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North Fork - never been. Need restaurants

Never been to North Fork of Long Island. Going 4 nights mid July. Love seafood, New American,..we eat everything but blood sausage (except in Spain and Chicago). We'd love some suggestions.

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  1. Everyone will suggest North Fork Table and Inn. Except me....but only because I have never been there myself. (It is very expensive.) There are many good restaurants on the NF. The Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport has a new chef, food is equally as good as what it was with the previous chef. That chef was Keith Luce, who is opening a new restaurant and food complex in Greenport...should be open by mid-July. FWIW, my oldest son, who has eaten at both NFT&I, and the JHI, said he preferred the latter one. Also very good is Amano in Mattituck, its sister restaurant A Lure in Southold. Touch of Venice in Cutchogue has great Italian, and the Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue is a fun place....not spectacular food, but still good and lots of fun, at reasonable prices. More people will weigh in here with further recommendations....but there are many great places to choose from.

    2 Replies
    1. re: EricMM

      I have to disagree about NFT&I. It never disappoints, and we have had some amazing meals there. The pastry chef is a god. Even if the OP can't get a reservation there, they should definitely try the food truck for lunch. It's in the back of the parking lot.

      1. re: roxlet

        What's there to disagree with? I said I have never eaten there myself, but that others would recommend it. I do hope to go there...its on my must try list...but sometime when I'm just with my daughter or son. Can't afford to take the whole family there.

    2. You didn't say what part of the Nork Fork you'll be staying in and it's a good 40-45 minutes from Riverhead/Aquebogue to Greenport Village with light traffic, just so you know. Not a bad thing because either route (North Rd/Sound Ave. or the Main Rd.) are both scenic and dotted with wineries and farm stands so if you do hit a little traffic the view is great. The North route usually has less traffic because it is not as developed as the Main Rd.
      EricMM gave you some great advice, and he's right that there are a lot of great places out here, but Keith Luce's new "Square" in Greenport (used to be Stirling Square and was the location for North Fork Oyster Company) is actually open, at least 3 elements of the 4 are open...the restaurant is called Main and is getting nice reviews, haven't been there yet but plan to go this weekend; "Nosh" is just that, a place to grab a bite that you can walk around with, and "Prep", where you can watch them make foods for Main and there are flatbreads and such, including his own line of salumi. "Meet" will open later this summer and will be a tasting room where you can also buy prepared items, ingredients and kitchen wares. Web site is nofosquare.com
      If you do go to Greenport, grab a drink at the INSIDE bar at Claudio's, which was featured in The Devil's Own with Brad Pitt, great old bar. If you like to eat outside by the water check out The Blue Canoe, right beside the Shelter Island Ferry Terminal. Also in Greenport is First and South, great outdoor space and a dining porch, known for their house made french fries.
      The Old Mill Inn in Mattituck is also on the water and has a small outside dock that is smack on the water, ducks and swallows and osprey and egrets abound. The new chef this year is also the chef for the Yankees club house; so far the food has been great, we've been several times this season.
      Legends in New Suffolk (a really special hamlet) has water views and is a sports bar on one side and nice dining room on the other. They have an extensive menu from burgers to bahn mi, great fish specials; we have tried almost all of it and never been disappointed.
      The Riverhead Project is city-chic and really unusual for out here (for now at least).. New chef came from South Edison in Montauk and now the menu is more seafood-centric, but it changes almost daily with what's local and fresh. Tweed's, what locals call the Buffalo Bar, is an old hotel, great old bar, (was a stagecoach stop/brothel back in the day), has great chowder and baked clams but I personally think the menu is over-priced for mains. They do serve bison and the owner owns the buffalo farm on Roanoke Ave. just south of Sound Ave. (neat place for a photo if you're into that).
      I can't say enough about Touch of Venice, our favorite place. It's not your typical red-sauce Italian - a recent special was a grilled veal chop with truffle butter served with black rice and grilled ramps, incredible. And they make the best fish out here IMHO.
      There are more but that's my go-to list, I'll leave it to others to throw their favs in. Have a great visit, you will love it out here! Oh, don't miss Love Lane in Mattituck, you must stroll it, and Love Lane Kitchen is a great place for lunch, fantastic lobster roll!!

      1. Where will you be staying and will you have a car?

        22 Replies
        1. re: Motosport

          We're staying in Greenport and we will have a car. Any winery suggestions as well. Prefer BYOB but don't know how realistic that is on the North Fork.

          1. re: xsivjosh

            Starting in Greenport and heading West:
            Bruce's Cheese Emporium for breakfast or lunch
            Lucharito's Mexican lunch or dinner, great Margueritas
            Frisky Oyster for upscale creative dinner
            Blue Canoe for lunch/dinner seafood al fresco dining if weather permits
            Billy's By the Bay for decent bar food honky tonk live band
            There are a few new places in Greenport that are probably good but we have not personally tried them
            Hellenic has excellent Greek food and tasty whole fish specials
            Avoid Scrimshaw
            Southold:
            O'Malley's for a fabulous burger and more.Open till midnight
            Jen's Main St Café has an excellent creative breakfast
            New Suffolk:
            Legends is outstanding. We like eating in the bar area but the dining room is very nice
            Mattituck:
            Love Lane Kitchen has an excellent creative menu for breakfast/lunch/dinner
            Crazy Fork for casual seafood
            Laurel & Jamesport:
            Elbow Room & Elbow Two fantastic marinated steak
            Grana has excellent thin crust pizza and other creative Italian
            Jamesport Manor Inn for Fancy schmancy
            Junda's Bakery to die for apple strudel
            Jamesport Country Kitchen casual creative upscale menu
            Lenny's Pizza huge portions in the dining room
            Aquebogue:
            Comtesse Therese is the only winery with a restaurant and it's fabulous
            Modern Snack Bar step into a luncheonette time warp keep it simple and you'll be happy. Incredible pies.
            Riverhead:
            tRp can't be beat. It's fantastic on all levels.
            If you get adventurous head to Hampton Bays and check out.
            Al fresco dining at: Canal Café for the best lobster roll ever.
            Cow Fish and Rumba too!!
            OK, I'm hungry!!

            1. re: Motosport

              Can't thank you enough for the time and thought you've put into this response. It's why chowhound is our go-to reference for restaraurants and travel.
              One more question: Where would you go for a good down and dirty and not too costly oyster bar experience (think Half Shell Bar in Key West type of place).

              1. re: xsivjosh

                We've been to the Half Shell!!!
                Billy's By the Bay in Greenport would be my first choice. Keep it simple and you'll be happy. Last time we were there they had a nice honky tonk band.

                1. re: Motosport

                  I've posted this before, but my last experience at Billy's was a nightmare. The oysters on the half shell were weird...rubbery, like they had been pasteurized....or irradiated. My lobster was fresh and meaty, and tasted like mud. Not the way lobster should taste in June. Add a whole group of loud drunk boaters at the bar, and we swore off the place. (My previous visit yielded good oysters, but fried clams that were a little too funky in flavor to declare "fresh".)

                  1. re: EricMM

                    Billy's is as close to The Half Shell as you'll get on the North Fork. It's a standard K.I.S.S. place.

              2. re: Motosport

                Great list! I’m taking this with me when I do my farm runs this summer. I will add:

                Old Mill Inn in Mattituck – +1 on NoFoLady’s recommendation up-thread for OMI - good food and a beautiful location. I think lunch or an early dinner would be best so that you can enjoy the view.

                Snowflake Ice Cream in Riverhead - serves ice cream made with local seasonal berries. Follow them on Facebook for the flavor of the week.

                Southold Fish Market (review below) - if you are looking for a very casual spot for a good fish taco or a lobster roll, I always enjoy a stop here. Go inside to order and then grab a seat outside at one of the picnic tables overlooking Peconic Bay.
                Enjoy your visit.

                Southold Fish Market
                Published: September 21, 2010 5:12 PM
                By Erica Marcus/ Newsday
                For some reason, the North Fork lacks a proper "seafood shack," a restaurant where you can get simple, fresh, local, straight-ahead American seafood classics such as steamers, fried clams, lobsters and lobster rolls. Thankfully Southold Fish Market has stepped into the void.
                I had three lunches at Southold Fish Market. There’s no indoor seating, but in sunny weather the picnic tables overlooking the marina are hard to beat. Southold’s terrific lobster roll contains big hunks of freshly picked meat of a 1¼-pound lobster mixed with mayonnaise and celery and comes with skinny, salty, hand-cut French fries, a bargain at $16.95. For my second lunch I ordered the fried whole-belly clam platter ($11.95) and they were so delicious that I made them my third lunch, too.
                You’d be nuts not to peek into the actual fish market at Southold Fish Market, where owner Charlie Manwaring simultaneously helps customers, confers with fishermen and breaks down fish. There’s no place on the North Fork (or on the Island, for that matter) to see a better selection of just-landed local fish. Over the course of a week I bought littleneck clams, swordfish steaks and one 7-pound striped bass from Manwaring. They did my, respectively, spaghetti and clam sauce, Sicilian-style stuffed swordfish and whole roasted striped bass very proud indeed.
                Southold Fish Market is at 61850 Main Rd., Southold, 631-765-3200

                1. re: EM23

                  I have to agree with Snowflake (I had lunch there today) also Magic Fountain in Mattituck.
                  I have to add Tony's Asian Fusion in Mattituck for outstanding Asian Fusion. For straightforward excellent Chinese food we go to Jen's next to the Mattituck Cinema.
                  Southold Fish Market and Charlie are amazing. My lovely wife and I had our first date at his old place.
                  I have to disagree on Old Mill because of the "attitude" of the new owners. It used to be a regular Friday night al fresco spot for us. One of the best waterfront restaurant locations.
                  Unfortunately I.M.H.O. the new owners seem to think they are in The Fabulous Hamptons. Lived there, done that! We tried it three times and got the same snobby attitude so we don't go back. Go figure?

                  1. re: Motosport

                    Ooh! What did you have for lunch at Snowflake? When in Riverhead, we usually go for a slice at the Roadhouse and then to Snowflake for dessert.
                    That is a shame about your experiences at the Olld Mill. I have sat out on the deck on my visits - a couple of lunches and a few times in the late afternoon for drinks, and didn't pick up on anything snobby. Was it recently sold?

                    1. re: EM23

                      I am guessing the new owners of Old Mill bought it 5 years ago or so. "Hamptons" people. Oy vey!!
                      I had a small vanilla sundae with black cherries and marshmallow. Whipped cream and a cherry on top!!

                      1. re: Motosport

                        Ah, those new owners. Then, perhaps, it is best to go during the day as the "fox" is known to be a nocturnal creature;)

                        Awesome lunch!

                        1. re: EM23

                          Alas, we both work. We were early Friday dinner regulars. We'd sit outside and enjoy a lobster or fresh fish.
                          When the new people took over the outside tables became treasures to be doled out to the illiterati. We'd arrive at 6:15 and the place would be nearly empty. maybe 1 outside table was taken. We'd ask for a table outside and be told to wait at the bar since we did not have reservations. 20-30 minutes would go by before we were given the honor of sitting outside. Really, the place is all about dining al fresco. Otherwise, what's the point. The food is not that memorable.
                          The last time we waited at the bar for 45 minutes. No one was sitting outside. I got up and asked why we could not get a table even though they were all empty. "They are all booked. We didn't get any cancellations."
                          We left and went to the Chowder Pot Pub. Had a great seafood dinner while watching the ferries come and go.
                          Maybe at lunch there is less "demand."
                          I lived in Wainscott for 30 years. When we moved to the North Fork we thought we had left that attitude behind.

                    2. re: Motosport

                      Go figure - we have had terrible luck with Tony's and not once in the last 5 years or so when the new owners took over have we ever had an attitude problem at the Old Mill. And we have been there many, many times and sent many others their way.
                      I actually was going to suggest their bar in response to a Key West type bar because the bar inside reminds me of that - lived in South Florida many years and went to the Keys regularly.

                    3. re: EM23

                      EM23, thanks for the quote. I stand by this item but, sadly, Southold Fish Market has moved across and down the street and is currently operating out of a trailer. There's no water to overlook, and no tables from which to overlook it!

                      Enthusiastically second both Snowflake and Taqueria Mexico in Riverhead.

                      1. re: emarcus

                        I m so disappointed to read this, Erica! Do you know if this is a temporary or permanent move?

                        1. re: EM23

                          Southold fish market moved into a building. Some over eager driver drove their car into the building. They are operating out of the trailer until the building is renovated.

                            1. re: EM23

                              Charlie moved across the road into an old closed restaurant. I think it was called "Brian's Song" at one point.
                              They are not on the water side any longer.

                              1. re: Motosport

                                Thanks Moto. A favorite food memory that's never to be repeated again:( Must be more poignant for you and your wife since you had your first date there.

                          1. re: EM23

                            I think once they get into the actual building there will be seating, though not on the water anymore. Well, hope springs eternal for the waterside clam shack on the North Fork. Really, it's not rocket science!

                            1. re: emarcus

                              One more super storm and they may be waterfront!!

                    4. re: xsivjosh

                      I've never tried BYOB at the NF restaurants, not sure if they approve. But just about all of the NF restaurants like to showcase NF wines, and among the better restaurants, selections will not only vary but many of them may have special bottlings not available elsewhere. Restaurant markups for wine on the NF are not as huge as in NYC, so a bottle of wine will cost less relative to its retail price than in the city....also lower markups help encourage more orders.

                  2. For ridiculously cheap, real deal Mexican: Taqueria Mexico, a 1/2 mile east of the Aquarium. Tacos Lengua, Cabeza, Carnitas, Al Pastor. Interesting Tortas. Killer red or green hot sauce.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sbp

                      Amen to that! You can see the woman making the fresh tortillas in the back from some tables. We've been to Mexico many times and this truly is the real deal, not Americanized.

                    2. One thing about the North Fork, xslvjosh, is that it is very laid back and very low-key. With the exception of Greenport, there is very little that goes on at night. We always called the North Fork "the land that time forgot."

                      I don't think that anyone has mentioned The Love Lane Cafe. Love Lane is the main "commercial" street of Mattituck, and we always have lunch there when we are in town. They are open for breakfast and dinner too. Also on Love Lane is a great cheese shop if you want to get food to take to the wineries to do a picnic lunch.

                      Don't forget the Cutchogue dinner, which is another good breakfast and lunch spot. The owners also run the Two Boots pizza shop in the East Village in Manhattan.

                      I have never been there, but people seem to like Allure in Port of Egypt (on the Main Road before you get to Greenport). I never cared for its previous incarnation as The Seafood Barge.

                      We like also Braun's for fish, and they have a take out counter and some tables to eat outside.

                      Don't forget to stop at Wickham's Fruit Farm in Cutchogue. If you're lucky, you might just hit it for the few days when the apricots are ripe. They are the best ones I've had outside of Sicily. Their peaches are also outstanding. Everything is picked when it is tree ripe, so it will not have a long life without refrigeration.

                      And on the way home, you may want to stop at Briermere Farms and get a fresh fruit cream pie. They are outrageously delicious. We also love their strawberry jam (two ingredients--strawberries and sugar), and their muffins (corn and blueberry, in particular), which we always take home to freeze.

                      Since we always rented a house there, we mainly cooked with all the wonderful fish, meat and produce we would buy there. Also, the restaurant scene (going back 20-25 years) was pretty pathetic. Things have definitely changed a lot since then.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: roxlet

                        I think I must be the only Chowhounder who liked the Seafood Barge. We liked it so much we had all our kids Bar/Bas Mitzvahs there. My oldest was so upset when they closed that he and his wife made a special trip out there for its last night. Food varied along with chef's, but I can only remember 1 year when it wasn't as good. People complained here about the attitude, but we never encountered any attitude problems in all the years we went. We were always treated superbly. Yes, I know Noah's is run by their last chef. haven't tried it yet, but some of my kids have and they liked it....I will go there some time.

                        1. re: EricMM

                          We'd go to the Seafood Barge for steamed lobster. It was one of those K.I.S.S. places that had a great location. Sometimes we'd go there on our Jet Skis since they had a dock and outside tables with plastic chairs (we were wet).
                          We miss the place.

                          1. re: Motosport

                            What you're describing sounds like Armando's Seafood Barge, the predecessor. Total KISS, with huge tasty lobsters, way better than Billy's. The upscale Seafood Barge replaced it..the one that so many people seemed to dislike...but their steamed lobsters were even better than Armando's...just a bit smaller and a lot more expensive.

                            1. re: EricMM

                              I always got those two places confused. One became Allure and the other is still closed.

                              1. re: Motosport

                                For good reason...The Original Barge is the one that is now closed. (Never liked it much myself. First time I went there it was good...second time, feh.) Armando's Seafood Barge begat The Seafood Barge, which begat A'Lure.