The true catch of any day on Long Island is an exceptional seafood restaurant. There are surprisingly few in Nassau and Suffolk. Here are Newsday’s choices for the Top 10 of 2016.
Artie's South Shore Fish & Grill(Credit: Kirsten Luce)
Artie's South Shore Fish & Grill, Island Park: Artie Hoerning, fisherman and proprietor, reels you into his ultracasual market, restaurant and takeout destination. Unpretentious and fresh, this local landmark serves the day's fare with paper plates, plastic utensils, occasional Styrofoam. Everything is fairly priced. Recommended: tuna tartare, lobster roll, fried clams, fried soft-shell crabs, grilled prawns, deep-fried or broiled fluke, fried whiting, sautéed swordfish with blackened butter, Manhattan-style clam chowder, New England-style clam chowder. BYOB and cash only. (Pictured: Clams on the half shell)
A lobster roll is served at Artie's South Shore Fish & Grill in Island Park.
Bigelow's(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Bigelow's, Rockville Centre: Bigelow's, which has been in business since 1939, is all about the basics, which is to say the primary pieces of equipment on the premises are a grill and a fryolator. You'll eat at a curved counter with stools at a location far removed from the shoreline. But scenery doesn't count. Fried seafood is the unquestioned star and the reason. Ipswich clams, with soft shells and bellies attached, lead the selections. Recommended: fried Ipswich clams, fried whiting, fried smelts, fried oysters, fried calamari, fried scallops. Cash only. (Pictured: Fried Ipswich clams)
Clam chowder is served at Bigelow's in Rockville Centre.
H2O Seafood & Sushi(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)
H2O Seafood & Sushi, Smithtown: As the name suggests, sushi has become a staple at H2O. But the dining room, which has décor suggesting both coastal Long Island and New England, is a very dependable spot for cooked seafood, too. Recommended: sushi rolls, New England-style clam chowder, steamed lobster, Maine-style lobster roll, fried oysters, shrimp cocktail, raw bar plateau, flounder amandine, hazelnut-Parmesan crusted swordfish, "everything" crusted tuna, seasonal specialties such as Peconic Bay scallops, stone crab claws, striped bass, soft-shell crabs. (Pictured: Shellfish tower on ice)
Fried oysters are served on the half shell with remoulade sauce at H2O Seafood & Sushi in Smithtown.
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House, Roslyn: The Fisherman has been jolly since 1957. And if you spot one of the early menus, you'll see that, except for the prices, things generally don't change much here. There has been, however, some refurbishing and redecorating. Recommended: oysters on the half-shell, shellfish cocktails, steamers, fried Ipswich clams, sautéed red snapper, broiled scrod, fish and chips, steamed lobster, in-season Nantucket Bay scallops, stone crab claws, soft-shell crabs, shad; and, just in case, broiled filet mignon, broiled sirloin steak, broiled calf's liver with bacon and onions. (Pictured: Pan-seared Chilean sea bass with spinach and stuffed baked potato)
Steamed lobster is served at The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House in Roslyn.
Kyma(Credit: Jonah Markowitz)
Kyma, Roslyn: The simple pleasures of grilled seafood define Kyma, a delightful restaurant with considerable style, stand-out service, and superb finfish. Recommended: charcoal-grilled whole fish, such as black sea bass, royal dorado, pompano, red snapper, fagri or pink snapper; grilled langoustines; grilled lobster; grilled tiger shrimp; grilled octopus; stuffed calamari; fish soup with grouper; moussaka; grilled Black Angus sirloin steak; grilled haloumi and kefalograviera cheeses; zucchini and eggplant chips; roasted beets; traditional Greek spreads; Greek yogurt and desserts. (Pictured: Grilled octopus)
Grilled red snapper is served at Kyma in Roslyn.
Limani(Credit: Johnny Simon)
Limani, Roslyn: Limani also specializes in deftly prepared, Greek-style seafood, familiar Greek dishes, and adds over-the-top opulence that suggests a temple to Poseidon. Recommended: Greek spreads, especially skordalia and taramasalata; grilled whole fagri, red snapper or black sea bass for two; whole Dover sole; stuffed and grilled calamari; grilled langoustines; grilled whole lobster; grilled lamb chops; baklava; Greek yogurt; The restaurant also offers a major brunch, with items ranging from cereal to a generous shellfish bar. (Pictured: Grilled langoustines)
Whole grilled fagri, a Greek snapper, is served open and de-boned with lemon and capers at Limani in Roslyn.
Noah's(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Noah's, Greenport: Noah Schwartz's modern spot for seafood and small plates is one of the primary tables in downtown Greenport. Recommended: local oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, Long Island clam chowder, lobster fritters, Crescent Farm pulled duck with white Cheddar polenta, the crabcake BLT, local fish and chips, five-spice seared yellowfin tuna, filet mignon sliders, Kobe-style beef burgers, crisp "Buffalo" cauliflower, Moroccan-spiced hummus, crab-stuffed deviled egg, warm blackberry-ginger pear crumble. (Pictured: Long Island clam chowder)
Crab-stuffed deviled eggs are served at Noah's in Greenport.
The Plaza Cafe(Credit: Doug Young)
The Plaza Cafe, Southampton: Douglas Gulija's casual, elegant restaurant has been the paradigm for Long Island seafood houses since 1997. Recommended: lobster-and-shrimp shepherd's pie under a chive-potato crust; pan-seared calamari with hummus and piquillo peppers; tempura-battered soft-shell crabs with Asian slaw and soy-ginger vinaigrette; grilled lobster; local fluke sashimi with jalapeno-yuzu emulsion; wild sockeye salmon crudo with shaved fennel and black garlic coulis; pan-roasted razor clams; horseradish-crusted cod; sautéed local black sea bass with spring risotto; all desserts. (Pictured: Grilled Montauk swordfish with sweet sausage meat)
Seared local calamari is served over hummus, and garnished with piquillo peppers and Kalamata olives in a sherry vinaigrette at The Plaza Cafe in Southampton.
Salt & Barrel(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Salt & Barrel, Bay Shore: A refreshing combination of the traditional and the contemporary, Salt & Barrel excels as an oyster bar, a restaurant, and gathering place - just what downtown needed. Recommended: all east and west coast oysters; the three shellfish towers; "casino clam toast;" clam chowder with roasted marrow bone; crisp rock shrimp; the Maine lobster roll; the mussel pot; bigeye tuna with fingerling potatoes, broccoli di rape, and smoked paprika aioli; salmon with saffron-fennel puree; chicken with mustard seeds; tarragon biscuits; butterscotch pudding; lemon curd tart. (Pictured: The mussels pot)
Bigeye tuna tartare with avocado, japapeno and lime is served with a side of popadum chips at Salt & Barrel in Bay Shore.
Southold Fish Market(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Southold Fish Market, Southold: When Charlie Mainwaring bought it in 2000, he established the market as one of the very best places on Long Island to buy seafood. In 2013, a move to new quarters allowed for a comfortable dining room and picnic tables on the lawn. The menu features all manner of fish and shellfish -- broiled, fried and grilled. Blackboard specials draw on whatever local fishermen deliver. Nothing is fancy, and prices top out at around $20 (for both the excellent lobster roll and grilled swordfish). Among the classic baskets, fried cod and fried Ipswich clams are standouts. Southold Fish Market closes at 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, and thus is mostly a lunch spot. For dinner, buy some fish to take home and cook. (Pictured: Lobster roll with shoe string fries)
A grilled swordfish steak is served served with salad at Southold Fish Market in Southold.