Shakshouka at The Gallery Cafe in Greenport.

Shakshouka at The Gallery Cafe in Greenport. Credit: Randee Daddona

If ever I wanted to hide out in plain sight, there is a place few would think to look. A place where business travelers congregate but locals, less so, yet where the chef might be a savvy master of scale and presentation.

That place is the bar or restaurant of the hotel in town, or the next town over, where it sometimes feels like anything can happen or appear — from trysts to spiked peaflower lemonade, c-suite execs nursing martinis to surprisingly tasty charred octopus. Decamping to a hotel for dinner, without actually staying there, is a mini-adventure partaken of too infrequently (though room service is also one of the great pleasures of life).

 Here are a handful of hotels sprinkled across Long Island that are places to hide out, eavesdrop, daydream and tuck into surf-and-turf dumplings or shakshouka and a Tito’s Bloody Mary.

This list, ranked in ascending order based on the experience, is far from comprehensive, but a launch point from which you can craft a getaway of your own, if only for a meal.

5. Allegria Hotel

80 W. Broadway, Long Beach

The dining room at this decade-old hotel is in transition, but the circular L’Onda bar, as ever, boasts a front-seat view of the boardwalk and a lively cast of characters (the night I visited, a speed dating event was in full swing). Bar food is the proper sustenance for this adventure, such as bonito-dusted wings ($16) with kimchi or the praiseworthy Allegria burger blanketed with American cheese and shallot jam ($20). (For pescatarians, there’s a crabcake burger). Pours are heavy, people watching is (sort of) free. More info: 516-889-1300,

Kung Pao wings at Allegria Hotel's L'Onda Bar in Long Beach.

Kung Pao wings at Allegria Hotel's L'Onda Bar in Long Beach. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

4. Preston House Hotel & Restaurant

428 Main St., Riverhead

Just a few weeks ago, chef Dmytro Guydash took the reins at this handsome Riverhead hotel whose restaurant is within a 117-year-old house once owned by Suffolk County’s first sheriff. A cozy, mirrored bar, wraparound porch and light-strewn patio are the setting for robust, lushly composed bites such as charred octopus over new potatoes and roasted tomatoes ($22) with a piquillo-pepper sauce, duck tortelli pesto with a ragout of delicata squash and mushrooms ($38) or raw tuna with strawberries and a habanero-yuzu emulsion ($22). Cocktails are studies in balance, such as the Cherry Blossom, which blends tequila, grapefruit, grenadine and lime in a novel spin on a drink that has taken many forms over the centuries. More info: 631-775-1550,

Charred octopus with potato and tomato at The Preston House...

Charred octopus with potato and tomato at The Preston House in Riverhead. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

3. Garden City Hotel

45 Seventh St., Garden City

In the '80s, my parents would hire a babysitter so they could dance the night away here. Thirty-plus years on, the legendary nightclub vibes may have mellowed but the kitchen still reaches high with dry-aged chops and an epic weekend brunch that rings in at $110 per person. Executive chef David Burke oversees the three venues here, the opulent Red Salt Room and dim King Bar among them. It is the Patio Bar, on the hotel’s front lawn, that is a penultimate date spot, a gilded place of cushy seating, lush surrounds and an offbeat bar menu. Chef Anup Patwal channels his global background as a chef in India, Italy and New York into dishes such as cumin-scented lump crabmeat atop crispy semolina puffs ($29), alongside a tomato-fennel gazpacho. There’s also arancini, Blue Points “dressed” with pickled stone fruit and shrimp. and summery drinks galore, such as passionfruit mojitos and strawberry lemonade spiked with peaflower-infused vodka. More info: 877-549-0400,

Crab in a Shell and peaflower lemonade at the Patio...

Crab in a Shell and peaflower lemonade at the Patio Bar at the Garden City Hotel. Credit: Linda Rosier

2. The Restaurant at Baron’s Cove

31 W. Water St., Sag Harbor

Just a short walk from the heart of Sag Harbor, this place feels like its own universe. The terrace doors of the second-floor dining room open to bobbing sailboats and, during the golden hour, the entire space — from cobalt blue water glasses to the ice in your Aperol spritz — seems lit from within. Executive chef Nicholas Vogel has steered the ship since 2020, and his kitchen relies heavily on local farmers, producers and fisheries, as well as herbs, veggies and edible flowers from the hotel garden. Think platters of Peeko Oysters, chunky niçoise salad made with locally caught tuna ($38) seared sea scallops showered in pistachios or blackened Montauk swordfish ($46) in a citrusy beurre blanc. If one spritz is not enough, at the end of dinner, an effervescent scene is probably still raging in the downstairs bar. More info: 631-725-2100,

Seared scallops at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor.

Seared scallops at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

1. The Gallery Cafe

Inside The Gallery Hotel, 437 Main St., Greenport

This, the tiniest place on the list, is the former home of the lounge KonTiki (it’s now across the street), but this spring chefs Cheo Avila and Ryan Barth-Dwyer also began cooking for earl(ier) birds. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern sensibilities inform a sumptuous brunch-lunch experience that meets everyone where they are, from the health-conscious (overnight oats with major dates and berries, $9 or salmon shawarma, $21) to the hungover (slow-cooked eggs with garlic yogurt, red peppers and mint yogurt, called Heavenly Egg Nest, $18). If you’ve never had carrot jam, the $35 breakfast spread is your chance (it comes with a dozen other things besides, from labneh to house beef sausage). Umbrellas provide shade in the cute back garden, and Tito’s Bloody Maries assist lounging. More info: 631-477-4000,

Island Shawarma, Norwegian salmon, cucumber, parsley, tomato, avocado, red onion,...

Island Shawarma, Norwegian salmon, cucumber, parsley, tomato, avocado, red onion, yogurt, and garlic and tahini dressing at The Gallery Cafe in Greenport. Credit: Randee Daddona

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