The Hamptons. Gets a bad rap for being "The Playground of The Rich."
Its proximity to New York City and the beaches — which, let’s be honest — are beautiful… make the East End the perfect weekend getaway for Type-A New Yorkers who need a break.
As many of you know, during the pandemic, the Hamptons became a year-round destination… as many fled the city to their country homes for fresh air, roomier environs and — the chief reason — safety.
I’ve been going to the Hamptons ever since I moved to New York — almost 25 years ago. It was a much different place then. Very little traffic. No Gucci or Starbucks. And only a few good restaurants.
It’s different now. The traffic is horrendous… I’ll admit, I do love the Gucci… and the restaurant game is STRONG.
Each year, my favorite restaurants out East change a bit… because new ones pop up… and old ones (sadly) close.
1. SAM’S PIZZA, 36 Newtown Ln, East Hampton: Proudly serving the best pizza in the Hamptons since 1947. Can’t miss the red neon sign. Perfect Sunday night dinner. Sit at the bar, order a beer and the Sam’s special… you’ll see everyone from locals to David Lauren.
2. MOBY’S, 341 Pantigo Rd, East Hampton: Great people watching and food. Sit outside on the picnic tables, order the Tuscan Kale Caesar, Margherita pizza or Cacio e Pepe and call it a day. Weeknights are best, less chaotic.
3. TUTTO IL GIORNO, 16 Main St, Sag Harbor: Are you surprised Tutto Il Giorno made the list? Just this week, I interviewed owner Gabby Karan de Felice and her mom, Donna Karan. There’s a Tutto in Southampton and Tribeca, too… but the Sag location is my favorite. Sit on the back patio and get the Tutto Insalata, Rigatoni or Penne.
4. RITA CANTINA, 28 Maidstone Park Rd, East Hampton: Rita Cantina is new this summer and already one of the hottest tables in the Hamptons. Go early, order Rita’s Homemade Guacamole, Local Harvest Fluke Taco, a frozen Spicy Margarita and RELAX.
5. CLAM BAR, 2025 Montauk Hwy, Amagansett: There’s a great debate over who makes the best lobster roll in the Hamptons… Clam Bar, a roadside outdoor restaurant, is right up there. Lunch (otherwise known as the Lobster Roll) is across the street, but ever since the show, The Affair, made it famous, it’s all tourists. Clam Bar is better. Order the lobster roll, New England clam chowder, and a lemonade – kids love the clam strips.
6. DURYEA’S LOBSTER DECK, 65 Tuthill Rd, Montauk: Favorite place to go to watch the sunset. Feels like Europe. Get the Duryea’s Lobster Cobb Salad, French fries, and crudité… you won’t be disappointed.
7. THE CROW’S NEST, 4 Old West Lake Dr, Montauk: If you want the full Montauk experience, go immediately to The Crow’s Nest. Owned by famed hotelier, Sean MacPherson. His drop-dead gorgeous wife, Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, is the founder of Lingua Franca, so you’ll want to go early to peruse the boutique. Walk down to the water with a drink then come back and order the Mezze Platter, Local Baby Gem Salad, and Local Lobster Fettucine. PS, you can also stay there.
8. BRIDGEHAMPTON INN RESTAURANT, 2266 Montauk Hwy, Bridgehampton: Owned by Sybille Van Kempen, who also owns the famed Loaves & Fishes Foodstore. It’s a family affair and you’ll be treated like family as soon as you walk in the door. Son, Kyle, is the bartender… Stefan, another son, works at the Inn and daughter, Karina, manages the Foodstore. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet innkeeper Cerene or Glenn, who manages the restaurant at night. The menu changes every month.
9. HAMPTON CHUTNEY CO., 12 Amagansett Sq, Amagansett: A mainstay of Amagansett Square for more than 20 years, Hampton Chutney Co. recently announced it will soon be forced to move out of that prime spot due to massive rent increases. For now, it’s still in the square. Get the Breakfast Dosa or the Curry Chicken over rice. *Word is, Hampton Chutney Co. is moving to the Mary’s Marvelous location in East Hampton. And that Jack's Wife Freda is taking its place. Where is Mary’s Marvelous going? Stay tuned.
10. JACK’S STIR BREW COFFEE, 146 Montauk Hwy, Amagansett: Hands down, my favorite coffee in the Hamptons. Small oat milk cappuccino extra hot, in case you’re wondering. I also order the double egg and cheese on a sesame bagel (when I’m feeling skinny). There’s another Jack’s in Sag Harbor, but my heart is in Amagansett.
Hope you can pop in to one, some, or all of these gems. If you do, you HAVE to let me know what you think!