Unapologetically beyond the Hamptons, “The End” is also a beginning, with lots to offer by way of idling away an afternoon, evening or weekend. High on surf and fishing village appeal, low on attitude, you might consider this the place you want time to stop.
Gulf Coast Kitchen
This is the definitive waterfront eatery. Nestled within the Montauk Yacht Club, the whitewashed dining room is elegant and natural, adorned with historic 1920s photos taken in the area and marine antiques filling out the nooks and corners. Blissfully, there isn’t much real estate between the fishing boats and the kitchen, so you’re overlooking the dockwalk while feasting on seafood that is exceptionally fresh and gets a New American twist devised by Executive Chef Gabriele Corcos. Italian inspirations also make an appearance, as do the chic but casual scenesters who know this is the place to drop anchor.
32 Star Island Rd., (631) 668-3100, montaukyachtclub.com
Gurney’s Inn Resort Spa
This oceanfront Montauk resort extraordinaire is legendary for its full-service spa, and as the only resort in the country with an Olympic-sized indoor seawater pool. The cuisine is just one more reason to visit. The Sea Grille specializes in morning-caught seafood, meaning that on the same day you’re eating it, the creature was still crawling/swimming in the water. Activities abound, as do the martini options. And did we mention the spa treatments? Spa, spa, spa. Think of this as your parents’ place, recently updated for your chilling pleasure. You loved it as a kid and now you get to love it with your own family.
290 Old Montauk Hwy., (631) 668-2345, gurneysinn.com
Harvest on Fort Pond
Grappa outing anyone? This award-winning waterfront eatery serves up enormous portions of Mediterranean fare heavy on herbs and vegetables harvested from right outside the restaurant. All of which pair well with grappa, if you’re ready to roll that way. Outdoor seating is laid out amongst the herbs, transporting diners into a rural Italian setting. The buzz on this restaurant is of “the best” variety, so the pasta and grilled pizzas are expectedly far beyond the output of typical “red sauce” joints. From the bar, check out the Presidential 10-year ports and wines to pair with dessert.
11 S. Emery St., (631) 668-5574, harvest2000.com/hfp
A serene beachfront hangout set on Fort Pond Bay, local favorite Navy Beach dispenses with formality, succeeding in bringing the typical seaside seafood-and-burger formula to new heights. The dishes are tasty—highlights include fish tacos (surf) and the Navy burger (turf). Libations are diverse—the fruit accented cocktails are the perfect accompaniment to the nautical setting. Snag a table on the sand for full authenticity.
16 Navy Rd., (631) 668-6868, navybeach.com
Farm Country Kitchen
513 W. Main St., (631) 369-6311, farmcountrykitchen.net
On your way out to the North Fork, you won’t want to miss a segue in Riverhead. And we’re not talking about just the outlets. Located in a 19th century farmhouse on the scenic banks of the Peconic River is the kind of place you have to know to know—and aren’t those always the best ones? The menu is filled with inventive dishes based in local ingredients. Eat there or bring their box lunches to a wine tour. Speaking of vino, this eatery is BYOW—ideally a local vintage. Those who stay will find what the initiated already know: This is a chill, well-done place.