In Huntington, weekend crowds spill out of such spots as Blue Honu and the new Cafe Buenos Aires. How many communities can support two hibachi restaurants (Tomo Japanese Steak House and Samurai Steak House) under the same ownership just a block apart?

Consider, also, Rockville Centre, with at least 30 restaurants downtown. The scene is fluid and top-of-trend - witness the opening last fall of George Martin's Grillfire and Gabrielle's Brasserie & Wine Bar.

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In Hicksville you'll find Indian, Afghan, Pakistani, Indian-Chinese, Italian and Colombian food spots, to name a few. "There must be 20 different nationalities or styles of cooking in the area," says real estate broker Charlie Montana Jr. of Montana Associates Inc. in Hicksville.

The eating scene is burgeoning in recently renovated Patchogue. "People used to pass by downtown Patchogue," says John Peragine, co-owner of the new PeraBell Food Bar. Now, he says, they usually stop and have something to eat.

Another area making its way onto the radar screen is the North Fork, with Riverhead its gateway town. "Over the past four years we've seen higher-end restaurants catering to the new luxury audience on the North Fork," says Carlo D. Argila, a principal with the Three Pillars Group real estate development firm based in Southhampton. This year, high-profile chef Michael Meehan is the driving force behind the new Michaels' at the Boardwalk in downtown Riverhead.