Guest Blogger: Mark Levine, Publisher, EastofNYC.com
Waterfront dining on Long Island does not have to break the bank. I’m always telling my daughter how lucky we are to live on an island where in the summer months we have an almost endless supply of beautiful views and a plethora of restaurants that offer outdoor and waterfront dining. Not all waterfront restaurants are so expensive that they are prohibitive; there are plenty of dining options for all budgets, and we’re here to help you seek them out.
153 Woodcleft Avenue, Freeport, NY 11520
Bamboo Bar and Grill is new for 2012 on Freeport’s Nautical Mile. While Freeport in general isn’t known for great food (it’s more about the touristy establishments and the view), Bamboo has a great twist; there’s a dining area off the restaurant with two picnic tables, lots of chairs and a floor covered with sand. The bar area is hopping in the afternoon and nighttime hours, so if you’re looking for a quieter experience, the earlier the better. The waiters were super helpful during our visit, bringing over extra plastic cups for our daughter to play in the sand and giving us some “quiet time”. The cuisine is above average and we dined on lollipop wings, grilled chicken and avocado wraps and a grilled cheese off the kids menu.
86 Orchard Beach Boulevard,Port Washington, NY 11050
Pretty laid back for the North Shore, Butler’s Flat lies within the Capri West Marina in Port Washington. It’s a little clam shack that serves a wide variety of fresh seafood with the menu changing daily. Besides the clams, shrimp, scallops and flounder, kids (or meat-lovers) can choose from hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken. The restaurant itself is located dockside, so most of the clientele comes straight off their boat. Prices are a little steep (our small lobster roll ran $16) because for most diners at the restaurant, there’s no other option – they don’t have their cars with them, but the view and the calm atmosphere more than make up for that.
15 Railroad Place,Island Park, NY 11558
When Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill opened up for the summer season in 2011, they set the new standard for what a waterfront restaurant should be on Long Island. Importing a stay-cation is no easy task, but dining here, with the imported palm trees, colorful surroundings and complete beach area always has us imagining that we’ve left Long Island for a week. This is not a restaurant to visit if you’re on a time crunch as the waiting time could be over a few hours on the busy weekend nights. Once you get in, however, your good mood will last throughout the night and into the wee-hours of the next morning. The tables on the beach are reserved for very large parties (10-12 and higher) so if you’re that large, try to reserve on. Our favorites meals at Pop’s thus far have been the 2.5lb. pot of mussels and the Lobster Roll.
240 West Main Street, Bay Shore, NY 11706
On Lawrence Lake in Bay Shore, Chef / Owner Matt Connors is cooking up a storm at The Lake House, an upscale restaurant with a view. The food and the atmosphere come together to provide a wonderful evening of culinary goodness. In the summer, the outdoor dining area just off the dining room is a great place to set up, while in the fall and early winter the outdoor fire pit is the perfect location to bundle up in front of. White linen clothed tables, expertly designed seafood dishes and a view worthy of the check are reasons why we’ll keep on going back for those special occasions (read: leave the kids at home).
11 South Emory Street, Montauk, NY 11954
Montauk is a great town to visit at all times of the year and one of the locals’ favorite spots to go is Harvest on Fort Pond. Located on a small lake with houses surrounding and with a scenic dock to take in those beautiful late summer sunsets, they have both indoor and outdoor dining. In the colder months (one of the few to be open in the dead of winter) you’ll be more likely to look outside than in, but their menu; heavily reliant on seafood and served in a family-style manner will keep all of those hungry stomachs filled. The seafood bruschetta is not only huge in flavor, but also huge in size. While not “kid-friendly”, this will certainly do the trick for any large family get together that you do have.
Mark Levine is the Publisher of www.EastofNYC.com, an online guide to the restaurants that make up Long Island. In addition, Mark can be seen every Thursday night at 8pm on FiOS1 Long Island’s Restaurant Hunter, where Mark, along with host Rob Petrone, take viewers all across the island to the best (and lesser known) restaurants. You can e-mail Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.