The Hamptons, that exclusive collection of hamlets on far eastern Long Island, are known for their stately summer homes and famous part-time residents. This is also an excellent place to find delicious food. The chefs in this area combine an enthusiasm for the farm-to-table movement with classic recipes and cutting edge cooking styles to create a cuisine scene that is as exciting as anything taking place in Manhattan’s most buzzed-about eateries.
The best time to get an sample of the best that the Hampton’s kitchens have to offer is during one of the two annual Long Island “restaurant weeks.” Held in November and early May, these festivals include many of the best restaurants in the Hamptons. Participating eateries serve a set menu that features their finest dishes. Restaurant weeks are actually a great time to visit the Hamptons because they are held outside of the summer and holiday seasons, when the area is more crowded.
Of course, the most delicious restaurants on Long Island are open year-round, so you will be able to experience the flavors of the Hamptons no matter what time of year you visit.
One of the best examples of the tasty and funky eating options in the Hamptons is Starr Boggs in the hamlet of Westhampton Beach. Housed in a classic Long Island building, this restaurant serves up seafood in what is best described as the New American style of cooking. Boggs is not just about the food however. Original artwork by Andy Warhol hangs on the wall.
Delicious seafood meets casual dining at Dave’s Grill in Montauk. The waterfront setting, with an outdoor deck, is perfect for warmer weather. There are several noteworthy options around this popular tourist town, but Dave's is widely considered the best, at least when it comes to seafood dishes and seating.
Fresh, seasonal food is an important part of the Hamptons eating scene. An example of this is the North Fork Table, which is located in Southold. The menu here changes depending on the season and depending on what is both fresh and locally available. All the seafood was recently caught and the produce was grown organically by local island farmers. Even the cheeses were produced by skilled artisans who work nearby. The East Hampton and Sag Harbor farmers markets are good places to get in touch with the same growers who work with local restaurants.
Despite its glamorous appeal, many of the best restaurants have an unpretentious vibe. It really is all about the food. That is the case at 1 North Steakhouse. Despite a steady stream of buzz and almost universally positive reviews, this place is totally unpretentious. It is actually something of a local hangout, even though some people think it is worth traveling all the way from NYC just to enjoy a steak here.
Topping Rose House makes it possible to make food one of the focal points of your Hamptons stay without sacrificing any other vacation experiences. This luxurious hotel in Bridgehampton boasts well-appointed cottages, suites and guest-rooms. The surroundings have classic Long Island elements as well as an airy, modern ambiance.
The star of the show is Topping Rose House’s much-heralded restaurant. Not only can guests try some of the most exciting gourmet cuisine on Long Island, they can even learn how to make it themselves. That’s right, once per month, Topping Rose House offers special seasonal cooking classes.
Have you spent time in the Hamptons? What is your favorite eatery? Use the comments section to share your experiences with us.