If you have a case of the Summer’s Over Blues, cheer up: There are plenty of incredible dining experience that you can enjoy even in the chillier months. Read on for a look at the Hamptons’ finest.
Call me a classicist, but I know what I like. Nick & Toni’s is the quintessential Hamptons restaurant, of course, but the off-season brings a few breaths of fresh air to this East Hampton institution. First: starting in the fall, and running through spring, N & T offers up pizzas, hot from their wood oven. They’re crispy, medium-sized, and some of the best pies out east. Second, they’re open for brunch, which means that you can eat that pizza in the late morning and not feel too bad about yourself. The Bloody Mary board serves two (or one, if you’re a little greedy) and comes with your choice of vodka, mixer, and a selection of salty and spicy pickled things with which to garnish your drink. Of course, if it’s classics you’re going for, the penne alla vecchia bettola has been on the dinner menu for almost 30 years.
Nick & Toni’s, 136 N. Main Street, East Hampton, call for off-season hours. (631) 324-3550.
Chef Justin Finney left the Honest Man group (Nick & Toni’s, La Fondita, Rowdy Hall, Townline BBQ) a few years back to take over this Wainscott space, which had suffered in efforts to sustain a reliable clientele. These days, getting a reservation in season is beyond challenging. In fall and winter, The Highway is open five nights a week, serving classics like linguine with clams, sautéed langoustines, and grilled rib-eye to East End admirers. On Thursdays, Finney cooks a Thai menu that is as affordable as it is delicious. The bar opens at 4, in case you’re looking for a place to park for a little while on an autumn afternoon.
The Highway Restaurant and Bar, 290 Montauk Highway, East Hampton, open Thursday to Monday, 5 to 11 p.m. (631) 527-5372.
I’m fortunate enough to call David Loewenberg’s Bell & Anchor my local eatery. I’m also fortunate that this hot spot is open all year (with the exception of a few weeks in January, when the staff takes a much-needed break). The menu rarely changes, which is a comfort to those searching for the perfect roast chicken breast, the juiciest pork chop, the crunchiest Caesar. Every Sunday, in and out of season, Bell & Anchor serves Montauk Pearl oysters for a dollar apiece. Cozy up to the bar on any given Sunday and let the bartenders take care of you while you slurp the evening away. Windows at the restaurant’s rear face the Bay, as well as the pink etchings of an autumn sunset. Dinner won’t cost you a fortune, but you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks.
Bell & Anchor, 3253 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor, call for off-season hours. (631) 725-3400.
Need a little pasta in your off-season life? The rigatoni with sweet sausage, peas, and cream at Southampton’s Tutto il Giorno will cure even the most stubborn pasta craving. Tuna tartare and grilled octopus are appetizers worthy of repeat visits, though I’m equally crazy about the butter-soft burrata. On post-summer Thursdays, the restaurant offers a three-course prix fixe menu for $33. Diners can choose among appetizers and pastas. The dimly lit, modest restaurant is a very good place to eat a very good dinner any night of the week. On not-yet-frigid evenings, dine under heat lamps on the rustic, Edison bulb-lit back patio.
Tutto il Giorno, 56 Nugent Street, Southampton, open daily 12 to 10 p.m. (631) 377-3611.
Acclaimed chef Jeremy Blutstein inherited a strong, successful restaurant when he moved over to Almond Bridgehampton in April of this year. These days, he’s churning out inventive, fun food that challenges the way East Enders eat. The Almond menu still features traditional bistro fare, like mussels and fries and hanger steak with Bordelaise sauce, but Blutstein has also added a host of new flavors. Menu additions are brought to life with international seasonings like harissa, sambal, and gochujang. You won’t find food like this anywhere else out east—or, not yet, at least. And that’s a good thing!
Almond Bridgehampton, 1 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, open Sundays 5:30 to 10 p.m., Mondays through Wednesdays 5:30 to 11 p.m., and Thursdays through Saturdays 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. (631) 537-5665.