If you’re searching for special deals, you’ve found the wrong list. This is for date night on Long Island, prime time, nights to get gussied up, to wine and dine.
We’re talking white tablecloths, olive oil, oysters, water views, quaint villages, downtowns and extensive wine lists. Scroll down to start planning.
In the heart of this historic seaside village you’ll find Avino’s Italian Table, which has taken up residence in an 1856 farmhouse worthy of a Currier and Ives painting. Our favorite time to visit is the fall and winter, when the Avino family keeps three fireplaces burning through dinner service.
And we all know there’s nothing like that fiery reflection in a wine glass to get date night started.
Within their southern Italian menu you’ll find an array of antipasti options, salads, and pasta, fish and chicken dishes. But we say it’s a special night, so go for the Filetto, grass-fed angus tenderloin with mushroom reduction, whipped potato, vegetable and crispy onions, and add the gorgonzola crust.
We also suggest starting with Salumi e Formaggi, the chef’s selection of artisan cheeses and Italian cured meats, olives, mushrooms, artichokes and roasted red peppers. Pair all that with a half-dozen refreshing Long Island oysters. Now you’re really having fun by the fire.
After dinner, step into the village for an evening stroll, arm-in-arm in your pea coats. The perfect nightcap.
Whether you’re planning on a prolonged stay at their art deco-style bar for cocktails and oysters, or headed straight to the dining room, Salt & Barrel is a gem.
If you’re sitting for dinner, our suggestion is to arrive an hour before your reservation, this way you can get started at the bar, because it is a show-stopper, replete with well-dressed, throwback barkeeps, subway tiles, pressed-tin ceilings and stylish leather stools with room for over two dozen people. That doesn’t include the high tops that run along the windows fronting Main Street.
This place can’t be missed, as it lights up the downtown with a buzz and warm glow in the after hours. For dinner, you’ll find plenty of fresh seafood entrées, as well as duck, filet mignon, cavatelli, even shrimp pad thai.
Opened in May of 2016, Salt & Barrel is a concept from the famous Fire Island Flynn family, which has been in hospitality here since 1937. S&B carries a rotating array of oysters from across the U.S., including Long Island, along with a beverage program “based on classic cocktails from a forgotten era.”
So bask in the feeling of yesteryear, and with that special someone. Click here to view all their menus.
Here’s a tip for maximum romantic enjoyment at The Oar, which was built on a sprawling property along the banks of Patchogue River: Get there for sunset, if the season is right for it. But even if it’s not, there’s no spot in this restaurant lacking of water views. Oh, and those wonderful bay breezes outside in summer.
So nice, that The Oar was nationally ranked in 2015 by Open Table as among the Top 100 Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America, with numerous Diners’ Choice awards that followed from Open Table, including Best Scenic View. So you can understand why we suggested sunset.
This is a place where Long Island couples often get engaged, right there on the docks.
We can recommend anything here involving seafood, and always start with the PEI Sautéed Mussels. Their prowess for steak and seafood entrées, even pasta, along with the cocktails and the buzz at the bar makes The Oar an easy choice for which to book a babysitter as soon as possible. Click here for their menus. Click here if you’re looking to enjoy some live music on your night out.
Ask about booking a heated igloo in the winter for a real intimate experience on the water, and under the stars. (The heated igloos also have special menus.)
COLD SPRING HARBOR
Right in the middle of one of the prettiest little Main Streets on Long Island, is Sandbar.
Once inside, you’ll be immediately immersed in a coastal casual ambiance — providing the sleekest of backdrops for an elaborate American dining experience from both land and sea. Also a great setting for a very memorable date night with your person.
The menu was created by none other than six-time James Beard semifinalist Guy Reuge, who combines local fare, tavern favorites and seafood specialties into everyday elegance. Your camera will indeed eat first, as the kids say. This means the dish presentations are an absolute art form, so you’ll want to snap some photos to show off this special night to friends and followers.
If you really want to show off, spring for the Seafood Tower, followed by the Duck Two Ways and the Scottish Salmon. We would finish the night with creme brûlée, the mixed berries, sorbet and an after dinner drink, maybe a Coquito or Brandy Alexander, as the cocktails at Sandbar are consistently, perfectly executed.
Lessing’s, the ownership group, describes Sandbar as a spot where “modern opulence collides with classic comfort foods.” The handhelds and more casual options — such as the Sandbar Cheeseburger or Cajun Chicken Sandwich — are as tasty as the entrées. But this is date night, after all; let’s stick to the forks and knives.
This top-notch, perpetually highly ranked South Shore spot for the most special of occasions has a Catskills lodge feel to it in winter, yet with the same panoramic water views that guests enjoy all summer.
Before opening in 2006 (first on Main Street), chef and owner Matthew Connors had made a name for himself in Manhattan, where he last ran the popular farm-to-table restaurant Veritas in the Flatiron District. He and his team’s Bay Shore restaurant and its brand of French American fine dining was an immediate hit. Getting weekend reservations was tough.
Ownership eventually grew out of its original space on a lake, so they renovated and moved to a much larger building on the Great South Bay to the south. They kept the name.
They also kept the new space’s two large fireplaces that bookend the restaurant on the east and west, perhaps our favorite feature. But on summer nights, the outdoor deck is aglow with garden lights for al freso dining on the water, where you’ll see islanders come and go on their boats.
Inside, The LakeHouse staff plays host in four large dining rooms, two that front the bay, along with a more casual tap room. But we’re old school; wear a jacket, even if you’re going to the bar.
Chandeliers, bulb lights, drapes, velvet seats, and an overall NYC vibe.
Mix in some of the island’s best cocktails and a diverse menu that ebbs and flows with the seasons, and you’re in for a very wonderful date night. Likely the first of many, because this place prides itself on service, and a five-star dining experience.
Get to The Linwood early and start at the bar, where you could each enjoy a cocktail, and the charm of a charismatic barkeep. Our current choice for either a lady or gentleman would be the Haymaker. That’s Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Blood Orange, White Cocoa, Cinnamon.
For dinner service, check out the wine menu or keep the cocktails pairing. But always start with the Mac & Cheese (doesn’t sound date-nighty? Trust us on this one). Our suggestions for entrées: the Grilled USDA Prime Flat Iron or the Ricotta Cavatelli Bolognese. (We love the pasta dishes here!)
Forego dessert and head back to the bar to wind things down.
Tell us about your romantic restaurant. Click here to email the promotions team.