The Hamptons' best restaurants

LTI staffUpdated 25th July 2018
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(CNN) — New York Hamptons' restaurant scene is continuing to thrive, attracting world class chefs, with wine lists to match.
Many of the best restaurants in this collection of villages and towns bordered by the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean are now open year-round -- not just for the frantic summer season.
Although there's more of a casual vibe here than New York City, it delivers when it comes to high end, quality cooking from many cultures and attracts a very chic city crowd.
Here are our favorite places to eat in the Hamptons.

Duryea's

This classic lobster shack is one of the most popular spots in the Hamptons.
Family-run for around 80 years, it was bought by Marc Rowan in 2013 and fitted with a 1,200 square foot gourmet market.
Based in a casual, white shack with an outdoor terrace, Duryea's has a consistently fresh menu and its low key atmosphere only adds to its charm.
We recommend the signature lobster rolls, accompanied by the New England clam chowder.
The lobster rolls are chunky, meaty and generous, while the chowder rivals some of the best in Boston.
Note, this is a cash only restaurant, with a bring your own drink policy (but there are a small selection of non-alcoholic beverages.)
LTI advises bringing a good bottle of wine or some bubbly to toast a beautiful sunset out on the deck.
Best tables
The outdoor terrace is the best place to sit.
Duryea's, 5460, 65 Tuthill Rd, Montauk, NY 11954; +1 631 668 2410

Arbor

Arbor - Cheese Charcuterie Board
Arbor has various small plates including cheese and charcuterie.
Arbor
This summer-only affair by restaurateur Marc Rowan does elegant Mediterranean farm-to-table fare right on the water.
Based in Montauk, the dishes here come out looking like works of art.
Its dining room, which features a custom 30-foot bar and Edison bulbs throughout, seats up to 165 people, while more can be accommodated on the patios and at the outdoor bar.
The menu includes just over half a dozen mains ranging from pappardelle with king crab, mussels, confit tomatoes and arugula pesto to a surf and turf pairing a New Zealand lamb chop with seared sea scallops.
For lighter fare there are small plates, cheese and charcuterie and raw bar choices, along with a few excellent pizzas choices.
There's a wide selection of wines, including some 30 selections by the glass, from the in house cellar.
Best tables
We love the outdoor patio. Inside, try for one of the tables in the semi-private portion of the sunken dining room, tucked up against the wine cellar.
Arbor, 240 Fort Pond Rd, Montauk, NY 11954; +1 631 238 5430

Lulu Kitchen & Bar

Lulu Kitchen & Bar
Lulu Kitchen & Bar features a huge wood-burning oven and an open kitchen.
Lulu Kitchen & Bar
Lulu Kitchen & Bar combines a casual lounge vibe out front and a more formal white tablecloth dining in the back.
Measuring 1,800 square feet, the restaurant is split into multiple dining spaces and features an open kitchen complete with wood-burning oven.
There's also seating at a large zinc topped bar and outside on the awning covered patio.
The kitchen is under the direction of French-trained chef Phillippe Corbet, who spent several years in Michelin-starred restaurants before taking over Lulu.
We like the seafood platters with Montauk pearl oysters, Bonac razor clams and tuna tartare or grilled duck leg confit with frisée salad, Mecox blue cheese and raspberry Dijon mustard vinaigrette.
There's also a large wood fired pizza selection with some unique creations including one with prosciutto, onions, tomatoes and raclette cheese while the bread is also made in house.
The wine list, which is organized by global region (with an emphasis on American wines, including selections from New York) features five reds, five whites and a few different rosé and champagne choices by the glass, however there's far more variety by the bottle.
Best tables
We like the banquettes at the front of the house -- they're roomier and more private than the tables in the back. The patio seating is also nice, especially for a casual lunch.
Lulu Kitchen & Bar, 126 Main St, Sag Harbor, NY 11963; +1 631 725 0900

The Maidstone

Part of the revamped Maidstone Hotel, this hot restaurant is a destination in itself.
Now headed up by chef David Standridge (formerly of Café Clover in New York,) it offers quality American dishes, with locally sourced ingredients and a casual smart beach dining vibe.
There are lots of Swedish classics, such as meatballs, and herring cooked three different ways.
The Maidstone is both child and animal friendly. In fact, pets are so loved here, they even have their own menu -- a variety of greens and meats for every breed.
As for wine, the Maidstone offers a well- crafted and elegantly presented list containing over 400 options, with accompanying notes on the history and current plantings of its Long Island wines, as well as an explanation of biodynamic and sustainable practices.
For a refreshing, inexpensive white, try the Tocai from Hudson Valley's Millbrook winery. An even more unusual (but successful) local red is Channing Daughters' Blaufrankisch.
Blue Rock's Cabernet Sauvignon is a great buy, or for an Italian bargain, Federico Primo 2004 from Gualdo del Re is a great Super Tuscan from an underrated producer in a stellar vintage.
Best tables
We recommend the back, left hand four top table in the corner adjacent to the entrance -- it's cozy and has a window and a bar view (so you can keep an eye on the action.)
The Maidstone, 207 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937; +1 631 324 5006

Nick & Toni's

Nick & Toni's
Nick & Toni's is a top celebrity hang out spot.
Nick & Toni's
One of the top dining spots in the Hamptons, Nick & Toni's has a very rustic charm, with a wood-burning oven as its focal point, and lots of primitive American art on the walls.
The focus here is farm-to-table cooking, with the team making use of locally caught fish and organic vegetables grown in its own garden.
Make sure to add items such as the sorrel salad or the baby field greens to your order.
The service here is warm, welcoming and relaxed, with staff keeping perfect time with their full reservation lists and taking the time to chat to frequent customers.
LTI particularly likes the fact that diners are usually seated at the exact time they booked for.
With over 200 options, the alcoholic beverage list begins with an interesting selection of local liquor -- straight from the days of moonshine and bootlegging -- that's more interesting than the limited wine options by the glass or half bottles.
Best tables
Table 20 or table 8. Table 20 is a corner with an excellent view of the restaurant crowd, and table eight is more intimate and private.
Nick & Toni's, 136 N Main St, East Hampton, NY 1193; +1 631 324 3550

Jue Lan Club

The Southampton outpost of Stratis Morfogen's Manhattan hot spot serves elevated modern Chinese in a vibrant, nautical themed space and plenty of light thanks to walls of windows.
The menu here is high end Chinese with a Manhattan touch.
Appetizers include short rib bao buns with jalapeño and pickled cucumber and chicken satay, plus raw bar items such as yellowtail sashimi with a ghost pepper vinaigrette and east coast oysters.
For entrees, the Beijing chicken is quite good as is the drunken sea bass and the salt and pepper lobster for two. There's also a noodle and fried rice menu with portions set for two people, while a dim sum brunch is offered on weekends.
After dinner it turns into a late night lounge and dance spot inside -- the town has forbidden the party from continuing on the outdoor patio.
Jue Lan Club holds an extensive wine list with bottles from around the world that are organized by region in a number of price points. There's also a lengthy sake menu.
Best tables
We like the tables outside on the back patio, which has hanging lanterns and heat lamps, plus the noise level is lower.
It can be very loud and hard to have a dinner conversation while seated inside during the summer season.
Jue Lan Club, 49 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011; +1 646 524 7409

East Hampton Grill

This consistently good hotspot continues to rank highly with LTI (and locals) for service, food and everything in between.
We like that the décor is more "traditional grill house" than a lot of its competitors and has a fun, open kitchen that keeps things lively.
This is a relatively new creation from the well-known Hillstone Restaurant Group (of Houston's and Palm Beach Grill) and their goal, as in each location, is to infuse local flavor into the menu.
It's impossible to begin a meal here without the Heavenly Biscuits, which are so flaky they could almost float on their own.
Though they have standard dishes on the menu, we love the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, served as a special once a week, paired with the Oysters St. Charles as an appetizer.
There's a well-priced one-page wine list offering a number of affordable middle hitters, rather than anything overtly extravagant, but vintages are rather disappointingly omitted.
Best tables
If you're here for the fun atmosphere, then the table just outside the window of the open kitchen keeps guests entertained for hours on end.
East Hampton Grill, 99 N Main St, East Hampton, NY 11937; +1 631 329 6666

The American Hotel

The American Hotel restaurant is one of the Hampton's most celebrated dining establishments, with four intimate dining areas and a reputation for creating classic French dishes (often with a twist.)
It's open year-round unlike many of its local competitors and has an elegant yet unpretentious atmosphere.
There are four dining spaces, the Victorian Drew room is lined with portraits, the main dining room has a stunning Steinway piano, while the more intimate bar room has a fireplace and is decked out in darker woods and low lighting.
Chef Jonathan Parker's menu changes seasonally, though there's usually at least one appetizer, and one dish that uses foie gras -- both of which are highly recommended by LTI -- as well as the dishes that use locally sourced/caught seafood.
The award-winning wine list here is a serious contender for the weightiest tome in the Hamptons.
It's made up of over 100 pages, with more than 2,000 references, so diners will need to allow themselves sufficient time to browse it.
Selections run from $30 to $30,000, so there is something for everyone with strength in depth and breadth.
The world's key regions are comprehensively covered together with plenty of off-piste choices from lesser known areas and producers.
It's no surprise the list has won many awards and media plaudits. It certainly impressed LTI.
Best tables
For a romantic dinner, request a table near the Steinway piano, in the main dining room.
American Hotel, 3012, 45 Main St, Sag Harbor, NY 11963; +1 631 725 3535

Calissa

Fans of Amali in Manhattan can now get their Greek fix at a restaurant by the same owners in the Hamptons' Water Mill.
Inspired by the Greek island of Mykonos, Calissa serves up farm-to-table Mediterranean in small and large plates designed for sharing, including island classics such as lobster bucatini and thieves lamb, along with lots of fresh fish and vegetables.
With the exception of Atlantic octopus, all the seafood items are sourced from Long Island or New York City vendors, and change with the season.
The beach boho-styled versatile space accommodates up to 250 people and turns into a lounge after dinner and hosts a DJ and late bar hours on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer season.
That said, the dining room itself is very simple and casual, although the chairs are slightly uncomfortable.
With more than 30 different wines by the glass and verticals of high quality rosés, Calissa has the most diverse wine list in South Fork, including more magnums and over-sized bottles than any other Hamptons bar.
Three full-time sommeliers are on hand to assist with selecting from the 150 different bottle choices.
Best tables
The dining room is quite simple and many tables include pillow backed row seating on one side. If all people in your party want a proper chair, be sure to request one of these tables. We like sitting outside on the patio.
Calissa, 1020 Montauk Hwy, Water Mill, NY 11976; +1 631 500 9292

North Fork Table & Inn

 North Fork Table & Inn - Duck entree
North Fork Table & Inn has a seasonally inspired featuring locally grown produce.
North Fork Table & Inn
The team behind this classic, upscale inn and restaurant is made up of the former executive chef of Aureole and both the former service manager and executive pastry chef of Gramercy Tavern.
Positioned in an unassuming location in North Fork, its menu rotates seasonally, depending on local, fresh ingredients -- including biodynamic and organic produce, locally produced cheeses and seafood from Long Island's shores. The dishes are inspired by these ingredients and built around them.
For a true food experience, we love the tasting menu, which has a great variety of interesting dishes that have been carefully created with handpicked, seasonal ingredients.
From the a la carte menu, the pan-roasted organic Scottish salmon is very good.
The wine list includes some quirky choices, although all selections shy away from obvious names, preferring artisan producers.
Best tables
LTI recommends the round table at the end of the restaurant, towards the left, in the corner flanked by two windows. It offers brilliant sunlight in the day and a beautiful, serene view in the evening
North Fork Table & Inn, 57225 Main Road, Southold, NY 11971; +1 631 765 0177

Oreya at the Capri

Oreya - Tuna Tartare cigars
The menu at Oreya includes tuna tartare cigars.
Oreya
One of the hottest spots in the Hamptons, this wonderful take on Mediterranean dining by Greg Grossman (who also renovated the space) is a colorful addition to the Hamptons restaurant scene.
As a part of the Capri hotel, it's a destination in one -- we love the Pool Club and the large terrace area.
Full of fig and olive trees, the setting is magnificent. Its elegant dining room seats 98, while the outdoor terrace can hold a further 130 and the interior is contemporary, with pale green banquette seating and white tablecloths
Oreya also displays an impressive art collection as well as dancing and DJs at night.
Although there's a standing bar, you can also drink cocktails in the pool area and watch the sunset.
As for the menu, ingredients are sourced locally, and even the fish is from local fisheries. There's a raw fish section, as well as a wood-burning grill section and sharing plates.
We particularly love the rib eye steak, the grilled lamb, and the Columbia River salmon.
LTI also recommend the vegetable crudités. If grilled branzino is on the menu, we suggest you order it. Try the baklava for dessert.
While there are eight by the glass wine choices and some 78 different bottles to choose from, Oreya is known for its craft cocktail program where the focus is on a seasonally-inspired drinks that mix fruits and spirits popular on the French Riviera.
Best tables
When the weather allows, the top tables are on the outdoor terrace, among the scented trees. Inside, we favor the booth seating at the sides of the room.
Oreya at the Capri, 281 County Road 39A, Southampton, NY 11968; +1 631 500 9055

Stone Creek Inn

Stone Creek Inn
Stone Creek Inn is a local favorite, with a menu of interesting creations.
Stone Creek Inn
Formerly known as the Ambassador Inn, this chef/owner operated venture with a French/Mediterranean menu is another LTI favorite.
The main dining room is lined entirely with windows, with a long center piece of green plants and tables flanking the outside.
Its menu, which also focuses on locally sourced food, has some very interesting creations.
We particularly like the classic Bouillabaisse, which is very authentic and contains the freshest seafood.
Stone Creek Inn also contains a small but classic bar area, with dark shiny woods and a handsome feel overall.
Its wine selection consists of over 22 pages of options, broken down by a mixture of grape and region, including a "hidden gem" recommendation on each page. Pricing across the board is generally commendable, especially for fine wines.
Best tables
The main room is small and the acoustics are not stellar, so we recommend asking for a freestanding table if you want to converse.
If you like communal-style dining, though, then request a table bordering the center piece.
Stone Creek Inn, 405 Montauk Hwy, East Quogue, NY 11942; +1 631 653 6770

Tutto il Giorno

 Tutto Il Giorno - Tiramisu
Hamptons-based restaurant Tutto Il Giorno serves an Italian menu with local influences.
Tutto Il Giorno
Daughter of fashion designer Donna Karan, Gabby's Southampton sequel to her successful Sag Harbor eatery is a beautifully-designed space positioned within a walkable distance from downtown Southampton and the surrounding residential neighborhood.
Reservations are essential, and hard to come by, especially on prime summer weekends when regulars book well in advance.
The Italian menu is locally sourced comfort fare created by co-owner and chef Maurizio Marfoglia.
Starter dish choices include a lamb loin carpaccio, burrata with organic tomatoes and a spicy tuna tartare.
For mains, try the homemade pastas topped with locally made sausage, chicken "under the brick" or slow-cooked meats as well as excellent grilled seafood dishes.
As for dessert, the panna cotta and tiramisu are stand outs.
Its wine list focuses on Italian varietals and is carefully curated, with a good choice by the glass.
Best tables
Our favorite is the farm table, which is located near the entrance to the stunning garden. It's tucked away in a nook and has an air of intimacy missing at the other tables.
Tutto il Giorno, 56 Nugent st. Southampton, NY 11968; +1 631 377 3611

Union Cantina

Creative interpretations of classic Mexican fare are the main draw at this Bowden Square restaurant.
Here peppers are stuffed with lump crab, red quinoa,and cheese, while tacos come in vegetarian, short rib, lobster, pork belly, chicken and snapper versions.
Its house speciality is a deconstructed enchilada made with crisp-layered tortillas.
Union Cantina has a rustic edge that pays homage to its historic heritage, while the décor features a mix of dark wood, Spanish glass and vibrant Mexican art work.
The chic eatery can seat over 200 indoors, with an outdoor patio that seats 35 more and boasts a reclaimed wood art installation.
Other highlights include a tequila bar with more than 100 different labels to choose from.
Union Cantina also holds an ambitious beverage program with creative cocktails.
We love its signature cocktail, the Cinnamon Sol, which is a refreshing mix of Don Julio Reposado, cinnamon, pineapple and fresh lime juice.
Best tables
Try the outdoor patio seating, or opt for a drink at the wooden interior bar, which dates back to Prohibition days
Union Cantina, 40 Bowden Square, Southampton, NY 11968; +1 631 377 3500

Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House

Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House
Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House uses ingredients grown on the property's farm.
Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House
Now headed up by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this popular restaurant showcases the produce from the surrounding Topping Rose Farm, and other local farms.
Its 75-seater dining room, decked out with iron pendant lamps and colorful rugs, has an attractive buzz, even when it's not completely full.
The menu here changes seasonally, as the team work closely with local fishmongers who call daily to report their catches, with fish dishes prepared fresh with the day's delivery.
We love all the fish and homemade pasta dishes
The wine list consists of 13 pages of more than 200 bottles and offers an eclectic selection by the glass, sensibly favoring elegance over power.
Split up by grape and/or favorite French regions, there is a good balance of producers but some overtly young wines, including most of the white Burgundies and Nebbiolo options.
Best tables
Table 51 in the back corner is best for privacy, while table 72 has a great window view.
Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House, 1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, NY 11932; +1 631 537 0870

The Palm East Hampton

The Palm has many different locations, and this East Hampton offshoot is very much as strong as its counterparts.
While the restaurant is connected to the Huntting Inn in East Hampton, making it slightly hidden, the big spenders continue to pull up in their fabulous cars to enjoy its family atmosphere.
The venue, although sparsely decorated, is classic Palm -- crisp white table cloths, oversized plates and very good food.
We love the signature Gigi salad and the steaks. Make sure you order the lobster special (which they offer from time to time) if you spot it on the menu.
As for beverages, what the wine list may lack in innovation, it makes up for in solid, full-flavored steakhouse classics.
Not a sizable or especially diverse selection, but plenty by the glass (especially red) and a few bottles you would be happy to wash down a rib eye with.
Best tables
The tables here are a little too close together, so for privacy we suggest you opt for one near the window. Be sure to book ahead though.
The Palm East Hampton, 94 Main St, East Hampton, NY 11937; +1 631 324 0411

Our conclusion

For rustic charm and stand out, farm-to-table cooking, Nick and Toni's is our top East Hampton restaurant destination -- and it also attracts a lot of celebrities.
If you want classic, fresh lobster, you must visit Duryea in Montauk, at least once.
For simple, classic Hamptons cooking Stone Inn Creek is the place to be, and our family-friendly option would be the Maidstone, while Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House is our top choice for those who want a more lingering dining experience -- and we love its setting and bar.
When it comes to quality Chinese cuisine, we recommend Jue Lan Club, for beautifully presented Italian dishes head to Arbor, and we love Calissa for Greek cuisine.