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Lighthouse Seafood in Hampton Bays sells fresh fish and prepared food, too. (Photo courtesy of Lighthouse Seafood)

Living by the water has its perks — easy access to sandy shores, for one. Dinner with waterfront vistas? That’s also *chef’s kiss.* While there are plenty of restaurants with views for days, you may be craving a home-cooked meal. If the tide is taking you in that direction, leaning into the South Fork’s seafaring surroundings can very much be on the menu.

Sure, it’s possible to pick up a fish filet, clambake-ready clams and meaty lobsters at your big-box grocer. Yet, there’s something about heading to a local seafood market, often full of fish caught by neighbors straight from local waters. The freshness is unparalleled and the dinner (or brunch, lunch, et al) with a view? It’s going to go swimmingly. 

When your menu calls for the freshest fish on the South Fork, head to these local seafood markets.

Out of the Blue Seafood, 252 E. Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, 631-728-3474

This fuss-free restaurant with a patio and market epitomizes the more casual vibe of Hamptons Bays. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., customers can peruse the market for items like shrimp with tails perfect for stir fries and appetizers alike, live lobsters and heat-and-eat classics like soup and pot pies for busy dinner hosts. Some fish are caught locally, while others come from other waters. 

The Seafood Shop, 356 Montauk Highway, Wainscott, 631-537-0633

This aptly named Wainscott village shop has employed a strategy that’s as straightforward as its name for more than a half-century: “Freshest and the Finest.” Every fish is caught by local fishers in these parts and has been through a change of ownership in the early aughts from founder John Haessler to his former mentee Colin Mather. The humble, shack-like abode with a few umbrella-clad tables on the patio is seemingly overflowing with fresh fish. Think oysters made for enjoying raw or in a Rockefeller recipe, salmon, swordfish and calamari. 

Gosman’s Gourmet Fish Market, 500 W Lake Drive, Montauk, 631-668-5645

Fishing is part of Montauk’s DNA. Before it was a party town, it was a sleepy fisher town, and loyalists would insist it still is. Gosman’s Gourmet Fish Market, under the same umbrella as the lauded, airy seafood restaurant Gosman’s Dock, opens each May and dinner tables are better for it. The seafood is a mix of locally caught fish straight from the property dock to global favorites, a recipe that’s drawn home and pro chefs to the market annually.  

Lighthouse Seafood Market, 36 Lighthouse Road, Hampton Bays, 631-728-5186

Found on the north end of the Ponquogue Bridge, Lighthouse Seafood Market is a draw for its ready-to-devour lobster bakes that come complete with corn on the cob and potatoes. Whole and filet fish caught in local waters are also available, with a staff known for preparing your fare any way you like it. While you wait, Shinnecock Bay vistas provide a breathtaking distraction.

Commander Cody’s Fish Shoppe, 41 Smith St., Shelter Island, 631 749-1851

A throwback experience if there ever was one, Commander Cody’s Fish Shoppe relies more on freshness than frills and flash. Yet, the coastal classic menu with food ready for clam bakes and lobster rolls continues to draw crowds for dine-in, takeout and market browsing. Land-locked types also adore the spot for its BBQ ribs and cast-iron fried chicken, making it a versatile place for households where the crowd is split between surf and turf. Save room for dessert — owner Jimmy Hayward’s CIA-trained daughter makes treats like cookies and ice cream designed to help you punctuate a cool summer soiree. The market is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (except Wednesday when it closes at 6 p.m.). The kitchen is open every day except Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m..

Stuart’s Seafood Market, 41 Oak Lane, Amagansett, 631-267-6700

An Amagansett mainstay since 1951, Stuart’s Seafood Market has local catches like bluefish and tuna. The shellfish? It’s harvested daily by East End baymen. Lobsters are cooked to order in a convection steamer and come out bursting with sweet, fresh flavor. Busy types can also delight in clambakes-to-go with all the fixings — lobsters, steamers, mussels, potatoes and corn on the cob. 

Grab your surf and turf at Montauk Seafood. (Photo courtesy of Montauk Seafood)

Montauk Seafood Company, 12 S. Etna Ave., Montauk, 631-688-5957

Local fishers Wes Peterson and Doug Davidson opened this East End seafood market in 2020, both of whom have been catching fish since childhood. Providing fresh seafood to their neighbors? You could say they were born tod o it. Expect striped bass, tuna, and more freshly plucked from surrounding waters. 

Bostwick’s Seafood Market, 283 Pantigo Road, East Hampton, 631-324-2700

A stone’s throw from the lively chowder house by the same name, Bostwick’s Seafood Market specializes in just-caught fish like tuna and striped bass. Lobster and clambakes to go can also be found here, with package deals including perks like lobster rolls, littleneck clams, mussels, and the works, depending on the order. Add-ons like shrimp cocktail and New England clam chowder are also available.

Bennett Shellfish, 2 S. Debusy Road, Montauk, 631-903-5817

Old Montauk is alive and well at Bennett Shellfish. Current owner Clint Bennett is not only a commercial fisherman, bringing in much of the catch they sell, he’s also a 14th generation fisher here, keeping the trade alive. In addition to fresh fish, the market also sells prepared foods, like their dreamy lobster pie.

Luxe Fresh Seafood, 1282 N. Sea Road, Southampton, 631-353-3799

From in-eason soft shell crab, to fluke, flounder, snapper, oysters and a host of other fresh swimmy creatures, tiny little Luxe is one of faves because they’ll cook anything they’ve got for you take home — grilled, baked, pan-seared, fried, you name it. They also happen to be located in the same parking lot as Peconic Prime Meats for the best of both worlds.