Thursday, December 01
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Hamptons Al Fresco

Five Outdoor Dining Spots To Try On The South Fork 

It is the season of outdoor dining. Shed your coat, your scarf, and your hat and prepare for the warmer weather. In the spirit of the season, we’re embracing the moment of eating outdoors. This is the beautiful-if-short-lived season of outdoor dining. Soak it up. It doesn’t last forever. On the East End, the best spots for outdoor dining offer hidden patios, romantically lit yards, and even waterfront views. There is no such thing as too many options, but some of our favorites are the ones that catch you by surprise. 

il Buco al Mare

In Amagansett, Donna Lennard and Justin Smillie’s il Buco al Mare’s seafood-centric restaurant offers a petite backyard, a respite from the busy streets of the Hamptons. It’s hard to believe that you’re anywhere in New York, actually, when the ancient grain focaccia comes out of the wood-burning oven. A kitchen helmed by chef de cuisine Eugenio Plajo takes full advantage of the East End’s bounty, leaning into local fish, seasonal produce, and everything in between (think tuna cheek sashimi with colatura and citrus, fiore di zucca and spicy lime salt, and little neck clams with Bernardo’s bacon and grilled bread). 

O by Kissaki serves up one of the Hamptons’ most surprising — and surely most underrated — sushi experiences, with inventive nigiri, shockingly fresh fish, and a price point that is relatively in tune with the rest of the East End’s dining. As warm weather commences, the restaurant opens its adorable outdoor patio, closed in by shrubbery and lit from above by Edison bulbs. Although the restaurant faces a busy road, the patio feels worlds away, and is well worth the transportive visit (but do that for the sushi, too, which truly is exceptional). 

Sag Harbor’s Lulu Kitchen & Bar, the centerpiece of which is a wood-fired oven on the interior, offers a dainty front patio. But in the rear, guests can really relax into outdoor dining, in an area that is as welcoming as the weather itself. 

As of March, the Clam Bar, in Napeague, is now open again for business. Among the Hamptons’ most iconic restaurants, this beachy spot truly summons summer as few restaurants can. Sit out in the sun and order local Montauk pearl oysters, clams on the half shell, and, naturally, a lobster salad roll. Or opt for the steamers — Clam Bar is one of the sole places on the East End to serve this coveted style of bivalve, after all — dipped in broth and drawn butter, at a casual place where sitting outside is part of the point. 

Clam Bar steamers Photo: JPV Photography

Follow the road east, all the way into Montauk, where Harvest on Fort Pond betrays one of the hamlet’s most coveted outdoor gardens. The restaurant takes no reservations, so expect a wait for the winding, terraced outdoor area, which overlooks the water and is populated with blooming flowers. Never mind all that. Like all of summer’s best treasures, dinner outside at this gem is more than worth the wait. (And, given the enormous size of the entrees, you’ll have memories to look back on, for the next few nights or so at least).