Once you’ve battled the Belt Parkway and clawed your way down Route 27’s summer traffic, your very arrival in the Hamptons often feels like a victory. But the real fight begins as you seek to score a coveted table at the region’s hottest restaurants.
Whether you’re looking for a casual lunch or a date-night destination, we’ve rounded up some of the sweetest spots to tempt your palate this season in the Hamptons.
EMP Summer House
Back for its second summer, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Eleven Madison Park’s pop-up eatery is dishing out a seafood-focused menu in the same location as last year on Pantigo Road. Much more casual than the NYC restaurant, this seasonal iteration features picnic tables, a menu of rustic fare (from lobster rolls to shareable flatbreads) and large-format cocktails, and a variety of lawn games, like cornhole, to keep you entertained.
Don’t miss the group dining options, either — choose from a taco party with all the fixings or a signature lobster boil, sans cleanup. Be sure to book early and don’t forget your Platinum Card. The temporary venue only accepts American Express or cash.
Shuko Beach at Highway
What East Hampton’s Highway Restaurant and Bar lacks in curb appeal, it makes up for in unexpected flavor — you’ll find everything from sumptuous housemade pasta to regular Thai nights and a delicious roasted chicken at this popular place on Montauk Highway.
Starting July 6, however, weekend diners are in for a treat as chefs Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau (formerly of NYC’s Five-Star Masa) are transforming the cozy space into a pop-up of Union Square’s Shuko. Choose from an intimate chef’s counter omakase experience with a starter and 16-piece sushi presentation or nibble from a signature bento box for your group in the main dining room.
If you’re not feeling fish, Highway’s regular menu will still be available as well.
Il Mulino New York
Perched on Georgica Pond, between Wainscott and East Hampton, is this season’s hottest take on Italian fare. Il Mulino serves traditional dishes, such as bucatini all’amatriciana and veal or chicken Parmigiana, as well as lighter fare like ceviche and carpaccio.
While not a new concept — you’ll also find outposts in Manhattan, Florida and Puerto Rico — the crowds keep coming for a taste of old-school Italian in this chic new location.
It’s getting sexy in South Hampton with the opening of this French-inspired bistro set in a picturesque 17th-century Dutch Colonial building. Expect starters like a niçoise salad with yellowfin tuna as well as a delicious pissaladiere (caramelized onion tart), before moving on to local Long Island duck or moules a la Provençale (mussels steamed in an herb-infused tomato sauce) from acclaimed NYC chef Wolfgang Ban.
Our favorite part, however, is the setting itself — the space is filled with natural light and beautiful fresh flower arrangements. Don’t want to leave? You don’t have to. The owners also opened a nine-room boutique hotel upstairs.
This no-frills Montauk seafood eatery offers everything we’d hope for in a laid-back summer lunch at the beach. Pony up to the counter or dine outside at a picnic table and try just-caught lobsters and locally sourced crustaceans as well as signature “boats” of fried clams, fish and oysters, plus some healthier fare, like fresh seasonal tomatoes stuffed with lobster salad. The name says it all: We’re already hooked.
We’ve long loved Bridgehampton’s Almond, but sometimes a more casual night — perhaps parked poolside with a glass of rosé — calls. Skip the reservation and head straight to the new L&W Market from the owners of the popular farm-to-table spot, where you’ll find everything from coffee and pastries in the morning to a sandwich or lobster salad to go later in the day.
Peruse a well-curated selection of locally sourced prepared and dry goods (including a new line of fermented fare, Kimchi Jews, from the owners) to stock the pantry. With grab-and-go this good, we won’t judge if you never feel the need to turn on the oven.