A Food-Lover’s Guide to Montauk
New York’s Montauk, a once-sleepy beach town on the eastern-most point of Long Island, has long been dubbed the “End of the World.” And it’s no wonder: the hamlet is the last stop on the Long Island Railroad, and juts out into the Atlantic, affording panoptic views of the ocean and empty horizon.
Still, despite the isolated feeling one gets staring out from its beaches and peers, Montauk is far from remote, boasting a patchwork of top-notch restaurants, bars, bistros, and coffee shops.
Since Montauk has become known as The Hamptons’ bohemian, indie-chic neighbor, the food scene has been booming, offering the world in fresh seafood and culinary creativity. That’s great news, because nothing sounds better after a long day of catching waves at Ditch Plains than a lobster roll or octopus tempura.
Montauk’s very best restaurants and cafes offer hyper fresh fare, a breezy vibe, and with dynamite waterfront views. Read on.
Joni’s is a breakfast staple for both locals and summertime visitors. The café is only a few blocks from the beach (look for the marigold umbrellas), and offers a menu of breakfast wraps and smoothies to help get your day started right — yes, even if you’re a little bit, um, under the weather.
If you end up feeling overwhelmed by the wrap choices, a favorite is the “ole ole”. The Tex-Mex wrap is filled with black beans, salsa, scrambled eggs, cheddar, sour cream, and a few shakes of hot sauce. You’ll want to get one of Joni’s giant iced coffees, too.
Duryea’s Lobster Deck, which offers some of the best lobster rolls in eastern Long Island, has just reopened after a significant renovation. Paper plates and picnic tables have been replaced with teak patio furniture and banquet seating indoors. Old lobster crates line the bar area and nautical-style lights hang from the ceiling; the perfect contrast against the light-filled interiors and otherwise clean-cut design.
The lobster dishes are great, but the raw bar is particularly exceptional. If you’re pining for some buttery oysters, the Bluepoints are the way to go.
Most dishes have the option of being served family-style, including the popular lobster cobb salad. Still, Duryea’s pièce de résistance remains the lobster roll, served with sweet potato crisps and just the right amount of coleslaw.
This new Mediterranean spot is all about wine and incredible moules frites. Arbor, which is under the same management as Duryea’s, is modern and airy, keeping the focus on the food and wine. And boy do they do food and wine well. Case in point: the place has got a state-of–the-art Enomatic dispensing system that produces wine at the perfect temperature.
Arbor’s brunch menu ranges from fluffy French toast with mixed berries and lemon pepper to moules frites (pictured) that are cooked to perfection in sweet vermouth, garlic butter, and tomato confit.
Left Hand Coffee
A Starbucks (or any mega-chain for that matter) is scarce at the East End. Even though Montauk has seen a surge in tourism, the town remains loyal to local businesses and a low-key lifestyle. When craving a refreshing cold brew or flat-white, stop by Left Hand. If you go around 5 p.m. you’ll avoid the mad morning dash and find the atmosphere much more pleasant, with people either chatting in the corner or quietly reading by the windowsill. For those looking to soothe the senses even more, one of Montauk’s yoga studios, Love, is right next door.
Across the street from Joni’s, South Edison brings NYC’s culinary panache to Montauk’s town center. Dishes like pan-seared scallops with pepper-hazelnut romesco show off Executive Chef Todd Mitgang’s affinity for mixing unexpected flavors and seasonings. You’ll want to try the octopus tacos.
In 2013, New York’s popular Mexican spot, Tacombi, finally made its way beachside. The Montauk location, La Brisa, brings traditional Yucatan cuisine to The End, offering the perfect antidote to any and all guacamole or fish taco cravings.
La Brisa separates itself from the other Tacombi spots by focusing on seafood dishes like fluke ceviche, seared Montauk tile fish tacos, and crispy shrimp with poblano mayo. Don’t forget to pair your plate with Tacombi’s signature Lupita agua frescas, which gives some sweet relief to your taste buds.
East by North East
East by North East’s menu is all about locally sourced ingredients prepared as Japanese cuisine. The dinner menu focuses on simple dishes, like tempura battered octopus seasoned with salt and pepper and served with a cherry blossom shoyu dipping sauce. For the main course, try the lobster bucatini with fava beans.
Navy Beach is Montauk’s ultimate sunset and cocktail-sipping spot. The location has wall-to-wall windows and cabana-like seating along the restaurant’s private beach. After a five-minute taxi ride from the town center you can have your feet in the sand and a cucumber fizz or blood orange piscine in hand.