7 Local Restaurants Sure to Impress Your Out-of-Town Guests

Want to show off Long Island’s restaurant scene to your out-of-town guests? Here are some great places to start. • Photo by Doug Young

Clam shacks and food trucks? Perfect for summer. And that fast casual joint on Main Street is a great go-to when on-the-go. But sometimes, it’s nice to dress up, slow down and indulge in the finer things in life: a steak cooked to perfection, ribs that fall off the fork and a toast-worthy wine menu. The holidays are one of those times, especially if family and friends are coming in from out of town. Gift them something infinitely more special than new socks by treating them at one of these seven local restaurants.

The American Hotel
Sag Harbor

A favorite since it opened in 1846, the American Hotel attracts famous names who want to fly under the radar without sacrificing fantastic taste. But gawkers beware: cell phone use is about as welcome as diners wearing old sneakers. It is for well-dressed oenophiles, foodies and history buffs. The wine list boasts nearly 3,000 bottles from local and international producers and the lamb is so tender even Mary would order it. Other standouts include foie gras and Peconic Bay oysters. It’s all served in four dining areas that transport guests back to the 1800s. Think portraits of Lincoln, a cozy wooden fireplace and framed advertisements from the era. Go

Great Neck

Morton’s excudes upscale cool from the moment guests walk through the doors. The white tablecloth dining space includes large crystal light fixtures on the ceilings and dark wooden chairs. And the staff is known to make the experience equal parts pleasant and fun. Waiters come around with carts full of everything from prime meats to live lobsters but can also recommend a menu staple like a pro. The salmon is delectable, but spring for the 6-ounce center cut filet mignon. It’s juicy, flavorful and a perfect companion for the rich, full-bodied Pebble Lane Cabernet Sauvignon. Go    

Prime | An American Kitchen and Bar

It’s possible to go to Prime multiple times and still not have “seen it all.” The resort-like restaurant has a lodge, wave bar, patio with views of the harbor and intimate vine room. Those looking to impress that special someone should opt for the vine room. The dimly-lit space has candles and white linens on each table. The wine rack, stocked floor to ceiling with local and international bottles, serves as the room’s centerpiece. When Jack Frost is nipping at guests’ noses, a seat by the lodge’s fireplace makes for a cozy respite. Go

Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi

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Friday essentials.🍷

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This chic steak and seafood restaurant is a perfect choice for treating mom and dad. The sprawling dining room features high ceilings, a glass wine display and colorful decor. There’s also a patio with a fireplace. The food is equally impressive. Recommended dishes include succulent steaks, tender fillets and fresh sushi worth skipping a mortgage payment for (it’s famously pricey). Go

The 1770 House
East Hampton

The dishes on Chef Michael Rozzi’s contemporary American menu are feasts for tastebuds and eyes. Beautifully plated, it almost feels sinful to dig in. Keyword: Almost. Favorites include the ambitious rabbit braised ravioli and the Southold-sourced oysters. Though the menu is decidedly modern, the dining room strikes a quainter chord. There are white wicker chairs, antique wooden tables and turn-of-last-century clocks. The spacious but intimate space only seats 40, meaning you won’t have to shout while catching up with loved ones (unless you’re debating politics). Go


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Salmon w Olive Tapenade and Ratatouille 😛

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This upscale escape in the heart of business-driven Melville is something special. The ambiance is equal parts fun and elegant. Water-themed accents include hanging bubbles which stand out against chic white tables and an impressive marble bar. Glitzy as it is, the menu is refreshingly approachable. Finger foods like BBQ grilled pork served with pineapple salsa and Maryland lump crab cakes are perfect for sharing while catching up with family. The short ribs need no introduction (or knife). Go    

Tellers: An American Chophouse

A trip to this upscale steakhouse, housed in a former bank, is a special gift for carnivores, particularly red meat enthusiasts. Popular plates include flavorful filet mignon and skirt steak cooked to a guests’ liking. The extensive, 25-page wine menu includes Long Island bottles like the 2013 Paumanok Merlot, a light-bodied red that warms the soul on a cold winter’s night. Go