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.
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. Situated between East Hampton and Wainscott, Highway is a fairly big restaurant with very good food. The menu kind of jumps all over the place - from farro salad to pork buns to seafood pastas to eggplant parm - but they pull it all off, and this is one of the best nice (but not super fancy places) in the East Hampton area. That said, prices are about 30 percent higher than they should be.
As Eleven Madison Park renovates its NYC restaurant, they’ve packed up their entire team, and taken over what used to be Moby’s. The result is EMP Summer House, and as you’d expect, everyone wants to eat here. There are a few ways to do so. First, you can make a reservation in the main dining room (using an American Express card - they’re a partner on the restaurant), where they serve a summer-inspired menu along the lines of what you might see at The NoMad, not EMP proper. You can also make a reservation for the patio, where they’re serving things like burgers, hot dogs, and lobster rolls, as well as large-format dinners like lobster boils and fried chicken meals. Most of these reservations are already taken (there’s not much left before 11pm), but there’s still hope: the tables on the lawn are left for walk-ins, and you can eat the patio menu there.
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.
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 great new restaurant. It’s charming, laid-back, and off the radar, which is the opposite of all other Hamptons restaurants.
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.
Taking over the space that previously housed Nichol’s and Winston’s, Service Station is a welcome addition to the East Hampton mix. It’s low-key, good for big groups, and you can get in without a reservation. The menu is unnecessarily massive and reads a bit like a Hamptons version of Chili’s, but there are some highlights - namely the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. Definitely don’t expect a high-end culinary experience, but Service Station will get the job done in a pinch. They do, however, need to get rid of the automatic throwback gas station “ding” that goes on every time a car or human enters the parking lot. It’s cute for a second, and then turns insanely annoying when you’re dining outside.
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.
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.
The East Hampton Springs is a black hole when it comes to restaurants. There are plenty of places sitting in pristine locations right along Three Mile Harbor overlooking the bay, but none of them have ever been any good. Bay Kitchen Bar has changed that. BKB has a fish-centric menu that is very good, and a vibe that feels more beachy than cheesy. Also excellent: the view. It overlooks the bay, and may have the best sunset in all of the Hamptons.
Every beach community needs a high-quality taqueria, and La Fondita fills that void out East. Order at the counter, grab a Modelo, and set up shop at one of their outdoor picnic tables while your food is prepared. Some of our favorite go-to plates here are the chorizo tacos (or anything with their chorizo for that matter), the daily specials, the refried beans, and plantains with salsa verde. Also, the aguas frescas are great, as are the Mexican wedding cookies.
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.
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.
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.
The Hamptons see-and-be-seen game is not our thing, but if you want a little taste of that action, go to Pierre’s. Right smack in the middle of Bridgehampton, Pierre’s is a lively 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.
Aside from Pierre’s, Almond is where you want to be eating in Bridgehampton. The food is French bistro stuff like roast chicken and escargot, and there’s an extensive raw bar selection. The scene here is also probably the liveliest you’ll find in the immediate area.
There are farm stands every five miles in the Hamptons, and they all have great produce. But no one runs an operation quite like Round Swamp. The prepared foods here are absolutely insane. Every single item at Round Swamp is f*cking great, from the chicken buffalo balls to the guacamole. And don’t get us started on the desserts. Lisa, whose name is on all the homemade baked goods, has some special talents. Just make sure you check with accounting before going - nothing is labeled with a price tag, which is how you know it’s going to be stupid expensive. There’s now a Round Swamp in Bridgehampton as well.
The fancy people line up for overpriced healthy food at Babette’s in East Hampton. The smart people go get breakfast burritos and hash browns at Estia’s. A tiny mom-and-pop operated restaurant on Route 114 between Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton, Estia’s is our go-to brunch spot and it should be yours as well. Again, get the breakfast burrito.
Break out your finest blazer and have a meal with the old folks. A Hamptons landmark, The American Hotel is a classic. So much so that once inside, all the white hair makes it feel like you’ve been transported back in time to Colonial Williamsburg. Their classic French food remains delicious, but be sure to ask about sitting out on the porch or in the atrium. The back room is not where you want to be.
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. You can eat outside on their patio (right on Route 27, which isn’t exactly ideal), or take it to go. The menu is seafood heavy, but there’s something fried, grilled, or on a bun for everyone. Their lobster roll is also solid, and we’re all about their massive baked clams.
We’re not breaking any news here, but Silver’s is a classic. It’s been around since 1923, serving nothing but lunch in the heart of Southampton Village. Soups, salads, and sandwiches are the name of the game here. And all those people waiting out front for a table know what’s up – New Yorkers don’t wait unless it’s worthwhile. Make sure to order the clam chowder.
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. These are excellent. Come with the whole family and sit in a big booth, or just sit at the bar with a beer. Either way, it’s an ideal scenario. Also, their milkshakes - you need one. (If $15+ burgers the size of your face is too much, Bay Burger is also a cheaper, quicker option. Their veggie burger is particularly tasty.)
Baron’s Cove is a relatively new restaurant and bar in a cool boutique hotel of the same name in a secret little strip of bay on the side of Sag Harbor village. It’s a really nice place to hang out, but we don’t suggest eating a full meal here. Just kick it downstairs in the bar area – it’s a really nice room with a great vibe. Have a couple drinks and then walk around the corner and eat at Beacon.
The food at Beacon is solid, but not special. The crowd is older, and sometimes a little snotty. But the view is spectacular. Overlooking the harbor, there’s no better time to come than at sunset, when the sun lowers over the water, illuminating all the boats in a deep orange glow.
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.
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.
Chocolate chip cookies are big business out east. Everyone makes them, and they all generally resemble the thin, crispy, crunchy ones Tate’s have become famous for. There is one exception to the rule: Levain. Levain Bakery and their massive brownie-esque cookies make the best cookie in Manhattan. Lucky for us, they also have a bakery in Wainscott. Now you can enjoy delicious baseball-sized cookies in your bathing suit.
Make a pit stop on the ride home and hit CowFish in Hampton Bays for a drink and snack to break up the drive. CowFish is one of the coolest venues in all of the Hamptons, as it’s a two- floor house surrounded by water and boats. The food kinda sucks, but the setting is great and it’s way more Strong Island than the rest of the stuff on this list, which makes for excellent people watching.