Top 5 Restaurants for Dinner

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*this list does not include Montauk

5. Dockers Waterside Restaurant and Marina- Quogue

Dockers doesn’t have the best food in the Hamptons – not even close. But it does have other things going for it: it’s one of the only casual restaurants located west of Montauk that is on the water, boasts live music, decent seafood and a fantastic sunset. It does not accept reservations, but is able to handle large groups. While most restaurants out east try to be as New York-y as possible, it’s nice to remember once in a while we are, in fact, in a beach town.

4. Tutto Il Giorno- Sag Harbor and Southampton 

The food at Tutto Il Giorno’s Sag Harbor and Southampton locations is almost identical, but Sag Harbor is the better of the two. The chance of a celebrity sighting, people watching and coziness of the Sag Harbor location gives it the edge. They both have satisfying Italian dishes, good wine and outdoor seating.

 3. The Palm- East Hampton

The Palm is a Hamptons staple. As long as I have been coming out east, we have gone to the Huntting Inn to eat at The Palm. The food at The Palm is consistently great. Do you really even need a menu (Monday Night salad, NY strip, carrot cake)? The Palm is a place to see and be seen. You’re almost guaranteed to wait for your table, it does not take reservations for parties of two, but accepts walk-ins. No true Hamptons experience is complete without a visit to The Palm.

2. La Fondita- Amagansett

Mexican street food done right…well at least in the Hamptons. You would have no idea walking into La Fondita that it is owned by the people behind Nick and Toni’s (loses it’s authenticity a little, right?). Either way, the fish tacos at La Fondita are uncontested, the chipotle mayo is perfect, and it is worth trying each of their house sauces. The music, picnic tables, and Mexican sodas trick you into believing you’re in Mexico, that is until you have to get back on 27.

 1. The Beacon- Sag Harbor

I have done you a disservice by not writing a full review on The Beacon yet (I promise its coming!). It is, hands down, my favorite restaurant out east. The Beacon is owned by David Loewenberg, the man who is behind many other Hamptons classics such as RedBar, Little Red, Bell and Anchor, and Fresno. None of them hold a candle to The Beacon. The Beacon is located on the water in Sag Harbor over looking the marina. The sunset alone is worth the visit, but its the food brings you back time and time again. The shrimp salad, Portobello mushroom, tuna, and the halibut in parchment paper are a few of my favorites. Make sure to end your meal with their homemade ice cream sandwich; you won’t regret it.

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BLT Steak vs. Delmonico’s- A Steak Off

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I don’t normally compare two restaurants in the same post, however, when two NYC transplant restaurants appear in the same town, the comparison is begging to be written.

I ate in BLT over Memorial Day weekend and I ate at Delmonico’s this past weekend. This undoubtedly gives Delmonico’s a leg up, for the sheer fact that it was opened more than two days when I visited. Both restaurants are offering the same meal at face value: A New York City steak house in the Hamptons. We already have one of these, Bobby Vans. Do we really need two more?

BLT Steak is in the old Nobu at the Capri Hotel. The décor changed very little, if at all, from when it was Nobu. Its beachy, its warm, its pretty. When you sit down they offer you chicken liver pate with your bread and with your meal you are given their famous popovers (with the most enormous salt shakers known to man). The popovers alone are worth the visit to BLT. The menu at BLT is limiting. If you do not want to eat steak you have very few other options; one fish and one chicken option. The steak portions are also huge, comically so. The meal is very expensive, however, you get a lot of food for your money. The caesar salad, tuna tartar, and the slice of double cut bacon were all great as appetizers. They refused to split the caesar in the kitchen, which seems like an easy request. The hanger steak was tasty and not chewy, but I am warning you, it is ridiculously salty. Coming from a family that salts everything, this was the saltiest steak I’ve ever eaten. I was drinking water all night. To me, nothing ends a meal on a better note than when the check is served with a small cookie. And man, did BLT surpass a little cookie. They serve warm blondie squares with the check and they were incredible bites of warm chocolatey goodness. BLT was pretty empty on Memorial Day weekend, but it was Sunday night and early in the season. As the season continues, I believe the crowd will pick up (if it hasn’t already).

Delomonico’s is in the old Savannah’s location. I was very sad to see Savannah’s go, so for me, it will be big shoes to fill. Unlike BLT Steak, I have never been to Delmonico’s in NYC, so this was a completely novel experience. Delmonico’s updated the décor and made it feel more “beachy-farm chic,” if that’s a thing. The menu at Delmonico’s has a wider range of non-steak items to choose from. It is still very expensive, but the portions are somewhat small. The tuna tartar was incredibly tiny. It was actually three bites. The caesar salad was an average size. The salmon, filet, and burger were all decent and we each enjoyed our meal. The food is certainly good enough, but nothing that exciting. There were a lack of waiters and our waiter was always in a rush and never stayed at the table long enough to answer a question. Overall, the meal at Delmonico’s was just slightly better than okay.

The winner of round 1 of the Steak-Off is BLT Steak. The extra perks when dining at BLT along with the portion sizes make dinner a better bang for the buck. At both places you will get a good crowd, good food, and a slight nostalgia for the restaurants that were.

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The New Hampton Coffee

3f90df5416245a2a4d7ac6f75ba0a6e2A West Coast Style Coffee Experience Store? What does that even mean?? Well, I’ll tell you. Its essentially a Starbucks, but with much better coffee.

The new Hampton Coffee opened a week ago next door to BMW on 27 going west. I am a huge Hampton Coffee fan. Their hazelnut coffee is my favorite hot cup of coffee in the Hamptons, hands down. So, of course, I had to stop by the new place… twice.

I have mixed feelings. There is no arguing with the coffee. It is great. And if you are a coffee snob (in the best way possible), they have added the opportunity for you to choose how your cup is brewed. They will also be offerring coffee brewing classes where you can learn the true art of making the perfect cup, and you can walk to the back of the coffee shop and see the roasting machines. For the true coffee connoisseur, you have hit the motherload. However, for someone like me, the one-cup-a-dayer, what I want is to feel  the warmth, coziness, and since we are in the Hamptons, the beachiness, when getting my coffee fix. These were lacking. The floor at the new Hampton Coffee is made up of large, grey, car show room tiles. The walls are black, the space is large, the tables are sparse. It all feels very industrial. Where as Hampton Coffee in Water Mill has wood floors and a beachy vibe, this emotes a very different atmosphere. Hampton Coffee does warm it up a bit with large wooden tables and wooden stools, another large table in the back, and two comfy chairs with a table in between up front. 

Hampton Coffee is set up like a Starbucks, and has a similar glass window with muffins, sandwiches, croissants, and other treats. They do not have a kitchen, but have soups and oatmeal. They do not have a menu displayed, so unless you know how much things cost ahead of time, you won’t find out until you order. They have outdoor seating, tables and chairs with umbrellas. I love Hampton Coffee, and I will continue to be a loyal patron, however, I prefer their Water Mill location.

Pro: You can’t beat a great cup of Hampton Coffee

Con: Too much city for a beach town’s coffee shop

Pro: You really can have quite the coffee experience if you choose to

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Robert’s- An All Year Round Comfort in Water Mill

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Since the closing of Paradise in Sag Harbor, my family, especially my dad, has been looking to fill the crispy chicken hole in his stomach. Word on ‘27 was that since Robert’s is the same owner as the former Paradise, they would now carry their famous chicken. With Mother’s Day weekend being held out east, is was a no brainer as to where we would head for dinner on Saturday night.

The best thing about eating at Robert’s during the off season is the warm and inviting fireplace, a luxury one avoids during the summer season. There was the right amount of chill in the Spring air to enjoy the fireplace. From the outside, Robert’s looks like a home rather than a restaurant, and when you walk in, it feels just as inviting. The wood beams, the low ceilings, all make you feel like you are walking into a familiar and comforting space. The Maitre d’ was formerly at Paradise, and was  funny, kind, and let us know the chicken was on the menu. The only difference, he informed us, was that the herbs were fresh, rather than dried. But will it be as good? <Cue family debate.>

As some readers are aware, I am not a fan of when bread is served but no bread plates are given. This was the case, but at least there were white table clothes to eat off of. The bread was warm, bread plates were given when asked, and the menus were large. In bold letters on the bottom of the menu states NO SUBSTITUTIONS. As a patron, this always bothers me. Even if I don’t want to. I can’t help but think of all the things I might want to substitute. The maitre d’ did let my father know that he was allowed to substitue the polenta, which came with the chicken, for the shoe string potato fries. This was customary with the chicken from paradise. Phew. Crisis averted.

The appetizers surpassed the entrées for everyone in my family. My appetizer was a warm mushroom salad, with shallots and bitter greens. I eliminated the chickpeas (eliminations are allowed). My family enjoyed their appetizers as well,  asparagus with shaved parmesan, and  prosciutto di parma with zucchini. Our side dish, the Brussels sprouts with bacon, arrived with our appetizers, and then were too cold to eat with our meal.

Our main dishes took a turn south. My mother and I ordered the crispy duck. It was served in a red wine broth with fennel and olives. It was well cooked and neither dry nor fatty, but only moderately seasoned. It was tasty and I would recommend it. Although I am not a big fan of fennel, there were no substitutions allowed. My father and brother both ordered the chicken. Granted, the chicken had a high standard to live up to, according to my father the chicken expert, it did not quite meet it. The chicken was crispy and also not dry, but bland. The French fries on the other hand, were soggy and a big disappointment. My sister-in-law’s pasta with wild mushrooms, parmesan, truffle oil, and oregano was extremely tasteless. It required a lot of doctoring up with salt and pepper to have any flavor.

Biscotti is the way to please my family for dessert, and Robert’s did not disappoint. It was crispy, not chewy, chocolate chip biscotti. The apple pie was a lot more apple than crust, and as long as you don’t mind a thicker, less pastry filled apple pie, you will enjoy it.

Overall, Robert’s is a consistently good restaurant in Water Mill. It has yet to replace the crispy chicken from Paradise, but those are big shoes to fill. I would not recommend the mushroom pasta, but the setting, staff, and food, are all worth a visit.

Pro: Warm and inviting atmosphere.

Con: Pasta was bland, chicken didn’t meet the hype, and No Substitutions.

Pro: Serves consistently good food all year round.

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Osteria Salina- Italian in Bridgehampton

My friends, my parents, and I went to Osteria Salina last Friday Night in Bridgehampton. This new restaurant is located at 95 School Street, around the corner from Candy Kitchen. This location never seems to work for any restaurant, but we decided to give Osteria Salina a shot, and I’m glad we did.

After sitting in four hours of traffic to get out east, we did not get to dinner until 9 pm. The restaurant was packed, and we had to wait 10 minutes for our table. There is a bar when you walk in and two rooms with seating. It has wood floors and a wood ceiling and interesting art on the walls. The acoustics are not great, and it is quite loud inside (which didn’t really phase me, but my dad insisted I add that to the review). Our waiter was named Jordan, and he was incredibly nice. Even though he was from New Jersey, he started off the meal by saying “Buena Cera.” Go figure.

The menu has a lot to choose from, and there were an additional seven specials, five appetizers and two mains. As a table, we ordered four appetizers, the meatballs, buffalo mozzarella salad, tuna tartar, and the crudo. My favorite was the buffalo mozzarella; the cheese melted in your mouth and the tomatoes were tossed in a vinaigrette with fresh basil on top. It was wonderful. The fluke was very fresh and the tuna tartar had crispy capers on top that added a surprising crunch. For our main meal, four out of the five of us ordered the veal. It was a pounded veal cutlet on the bone, lightly breaded on top only with a salad. It was my best meal of the weekend. My dad, the less adventurous of the bunch, ordered the chicken and he enjoyed it and said it was not dry.

The crowd at Osteria Salina was slightly older and I would not consider it a “scene,” but I would consider it a good meal. My only disappointment of the night was that they were out of the Wolffer Rosé, which has turned into my wine choice of the summer. However, the waiter was ready with recommendations and tastings of other wines until I found one I liked.

Pro: Enjoyable meal, knowledgeable waiter, pretty restaurant

Con: Out of Rosé! What’s a girl to do?

Pro: Welcome to Bridgehampton!

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Soft Serve Fruit Co.- A refreshing alternative

When my friends suggested we go to Soft Serve Fruit Co. I was a little apprehensive. I’m a coffee froyo kind of girl. Fruit pureed into frozen yogurt like substance? I don’t know. But I was wrong. It was delicious.

Soft Serve Fruit Co. is located within Hampton Coffee in Watermill. It’s a small stand in the back. They offer four flavors, Dark chocolate, banana, tangerine, and strawberry. They also have a variety of toppings, granola, chocolate and carob chips, graham cracker, dried fruit and more. My favorite topping that they have is the melted peanut butter; its kept heated and they drizzle it on top. The staff was very nice and allowed us to try each of the flavors before making our decision. I went with strawberry (although the tangerine was really refreshing) with chocolate chips and melted peanut butter. It was really, really good. It tasted like ices, but in the consistency of frozen yogurt, so it’s the best of both worlds. Truthfully, the only thing I was upset about was that I didn’t think of this concept first…and I wish they had yogurt chips as a topping.

Soft Serve Fruit Co. is not in town, so it needs to be a destination, which is one of the things that might hurt their business. However, I believe it’s a destination worth taking.

Pro: Healthy alternative to frozen yogurt and ice cream

Con: Yogurt chips please!

Pro: Dairy free,  gluten free, and kosher,because who doesn’t have a friend with one of those diets?

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Nammos- Trata’s spinoff

ImageMy best friend flew in from Florida to have her first Hamptons experience, and where else would I take her but the brand new, sceney, Nammos? I made an 8:30 reservation and the restaurant was only half full when we got there. However, by 9:30 it fills up, with mostly 30 somethings, dressed to impress. We were seated right away, which is the only positive aspect of our meal. Our waiter at Nammos seemed to be annoyed we were there from the moment we sat down. He never stood still long enough to listen to what we were saying, not because he was too busy (remember, half full), but because he just didn’t care. When the tables around us all had bread and olives and we never received ours, I asked if we could have them. The waiter’s response? “Oh, you want that?” “Yes, if it comes with the meal, we would like that.” We were given the bread after we had appetizers.

Ordering felt like I had to tell the waiter everything I wanted in less than 20 seconds or else he would get bored and walk away. When we tried to put in an appetizer before we ordered the entire meal, we were told no. When my other friend asked how big the octopus appetizer was, his response was that “it was very famous.” Thank you, but how big? “appetizer size.” Clearly, it’s in the appetizer section, but for more than one person? “No.” Very informative.

Nammos was marketed to be a less expensive version of Trata. Whoever came up with that was playing a joke on us (at least Trata has the prix fixe option). Not one main dish is under $35. The appetizers average around $20. The cheapest bottle of Rose wine is $80 and a bottle of Santa Margarita pinot grigio is $75. I am willing to spend a lot of money on dinner when I feel like I am getting my money’s worth, but the food at Nammos is good, not great, and not worth the prices they charge. For our meal, we had the dip sampler (the best dish we ate), tuna tartar, octopus, arctic char, and the lamb chops. The lamb chops for $40 were thin and small and completely overpriced. The fish was a nice size, but when I ordered, the waiter asked me which vegetable I wanted with my fish and named a few. I chose one, and then it turns out he charged me for a side order of vegetables.

Overall, Nammos was over priced, average food, and terrible service. They have pretty presentations of their food and a great scene, but they got my drink order wrong twice, they couldn’t bother to listen when I tried to correct the order, and treated us as if we didn’t matter. I don’t know about you, but when I’m spending $100 on a meal, I’d like the waiter to take 30 seconds to listen to my order.

Pro: Location, location, location

Con: Biggest con- our waiter

Pro: Great place for a drink after you eat…somewhere else.

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