Ok, we get it. Planning a trip is a lot easier than it sounds. Funds have to line-up, work can’t be too hectic and your claustrophobic dog needs a sitter that doesn’t smell like cats. But there’s no need to sulk about the getaway that “could have been.” Plenty of beautiful New York City and Long Island restaurants are an escape all their own. From Europe’s coastal seashores to Asia’s authentic monuments, get ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the view at five local restaurants (yes, restaurants).
Enter the open, airy dining room reminiscent of a St. Barts-style restaurant and expect to be greeted like royalty. There are high ceilings, billowing curtains, stone accents and of course classic high-end Greek cuisine. Seafood is the all-encompassing show stealer. For those who fancy octopus (and even those a little intimidated) prepare to be blown away. The grilled, meltingly tender fish is dressed with onions, capers, a fava purée, lemon and herbs. Other standout dishes include the oven-baked baby lamb shank with orzo, feta and tomato sauce and the grilled giant tiger shrimp glazed in extra virgin olive oil and lemon. Go.
Sandbar, Cold Spring Harbor
Anticipate a polished yet casual seaside ambiance featuring upscale American cuisine “from both land and sea.” There’s a peaked glass dome over the bar, a two-story, transparent wine cellar and a Moroccan tiled foyer. The menu, created by Executive Chef Guy Reuge, is just as entertaining. It combines “local fare, tavern favorites and seafood specialties” into tasteful dishes and classic comfort foods. Try the chickpea fries, lightly crunchy fritters accompanied by sriracha aioli or the stuffed chicken breast served with sunchokes, parsnips and truffles—trust me, you won’t go home hungry. Go.
Sawasdee Thai Elevated, Plainview
Time for a “brief but great escape to Thailand.” There are striking images of elephants that form an archway to the dining room and elegant murals of the Siriwatanawisut Temple. Those searching for traditional fare to go along with the genuine décor can expect beef short ribs with massaman curry and pad Thai or the crispy pork belly that is sautéed with onions, scallions, bell pepper, holy basil and bird eye chili. But those intimidated by Thai cuisine can feast on chicken wings, strip steak or fried calamari to still take part in a delicious excursion. Go.
Trattoria Machiavelli, NYC
Travel back in time to the Italian Renaissance. There is artisan-crafted décor featuring the likes of hand-carved wooden chairs, wrought iron candelabras and an epic painting of the “Battle of San Romano” spanning on three walls. Live performances of classical and jazz music provide the soundtrack to the evening. As for the cuisine, expect pasta as fresh as it comes rolled on a wooden board with a “fontanella,” a hole in the center of the piled flour, where Chef Gian Pietro Ferro adds eggs. Must-try pasta entrées include the spaghetti Chitarra al pomodoro e basilico served with San Marzano plum tomato sauce and basil or the Lasagna verde alla “Bolognese,” a typical Emilia Romagna dish of spinach pasta layered with veal ragu and béchamel. Go.
Bell & Anchor, Sag Harbor
This little hideaway is just on the outskirts of Sag Harbor. Inside, Bell & Anchor is full of subtle charms like plank floors and a tranquil coastal vibe where “both breathing and eating come easy.” It’s like stepping onto your own private island for the day. Diners can’t go wrong with an order of the fish and chips with fresh whitefish coated lightly in beer batter and served with slaw. But pace yourself, the plump medium sized shrimp and tender calamari know how to attract an audience and keep them lingering. Go.