There aren’t any tumbleweeds on the sidewalks or docks just yet. And even if there were, there’s no reason to believe the sun needs to set on al fresco dining. After all, summer in the Hamptons doesn’t truly end even when the summer vacationers head back to their primary abodes after Labor Day Weekend.
Whether you plan to stick around a while or are looking to soak up all that’s left of summer before the back-to-school season takes hold, the South Fork is chock-a-block with restaurants serving dinner with a side of gorgeous views. From stunning waterfront vistas to idyllic streetside dining perfect for people and sunset watching, here are 11 of our favorite spots to dine outdoors before summer ends.
Locavores gravitate toward this country-chic Shelter Island restaurant with an airy interior and a quiet patio. Outdoor tables also boast white tablecloths, ensuring an understated, elegant setting, regardless of where you sit. Chef Terry Harwood, who opened Vine Street Café with his life partner, Lisa, in 2003, grows many of the herbs and heirloom vegetables served. Local farmers, fishers, purveyors and winemakers also pitch in for a meal that’s distinctly Long Island.
This Capital One Bank turned island hot spot didn’t quite open in time for the 2022 summer season — but this year, it seems all of its indoor and outdoor chairs are taken at all times. Speaking of the latter, Léon’s beautiful outdoor pergola-covered seating area is tucked behind a spate of arborvitae, with the kind of attentive service that lets you know you haven’t been forgotten by the back door. You might miss the fire show of the glorious open-flame oven where chef Mason Lindahl and his crew cook some of the best dishes on the menu, but despite being on a fairly busy corner (well, busy for Shelter Island) the al fresco area feels cozy and private, like you’re own special private escape.
Island time is all the time at this Shinnecock Bay-facing destination. Accessible only by boat from sister spot Cowfish, Rumba leans into Caribbean-style fare and flair. Think sweet-and-spicy coconut shrimp served with horseradish dip and the hearty Dominican ribs glazed with sweet chili ginger soy. Start with a libation — it’s 5 o’clock somewhere — like the Caribbean Rum Punch– as reggae beats play in the background.
Feel like you’ve escaped to the streets of France without leaving the East End. On balmy days, Almond serves its locally skewed, French comfort food fare in a small outdoor dining space on the patio. Those who prefer not to sit outside (or don’t get a seat) can still enjoy the open air — Almond frequently opens their large accordion windows and doors onto the street. Save room for the sticky toffee date cake served à la mode — you may not wish to share this sweet treat even with that special someone.
As the name implies, harbor front views are part of the package at this no-reservations East Hampton spot with three decades of experience to its name. The seafood-centric menu includes Peconic oysters, locally caught tuna with a tangy lime-chipotle sauce and the lauded lobster roll served on a warm, buttery bun with a side of watermelon.
When Navy Beach opens each spring, it marks a sign of the times — folks can taste the last day of school (even if their actual last day of school was decades ago). The lively but laidback joint situated right on the beach invites guests to dig their toes in the sand as they dine on a coastal-casual fare, with a menu that often combines seafood with light fruits. Take the charred octopus with red watermelon that’s equal parts chewy and juicy or the fresh sea scallops with pomegranate and lemon vinaigrette.
This East End eatery seamlessly blends laidback with elegance. The outdoor seating area includes airy, comfy sectionals that give way to otherworldly water vistas. A raw bar with oysters and shared mains like a two-pound lobster or market fish make a trip here perfect for families or catching up with old friends before the hustle and bustle of fall sets in.
This destination resort at The End has a restaurant with a straightforward menu, live music and ample outdoor seating with garden and poolscape views. Combined, it creates an upbeat atmosphere. The Mediterranean-style menu offerings feel light, relying more on flavor than heavy sauces and seasonings. Creamy burrata with fresh-as-it-gets tomatoes and dock-to-dish entrees like straight-off-the-grill monkfish or tuna have a summertime appeal. Ditto for the option to be served poolside.
Open through October, this East End institution has been a summertime staple for more than four decades. The roadside spot situated on the highway makes for a perfect place to temporarily escape the traffic. An outdoor seating area with yellow-striped umbrellas gives off sunny vibes only. The lobster rolls are as much of an institution as Clam Bar itself.
Bayside views and breezes are included at Bell & Anchor, which boasts an outdoor patio ideal for cool summer nights. The seafood plays into the nautical setting. A raw bar includes oysters and local littleneck clams, and beer-battered fish and chips offers are savory and refreshing all the same. The coconut cake served with toasted coconut and fudge swirl ice cream epitomizes “island dining.”
Michelin star-earning Melissa O’Donnell’s brand new Sag Harbor spot was a big hit when it finally opened mid-summer, and she’s planning on keeping it going all year long. The outdoor tables at this fish-centric eatery, housed in an active American Legion post, are where it’s at — as is the excellent hard-to-choose-from, Mediterranean-skewed spate of dips with warm, housemate pita and the flaky, herb-kissed whole branzino.