The garden at Estia’s Little Kitchen. Photo by Lindsay Morris
Sag Harbor is an essential part of the Hamptons. Not only charming and filled with history, Sag Harbor is also home to many beautiful marinas, one in the heart of town and others just a short distance away. Yachts from all around the world dock in Sag Harbor across the street from some of the best restaurants around. The actual village of Sag Harbor isn’t even a mile long, and they still manage to have food for every tastebud. It’s hard to list them all. Here are some of my favorites.
A visit to Sag Harbor is not complete without a visit to Estia’s Little Kitchen. Owned by Chef Colin Ambrose, the Mexican inspired restaurant opened in 1998, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Estia is known for fresh ingredients from their garden, which is conveniently located right behind the place. The dish not to miss? The breakfast burrito on a toasted flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, andouille sausage, peppers, onions, cheese topped off with their homemade hot sauce and a side of guacamole. Now I’m hungry …
Need to satisfy a burger craving? LT Burger is open until 11 p.m. on weekends, which is late for this tiny town. Chef Laurent Tourondel from esteemed restaurant chain BLT does not mess around at this modern yet casual outpost. There is no other spot in the Hamptons where you can get waffle fries like this. My dish? The bacon cheeseburger (medium rare) with a black and white milkshake for my sweet tooth. At LT, you don’t even have to go to a carnival because fried oreos are on the menu for dessert. Yes, you read that correctly.
I have no better childhood memory than walking along the marina in Sag Harbor while the sun is setting with a delicious ice cream cone. Big Olaf’s continues to give me amazing memories every summer with their unbelievable homemade ice cream and waffle cones. The cash only, perfectly located shop has been around for as long as I can remember. Safe bet? Rocky road or cookies and cream with mini M&Ms. Fro-yo is also available.
David Loewenberg and Chef Sam McCleland opened Bell and Anchor, sister to the Beacon, in 2012. Loewenberg aims to please vegetarians, omnivores, and locavores alike. Prepare to slurp, because Bell and Anchor’s Montauk pearl oysters are the most amazing in all the East End. Another must order? The Peconic Bay scallops and the mussels. After this meal, it’ll be hard to eat seafood anywhere else.
I’m always envious of Sag Harbor locals because of a spot like Sen. The Japanese sushi haven has been around for more than 19 years, and the place is run by second generation owner Toranosuke “Tora” Matsuoka who bought the space next door a few years back and turned it into American bistro the Cuddy. Sen’s sushi is always up to par, especially the Tornado Roll: spicy tuna wrapped in rice with Japanese shredded potato and light tempura flakes on the outside. Sen made customers very happy this year when they decided to add spicy tuna with crispy rice to the menu.
You know what’s missing on this list? Homemade pasta. Tutto il Giorno came to Sag Harbor’s rescue when it opened in 2007 with the help of Gabby Karan De Felice and Chef Scott Conant. The Italian restaurant is seafood heavy and known for its incredible ambiance and celebrity crowd. Love fish? The branzino is cooked just right every time. In terms of pasta, I keep it safe every time with the simple spaghetti dish, al dente and full of taste.
Last but, of course, not least. Visit Dockside for an ultimate Sag Harbor experience. Located across from the harbor and marina, Dockside has been serving locals and tourists since 1996. What to order? Baked littleneck clams on the half shell and lobster-avocado spring rolls. You can’t go wrong with any seafood at this institution.
Get on a boat and get to the harbor before it’s too cold!