You probably don’t need us to tell you that Montauk has changed quite a bit over the years - that what used to be a sleepy surf town full of artists and fishermen has slowly turned into an extension of the West Village on summer weekends.
However, what you do possibly need us to tell you is where and what to eat when you’re out there. The changing Montauk scene does mean you’ll find plenty of Manhattan-based pop-ups and high-end restaurants, but the mainstay local spots also still keep this town running (and are where you’ll often find us). Below are all our favorite places in Montauk, which fall into both categories.
For our guide to restaurants in the rest of the Hamptons, click here.
You may know Sel Rrose as that LES spot where you once saw someone from a Glossier ad drinking rose. But this oyster spot has a second location in Montauk, which means you can now get their oyster platters, double cocktails, and lobster rolls by the beach.
Family-owned and operated for more than 25 years, Ditch Witch is the best (and quite possibly only) food truck in Montauk. This place serves everything from salads, poke bowls, and burritos to sesame noodles and cinnamon buns, and can be found where the sand meets the parking lot at the famous surfing beach, Ditch Plains. Make sure to come on th earlier side, they close at 4pm daily.
Fish tacos are always a good idea, and TT’s Montauk has a takeout window where you can pick a few up, along with Nashville hot chicken sandwiches and a pitcher of frozen margaritas. And if you’re looking to feed a whole group, check out their website, where you can order taco or BBQ kits, and more.
Westlake Fish House
Westlake Fish House, located right beside the docks of Westlake Marina, is so close to the water that you just might see your dinner being hauled ashore by one of the many resident fishermen. With live music, games in the back, and surprisingly excellent sushi, this is one of our go-to’s for a casual dinner of fresh seafood, excellent New England chowder, and good cocktails.
Herb’s is the local, family-owned market in town. It’s a great place to pick up sandwiches and beers to take to the beach, but the real reason to come here is for the fried chicken, which is the best on the East End. We specifically recommend getting as many wings as they have in stock. Congrats, you’re about to become the most popular person at Ditch.
Best Pizza & Dive Bar
Best Pizza is located right off Montauk Highway and includes a large bar, indoor and outdoor seating, plenty of TVs, and a pool table. The menu is short, but absolutely delivers with the same top-notch pizza you’ll find at the original Best Pizza in Williamsburg. Make sure to ask about their seasonal toppings, which come straight from the nearby farmer’s market.
This lively seafood restaurant is two blocks away from the ocean and consistently puts out some of the best food on the East End. The menu is loaded with exciting seafood, but there are also plenty of other land-dwelling animals to eat too. The great wine list, solid local beer selection, and a Bloody Mary with a crab claw sticking out of it also keep us coming back.
Opened in May 2021, this French spot partners with local farms, vineyards, and fishermen to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious. The upscale space features great views of the Montauk Harbor, making it ideal for sunset cocktails or just staring into the eyes of someone you like with the sounds of crashing waves in the background.
Navy Beach Restaurant
Navy Beach has one of the best setups of any restaurant in all of the Hamptons, let alone Montauk. It’s situated in a little hidden alcove of Bayside Beach off the backroads, and over the train tracks. In other words, you have to know where you’re going to find it. They have tables on the sand, excellent beers on tap, and the kind of food you want to eat while you’re drinking that beer with your toes in the sand.
Duryea's Lobster Deck & Seafood Market
Duryea’s was a Montauk classic for years - a place where you ate lobster on paper plates and ordered at the counter. You still order at a counter, but after a takeover and renovation a few years ago, it’s now the place to go to feel like you’re on a fancy vacation. We’re fans of all the raw bar items, as well as the huge shareable salads. It’s first-come, first-served, so plan accordingly.
Located in the Cove Marina, The Hideaway is a casual little shack that’s home to some of Montauk’s best Mexican food. With fresh seafood (make sure to get some ceviche), tacos, platos, and an impressive cocktail menu, this is one of our favorite places to grab a casual meal away from the craziness of some of the nearby bars and hotels.
The Inlet Seafood Restaurant
Drive all the way around Lake Montauk and pull into a parking lot/shipyard, and you’ll find the best sushi around. Seats are up on the second floor, right across the lake from Gosman’s, giving you a ridiculous view of the Long Island Sound. In addition to the sushi rolls, there’s a solid menu of salads, sandwiches, and fried seafood. Go for lunch, when you can take in the view. Also, if you ever find yourself on a boat, it’s an excellent destination - there’s plenty of room for docking.
Grey Lady MTK
By day and early evening, the Montauk extension of this Manhattan seafood spot acts as a great place to enjoy oysters and rosè, and later on, this place typically turns up. It’s not huge, but has enough room and a nice amount of outdoor space for you to get comfortable with your seafood. Add it to your rotation this summer.
The Backyard At Sole East
Located within the beautiful gardens of Sole East Resort, Backyard serves Mediterranean dishes - like grilled octopus, cavatelli, and lots of dips - throughout the sprawling property. They also do both poolside dining and live music (including reggae on Thursdays and jazz brunch on Sundays). Be sure to check out the impressive hotel boutique next door, which features plenty of beachwear and accessories, just in case you didn’t pack quite as well as you thought.
Ice cream is an integral part of the Montauk experience. If you’re not eating ice cream out here, you’re doing it all wrong. And John’s Drive-In is, hands down, our favorite. They make everything themselves, from the soft serve to the hard shell stuff. We’re obsessed with the double chocolate fudge Oreo, as well as the mint chip. They also have incredible french fries and cheap, simple, snack bar-style burgers and dogs.
Montauk’s go-to breakfast spot, Joni’s serves iced coffee, breakfast burritos, egg sandwiches, wraps, and other healthier stuff. Everyone goes to Joni’s, so be prepared for organized chaos during prime time. Plus, you never know who you’ll run into here. Our best sighting ever: Jerry Seinfeld.
Got kids? It doesn’t get much better than Gosman’s. The dock, the boats, the clam bar, the ice cream - it’s a child’s paradise. But big kids like us can appreciate it too. Drinks overlooking the water at Topside (the bar upstairs) are certainly never a bad idea. However, you don’t want to eat up there. Head down for the clam bar on the dock where you can dig into freshly-caught local fish, delicious chowder, and other good stuff.
The Crow's Nest
The small hotel and restaurant are run by the same owner as The Bowery Hotel and The Jane, and is basically the beach version of those. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but come early, have a drink under the strings of tea lights, and watch the pretty people eat crab pasta and burrata. Then eat some yourself.
The Surf Lodge
It used to be that if you wanted to party on the East End, you were either battling the lines and awful people at horrible clubs like Pink Elephant (RIP) and Jet East (RIP) in Southampton, reverting to your old college ways at Stephen’s Talkhouse, or getting really messy at The Point and Memory Motel in Montauk (which is absolutely still a good idea). Now, everyone just goes to the Surf Lodge - or tries to. At this point, Saturday nights are completely off limits. It’s an absolute zoo. We get our Surf Lodge in around 6 or 7pm for an early cocktail and live music, or on a rainy Friday when it’s empty. Eating a full meal here isn’t necessary, unless you’re booking with the hopes of eating dinner here to skip the line.
Typically, you come to Ruschmeyers for its summer camp-like set-up, with an adult sand box/beer garden overlooking the lake, a restaurant, a bar, a “dancing parlor,” and all sorts of other activities. But you can also just come here to enjoy the solid, straightforward food like pizzas, burrata, grilled octopus, tuna crudo, and so on while taking in the view. We like the food here a bit better than at Surf Lodge.