The 3 Amigos Tacos at Swell Taco in Babylon.

The 3 Amigos Tacos at Swell Taco in Babylon. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

This South Shore village has always been a destination for its walkable downtown, which includes a Long Island Rail Road hub. Over the past two decades, the village's dining scene has evolved to include wine bars and highbrow coffee.

Here are Newsday's food critics' recommendations for eating and drinking in the village:

 Long Island Pekin (96 E. Main St.): Swimming against a sea of impressive new Sichuan restaurants, Long Island Pekin reminds us of the first Chinese foods many of us fell in love with: The roast duck and pork, the lo mein and fried rice, the steamed dumplings and pot stickers. Even better, these specialties of what used to be called Canton (now Guangdong, China’s southeasternmost province) bear little resemblance to what you’ll find at your local takeout. Chef-owner Jason Lee’s entrees center on four great Chinese dishes: Peking duck, Hong Kong duck (a slightly simpler preparation), char siu (scarlet-hued barbecued pork) and Hainanese chicken (poached chicken with ginger and scallions). More info: 631-587-9889, longislandpekin.com

O.G. Ramen (14a Railroad Ave.): Gracefully composed bowls of health-conscious ramen are presented in a tiny, modern dining room with wooden benches, a window counter and a succinct menu. A citrusy yuzu-chicken broth underpins the classic ramen, while a "faux soy" shoyu broth is made with coconut amino acids. There’s gluten-free noodles, too, and a handful of well-chosen beers and sake. More info: 631-620-3680, ogramen.com 

 Molto Pizza (376 Deer Park Ave., Babylon): Much of the fare at this new eatery hails from the coastline of Campania — both owner Massimo Gargiulo and executive chef Mario Passante are from Capri, the island just off the Sorrento Peninsula — so it's no surprise that the pizza, Campania's greatest export, is excellent, with a smoky-tender-crunchy crust. Other regional dishes include pennette "Aum Aum" with eggplant, smoked buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes; scialatelli alla Nerano (handmade spaghetti with zucchini and melted Provolone del Monaco) and, if you’re lucky, a special of eggplant Parmesan done the Neapolitan way (baked, with no breading, with cheese and tomatoes). More info: 631-314-4412, moltopizzamenu.com

Molto Pizza in Babylon offers a margherita pizza prepared with...

Molto Pizza in Babylon offers a margherita pizza prepared with mozzarella, san marzano tomato sauce and fresh basil. Credit: Doug Young

Glen’s Dinette (23 E. Main St.): This 60-year-old breakfast-lunch spot often has a crowd waiting on the sidewalk by midmorning. The short-order fare is made from scratch, right down to the tender roast turkey and fluffy mashed potatoes and light gravy. Don’t miss the farmer’s breakfast: a slab of sausage stuffing that has been griddled until crisp, topped with two poached eggs and ladeled with hollandaise sauce. Or the waffles. More info: 631-669-4700, glensdinette.com

Kotobuki (86 Deer Park Ave.): This Japanese chainlet has developed a reputation for producing some of the most satisfying sushi on Long Island. The Deer Park Avenue branch is no different, with a sleek but simple dining room and an approachable sushi bar to enjoy imaginative sushi rolls (pictured: the caterpillar, crazy and happy rolls) and tacos Japoneses, a crispy play on tacos: house-fried corn tortillas filled with yellowtail and romaine hearts mixed with smoked chipotle mayo. More info: 631-321-8387, kotobukirestaurants.com

 The Local (7 Depot Pl.): Expertly made pub food and a killer craft beer list come together in this bustling, re-imagined sports bar that lies shoulder-to-shoulder with the train station. Beer-wise, you'll encounter plenty of releases from local breweries such as Dubco and Garvies Point Brewery, while bites such as birria tacos, barbecue short-rib grilled cheese and pierogies smothered in cheddar-ale sauce and bacon may lull you into a food coma. More info: 631-983-8900, localbaylon.com

The caterpillar roll, the crazy roll and the happy roll...

The caterpillar roll, the crazy roll and the happy roll at Kotobuki in Babylon. Credit: Raychel Brightman

The Brixton (111 Deer Park Ave.): Weathered wood, steel frame windows and Edison light bulbs conjure a modern gastropub vibe, as does a menu dominated by small plates which change seasonally. The space starts filling up at happy hour and stays open late into the night drawing a crowd for bar munchies (think loaded duck fries and barbecue-mango ribs. Weekend brunch brings fried chicken and grits, "hangover" flatbread pizzetta and mimosas by the quart. More info: 631-587-2000, thebrixtonbabylon.com

Mary Carroll’s (121 Deer Park Ave.): After shunning food at this beer garden for nearly 20 years, owner Conor Hartnett added a menu featuring the kind of food you crave after a pint or two — nachos, burrata flatbread, Philly cheesesteak and chicken potpie. Come summer, don't miss the pop-up beach bar out back, with real sand and umbrella-topped picnic tables that encourage all-day lazing. More info: 631-587-6181, marycarrolls.co

Swell Taco (135 Deer Park Ave.): The taco shack with a beachside vibe and a parking lot view has developed a cult following for California-style tacos from a brother-and-sister team raised near the beach between Los Angeles and San Diego. By day, you’ll find teenagers from nearby Babylon High School. At night, the waits can reach beyond an hourfor margaritas, platters of loaded nachos, hulking burritos and tacos with fillings such as pulled pork, juicy steak and battered mahi-mahi. More info: 631-482-1299, swelltacoli.com

The 3 Amigos Tacos at Swell Taco in Babylon.

The 3 Amigos Tacos at Swell Taco in Babylon. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Barrique (69 Deer Park Ave.): This small-plates and thin-crust pizza spot is one of Babylon’s most inviting, featuring a weathered brick-and-wood look and a fun-to-navigate wine list that spans the globe and features an extensive selection of wines by the bottle, half bottle and glass. More info: 631-321-1175, barriquekitchenandwinebar.com

Jack Jack’s Coffee House (223 Deer Park Ave.): Lattes-with-a-twist are the morning equivalent of inventive cocktails, and this coffeehouse was designed to lift spirits with ample caffeine. Working a sexy espresso machine, baristas here can make a pour over (coffee made by pouring hot water over beans), pull cold brew from a nitro tap or make turmeric or matcha lattes, oat milk latte sodas or. ice-cream espresso floats. There’s also smoothies, tea blends, all-day breakfast sandwiches and sweets. More info: 631-526-9983, jackjackscoffeehouse.com

Molto Vino (45 Deer Park Ave.): The intimate wine bar lives up to its name: There's a lot of wine to choose from here. The list leans heavy on wines from California and Italy that arrive in big glasses with large pours, and nearly all the bottles are available for sale at the sister wine store, Solo Vino, a few doors down. The menu runs from wood-fired pizzas to small plates to artful meat-and-cheese boards. Grab a seat at one of the large windows, order a glass of a bold red, and watch the street scene unfold outside. More info: 631-983-8915

A charcuterie board for two at Molto Vino in Babylon.

A charcuterie board for two at Molto Vino in Babylon. Credit: Daniel Brennan

NoaMar Market (238 Deer Park Ave.): A combination grocery store, cafe and tapas bar, tables here — some of which are simply marble-slab-topped wine barrels — accommodate about two dozen people. The menu is centered around traditional tapas (Galician-style octopus, patatas bravas, croquetas, garlic shrimp) and montaditos, little sandwiches, such as serrano ham with piquillo peppers or pork loin with mustard and cornichons. There are also salads, platters of Spanish cheeses and cured meats, and desserts. Almost everything is priced less than $15. To wash everything down: Spanish beers on draft and Spanish wine by the glass or bottle. More info: 631-482-1667, noamarmarkets.com 

The Villager (262 Deer Park Ave.): The thoughtful beer list at this bar features a rotating cast from some of America’s best microbrews, near and far. The menu keeps it playful with twists on Americana, including salads, flatbreads (available with cauliflower crust), and a burger list that includes a riff on the Big Mac. With a 3 a.m. last call and the train station a block away, it’s a popular last stop for those in for the long haul. More info: 631-482-8585, thevillagerbabylon.com

Shuga Pie Shop (135 Deer Park Ave.): First, you'll need to find it: Down the little sidewalk alley that runs between Deer Park Ave. (near Fitness Incentive) and the municipal parking lot. Look for the window -- that's where you'll see the daily list of flavors for shuga pies, little handheld cake-and-frosting sandwiches that Micheline Cummings and partner Terry Haughy peddle. Options might include vanilla crumb and death by chocolate and cherry lime rickey and unicorn poop. More info: 631-669-1069, shugapie.com 

Shuga pies at Shuga Pie Shop in Babylon Village.

Shuga pies at Shuga Pie Shop in Babylon Village. Credit: Terrie Alfieri

 Former Newsday food critic Pervaiz Shallwani contributed to this story.

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