinach, biscuits, deviled eggs and those jumbo lump crab cakes – we actually could list the entire menu. It’s not a light meal, but when you’re looking for real food, this is where to go. Steaks and burgers also do the trick when you need your red meat fix.

 

seating area at Elaia estiatorio in the Hamptons

Elaia Estiatorio

The Location: Bridgehampton

The Cuisine: Greek. And Greek the real way. Fresh, organic meats and cheeses, authentic olive oil and salads topped with a whole hunk of feta. Elaia has some of the best food in the Hamptons, let alone of the Greek variety. The hummus, souvlaki, roasted potatoes, calamari and pastries are all perfect, and you will definitely eat more than you intend to.

Why We Like It: It’s hard to dislike feta, and Elaia has the best feta around. In addition to the food, the restaurant is just a perfect experience. The candles and flowers on the table are real, and the waiters dance to the Greek music on their way to refill your water or serve your food. You’ll feel like family and want to come back every night. It’s also priced very reasonably for the area.

 

dining area at Bilboquet Sag Harbor

Le Bilboquet

The Location: Sag Harbor

The Cuisine: Cajun chicken. Enough said. Le Bilboquet’s French-inspired favorites are all good, but you’re really here for the chicken, the drinks and, of course, the experience.

Why We Like It: You’re in the Hamptons and that means taking part in the scene. Welcome to the epicenter of said scene. In Sag Harbor overlooking the water, Le Bilboquet is where to be among the beautiful people, if you can get past the maître d’. The food is good, and the waitstaff is eye candy. Dining room tables are prime, so you may want to start eating indoors again when here. Just make sure you dress for the occasion, as even A-listers have been sent away for wearing sandals.

 

outdoor seating area at Tutto Il Giorno in the Hamptons

Tutto il Giorno

The Location: Sag Harbor

The Cuisine: Italian through and through. Donna Karan’s cozy restaurant in Sag Harbor features all the favorites you’d order when on the Amalfi Coast. Farm fresh produce and freshly caught fish are the name of the game when it comes to antipasti and main dishes that go down easy.

Why We Like It: If they didn’t serve one iota of food, it would be fine with us. It shouldn’t come as a surprise though; this is a Donna Karan-affiliated venture and it’s just done right, from elevated decor to a chic European vibe. Luckily though, they do serve food, and it’s beautifully executed Italian. There’s nothing pretentious about the food, which is why we like it. Burrata is served over locally sourced tomatoes, and pastas are elegant and simple.

 

outdoor patio seating at the crow's nest in the hamptons

The Crow’s Nest

The Location: Montauk

The Cuisine: Hamptons classics. Summer vegetable spaghetti, halibut with couscous, chicken kebabs, Moroccan curry. The Crow’s Nest never disappoints when it comes to seasonal favorites. Everyone in the family has a go-to on the menu, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying all the options. Plenty of cocktails, beers and wines by the bottle are available.

Why We Like It: This is where you come to decompress. The vibe at Crow’s Nest epitomizes the laid-back fishing culture that is Montauk before the weekenders arrive. Simple foods like the mezze platter, fresh whipped ricotta and Montauk sea bass ceviche shine and should always be ordered to kick off the dinner party.

 

simple seating at La Fin - one of the newest but best restaurants in the Hamptons

La Fin

The Location: Montauk

The Cuisine: La Fin brings farm to table and sustainability to the Hamptons with refined dishes inspired by French favorites. The all-day service fuels guests for infamous Hamptons nights out, and then helps them revive the next morning with the new Recovery Brunch. Fresh juices, vegan and vegetarian starters, lobster lettuce wraps and chia pudding are all to die for. Dinner options like the blood orange chili oil fluke crudo bring an elevated twist to seafood favorites.

Why We Like It: The latest restaurant from Chef James Tchinnis of Le Cirque and the Grand Havana Room is a lush new oasis, even for the Hamptons. Inspired by St. Barths and St. Tropez, La Fin introduces a tropical element to the coastal vibe imbued in the surrounding landscape. Our favorite part is that the food is all grown locally and fish caught sustainably. The interiors, by Destination Haus, pair beautiful washes of blush pink and emerald with exposed wood, making for great photo ops. This may be a new restaurant this season, but it already makes the list.

Pop-up Restaurants in the Hamptons

As a bonus, a few city restaurants will be in residence in the Hamptons again this summer.

BLT Steak

The Location: The Capri, Southampton

The Cuisine: Steakhouse classics with a French bistro vibe. BLT Steak is known for its prime cuts of meat, decadent sides and salads that don’t miss the mark. The pop-up will be bringing the highlights of the menu with classic steaks, Dover sole and, of course, the signature popovers.

Why We Like It: It’s located in the Capri, the see-and-be-seen spot in Southampton and the perfect place for a pop-up of one NYC’s elite steakhouses. BLT Steak is always a crowd pleaser whether for family dinner or date night. The steaks are always cooked perfectly, and the desserts are some of the best in town.

Carbone

The Location: Southampton

The Cuisine: Italian through and through. If you’ve ever been to the OG location in NYC, you’ll know about the veal parm and the spicy rigatoni vodka. The pop-up serves the restaurant’s esteemed favorites, which delight the whole crowd. Lobster ravioli and lemon cheesecake are standouts.

Why We Like It: Not many restaurants have had articles written just about their vodka sauce. Carbone is an exception, for many reasons. The Italian food is so consistently good that it’s one of those places where everything on the menu is perfect. In the Hamptons, sometimes it’s hard to escape classic American seafood and steak. The Carbone pop-up is a much-needed alternative for the days when another lobster roll just won’t cut it.

Delmonico’s

The Location: Southampton

The Cuisine: Steak, lobster and salads are favorites at Delmonico’s, and for good reason. Delmonico’s lobster is local, and the steak can be cut with a butter knife. Salads are comprised of microgreens farmed right behind the restaurant and topped with drool-worthy fresh cheese and meats. Some of the original recipes are still on the menu, which is a testament to the perfect cooking.

Why We Like It: Delmonico’s is famous for its classics that were invented before restaurants had printed menus. The food is good, and the ambiance and attitude have been perfected over a century. Perfect for cocktails or dinner and baked Alaska for dessert, Delmonico’s will always be our go-to when in Southampton.

If you liked this article, you definitely need to check out these other articles on the Hamptons.

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