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.
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 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 the 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.
Despite promising you’d be on top of it, you kind of flaked out and didn’t reserve anywhere for that “fun dinner” on Saturday night. Surf Lodge, Ruschmeyer’s, and so on are a sorry bet at this point, but you’re also not ready to resign yourself to hot dogs on the grill and beers. Or at least, Amanda isn’t about to let that that happen. Save the weekend by booking something at seafood restaurant Grey Lady. It’s a nice place for dinner, and should turn into a fun scene for drinks afterwards.
For a beach destination, there are very few places to actually eat on a beach in the Hamptons and Montauk. 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.
A big, full-of-action space by the water, Swallow East 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.
With a higher price point and a location on a very tame stretch of Route 27 between Wainscott and East Hampton, Highway isn’t the place to start a wild night out. But the food here is very good, and there are plenty of big round tables that are nice for groups. This place is lively and the crowd isn’t too gray-haired, but it’s best-suited for a “let’s have some good food and a bottle of wine” kind of night.
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 last year, and is now the kind of place where people order magnums of rosé and seafood towers. You still order at a counter though, so the result is somewhere between chill lobster deck and Sunset Beach without the drive. They don’t take reservations, so come early.
There aren’t really any great restaurants in town in Amagansett, but there is the totally-solid Sotto Sopra. This is a straightforward Italian place with salads, pizzas, pastas, and a long list of entrees that will get the job done. The space inside is nice-looking, and there’s a back garden area that’s good for groups.
Fun fact: there are now locations of Serafina in Brazil, India, Puerto Rico, Japan, South Korea, India, Dubai, Istanbul, and the UAE. If you go to any of these places, please don’t eat at Serafina. We wouldn’t really endorse eating at Serafina on the Lower East Side or in Meatpacking either, or really in any neighborhood where there are so many other good restaurants around. But if you want to eat at Serafina in East Hampton, go for it. It’s easy and accessible, and a perfectly fine place to lean on for some pretty good margherita pizzas.