Because of high real estate prices and an influx of summer tourists, the restaurant scene is disappointing — inconsistent at best. Good kitchens struggle to stick around, and mediocre places somehow manage to survive. Your best bet: Stick to food that's local, seasonal, and prepared in your own backyard.
A Hamptons mainstay that continues to turn out excellent French food.
This relative Sag Harbor newbie has already earned major popularity for its laidback vibe and expertly prepared seafood.
Meats smoked in-house, seafood sourced directly from fishermen, all packed on your choice of squishy rolls, whole-wheat loaves, baguettes, and hand-rolled bagels baked fresh at dawn. Check online around 11.30 a.m. for the day's menu. Favorites include TMP (tomato mozarella pesto).
A 24-hour diner, great to hit up before a sunrise surf or deep-sea fishing trip. Salty dogs, tales of the high seas, taxidermy fish.
Chowder, fried oysters, clams casino, nachos, and other pub grub at this seaside saloon, a local favorite for fishermen since the '70s. Staff enforces rules barring cell phone calls and screaming children.
This casual fish counter serves crustaceans, mollusks, and claws that taste great with the crystal clear sunset view from the deck. Duryea's got an upgrade for this season, with teak furniture replacing plastic tables and chairs, and a brand new oyster and sushi bar.
Slow Food docks at this jaunty seafood restaurant, just the kind of place you're looking for when on a casual beach vacation. The fish doesn't get any fresher than this — the chef picks up the day's catch in a wheelbarrow and steers it to the kitchen. It's a wonder (and a shame!) that there aren't more restaurants like this in the Hamptons.
On balmier nights, choose from the standard mediterranean menu (salmon tartare, cod, osso buco) from a seat tucked under the pergola.
The guys behind the New England-style favorite are bringing their famous raw bar to Lake Montauk this summer. Grab a lobster roll and head to the back deck to catch sunset, or rent the 1951 wooden sailboat docked nearby for lunch on the water.
Dine in a lush herb garden on a glass-like pond. Pastas, grilled pizzas, and wine by the glass.
Pick up sandwiches, picnic items, and crazy good fried chicken.
Everyone's favorite Mexican dive on the grounds of the Diamond Cove Marina.
A little dash of hippie beach bum culture thanks to a menu of breakfast burritos, healthy shakes, and hemp necklaces.
Chef Laurent Tourendel's bright white-tile diner tempts with juicy burgers and the fixings, like peppered bacon and mecox cheddar, or carmelized onions and maderia mushrooms. A solid roster of shareable starters (fried pickles, chowders, nachos, salads) keeps everybody happy.
Locals love the beautiful, handmade pizzas, breakfast sandwiches, and prepared foods displayed on various antique furnishings. The little gourmet market is backed by two chefs with serious foodie pedigrees (Daniel, French Laundry, Per Se).
Crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, calamari, and sashimi served by the sea shore. Earn extra maritime points when you arrive by boat and dinghy over to the dining room.
There isn't much of a Japanese restaurant selection in the Hamptons, but this little wooden sake box is a perennial favorite. Prime location for strolling while you wait for a table to open up.
Treat yourself to a beautifully composed picnic salad, hearty BLT, and crab cakes at this lovely lunchtime institution. Local chef-owner Garrett Wellins handwrites the daily menus and has been doing the locavore thing, without the label, for years. The slender parlor (his grandfather's former cigar-and-newspaper shop) is one part Parisian bistro (his mother's pastel portraits hang gallery style), one part beach retreat.
Many call it one of the best restaurants on the East End, and with good reason. The charming restaurant has unique seafood dishes and an extensive wine and beer list.
A beautifully restored 1842 Greek Revival mansion is now a small luxury inn, stellar restaurant, and farm, with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten consulting on the menu this summer. Start with a drink on the wrap-around porch before sitting down in the breezy dining room for fresh greens straight from the hotel's farm.