NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez checked out Stellina Bakery and Cafe in Oyster Bay. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

One of the more idyllic walking towns on the north shore of Long Island, Oyster Bay is known for its famous inhabitants — Theodore Roosevelt, Billy Joel, John McEnroe. But this once-sleepy hamlet is slowly becoming synonymous with culinary excellence. Since 2016, no fewer than 10 new restaurants have taken over old standards like Canterbury Oyster Bar and Grill, Serata and Osteria Leana.

The additions include the quaint Autentico, followed by the upscale 2 Spring and intimate Stellina — all from notable chefs with impressive resumes — the face of eating out in Oyster Bay looks different from it did a decade ago. Beloved mini chains like Southdown Coffee have expanded here and laid-back, hip burger and fried chicken spots continue to add options for both serious and casual diners.

While Taby’s Burger House, Del’s Bar & Grill and Umberto’s will continue to draw steady crowds for consistent fare and local comfort, if you’re looking for a destination with a wealth of new and notable spots, here are critics' picks for eating out in the ever-charming village of Oyster Bay.

Southdown Coffee

49 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay

Mini-chain owner Mark Boccard put down Oyster Bay roots for his beans in 2017, a few years after his first location opened in Huntington. Coffee aficionados should know the single origin beans from Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia are meticulously selected and roasted for the requisite espressos, Americanos, cappuccinos, drip coffees and lattes. Seasonal drinks include double chocolate spicy mocha, maple spice latte and ginger turmeric latte. Drip coffee starts at $3.50, lattes at $4.50. Besides all that heady coffee, Southdown’s food offerings range from egg sandos on English muffins to avocado toast to grilled cheese. This isn’t just a grab-and-go spot in the mornings, it’s more a sip and linger type of neighborhood joint. More info:

Customers order at Southdown Coffee in Oyster Bay.

Customers order at Southdown Coffee in Oyster Bay. Credit: Marisol Diaz

Stellina Bakery & Café

34 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay

The former Cardinali Bakery transformed into a sleek, modern space imbued with soft teal banquettes and an apropos espresso cup mural adorning the wall. The rainbow cookies and Italian pastries of yesteryear remain — sfogliatelle, biscotti, bomboloni, S cookies, pignoli cookies, and cannolis — but now patrons can order savory menu items that nearby big sister Stellina Ristorante is known for. In the morning, it’s ricotta pancakes and breakfast sandwiches paired with cappuccino. Later on, it's panini and pizzas plus restaurant favorites such as meatballs ($15), chicken Milanese ($18), arancini ($15) and spicy rigatoni alla vodka ($18). If cold treats are more your speed, an assortment of gelato is on regular rotation. Reservations are an option; lunchtime draws a crowd. More info: 516-402-7439,

Beach Bird

19 E. Main St., Oyster Bay

Beach Bird (“chicken by the beach,” per owner David Malinowski) serves chunky, white meat tenders — in fingers, nuggets, sandwiches, over waffles, in salads — as well as breaded or naked wings, so this is one place you can (and should!) bring the kids. Tenderloins are butchered in-house and brined for 24 hours. Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, they pair beautifully with the twice-fried French fries, which come in salted, ranch, Cajun and loaded (like a baked potato) styles ($5-$8). If you can’t decide between nuggets, tenders or the wings, get a bird basket, which has all three ($33). There are also cinnamon-sugar waffle bites ($16) topped with breaded nuggets and maple syrup if you’re craving something sweet. More info: 516-240-2404,

A chicken sandwich at the new Beach Bird in Oyster...

A chicken sandwich at the new Beach Bird in Oyster Bay. Credit: Newsday/Marie Elena Martinez

Gimme Burger

39 E. Main St., Oyster Bay

Though Taby's has long held sway in the burger department, Jesse Schenker's retro casual spot has nailed the simplicity of burgers, fries and shakes — and everything is $10 and under. There are only six sandwiches to choose from — hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, crispy chicken sandwich, grilled cheese (served creatively on inverted burger buns) and veggie burger — plus chicken fingers. Burgers come as singles ($6.95) or doubles ($8.75), and are a plump custom blend of chuck, brisket and short rib ground in-house daily. Perfectly cooked, they sit atop fresh, fluffy, housemade buns sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds. More info: 516-922-3200,

2 Spring and FOUR

2 Spring St. and 4 Spring St., Oyster Bay

Jesse Schenker and Claudia Taglich’s growing empire began in 2018 at 2 Spring, where a buzzy cocktail bar with killer drinks met a swank glass castle of a dining room offering both a bevy of small plate a la carte dining and a four-course tasting menu ($93). Schenker’s dishes change seasonally and at whim, but the cooking never misses. Choose boldly from dishes like hamachi crudo with chili, garlic and avocado, an egg with silky foie gras mousse and briny caviar, and fried chicken with cucumber, yuzu and togarashi. “Bucatini and clams” is nothing close to ordinary here — a thick shellfish bisque topped with littlenecks, sepia (cuttlefish), and salty guanciale, the pasta an accent rather than focus. If 2 Spring hooks your palate, upgrade to FOUR, an intimate, epicurean odyssey that focuses on raw shellfish and seafood with a 12- to 15-course chef’s counter tasting dinner ($275). Reservations essential. More info: 2 Spring: 516-624-2411,; FOUR: 516-624-6877,

Roasted chicken with mustard seed, fingerling potatoes and citrus at...

Roasted chicken with mustard seed, fingerling potatoes and citrus at 2 Spring. Credit: Daniel Brennan


124 South St., Oyster Bay

Walking into Francesco Pecoraro’s restaurant feels like stumbling on a local trattoria in Sicily, from which Pecoraro hails. The decor is charming and rustic — plants dangling from tin ceiling, distressed wooden bistro chairs, dated portraits of folks nobody knows — and the menu reflects that cozy ambience, written by hand and ever-changing. The elegant food includes pappardelle Bolognese ($28), linguine with clams ($30), and a generously portioned branzino ($40). But past those plates, Pecoraro’s creative talent is on real display. A local piadina sandwich layered with prosciutto, arugula and cheese ($20) is a refreshingly simple start to the meal. A standout veal osso buco ravioli ($30) might stay with you long past dessert, which is excellent and authentic — especially the sfingi, or Italian doughnuts filled with cannoli cream and topped with fresh fruit. More info: 516-922-2212,


76 South St., Oyster Bay

Chef Fabrizio Facchini anchors Stellina, the chic little Italian spot he owns with Oyster Bay residents Tom and Adriana Milana that took over the former Osteria Leana space. The 40-seat room, outfitted in soothing whites and blues, boasts an open kitchen with a wood-burning oven from which light-but-chewy pizzas emerge, as well as veal-beef-pork-lamb meatballs, rosemary-infused Wagyu steaks, tender porchetta and veal chops served Milanese or parmigiana. Don’t sleep on Facchini’s luxe pastas, including favorites like cacio e pepe, arrabiata and Amatriciana, with the star being paccheri (large, wide tubes) with a golden saffron sauce marbled with pistachio pesto. At Sunday brunch, standouts include breakfast pizza, ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers and baked eggs. More info: 516-757-4989,

Bone-in ribeye at Stellina in Oyster Bay.

Bone-in ribeye at Stellina in Oyster Bay. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski


94 South St., Oyster Bay

Jesse Schenker’s love letter to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy is just 10 tables deep and focuses on fresh pasta and vegetables. The region, known for mortadella, prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano and stuffed pastas, veers refreshingly far from the redsauce joints that cover Long Island. Starters are nearly all vegetables — save for house-sliced prosciutto di Parma paired with housemade mozzarella — and include a rustic grilled cauliflower over whipped ricotta, garnished with lemon, pistachio, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and asparagus and mushrooms topped with a fried egg and Grana Padano. Pastas range from spinach ravioli with sage in brown butter to a spicy sausage gramigna (G-shaped pasta) with spinach, tomato and cheese. Each night also features a different plate (T-bone steaks, whole grilled fish, lasagna Bolognese). There’s a Negroni menu, as well as a spritz cart and tableside martinis (gin or vodka). The all-Italian wine list is equally impressive. Most dishes are under $30. More info: 516-922-1660,

The Wine Line

30 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay

This wine bar-meets-cocktail lounge concept from the Stellina crew is always busy. Stylish yet comfortable with an industrial city feel, this spot offers a wine list that is succinct but refreshing, and most selections are available as individual glasses that run from $12 to $24. On the white side, the Jean-Marie Reverdy & Fils Caillottes Sancerre ($72) is particularly crisp, while the standout red was Sonoma’s Classified Pinot Noir ($72). If you’re not into wine, there’s a full bar and cocktail menu, and if you’re hungry, you’re in luck; the food is a playful yet elevated riff on bar food — fresh tuna tostadas on wontons ($25), mac and cheese ($12), charcuterie plates ($18/$36), and flatbreads ($15-$20) made on pinsa, or Roman-style dough. More info: 631-358-3522,

Kendra Kirby pours a glass of wine at The Wine...

Kendra Kirby pours a glass of wine at The Wine Line in Oyster Bay. Credit: Linda Rosier

Coach Meeting House

160 Mill River Rd., Oyster Bay

Opened in 2020, just three days before the pandemic’s lockdown threw restaurants into chaotic survival mode, Coach Meeting House pivoted to serving drive-thru slushies and large format takeout to help keep the community’s spirits up. It won its way into the hearts and bellies of locals with casual pub fare like French onion soup, wings ($15.99), baked clams, potato skins ($11.99), burgers (from $17.99), bowls and sandwiches. The spot, which boasts not only a comfortable dining room and bar, but outdoor dining options like winter igloos and fire pits, serves consistently good penne alla vodka ($26.99), steak frites ($29.99) and chicken parm ($22.99). The slushies (from $10) are still around, as well as the takeout platters that got this spot through the pandemic, plus an espresso martini bar and a hot spiked drink bar (think cider, hot cocoa) that’s perfect for winter. More info: 516-588-9288,

Bonanza’s Stand 

25 Shore Ave., Oyster Bay

The more things change, the more they remain the same, and that is true of the landmark hot dog and Italian ice stand that has withstood 100 years of culinary evolution spinning around it. Owned by third-generation Bonanzas (Phil and Patricia), it all started with Phil’s grandfather’s lemon ice that he made and sold after coming to the States from Italy in the 1800s. Since then, Bonanza’s has grown into a destination for kids and adults alike, with nearly 100 Italian ice flavors including combos like peanut butter and jelly, vanilla chocolate chip, Snickers and orange cream. And what pairs better with ices than … hot dogs? Yep, hot dogs. Chili dogs, onion dogs, cheese dogs, kraut dogs — you name it, they have it. Of course, there are fries, onion rings, nachos, and plenty of other indulgent snacks, but for us, it’s about the ices and the franks. And, the history, of course. Cash only. More info: 516-922-7796;

The sauerkraut and mustard dog and the Bonanza dog at...

The sauerkraut and mustard dog and the Bonanza dog at Bonanza's in Oyster Bay. Credit: Raychel Brightman

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