The 8 best seafood restaurants on Long Island: Eat here now
Each year, you expect Long Island to overflow with outstanding seafood restaurants. But that doesn't happen. You put up with more limp fried calamari and overcooked farmed fish than anyone should before finding perfect Peconic Bay scallops and pristine striped bass, incomparable Montauk tuna and briny-sweet local oysters.
These 8 restaurants, listed alphabetically, always deliver the big catch.
Artie's South Shore Fish & Grill(Credit: Joan Reminick)
Artie's South Shore Fish & Grill, Island Park: Both a fish store and a fish house, this casual spot is presided over by owner Artie Hoerning, who catches some of the seafood he sells. Freshness is paramount, and if the dinnerware is plastic, who cares? Not you, if you're sitting down to a generous lobster roll, fine fried clams, meaty grilled swordfish steak, tuna tartare (pictured) or deep-fried whole fluke. Actually, whatever Hoerning has just reeled in. No credit cards.
The lobster roll at Artie's South Shore is subtly flavored with tarragon.
Bigelow's(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Bigelow's, Rockville Centre: This landmark clam shack has been serving up seafood since 1939 along a distinctly unmaritime stretch of Sunrise Highway. The kitchen has a breading station, a grill and a couple of fryolators; the dining room, a curved counter with 30 stools. The main attraction here is fried seafood -- whiting, shrimp, calamari, smelts, oysters, scallops -- but the undisputed stars of the show are the fried Ipswich clams (pictured), that is, soft-shell clams with the bellies still attached. Cash only.
H2O Seafood & Sushi(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
H2O Seafood & Sushi, Smithtown: Refreshed and renamed, H2O also boasts new chef Wayne Cafariella. The restaurant's primary dining room has a white-wall, marine-accent New England look. And the chowder still is excellent. Also, nibble on fried oysters (pictured), shellfish cocktails or the sushi bar's "spicy tuna crispy rice sliders" before savoring the lobster bake, the "millennium" lobster and, for the landlocked, fried chicken and watermelon.
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House(Credit: Yana Paskova)
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House, Roslyn: The Jolly Fisherman has been serving since Alec Guinness detonated "The Bridge on the River Kwai." It has updated and streamlined just enough since then. Seasonal specials such as stone crab claws, Nantucket Bay scallops and shad roe ensure regulars. Reliable selections take in shellfish cocktails, Maryland crabcakes, steamed lobster, swordfish with mustard sauce and Dover sole meunière, all of which come before the respectable steaks.
Soft-shell crab at The Jolly Fisherman.
Kyma(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Kyma, Roslyn: Greek and Mediterranean seafood shine at Kyma, sometimes on ice. The handsome restaurant excels with grilled octopus (pictured), shrimp saganaki, grilled tiger shrimp, fish soup with grouper and especially whole, charcoal-grilled fish such as royal dorado, black sea bass, red snapper and branzino. There's first-rate moussaka, too, plus traditional Greek spreads, saganaki and fried zucchini and eggplant chips. Greek yogurt, baklava, and walnut cake top the sweets.
A very pure and traditional Greek salad is served at Kyma in Roslyn.
Limani(Credit: Johnny Simon)
Limani, Roslyn: Opulent and extravagant, Limani is a grand setting for very fresh seafood and Greek specialties. Whole, charcoal-grilled fish for two include fagri, similar to pink snapper; red snapper; and black sea bass. They're rivaled by grilled Arctic char, Dover sole and halibut. The raw bar is very good, as are the grilled calamari and seppie. The carnivorous should be satisfied with lamb chops and porterhouse steak.
Grilled langoustines at Limani.
Noah's(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Noah's, Greenport: Modern and traditional, sharp and subtle, chef Noah Schwartz's North Fork seafooder has a sense of place and of style. The decor combines industrial and artful. Schwartz's highlights include a superior Long Island clam chowder, Shinnecock sea scallop ceviche, grilled sardines with piquillo peppers (pictured), Tasmanian red crab tacos, a local seafood stew inspired by bouillabaisse, poached Atlantic halibut with coconut milk and, on another note, Crescent Farms pulled duck.
Crab-stuffed deviled eggs are among the small "tastes" served at Noah's in Greenport.
The Plaza Cafe(Credit: Doug Young)
The Plaza Cafe, Southampton: Chef-owner Douglas Gulija's bright, warm, creative restaurant has turned out immediate classics such as his lobster-and-shrimp shepherd's pie and grilled Montauk swordfish "chop" (pictured). Equally memorable are soy-acacia honey-marinated black cod, local fluke sashimi with lemon confit, sauteed halibut with a Peruvian potato puree, seared squid with piquillo peppers and a bracing lobster-and-corn chowder. Duck breast and confit combo also star. Delightful desserts
Seared local calamari is served over hummus and garnished with piquillo peppers and kalamata olives at The Plaza Cafe in Southampton.