Going out to dinner in the Hamptons: not always the best. Food can be expensive, service can be painful, and there's a lady next to you who's very upset they don't have her favorite kind of rosé (even though she doesn't know what it's called). If you're rolling with a big group, things can get even more complicated.
But whether it's someone in the house's birthday, or no one knows how to turn on the grill, dinners out on the town are necessary at times - and they don't have to be bad.
Here are our favorite places to eat out with a group in the Hamptons. What's that, someone showed up with a previously unannounced guest, and now you're a group of 12? You forgot to book anything in advance? Whatever your situation, we've got you.
Spread out over a few different rooms and flowing out into a big backyard, Moby's feels partially like being in someone's really large house, and partially like a summer camp. There are plenty of large tables, the food is good for sharing, and you can also hang after dinner. Best spot in the house as the night progresses: top of the lifeguard stand out back. Not sure what it's doing there, but great place to observe the action from above. Just don't bring anyone too cranky here - the service can be slow, and it might take a while to get seated.
Located up in Three Mile Harbor, on the bay just north of East Hampton and Amagansett, Bay Kitchen is your best bet for eating by the water and sunset views, without heading out to Montauk. The food here is not-cheap seafood (shocking twist, right?) and it won't be your easiest option if you're trying to catch a cab to the Surf Lodge afterwards, but it's a nice setting if a pleasant dinner out is what you're after.
Birthdays, relatively tame bachelorette parties, families out on the town - you'll find them all at South Edison on a given Saturday night. This is a modern, lively restaurant with the benefit of being right in the center of Montauk. If your plan is to head to The Sloppy Tuna or Memory Motel or The Point or Zum Schneider or some other relative sh*tshow in town, but would like to have a civilized meal beforehand, do it here.
Another good option if you'd like to be near town in Montauk, this place is run by people behind Tacombi. The tacos here are seafood-based, and quite tasty. There are no reservations, so use this one when you failed to make plans and are looking for something casual but still somewhat festive to start a night out.
For a beach destination, there are very few places to actually eat on a beach. You can at Navy Beach. It's admittedly a small, rocky beach, but it's a beach nonetheless. Come for drinks at sunset, and get a table outside if you can. If you can't, or the weather's iffy, inside's perfectly nice too.
This restaurant is a little confusing. First of all, there's a bar room that looks like an Irish pub, a sushi bar, a casual outdoor deck overlooking the water, and a sort of swanky rooftop area. And second, despite being called "Clam & Chowder House," the reason to come here is actually for the sushi, which happens to be surprisingly good. Reservations aren't accepted, so it's a good place to hit if you weren't able to book anything - just know you'll probably have to wait or split your group up among different tables.
A big, full-of-action space by the water right next to Clam & Chowder House, Swallow East also serves the holy grail of group dinners: affordably priced food that's way better than it needs to be (get the mussels) and is ideal for sharing. There's plenty of outdoor space, too. Call to make a reservation for groups of 8 or more, or walk in and wait for a table by the bar if you're a smaller crew.
Trying to not spend $80 a person on fancy drinks and a kind of average piece of halibut you don't really want anyway? Head to The Hideaway for fish tacos, BBQ ribs, beers, and margaritas. It's also conveniently a pay at the counter situation, so you won't have to deal with the fact that that random guy Steve who just joined your group keeps ordering shots of Patron for himself.
A similar solution to The Hideaway, but located on the highway in Amagansett, La Fondita is a useful taco spot to have in your back pocket when dealing with a hangry group. Just know this is definitely a "grab some tacos and beers and sit at a picnic tables on the way home" situation and not a "big dinner before a night out" destination.
Duryea's used to be an extremely low-key, BYOB, eat-lobster-off-a-plastic-plate sort of situation, but was taken over by new ownership recently, and got a makeover worthy of a 90s teen movie. You know: the popular kids think she's hot now, but she may have lost a little bit of her charm? Either way, Duryea's remains a fun place to sit out with your group and get down with some seafood.