A beach in the Hamptons

Dining in the Hamptons has become quite the gourmet affair both on and off season, with newly opened restaurants led by some of New York’s top emerging chefs, including Laurent Tourondel, Melissa O’Donnell, and Geoffrey Lechantoux. From the latest eateries to open in Westhampton Beach to a not-to-miss pop-up in Amagansett, here’s where to dine all year round.

Let’s begin with my hometown of Westhampton Beach. Often overlooked for the quaint village of Quogue, this humble Hampton has recently become a happening hotspot, for those who take the time to discover it. Part of this is thanks to Steven Carro and Amanda Pierce who moved in from New York City, “After falling in love with the area and the people”. Carro shares, “We both come from an NYC food and beverage background and felt there was nowhere to go that exuded an NYC vibe with an unwavering focus on cuisine, service, beverages, and maybe most importantly late night done right!” This is how restaurant Daphne’s (named for one of the couple’s dogs) came to life. With a locally sourced menu by Chef Jack Clark, a creative cocktail bar and a goal to stay open all year long, “Which is what the community needs”, explains Carro, Daphne’s has filled its tables and terraces since opening in May. Another new not to miss dining spot in Westhampton Beach that recently replaced the long-standing Starr Boggs, Fauna helmed by Chef Drew Hiatt, elegantly combines food, beverages, and hospitality within a stylish setting. This is the second Westhampton Beach restaurant for David and Rachel Hersh of the Rooted Hospitality Group after opening the more casual Flora in 2020. 

Favorite of many Manhattanites due to its proximity to the city, Southampton Town is worth a savory stop. A New York City outpost that has since expanded to Sag Harbor with a smaller spot in East Hampton, Tutto Il Giorno reveals an impressive Italian-style menu within a lush locale. Meanwhile, the new French-inspired bistro Enchanté (a formal greeting translated to enchanted) welcomes with fresh flavors within an airy space decked out in mid-century design. A twenty-minute drive further east finds you in Bridgehampton where bistro Almond serves French-style comfort food and is equally as comfy. Meanwhile, Pierre’s will almost make you feel like you’re dining in Paris’s left bank. If you prefer Greek Island vibes, Elaia Estiatorio offers traditional Greek cooking, minus the sea views. Long-time Hamptonite and Editor-in-Chief of Berkshire Hathaway publications, Anetta Nowosielska shares, “I’m a fan of the restaurants that stay open year-round. Without Tutto il Giorno, Pierre’s, or Almond, the Hamptonites would have nowhere to go in the off-season.” Thankfully that’s all changing as more establishments are staying open way beyond Labor Day to cater to a growing off-season clientele. 

The most ‘bohemian chic’ of all the Hamptons, Sag Harbor maintains a loyal following and an eclectic array of dining options. Sushi restaurant Sen remains a local favorite for 29 years, and where I’ve spent many a memorable night, now with an added garden. Mediterranean-style Lulu Kitchen & Bar has everyone talking, over tasty plates grilled in wood ovens. This past Memorial Day, Chef Laurent Tourondel with the help of Steven Carro, added Mexican to the culinary options with eLTacobar. Seasonal ingredients, tortillas made from scratch, and “a funky twist to classic Mexican cocktails” is certain to please. For an upscale seaside feast, Crystal Willis, Hamptons-born owner of Blue One boutique in Bridgehampton, confesses that 25-year-old Beacon is her and her husband’s “Favorite date night spot with the best sunset and the most delicious menu.” In partnership with Kittsh, Michelin award-winning chef Melissa O’Donnell opened Sag Harbor Kitchen in late June where a well-curated wine list and innovative cocktails accompany her creative concoctions from both land and sea. Dockside dining is definitely a thing.

Considered the most posh of the Hamptons towns, East Hampton also serves up some fine fare. Let’s start with Moby’s where coastal Italian dishes have complemented craft cocktails and a vast wine selection for 11 years running. Leave it to this fancy enclave to blend two highly esteemed food cultures and my personal favorites Italian and Japanese, into one at O by Kissaki. Translating to “Italian food” in Japanese, itameshi results in a combination of the best of both cuisines, with sleek decor to match. Continuing east to Amagansett, casually cool Il Buco al Mare imports their tinned fish from Italy, as well as their homemade focaccia. Through the end of September, stop by Rosie’s Amagansett where some of New York City’s hottest restaurants will be popping up. Included in the appetizing lineup are Wayla, odo, Charlie Bird, Wayan, Leland and Little Owl. 

At the very end of the South Fork is a hamlet I frequented as a child, for its lighthouse and rugged charm. These days, Montauk has become a destination. Jen Perciballi, CEO & Founder of PR firm Oak & Cannon has been summering in what’s often referred to as “The End” for well over a decade. “I love Montauk for its natural beauty from the ocean to the bay and all the green, lush land and ponds in between,” she poetically shares. For the best in surf and turf, new spot Mavericks Montauk serves up local seafood and stellar steak by James Beard-nominated chef Jeremy Blutstein. Ocean views are complimentary. If it’s a stylish and sultry setting you’re after, new Mediterranean hotspot Talya at the Ruschmeyers Hotel is the place to be. Chef Geoffrey Lechantoux’s inventive menu pays homage to Greek food and culture. Perciballi’s favorite dining spot is Scarpetta Beach tucked inside Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa. “As if their sweeping ocean views and sophisticated decor weren’t enough, you can enjoy fine dining with a meal and an experience that leaves everyone smiling,” continues Jen. “Arrive an hour before your reservation to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail on the deck as you take in the ocean views, sea air, and the warmth of a fire pit,” she advises. Listen to the locals.

Featured image courtesy of Clay LeConey on Unsplash.