A Local’s Guide to Amagansett

Heading out to Amagansett this summer? Here’s where to eat, where to stay and what to do once you get there.

With a record shop, a surf shop, and a yoga studio within spitting distance, Amagansett has taken the helm as the chillest Hamptons hamlet west of Montauk. And the food follows suit—there aren’t many options for heels and lipstick, but plenty of places to go with sand between your toes.

To Eat

Hampton Chutney

If you’ve never experienced a dosa, prepare yourself. The delicious South Indian sourdough crepes are filled with everything from traditional potato masala to goat cheese and grilled Portobello mushrooms. Other options on the menu at Hampton Chutney include curried chicken over basmati rice, mung dal and other soup specials, and an array of sandwiches, all served with a house-made chutney of your choice. Dine to the sound of devotional chants in the shop, or take your food out onto the cool grass of the Square. Drinks like mango lassis and watermelon juice are healthy refreshers, but for a pick-me-up you can’t find anywhere else, try the iced chai. You’ll never go back to tea bags.

Mary’s Marvelous

Invigorating smoothies, creative salads, and delicious prepared foods like turkey meat loaf and roasted vegetables are all expertly executed at Mary’s. But the egg sandwich is in a class by itself. The traditional is free-range eggs, organic bacon, and Vermont cheddar cheese on fresh bread pressed panini style, and it makes the morning’s guiltiest pleasure taste like love.

Cavaniola’s 

Michael Cavaniola knows cheese. When you walk in to his newer location in Amagansett, which opened last year after over a decade of success in Sag Harbor, the aesthetic is almost as delectable as the edible. But not quite.

Anyone who works at Cavaniola’s will be able to tell you exactly where the cheese came from, what the weather is like there, and how the livestock are treated. They’ll offer you a slice of aged gouda or farmhouse cheddar and they’ll watch your facial expression change, and then they’ll make a recommendation.

The prepared foods (especially the roasted tomatoes) are worthy of the best restaurants in the Hamptons, but you’ll have to take them to enjoy on a bench in the square. Particularly perfect on one of the many nights when free music or other events are happening on the green, but always lovely. A bonus is that Cavaniola’s carries a unique assortment of craft beers.

Indian Wells Tavern

It’s hard to tear yourself away from the bright sunshine of Amagansett Square, but in the cooler evenings or on a rainy day, Indian Wells Tavern is the perfect place for a sit-down meal in a cozy booth.  Local favorites like lobster rolls, fish tacos, and fish and chips are fresh and delicious, and the bar scene is hopping year-round.

La Fondita

The best Mexican food in the Hamptons is found in this bright and cheery roadside spot. Whether you sit at the ceramic tile counter for tacos with roasted pork, cilantro and onions or you bring a tray of chayote (squash with tomatoes and onions) to the back yard to sit under the twinkling lights, it’s always a fiesta at La Fondita. Under the leadership of Joe Realmuto (of Nick & Toni’s fame), La Fondita emphasizes freshness and authenticity above all.

Sotto Sopra

A stark contrast to most of the offerings in Amagansett, Sotto Sopra brings a little something fancy to the dunes. The bar is often crowded, and cocktails like the rose Spritz are a refreshing way to greet the evening. The wood-oven pizzas seem to be everyone’s go-to, and the funghi, with sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and truffle robiolina, brings a gourmet flavor to a familiar dish.

Lunch

Technically on the Napeague stretch, no culinary guide to the Hamptons would be complete without a mention of Lunch, a landmark since 1965. The telltale sign on the side of Montauk Highway is more command than suggestion, and pulling off into the dunes guarantees the lobster roll of champions. There are, of course, other dishes, like the fried soft shell crab sandwich or the clams on the half shell. But for the quintessential Lunch experience, sit out on the back patio with a lobster roll and an iced tea, and just offer thanks to the gods for a moment like this one.

To Drink

Stephen Talkhouse

Part dive bar, part legend, Stephen Talkhouse is what we talk about when we talk about hazy summer nights. It happens, it’s true, it’s happened to me: standing outside in a circle with friends, wrapped in heated conversation over a round of beers, when a familiar guitar riff starts to play. Before we knew it we were brow to brow with Jimmy Buffett.

The Talkhouse has attracted some of the greatest musical legends because of its history, its intimacy, and its smack of the genuine. But even if you go on an off night, you’ll find a beer for every taste and the easy, no-frills environment of a roadside bar that’s stood the test of time.

Wolffer Kitchen

Just opened in May, Wolffer Kitchen brings a fresh pink vibe to Amagansett’s cool green square. After its success in Sag Harbor, Joey Wolffer and her team decided to open a second Wolffer Kitchen, manned by the same Executive Chef, Brian Cheewing. Cheewing, who is known for his refined and contemporary approach to American cuisine, re-imagined the menu completely for the Amagansett location.

Sitting at the bar on opening night, the place was packed but the lights were soft. Of course, Wolffer’s most beloved wines are featured, but the wine list runs deep, also including other regional wines like Channing Daughters and Roanoke Vineyards. Cocktails invoke the Wolffers’ “Summer in a Bottle” mentality with concoctions like the Sagaponack Sangria with rose, cognac, mint, and berries or the Vintner, with Wolffer’s “pink” gin.

To Stay

Gansett Green

From Main Street in Amagansett, you’d never suspect how meandering the grounds of Gansett Green actually are. With two acres of manicured lawns and several types of accommodations ranging from freestanding cottages to rooms in the main barn, there’s plenty of space to make yourself at home. But Gansett Green is right in the heart of the village, which means you could easily walk home from a late night at the Talkhouse or jog to the beach in the morning. (Or both!)

Hither Hills Campground

There are oceanfront accommodations, and then there’s sleeping on the beach. Hither Hills Campground has to be booked well in advance, but it’s worth planning ahead for next summer if you’re interested in falling asleep to the constant sound of the waves. Hither Hills Campground has become a tradition for many looking to truly escape to the beach – nestled in the dunes, surrounded only by nature, you can pitch a tent or bring a camper, barbecue all weekend, and just bask in the beauty.

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Emily Weitz is a freelance writer who pursues her idea of robust living from her home in Sag Harbor.