Eating in the Hamptons is all about how you do it: you can find yourself in mediocre, overpriced restaurants full of guys with too much gel in their hair, or, you can do it our way and head to the selection of actually-good places that are worth your time. On the list below, you’ll find everything from taco stands and clam shacks to sit-down restaurants that, while pricey, actually serve great food in nice environments.
Headed out to Montauk? For our separate guide to the best restaurants there, click here.
This Mexican restaurant is the best culinary addition to Amagansett in as long as we can remember. Located in an old diner space, there’s also plenty of outdoor seating. Our picks: the ceviche, and the chicken or duck, both of which come with homemade tortillas.
In the back of Amagansett Square, Wölffer is another option for dinner in Amagansett. It’s owned by Wölffer Estate, whose “Summer In A Bottle” rosés are more ubiquitous than Range Rovers around these parts. The food (kale salad, salmon, etc) is predictable but enjoyable.
Hampton Chutney Co.
For a quick lunch to go that isn’t a lobster roll, we’re fans of the dosas at Hampton Chutney. This Indian-American spot serves dosas topped with a variety of ingredients from curry chutney chicken to tomatoes and goat cheese. Grab one to bring home or to eat at the picnic tables outside.
Lunch AKA The Lobster Roll
There aren’t a lot of things in life that make us happier than a huge lobster roll from Lunch. Not only is this the best lobster roll in the Hamptons, it’s one of the best lobster rolls in the world.
The Clam Bar
Just a bit down the road from Lunch, you’ll find Clam Bar. The menu is similar, and while Lunch has the better lobster roll (the one here’s pretty good too, though), we like to come here for everything else - oysters, fried clams, and even whole lobsters. The all-outdoor setting is the ideal place to eat pre- or post-beach.
Carissa’s makes some of the best baked goods and breads in the Hamptons, which makes it a great spot to pick up lunch. The large Pantigo Road (a.k.a. Montauk Highway a.k.a. “27”) location looks like a cool person’s home in Oslo, and also has a more extensive menu that includes a bunch of salads and bowls. The original space, in a parking lot behind Newtown Lane, is a convenient spot to pick up a sandwich in town. It’s also the only place to get a decent coffee to go in East Hampton’s town. (Some people will disagree, but facts are facts.)
If you want to sit down right in town in East Hampton, Babette’s is the move. Everything here is on the healthy side, with a lot of vegetarian options. Prices are predictably high given the prime real estate, and as a result the crowd is more polo shirts than surf shorts. But for a nice sit-down lunch in town, it’s the best option and the food is always good.
East Hampton Grill
Located just past town, East Hampton Grill is one of the more high-end options in East Hampton. It’s owned by the Hillstone Group, so if you’ve been to a Hillstone or Houston’s, you have some idea of what to expect. The ribs and tuna tartare are go-tos.
Sandwiches are a necessary beach accessory – almost as essential as flip flops and a 12-pack of Montauk Summer Ale. And you can’t do better than Breadzilla. The menu changes daily, and they always post it online. Also, they open late and close early, so you really have to be efficient and effective when you’re planning Breadzilla runs. Their shrimp salad may be the best shrimp salad in the world.
Highway Restaurant & Bar
As the name indicates, Highway is indeed right on the highway - though the Hamptons version of a highway is a two-way road, so that’s not something to worry about. The menu at this restaurant between East Hampton and Wainscott kind of jumps all over the place - from crab and papaya salad to seafood pastas to eggplant parm - but they pull it all off. This summer, they’re doing take out only, and they’re also doing sushi prepared by a chef from Greenwich Village’s Shuko, which has the same owner.
You’re unlikely to ever find us in The Palm in the city (or really in any city, for that matter), but the East Hampton location is a special one. It’s located in the ground floor of an inn on the way to town, and the vibes are more “kind of weird but charming old country club” than “international steakhouse chain.” Obviously, most people order steak, but seafood is a safe bet here too.
While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, The Maidstone is a boutique hotel with lots of character. In past years, the restaurant space was a Scandinavian place called The Living Room, but it’s been renovated, and is now simply called The Maidstone. The menu is now made up of local, seasonal American options like seared Montauk fluke and big fresh salads. So while you won’t find Swedish meatballs or smoked trout here anymore, the food is still very good.
Goldberg's Famous Bagels & Deli
Goldberg’s are in almost every town here now, and definitely the best bagel situation out East. You want lox. You want cream cheese. You want lots and lots of bagels – particularly a sunflower seed flagel.
Bostwick's Chowder House
It’s not our favorite restaurant out East, but it’s the one that we wind up going to the most. Bostwick’s is the perfect spot to visit when you can’t decide where else to go, or just don’t have the energy to cook yourself. It’s quick, it’s casual, and the food is pretty good. The menu is seafood heavy, but there’s something fried, grilled, or on a bun for everyone. Our top picks: the hot lobster roll, the seared tuna, and the burrito-sized. fish tacos. There’s also a second location in Three Mile Harbor (north of East Hampton town) called Bostwick’s On The Harbor with great views, though the menu is different.
Cove Hollow Tavern
Vine Street Cafe is one of the East End’s best restaurants, but getting to Shelter Island is a pain in the ass. Fortunately, the Vine Street team now has a way more central restaurant called Cove Hollow Tavern, in the location formerly occupied by Cafe Max in East Hampton. The food’s a little pricey, but all very good - this is one of the better new restaurants in the area. Unlike most Hamptons restaurants, they actually pride themselves on great service and hospitality here.
There have been several high-end sushi pop-ups in the Hamptons over the years, but for a more casual, daily situation, Sen is Sag Harbor’s go-to. We once read that Eric Ripert likes to come here, which is a good sign about the quality of fish. Waits can be long at peak times, but they’ve added a nice garden in the back.
Sag Pizza is a very welcome addition that sprung up in 2019. They make quality Neapolitan pizzas, and it’s casual and kid-friendly. They’re also selling DIY pizza kits.
Estia's Little Kitchen
A tiny restaurant on Route 114 between Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton, Estia’s is our go-to brunch spot and it should be yours as well. Breakfast burritos, any of the egg platters, and tortilla soup are all good bets. They also regularly have great specials.
A Hamptons landmark, The American Hotel is a classic. Their classic French food is delicious, but their biggest claim to fame is actually their wine cellar, which has many thousands of bottles. Bring anyone who’s into wine here, and they’ll be very impressed. Ask to sit on the porch or in the atrium.
LT Burger in the Harbor
Keep LT Burger in your back pocket for the time you’re craving a burger, but don’t want to cook one on your own. Come with the whole family and sit in a big booth, or just sit at the bar with a beer. The milkshakes are good too.
Despite being smack in the middle of Bridgehampton on Montauk Highway, Yama-Q somehow feels like a hidden gem. Come for the good quality, straightforward sushi - purists will be relieved to know the nigiri and rolls here aren’t blowtorched, or covered in mayo sauces and tempura flakes.
If Yama-Q next door feels quiet and semi-hidden, Bobby Van’s is the opposite. This place is always busy, with people sitting in the street. It’s part of a chain of steakhouses in the city that, honestly, we would probably never go to. But the location out here is fun, and the big, varied menu makes it a crowd-pleaser.
Almond is another Bridgehampton mainstay. The food is French bistro stuff like roast chicken and escargot, and there’s an extensive raw bar selection. The scene here is also one of the liveliest you’ll find in the immediate area.
This is by no means breaking news, but there’s a reason why this landmark diner in Bridgehampton has been around for decades – it’s f*cking awesome. Not awesome like the food is going to blow you away, awesome like a greasy spoon is awesome. Candy Kitchen isn’t the place you go for poached eggs and mimosas - it’s the place you go for scrambled eggs and toast. Their homemade ice cream is the main attraction, and the chocolate fudge brownie is out of this world.
Right smack in the middle of Bridgehampton, Pierre’s is a French bistro designed to appeal to the Hamptons crowd that spends winters in St. Bart’s. The food is actually really good, and Pierre’s can be a great time if you’re in the right mindset. Just slick your hair back and wear your finest white pants. You’ll fit right in.
Most people come to Suki Zuki for two things: the spicy tuna sandwich and the chicken teriyaki salad. The former is basically a spicy tuna roll in the shape of a triangular tea sandwich, while the latter is a finely chopped salad with chicken, wonton strips, and a tangy dressing. Overall, this is an easygoing sushi place with reasonable prices on the one-block strip known as the town of Watermill. Expect a wait at prime times on Friday or Saturday nights.
Located in the back of the Watermill Commons (right next to SoulCycle), a husband and wife team are cooking delicious French-inspired Mediterranean food at this new-ish restaurant. It’s charming, laid-back, and off the radar, which is the opposite of all other Hamptons restaurants.
Southampton is home to several NYC sceney restaurants filled with people who eat in these same restaurants in Manhattan. Sant Ambroeus, which also has locations on the Upper East Side, in Nolita, and in the West Village, is one such place. People come here as much for the scene as the food, but the food is pretty good. You can’t go wrong with the pasta or veal milanese, and you can also pick up panini and ice cream to go.
Tutto Il Giorno
Tutto Il Giorno is owned by Donna Karan, and also has locations in Tribeca and Sag Harbor. The Southampton location has a pretty outdoor seating area, and serves nice summery/coastal Italian food.
Cowfish is a solid choice for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch in Hamptons Bay. And since it's 2020, we probably don't have to tell you that you should always order dessert here. But just in case, the skillet cookie with vanilla ice cream is a must.
Stone Creek Inn
For a nice, potentially romantic dinner in the Quogue area, Stone Creek Inn is the area’s best fancy restaurant. They have an excellent outdoor setup this summer that involves tents, string lights, and plenty of distanced tables.
This place by the water also has lots of outdoor seating, and views to go with it. They serve all the raw bar and cooked seafood you’d expect, some of it with a twist like “everything bagel-crusted salmon.”
Beth’s is a breakfast and lunch spot, serving pastries and egg dishes as well as salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. Use it for daytime takeout in the area.
John’s Surf Shack
If summer to you sounds like lobster rolls and delicious fried things you can eat with your hands, you’ll be very happy at this super casual spot in Westhampton. There isn’t much else like this between here and Montauk.