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The Hamptons Restaurants

The American Hotel Restaurant
49 Main Street
Sag Harbor , New York
11963
Tel: 631 725 3535
www.theamericanhotel.com/restaurant%20home.htm

The restaurant at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor is as much of a Hamptons classic as the hotel itself, and more vibrant than the somewhat frayed guest rooms. Just past the wood-paneled parlor, with its armchairs and fragrant cigar case, the restaurant opens up into four separate dining rooms. The French-inspired menu changes seasonally; dishes might include duck-liver terrine with black truffles; steak au poivre; and oysters on the half shell from nearby Hog Neck Bay. (The lobster BLT is a popular lunch option.) But the real draw, apart from the celebrated wine list, has always been the lively and unpretentious social scene, which over the years has drawn the likes of Billy Joel, who's been known to play tunes on the house piano, and everyone's favorite Hamptons fixture, Alec Baldwin.—Darrell Hartman

Open Mondays through Sundays 8 to 10 am, 12 to 4 pm, and 5 to 10:30 pm, summer; 5 to 9:30 pm, winter.

Clam Bar
2025 Montauk Highway
Amagansett , New York
Tel: 631 267 6348
www.clambaronline.com

Less flashy and storied than the Lobster Roll, just a stone's throw down Montauk Highway, the Clam Bar serves up quality fried clams, burgers, and, to some minds, a superior lobster roll from a diminutive red roadside shack. Eating this close to the road is like driving in a convertible—the wind blows your hair, and it really feels like summer. Plus, there is something comforting about the non-ambience and limited charms of picnic tables shaded by umbrellas and the posted signs warning against letting children wander freely.—Updated by Darrell Hartman

Open daily from 12 pm until dark, April through November.

Cyril's Fish House
2167 Montauk Highway
Amagansett , New York
11954
Tel: 631 267 7993

Timing is everything at this Caribbean-style seafood shack. At lunchtime, families sit under umbrellas, taking plastic flatware to citrus-accented broiled bass fillet and lightly fried squid with Buffalo-style sauce and blue cheese dressing. In the late afternoon and evening, crowds of beach-tanned singles in flip-flops and tank tops quaff rum punch and frozen margaritas, transforming the roadside eatery into a buzzing pickup scene. Cyril, with his white beard, funky sunglasses, straw hat, and (if you're lucky) flowing sarong, works the crowd. The bohemian proprietor is quick to accept a drink, but he doesn't accept credit cards—so bring cash or you'll be saddled with his high ATM fee.

Open daily 11 am to 10 pm, mid-April through early October.

Farm Stands in the Hamptons

The East End is loaded with gourmet grocery stores peddling the stuff of fabulous dinner parties ($100/pound lobster salad, anyone?) But there's also great local produce at the area's farm stands, which make good bicycling pit stops as well as prime prospects for surreptitious celebrity sightings. The Halsey family sells apples, peaches, and cider donuts from the Milk Pail Country Store on Montauk Highway near Bridgehampton, and from September through October at their nearby U-Pick Apple and Pumpkin Farm (631-537-2565). Round Swamp Farm, in Springs, is popular for its fresh juices and homemade salsas (631-324-4438). Fairview Farm on Horsemill Lane in Bridgehampton has cheese from local Mecox Bay Dairy, fresh iced ginger tea, and other local treats; the farm also runs a cornfield maze each year between September and November (631-537-6154). Pike Farms, located on bucolic Sagg Main Street in Sagaponack, is known for its tomatoes and corn, which are sweetest during late summer.—Updated by Darrell Hartman

The Living Room
207 Main Street
East Hampton , New York
11937
Tel: 631 324 5440
www.careofhotels.com/maidstone/food/default-en.html

Attached to the Maidstone hotel, the Living Room takes the typical Hamptons experience (white linens, grilled meats and fish) and injects it with Swedish flavor—a blend of familiar and exotic that pleases some of the East End's most finicky summer folk. Brace yourself for some vibrant upholstery (a riot of Svenskt Tenn floral prints) and an appetizer list that includes gravlax, pickled herring, and a super-canapé called Toast Pelle Jansson: neat stacks of silky beef carpaccio garnished with caviar, chives, and crème fraîche. Chef James Carpenter, formerly of the American Hotel and the late Della Femina, sources much of his meat and dairy products from local providers. And his lamb meatballs with ricotta dumplings in fragrant tomato broth are hard to beat. For the budget-conscious, the restaurant serves up complimentary hors d'oeuvres and wine discounts every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 pm.—Darrell Hartman

Open Mondays through Thursdays 8 to 10:30 am, 12 to 3 pm, and 5:30 to 10 pm; Fridays 8 to 10:30 am, 12 to 3 pm, and 5:30 to 11 pm; and Saturdays and Sundays 8 to 10:30 am, 11 am to 3 pm, and 5:30 to 10 pm.

Lobster Roll (a.k.a Lunch)
1980 Montauk Highway
Amagansett , New York
11930
Tel: 631 267 3740

Since 1965, the Lobster Roll has been the quintessential Long Island seafood joint. Also known as Lunch, thanks to the sign on top of its roof, this seasonal spot welcomes families with a kid-friendly menu, a warm staff, fast service, and a casual dining space. Groups gather on benches for bowls of mellow lobster bisque; tender, well-spiced crab cakes; old-fashioned egg creams; homemade rhubarb pie; and, of course, the famous lobster roll, a classic that comes on an overstuffed hot-dog bun with creamy mayo and crunchy celery. Lunch (which also serves dinner) recently reintroduced a hot lobster roll, served with scampi butter, and offers other surprises, too, including a gluten-free menu and tempura-style blowfish.—Updated by Darrell Hartman

Open May through October; weekends only before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.

Mirko's
670 Montauk Highway
Water Mill , New York
11976
Tel: 631 726 4444
mirkosrestaurant.com

It takes a little work to find Mirko's, located behind an enclave of shops and through a small parking lot. Ferraris and Jaguars mark the spot—they belong to the restaurant's rich, sometimes famous, and intensely devoted clientele. The dining room's crisp white linens are complemented in summer by a private patio and in winter by a crackling fireplace. For nearly three decades, chef Mirko Zagar has worked his magic here: An artfully presented vegetable risotto is dotted with crisp slices of asparagus and snap peas, a grilled shrimp curls around a chive flower and a sprig of oregano, and the rigatoni bolognese inspires serious cravings. On the otherwise descriptive dessert menu, one item is listed simply as "The Pear." This house specialty is poached, dipped in rich dark chocolate, and served whole over vanilla ice cream—delicious beyond words.—Updated by Darrell Hartman

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 5:30 to 10:30 pm.

Nick & Toni's
136 N. Main Street
East Hampton , New York
11937
Tel: 631 324 3550
www.nickandtonis.com

Here's a taste of Hamptons hospitality, accompanied by a heaping side of boldface names: A gracious hostess guides you past tables helmed by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Ron Perelman, and a knowledgeable waitress delivers a comforting plate of free-range chicken with roasted vegetables and garlic jus. Granted, if you're not an A-lister, a Friday or Saturday night reservation can be impossible. (Call ten days in advance, and be prepared to redial. Alternatively, try your luck on OpenTable.com.) But if you score a seat, you'll be well taken care of, no matter who you are. During the summer, outdoor tables provide much-needed extra seating, and a pleasantly private, albeit generally celeb-free, back room is less hectic. Stroll by the kitchen counter, though, and you'll come upon a wall covered in colorful drawings by the children of Christie Brinkley, Chevy Chase, and the restaurant's other famous patrons. On slower nights—Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday—wood-oven pizzas please the regulars.—Updated by Darrell Hartman

Open nightly from 6 pm.

Hotel Photo
Pierre's
2468 Main Street
Bridgehampton , New York
11932
Tel: 631 537 5110
www.pierresbridgehampton.com

Pierre's is the perfect Hamptons microcosm: wicker bar stools, white linens, retro-chic pressed-tin ceilings, a well-heeled but dressed-down crowd, and a hint of the sniffiness that irks even as it makes you feel just a little bit lucky to be here. More important, the food is reliably good, whether you've ordered the mussels in white wine sauce or a true plat de résistance like the lobster fricassée. The most desirable tables are in the narrow area near the front, by the pastry display that advertises extremely tasty house-made napoleons. During weekend brunch, outdoor tables offer quality people-watching along Bridgehampton's main drag. When it comes to seating, though, unless you're a very familiar face to owner Pierre Weber, you'll probably have to settle for what you get.—Darrell Hartman

Open daily 8 am to 11 pm, summer; 8 am to 10 pm, winter.

Red/Bar Brasserie
210 Hampton Road
Southampton , New York
11968
Tel: 631 283 0704
www.redbarbrasserie.com

For a relaxed dinner at a French bistro, head to the Red/Bar Brasserie early on a weeknight—in the off-season. Between June and September, Red/Bar's high-wattage clientele (shock jock Howard Stern and his wife, Beth Ostrosky, are regulars) park their Land Rovers up and down Hampton Road and pack into the dining room. They come for chef Erik Nodeland's top-flight bistro fare, such as garlicky steamed Prince Edward mussels in a white wine broth, and tender, truffle-scented chicken breast paired with a hearty wild mushroom risotto. Try for one of the banquettes in the center of the dining room to best take it all in. There's also a happening scene at the tiny bar, where the crowd downs potent martinis and glasses of white wine from the nearby Channing Daughters vineyard and grooves to a Brazilian beat.

Open nightly from 6 pm.

Sant Ambroeus
30 Main Street
Southampton , New York
11968
Tel: 631 283 1233
www.santambroeus.com/new/home.htm

Southampton is the most self-consciously dressed-up of the Hamptons, so it makes sense that Main Street would be the spot for an outpost of this Manhattan gelateria and restaurant. This is the place to go when you've had enough of the sun-soaked beach atmosphere and feel the need to stand at a bar and be served a $6 cappuccino and an equally overpriced prosciutto-and-fresh-mozzarella focaccia sandwich by wisecracking Italian-speaking gentlemen in black ties and vests. Up front is a long glass case with many flavors of gelato (try the mango or blueberry); in the back is a small, more formal dining room that serves Italian standards such as spaghetti alla bolognese, risotto with asparagus, and breaded veal chops.

Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.

Townline BBQ
Corner of Townline Road and Montauk Highway
Sagaponack , New York
11962
Tel: 631 537 2271
www.townlinebbq.com

If minimalist architect Richard Meier designed a BBQ joint, then Townline BBQ might be the outcome. A boar's head over the fireplace and a pool table are the only embellishments to the reclaimed wood walls and long wooden tables. Step up to the counter and order pulled pork sandwiches piled high with coleslaw, pickles, and jalapeños, substantial racks of beef or pork ribs, fried mac 'n' cheese, and rich icebox cake. And watch for Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos and their kids tucking into pork ribs, French fries, and Texas chili. Wash the tangy Texas-style, house-smoked barbecue down with a spicy Bloody Mary (crafted with Tito's Handmade Vodka from Austin, Texas) or a Blue Point Toasted Lager.—Updated by Darrell Hartman

Open Sundays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 11 pm.

Turtle Crossing
221 Pantigo Road
East Hampton , New York
11937
Tel: 631 324 7166
www.turtlecrossing.com

Although it arguably still serves up the best house-smoked meats in the Hamptons, Turtle Crossing isn't the humble barbecue joint it used to be. The restaurant's expanded concept trades cowboy kitsch for burgundy banquettes and antique bronze ceiling fans, quesadillas for grilled quail and wild mushroom orzo. There's still a solid range of Southwestern specialties on the menu, though, especially on weekends: Try the barbecue duck, the brisket, or the charred pulled-chicken sandwich, which comes on a brioche with sweet, smoky barbecue sauce and crisp pickles. The attitude-free staff delivers a glass of Cabernet as readily as they do a fresh, massive margarita.—Updated by Darrell Hartman

Open Mondays through Thursdays 5 to 10 pm, Fridays 5 to 11 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays noon to 10 pm, May through November.

Vine Street Café
41 S. Ferry Road
Shelter Island , New York
11964
Tel: 631 749 3210
www.vinestreetcafe.com

On summer evenings, this Shelter Island favorite, housed in a white-shingled ranch with flower-filled window boxes, quickly fills up with a beach-chic crowd that spills out to the picnic tables. Celebs such as actor John Malkovich, designer Jonathan Adler, and style maven Simon Doonan often stop by for the fresh fare: tuna tataki pepped up with wasabi; heirloom tomatoes with basil, Parmesan, and Vidalia onions; and perfectly prepared filet mignon. Be sure to save room for a side dish—the crisp frites with garlic aïoli are sublime.

Open Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays 5 to 9:30 pm, Fridays 5 to 10 pm and Saturdays 5 to 11 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.