Dining on the Water in Montauk
Montauk has no shortage of waterfront, and with it no shortage of restaurants offering waterfront views. As you can see from our selection of waterfront restaurants below, there is something for everyone: seafood shacks and fine dining; New American, Mexican, and Italian cuisines; indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the ocean, the bay, the harbor, and the lake.
470 West Lake Drive
Occupying the former site of Salivar’s Restaurant, the Clam and Chowder House retains much of the previous eatery’s decor. Image: the Clam and Chowder House/Yelp
For years the Clam and Chowder House was located down the road from its current location, still overlooking Montauk Harbor but a bit farther from where Montauk Lake opens onto Block Island Sound. It now occupies the former premises of Salivar’s Restaurant at Salivar’s Dock and retains much of the casual decor. The menu offers plenty of old-school Montauk dishes as well, including clam chowder, raw oysters, fried shrimp, soft-shell crab sandwiches, and steamed lobster, using seafood straight off the local commercial fishing boats. There are also dishes with global influences, such as coconut curry and shell steak in a sake, citrus, soy, and ginger marinade. There is a sushi bar as well, and on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer local bands play. You can dine indoors, on the ground floor or the enclosed deck overlooking the harbor, or outdoors.
65 Tuthill Road
If your idea of the quintessential Montauk experience is tucking into steamed lobster and chilled rosé while watching the sunset over Fort Pond Bay, dinner at Duryea’s Lobster Deck is a must. Whether you are seated outside just steps from the dock or inside, you will have a view of the sparkling waters and the seemingly endless skies. The raw bar offers several types of oysters, clams, shrimp, and crab; those who cannot choose just one type will want to opt for the various seafood platters, which serve from one to four people. In addition to steamed and grilled lobster, entree options include grilled swordfish, roasted chicken with a balsamic glaze, and grilled octopus in romesco sauce with pickled onions. A lobster roll is another option, and corn on the cob is a practically de rigueur side dish.
500 West Lake Drive
Located at the mouth of Montauk Harbor, Gosman’s Dock is home to multiple eateries, a stage where free concerts are held on Saturday evenings in the summer, and a fish market (the Gosmans were originally fish packers). The main restaurant, appropriately named Gosman’s Seafood Restaurant, offers everything from tuna tartare and Maryland-style crab cakes to blackened yellowfish steak and seafood-stuffed jumbo shrimp in a brandy lobster sauce. You can sit on the patio alongside the water, though even if you opt to dine indoors, the myriad windows ensure that you can still relish the view. Located on the upper deck, Gosman’s Topside is where you can savor local oysters, tacos (lobster, blackened mahi mahi, pulled pork, or pulled chicken), tuna poke, and lobster rolls alfresco, washed down with frozen margaritas. If some members of your party have a craving for sushi while others want burgers or filet mignon, head to the Inlet Cafe and Sushi Bar, which like the main restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. And there is a traditional Clam Bar too, where you can order at the counter steamed lobster, hot dogs, corn on the cob, Manhattan or New England clam chowder, and clams fried, raw, or baked and enjoy them at a table right on the dock.
440 West Lake Drive
Just a short stroll from both Gosman’s Dock and Salivar’s Dock, Grey Lady also makes it easy to watch the boats bobbing along the lake whether you are seated indoors or out. Starters include Jonah crab toast, smoked-trout pâté, and roasted cauliflower with yellow chili pepper; entrees range from Maine-style lobster rolls to pan-seared local black sea bass served with roasted cherry tomatoes and potatoes with seaweed butter. Equally enticing are the platters from the raw bar; the East End, consisting of two dozen oysters, eight littleneck clams, eight shrimp, a whole lobster, and the chef’s crudo of the day, is a smorgasbord of shellfish. You can wash it down with wine, beer, cider, or a house cocktail—our choice would be the Spicy Watermelon Margarita, made with jalapeño-infused tequila.
11 South Emery Street
Harvest on Fort Pond grows many of its own vegetables and herbs. Image: Harvest on Fort Pond
Not to be confused with Fort Pond Bay, Fort Pond is a 192-acre freshwater lake. It is visible from inside Harvest on Fort Pond as well as its patio, which is surrounded by gardens and grasses. The gardens, by the way, are not just for show; Harvest grows many of its own vegetables and herbs, including organic heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, basil, and parsley. The dishes reflect a farm-to-table sensibility with a Mediterranean flavor. Swordfish, for instance, is served piccata with sautéed spinach, tomatoes, olives, and capers; salmon is accompanied by cucumbers, dates, and walnuts. Surprisingly, seafood is not especially prominent on the menu. Given the season, other entrees might include rigatoni in a veal bolognese sauce, a classic porterhouse steak, and a choice of grilled pizzas, including an artichoke-and-spinach options with mushrooms and shallots sure to delight vegetarians. Be sure to leave room for dessert, particularly the ice cream sandwich made with homemade vanilla gelato topped with hot fudge and raspberry coulis.
364 West Lake Drive
Located on Montauk Harbor’s Diamond Cove Marina, the Hideaway will satisfy any cravings for barbecue or Mexican cuisine—or for margaritas, sangria, or tequila, of which the bar offers more than 40 types, many of them infused in-house with potent chilis. Start with shrimp ceviche, chicken-stuffed jalapeños, or ensalada de nopalitos—sliced cactus marinated with lime, onions, cilantro, and chilis. Proceed to tacos, burritos, or quesadillas, each available with options for vegetarians, pescatarians, and carnivores alike. Or head straight to the St. Louis-style ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, or steamed seafood platter. Fried sweet plantains and Mexican-style corn on the cob, grilled and topped with spices and Cotija cheese, are essential sides. As for dessert, you cannot go wrong with the tres leches cake or the churros.
16 Navy Road
Navy Beach is as close as you can get to dining on the water without actually getting wet. The restaurant sits on a 200-foot private beach alongside Fort Pond Bay. In addition to the picnic tables and banquettes on the sand, there is an indoor dining room and bar lined with windows to take advantage of the setting (and the glorious sunsets). While taking advantage of the local seafood, the menu also displays a global sensibility. Appetizers run the gamut from clam-and-corn chowder to hamachi ceviche with daikon and lemongrass to Veracruz-style mussels with tomatoes, jalapeños, capers, and olives; watermelon salad, with grape tomatoes, aged feta, and pickled onions, is a refreshing option on especially steamy days. The entree selection is equally eclectic. The Atlantic salmon comes with soba noodles, daikon, and baby bok choy in a mushroom dashi; cheddar-jalapeño cornbread accompanies the buttermilk fried chicken; roasted sea scallops are complemented with a sweet-pea puree, sugar snap peas, and a pancetta vinaigrette. Meat-lovers can tuck into a dry-aged New York strip steak or a burger with Cabot cheddar cheese and bacon-onion marmalade.
290 Old Montauk Highway
Gurney’s Montauk, the town’s only year-round resort, includes a 2,000-foot private beach along the Atlantic. When you eat at Scarpetta Beach, the most formal of the resort’s eateries, you can look out at the waves from either the deck or the dining room, which boasts a wall of oceanfront windows. Competing with the view for attention is the Italian cuisine. Crudi, including diver scallops with osetra caviar, whet the appetite for the likes of polenta with truffled mushrooms, lardo-wrapped prawns, and rosemary-braised lentils. Duck and foie gras ravioli in a marsala reduction and lobster tagliolini nero with asparagus and tomato are among the pasta dishes. Main dishes spotlight seafood (black cod with caramelized fennel and concentrated tomato, wild black bass with sunchoke and pancetta) and meat (Akaushi strip steak with truffled spinach, veal loin and braised veal cheek with seasonal vegetables) to equally delicious effect. Like the rest of the menu, the desserts are elegant bordering on opulent; the Valrhona chocolate cake with caramel gelato, chocolate, and butterscotch will sate the most demanding sweet tooth.
183 Edgemere Street
The Surf Lodge is both a boutique hotel overlooking Fort Pond and the hotel’s terrace restaurant, close enough to the lake that you can hear the tranquil lapping of the water—at least when the restaurant is not crowded. Given that the Surf Lodge has become something of a hot spot, it is crowded much of the time. The wine list and house cocktails account for much of the appeal; options range from Dom Perignon to Don Julio 1942 tequila to the Flying Dagger, a potent blend of sake and tequila with yuzu, agave, and shiso. Like the drinks offering, the food menu is a mélange of influences. Starters include burrata salad, yellowfin tuna poke, and grilled shrimp with avocado and pea tendrils. Among the main dishes is lobster roll with Marie Rose sauce and Tabasco, roasted cauliflower with coconut green curry sauce and quinoa, and grilled rib-eye steak with romesco sauce.