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North Fork, LI recommendations needed

I'm going out for a weekend vacation to the North Fork to enjoy some of the wineries, beaches and food. I've been out there twice for day trips but haven't really had a restaurant experience yet. The first time, I went with some real non-hounds and they voted on Friendly's for dinner... the second time, I went to the Seafood Barge with my wife and we really had a great time and some very good seafood.

So, other than the Seafood Barge, are there any recommendations by fellow hounds out there on good restaurants to try (for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late afternoon snack or late night or mid-morning or that time between dinner and late night when you get a slight urge for food)?

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  1. My experience in the area is perhaps dated but one place we frequented when living in the area and for 5 plus years after was Cliff's Elbow East just west of Greenport on the sound. Steaks (marinated or not) were a speciality as was seafood. They offered a variety of other items but if you stick to the porterhouse or filet or shrimp or lobster (price can effect your choice here) a good meal is assured. Near the sound but not really sound view. They offer simple good food and service. Newer, rather high priced spots like the Frisky Oyster in the village proper have been mentioned here and said to be good - I have not tried them ( price being the reason). For very casual eats, both Main and Front streets have a number of places you can view from the street and select something suitable for the moment.

    4 Replies
    1. re: feelinpeckish

      Cliff's is great, but NOT the one near Greenport. Go to Jamesport or Laurel, they've recently expanded their menu to include many new items but the steak is still the star.
      Otherwise do a Chow search of North Fork Long Island, there are too many restaurants, of too many types, to name all at once.

      1. re: coll

        In addition to Cliff's Elbow Room, there is also the Rendezvous Room in Riverhead that is owned by the same people and have the same menu. It does get crowded on Fridays and Saturday nights.

        1. re: coll

          Coll, granted this comment comes a bit late but... This just goes to show that folks with similar tastes can have different experiences in the same or similar restaurants. My experience at Cliff's near Greenport has always been good to very good while the last time in Jamesport was spoiled (in fact soured) by the staff (waitress and bartender) who made our cocktail incorrectly and refused to modify it to our satisfaction. Now an old fashioned is not difficult and the bartenders token effort was to splash water into the glass and hand it back - TWICE. We never got to the point of eating dinner, after this treatment we left..Attitude can be and was pervasive - in this case BAD and I will not risk what should be a peaceful and pleasant experience in a place like that. PS, I think they are no longer (Cliff's that is) all of the same ownership, thus the change in menu you experienced.

          1. re: feelinpeckish

            Actually the time before that at Cliffs, they were slammed (two steaks for the price of one during the winter, so should have known) and the waitress was outright rude, rolling her eyes and making loud comments when we asked how much longer, let us and everyone else know we were a pain. It took us over a year to go back again, we were scared she'd be there and recognize us! Bet she' s the one you ran into.

      2. It's been a few years but my husband and I really great meal at Antares Cafe in Greenport. We had their chef's menu w/wine pairings. Really great meal.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Wendy Lok

          I just want to second the rec for Antares. In my opinion, it has the best food on the far eastern North Fork. I have not been yet this summer but just read that the original chef has returned, contrary to rumors... their duck confit is fantastic, ditto the lobster risotto (again, had these last year..)

          Second place goes to Friskey Oyster in Greenport. (Antares is at a marina outside town and a bit hard to find...right turn off Sound Avenue at the small sign near the cemetery..)

          About the Hellenic...the less said the better, although they do have good lemonade.

          Also, Braun's Seafood in Peconic (across the road from King Kullen) has opened a take-
          out shop with a few tables...they have sushi and I expect things like lobster rolls. And wonderful whitefish salad!

          In Greenport for breakfast your best bet is probably the unfortunately named D'Latte on Main Street...lovely owners from Argentina and good pastries, croissant, etc. Another local fave is Aldo's on Front Street..get a bag of his chocolate-dipped biscotti to go.

          1. re: Wendy Lok

            I have place on the NF, and by far, Antares is my favorite. The service is sketchy, but the food really makes up for it. It's the best duck confit you'll ever have! Great entrees, imaginative appetizers, and home made deserts. The chef really loves what he does, and it comes through.

            1. re: bayview

              Is the chef (Matthew?) the same as in the past few years? There were rumors that he was leaving; Antares was for sale last year....

              1. re: erica

                I recently had the worst dining experience in a long time at Antares which I wrote about on this board and will never return.

                On the other hand I ate a North Fork Table and Inn last night and had a WONDERFUL meal. The restaurant was extremely loud, but the food made up for it. Will write a full post when I have few minutes.

                1. re: jenniebnyc

                  :( Found out tonight that the North Fork Table & Inn is booked on both Saturday & Sunday nights... what a bummer. Would you recommend the dine-in bar?

                  1. re: bluishgnome

                    the restaurant's bar was quite loud and crowded, but i guess this can be defined as "lively" as well. if it is just one or two of you and don't mind some elbows from patrons waiting for their tables, i would say go for it ! the food really was delicious. try the frisee with roasted leeks, soft egg and duck proscuitto for an app. the cod cakes were yummy as well. for an entree try the black fish with corn puree and truffles. the black fish is only on the tasting menu, but they were happy to make it an entree for me (45 bucks though...ouch...but worth every bite) And of course don't forget to order dessert....EVERYTHING was to die for. And who knows maybe just maybe a table will open up.

                    1. re: jenniebnyc

                      Any space you can get at the Inn and Table is worth it. I enjoy eating at the bar there. Their bartenders are always very friendly and attentive. If you ever have the opertunity to try their tasting menu I highly reccomend it.

                  2. re: jenniebnyc

                    You may notice my response to erica, that some one else tried running Antares. I have a hunch they were there when you went. I would give them another chance. The North Fork Table is excellent too, but about twice the cost.

                  3. re: erica

                    Just want to report that Chef Matthew is back and Antares duck confit is better than ever..four of us had an excellent meal the other night..began with shared main of lobster/scallop risotto and moved on to the duck confit. Service was less scattered than usual and very friendly.

                    1. re: erica

                      ok, so I haven't been on in a LONG time... but just to update this: Matt has not sold Antares. There were 2 guys who took it over for one year, and they flopped, and left.

                2. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary and a little out of the way, try Legends in New Suffolk (right next to Mattituck). The restaurant faces the Peconic Bay. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is great. http://www.legends-restaurant.com/
                  New Suffolk is one of the last unspoiled villages on the North Fork.There's really not much there besides Legends, the post office and Captain Marty's fishing station. It's nice to just walk around it though.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: tuttobene

                    Legend's is great. (I used to work there, back in the day). They have a casual menu on the 'bar' side and a more upscale menu on the 'dining room' side, so there's something for everyone.

                    New Suffolk is a sweet little town as well, not much there but really nice to walk around before/after your meal.

                    My fav restaurant on the North Fork is Jamesport Country Kitchen. All around great food and really nice service.

                    Briermere's is also amazing, make sure to get a loaf of their Poppyseed Egg Bread, it makes awesome french toast. Their Wespennester cookies are extraordinary, as are their fresh fruit pies.

                    1. re: tuttobene

                      Legends is far from good eating though. It's basically a sports bar. Friendly, hopping scene, but not fine dining by any stretch of the imagination! Burgers, fried this and that...

                      1. re: bayview

                        When was the last time you ate there? There is a sports bar and it serves bar food. But the restaurant is certainly not "Burgers, fried this and that..."

                        1. re: tuttobene

                          I used to eat there all the time but my last few tries fell very short of my expectations. The menu prices have risen considerably and lacked the creativity that was always there before. Their signiture appetizer of a tuna won ton, which I have had there may times, was stale and fishy the last time we were there. Overall underwelming.

                    2. Thank you for all the great responses! My wife and I are grateful. This trip will be much more enjoyable now without the worry of having to scour for a place to eat. We are going in August, so this is all in preparation, but once we do go and try these restaurants, I will be sure to report back.

                      Thanks again! (And please feel free to post further recommendations :)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bluishgnome

                        Frisky Oyster - worth it. Great atmosphere, hip and urban as artichoke said - but not too much so - creative, excellent food and very good service. Also, Hellenic Snack Bar - good greek for lunch. I second Jennie's rec for Catapano's. Would add Briermere's for pie - a must. The crusts are still made with lard so not for the cholestrol concerned or for anyone kosher. Also stop at Harbes Farm (I like the one on Sound Ave) for some lemonade and roasted fresh corn.

                      2. I'll second Cliff's Elbow Room. Not a pretty place, but if you want a good steak, this is the place.

                        I like The Bayview Inn. Great food and great prices.

                        Jedediah Hawkins Inn is a beautiful spot. The food tries too hard and is overpriced, but the ambiance makes up for it.

                        Other good recs are The North Fork Table and Inn, Jamesport Country Kitchen and The Modern Snack Bar. Go to Jundas for strudel, Sang Lee for microgreens and Catapanos for the best goat cheese ever!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jenniebnyc

                          My husband and I spent a weekend on the North Fork just 2 weeks ago, to celebrate our anniversary. We had dinner at both The North Fork Table & Inn and The Frisky Oyster. Both were excellent--they both used local produce, servered interesting local wines, etc. They have very different vibes though--The North Fork table & Inn is more traditional, while The Frisky Oyster is a little more hip/urban.

                          For a casual lunch, we really enjoyed The Cutchoge Diner on Main Road. It has a very 50s feel to it, and the food hit the spot. I've also heard that The Hellenic is very good, although we didn't eat there.


                        2. Jedediah Hawkins Inn is terrific. I like it for lunch-a bit cheaper, a bit less "precious" than dinner. They have a great lobster roll!!! They're near a few of the nicer vineyards (and serve local wine).

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: mclaurie

                            That place looks really good, especially for dinner. Too bad they don't list prices... how much is the average dinner here? I'll definitely drop by for a lobster roll lunch. Thanks for the recommendation!

                            1. re: bluishgnome

                              Dinner with drinks for two will cost you anywhere from $100 to $150.

                              1. re: mboxermd

                                It cost us over $200 with 2 drinks each.

                          2. You must go to Jedediah Hawkins!!! You may have trouble getting a reservation but first class restaurant with great service - don't think that there is anything better than this on the North Fork!!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: mboxermd

                              I respectfully disagree, I had a less than stellar experience and wrote about it this spring. You do not get enough food (we had three courses and were still hungry), nor was any of it the best I ever had of that particular dish. Some dishes were "deconstructed" to the point of being unrecognizable. Beautiful room and perfect service though.

                              1. re: coll

                                We've been for lunch twice and thought the food was very good and that there was enough of it. Don't remember off hand what we had, but I've posted reviews after going. The room is beautiful though I wish they'd pick some flowers other than the red roses that clash with the decor, and I found the service good, but a bit forced at times.

                                1. re: coll

                                  I have to say that I had a TREMENDOUS experience there last Thursday evening. Not only is the setting beautiful, but the food is outrageous. Most of the people in my party ordered off of the specials menu, which I think does a better job than the regular menu in highlighting the ingredients that LI does best. I had fried zucchini blossoms (not perfect, but good) and a lovely flounder over an interesting polenta creation of which I can no longer remember the details (the wine list is also good!).

                                2. re: mboxermd

                                  Are reservations recommended for lunch on a Saturday?

                                  1. re: bluishgnome

                                    I think it would be a good idea - we called on a rainy Friday morning to eat lunch that day - were able to get a reservation, but the room was full. I'd imagine it would be more so this time of year - I think that might have been Easter weekend.

                                3. The Farmers Bar, on Depot rd in Southold is a great, funky bbque place with a fun bar and a great menu, a good place to order some take out and have a cold one while youre wating.

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. Wow, what a great weekend at the North Fork! Thank you, everyone, once again for all the great recommendations. It made all the difference! My wife and I are still stuffed from all the delicious meals we've had.

                                      We started the weekend with lunch at the Jedidiah Hawkins Inn. First off, let me tell you that this place looks gorgeous. The photographs on their website are so vivid and unreal, they look like might have been edited in Photoshop. But when you get there, the sight is truly breathtaking. The history and revived architecture of the estate is like delving into a storybook. Even better is the food and wine. The lobster roll, recommended in this thread and referred to as "the world's best" on the menu, was insanely good! The warm butter toasted bread with cold chunks of lobster lightly tossed in mayonnaise served with crisp fries and a microgreen salad. My mouth waters just thinking about it. The wine list is one of the most impressive that I've seen, especially on the North Fork. It's an international list (not just local wines, which tend to be very limited and overpriced) and the manager who put together the list has extensive knowledge in the wine industry. You can find some gems at great prices.
                                      (Definite recommendation)

                                      Dinner that evening was at the Seafood Barge. My wife and I had first visited for late lunch a few years back and really fell for the place. This time around, however, it was a crapshoot and we lost. We stepped in at 8PM and were greeted warmly by the hostess. Our table was being turned over, so we had to wait a few minutes. The kitchen was in complete disarray: chef shouting orders, no one responding. My wife and I shrugged. It was the Saturday night rush.

                                      We had local oysters to start, which were very neutral in flavor. No real briny-ness or sweetness... just oyster. For our main dishes, my wife ordered the sauteed shrimp and clams over pasta and I ordered the roasted sea scallops. Holy moly... the plates placed before us will forever be emblazoned in my mind. Her dish was just a soupy blob of overcooked pasta tossed with large bits of herbs and large shrimp and clams mixed in. My dish... haha... looked like it came in a McShaker container and the kitchen just shook it up and threw the contents on a plate. Delicious roasted scallops were scattered all over the plate over wilting chunks of romaine lettuce and a few halved cherry tomatoes with a truffle dressing (with real truffles... I think.) Presentation was definitely not a priority in the kitchen that night. And the dish was definitely not worth the $29 they charged. It made me wish that I had gotten the lobster instead.
                                      (Skip the Seafood Barge...)

                                      The next day, we went winery hopping, then stopped off at the Village Cheese Shop on Love Lane. They have a small food menu and a great selection of international (and local) cheeses. We decided to have the local cheese plate and were pleasantly surprised. A nice arrangement of hard, semi-soft, and soft cheeses from the area. Definitely a good deal for $14. With a plate of charcouterie & a glass of cheap red, it was more than a relaxing afternoon.

                                      And for dinner that evening, we followed a late recommendation and went to the Fifth Season in Greenport. The picture on their website makes it look like a dinky little seashore restaurant. But when you arrive, the lights are dimmed and candles lit, creating a warm inviting aura with a sophisticated yet unpretentious feel. That is exactly how I would describe the restaurant, from their service to their food. And everything was perfect. The fried Berkshire pork wontons were crispy but not oily. My wife's halibut dish was moist, flaky, and perfectly seasoned. And my filet mignon over garlic lobster mashed potatoes with a demi-glace sauce was to die for. Even their bread and butter was special. You don't see too many restaurants who toast their baguettes and serve herbed butter with parmesan cheese. The prices were fair and the service attentive. The ebb and flow of the wait staff was apparently refined. I can't emphasize how much I would recommend this restaurant. And ask for the chef's table when you make reservations!
                                      (Must go!)

                                      And now, back in Brooklyn with all the noise and smells that the city has to offer, I am starting to miss the North Fork and all the great times it has to offer. I can't wait until my next visit to try the rest of your recommendations. Thank you all again!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bluishgnome

                                        The Fifth Season has closed... so sad.

                                      2. Just returned from the North Fork, stayed at the Shinn Estate Vinyard. Barabra Shinn and David Page were wonderful hosts. The wine was good, but even better was the breakfast David Page personnlly cooked for us in the morning. Accomadations were crisp, comfy, and classic modern with dark rich colors. The tasting room was rustic and cozy. For dinner we ate at the North Fork Table & Inn and had the chef's tasting which was to die for! Everything we ate was delicious. I highly reccomend both places. On the way back we ate the Old Mill Inn on the Mattituck inlet. Very laid back, comfort food. Feed the ducks while you eat. We stopped at Briermere's farms and picked up the most delicious pies!

                                        1. I personally cannot imagine a more perfect meal than North Fork Table. We were there at the end of August for our anniversary and everything was wonderful. My husband had one fish that had been caught that day by a friend of the chef for an appetizer and another that had been caught the day. (The sommelier told us that their HVAC guy and electrician are also fishermen who often bring them fresh catches). As a non-fish person, I stuck to the land courses and was equally amazed by the freshness of the produce and pairings with just the perfect sauces. This restaurant was better than 95% of what you get at the finest restaurants in Manhattan, and although pricey, definitely less pricey than equivalent-tasting Manhattan restaurants. We're heading back for lunch next weekend.

                                          We stayed at the connected Inn, which isn't quite up to snuff for the cost in my book. But the breakfast pastries from Claudia Fleming in the morning nearly made up for the lackluster accommodations.

                                          1. Claudio's is right in town at the pier it's really good for lunch, never been there for Diner.
                                            I went there only because i walked out of the Seafood Barge because of the rude service.
                                            So take it from there.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: the queen

                                              OMG - CLAUDIO'S???? Well, if you like food left over from the '60's, you'll love Claudio's! GREAT location out on the pier, but the food is mediocre at best! Your typical boating bar scene on the weekend afternoons with a band and loads of drunk boaters.... very scary.