Montauk might be known as the Hamptons’ more laidback cousin, but the fresh-faced crowd that descends upon the town come Memorial Day gives the weekend getaway spot a buzzy-and-breezy vibe. And while there are plenty of great Hamptons restaurants out east, we’ve narrowed in on Montauk’s best waterfront restaurants and bars, seafood restaurants and cheap eats joints specifically for those traveling to the shore.
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Best Montauk restaurants
Enjoy local seafood and produce from chef-partner Todd Mitgang and Executive Chef Frank Fuschetto in the cheery, airy space. Try some raw bar offerings (oysters, littleneck clams, shrimp cocktail) or heariter seafood entrees like seared tuna or steamed lobster. For drinks, go for the signature pickle martinis–a choose-your-own-alcohol cocktail garnished with house-brined beet and fresno-chili pickles.
If you're looking for something a bit more city-slick, the Muse is a stylish addition amid the sun-washed options. The upscale menu includes seafood plates with an Asian bent, think Indian-spiced local cod, lobster and shrimp-pad Thai and blackened sashimi-style ahi tuna. Slip into a separate bar area if you would rather spend the night imbibing summery cocktails like coconut margaritas, and watermelon martinis.
Gurney's is a destintion all in itself, but if you're looking for a daytime snack inbetween lounging on the beachside cabanas, head indoors to Tillie’s. The cafe-style kitchen serves the staples of french toast, waffles and pancakes, along with omeletes and eggs Benedict for breakfast.
Schnitzel and surf might be a head-scratching combo, but in this case, the hearty German menu is a refreshing break from light seafood plates dominating the East End. Plus who wouldn’t love a cold mug of hoppy beer after a long beach day? Guzzle down Bavarian pints while fueling up on Wiener schnitzels, grilled bratwurst and white sausages.
The private beach and former Navy ground is now occupied by a surfside restaurant. Catch the sunset while noshing on buttermilk fried chicken or fire-roasted sea scallops on white picnic tables planted right in the sand. And what's a New York summer without rosé? The beach-taurant boasts one of the largest selections in the Hamptons. Sailors can even anchor their boats in nearby Fort Pond Bay.
Here's your chance to go to a Yacht Club without paying an outrageous membership fee. Coast Kitchen at the Montauk Yacht Club sits on a northern marina on Lake Montauk, with close-up nautical views. The food skews coastal, with fish sourced from the ocean that diners are a stone's throw away from.
The hit-makers behind Fat Radish on the LES created this Montauk fish joint, a romper-splashed hot spot during the peak of summer. The restaurant, which serves upscale, all-American favorites like a short rib, brisket-burger and mini lobster rolls, turns into a rowdy, campground party at night.
Nestled along Fort Pond, the waterfront restaurant brings the far east to the East End. Serving local Montauk seafood and produce, serious steaks and Long Island wines, the menu is a fusion of coastal and Asian cuisine, as demonstrated in lobster sliders slathered in miso mayo or a 32 oz. ribeye with citrus teriyaki. Plus, there's live music every weekend.
Enjoy classic Italian dishes, like meatballs with pomodoro sauce, chicken parmesan, and a caprese salad at this home-style Italian restaurant at the base of Montauk Manor. Even though the fare is international, the chef sources ingreidents from local fisheries and farmers. Dine in either the red-accented interior or the breezy outdoor patio.
Yes, there are tons of Tacombis around the Manhattan, but somehow casual Mexican fare just tastes better seasoned with a little salt air. Try the reasonably-priced tacos (crispy shrimp, Yucatecan chicken) and quesadillas (cheese, shrimp, chicken) in the cheerful space right in the center of town.
Looking for a waterfront restaurant?
Ginger & Lemongrass
Sometimes, nothing sounds better a massive bowl of steaming pho. When the need arises, head to Ginger and Lemongrass on the Lower East Side. But before the pho, start with a few Vietnamese appetizers: Sweet chili-ginger chicken wings ($11), fresh vegetarian summer wraps ($9) and fried pork-mushroom spring rolls ($9) might pique your interest. For your entree, there’s traditional beef pho ($14), of course, plus a glazed pork belly sandwich ($11), spicy green curry ($15) and other traditional Vietnamese dishes. End the meal with green tea tiramisu or mango mousse cake (both $7).
Venue says: “Hot & New! Contemporary Vietnamese fusion spot Ginger and Lemongrass known for their Roasted Bone Marrow PHO just opened in Lower East Side.”