From a wellness cafe to an Italian restaurant and an ice cream shop, NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano checked out what's new in Port Washington. Credit: Newsday staff

Are you craving a lobster roll overlooking the water, Korean dumplings served al fresco, Japanese sushi (whether traditional, innovative or to-go), classic French cakes, homemade ice cream sandwiches or innovative dim sum? Look no farther than Port Washington.

Port, as the locals call it, is on a restaurant roll, with exciting new establishments popping up all over. But this walkable town on the eastern shore of Manhasset Bay is also home to dining destinations that have been delighting customers — from near and far — for decades: Louie’s, established in 1905 and still shucking; Ayhan’s Shish Kebab (1980), one of Long Island’s pioneering Mediterranean restaurants; Yamaguchi (1988), a bastion of traditional Japanese cuisine; Salvatore’s (1996), our first coal-oven pizzeria, and Saint Honoré (1994), one of Long Island’s few French bakeries.

Here are the FeedMe restaurant critic's picks for dining in Port Washington:

Saint Honoré Pastry

993 Port Washington Blvd.

Jacques Le Guelaff’s beloved shop offers fine breakfast pastries: croissants and brioches, scones and muffins plus and an amazing array of Danish — cheese, prune, raspberry, cinnamon-raisin, pineapple, lemon, apple, blueberry, pecan and peach. But any time of day is time for the Saint Honoré cake, named for the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. The ring of puff pastry is filled with vanilla custard, surmounted by caramel-dipped profiteroles and topped with fresh whipped cream. Another classic: the light, luxe marjolaine — three layers of almond meringue filled with chocolate mousse and whipped cream, iced with mocha buttercream and paved with sliced almonds. More info: 516-767-2555, sainthonorepastry.com

Yamaguchi

49 Main St.

Port is overserved by sushi — there are seven sushi bars within two blocks of the LIRR train station — but when Yasuko and Akira Yamaguchi opened their eponymous restaurant in 1988, there weren’t even seven on Long Island. No other Long Island sushi bar hews more closely to tradition — a dragon roll of eel, avocado and tobiko is about the most newfangled thing on the menu, and daily specials may include fluke usuzukuri, squid with cod roe, salmon roe with grated yam or the tremblingly delicate steamed egg custard, chawanmushi. More info: 516-883-3500, restaurantyamaguchi.com

Jamie and Yoom Kim, of Roslyn, with Beck and Sue...

Jamie and Yoom Kim, of Roslyn, with Beck and Sue Choy, of Syosset, at Yamaguchi in Port Washington. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Tiga

43A Main St.

Established in 2019, Tiga is as imaginative as Yamaguchi is orthodox. Indonesian-born chefs Roy Kurniawan and Dhani Diastika take an approach to sushi that is cross-cultural, modern and, at times, experimental, but never veers into chaos. You could get a spicy-tuna roll here, but why not go for the Sweet Jane (seared salmon, kani salad with a spicy barbecue sauce), the Big Mac — a zillion-layered construction cut into squares (think mini-lasagnas with spicy tuna and crab salad) or the Grandwazoo — spicy scallop with avocado, lime zest, tobiko (flying fish roe) and torched squid? (Kurniawan has a thing for using a blowtorch for caramelizing.) More info: 516-918-9993, tigany.com

Tominaga Shouten

169 Main St.

Port has a third Japanese treasure: Tominaga Shouten, which is one of only a few Japanese grocers on Long Island. The narrow aisles are lined with Japanese sodas and snacks, seasonings and sauces, sacks of rice and packets of tea leaves, frozen dumplings and exotic sea creatures, and a small but impressive selection of Japanese produce — mizuna, komatsuna (spicy greens), shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves) and big Japanese scallions. There are some imported housewares and toiletries and, at the back of the store, a kitchen produces sushi and Japanese homestyle dishes to-go: bento boxes, ramen, udon and the delectable seaweed-wrapped triangular rice balls called onigiri. More info: 516-883-1836

Tominaga Shouten is a Japanese grocer in Port Washington.

Tominaga Shouten is a Japanese grocer in Port Washington. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

The Wild Goose

75 Main St.

Something for everyone, all day and all night. That could be the motto of the Wild Goose, owned and operated by chef Kent Monkan. The menu neatly splits the difference between cheffy and crowd-pleasing — from buttermilk fried chicken with braised greens and grits to Long Island duck with maitake mushrooms and farro, from linguine and clams to black-truffle gnocchi with Speck, from cheesesteaks to steak au poivre with hasselback potatoes. Have a burger for lunch, a special-date dinner or a family celebration or a couple of small plates at the lively bar. There’s even a family (4 to 6 people) takeout menu, your choice of four entrees plus salad, sides, bread and dessert. More info: 516-441-5505, thewildgooseli.com

Narinatto

5B Irma Ave.

It’s only a few yards north of Main Street, but it’s easy to miss Narinatto, a modest Korean restaurant with looks that belie its ambition and a patio that offers a tranquil respite from Main Street. The place excels with dolsot bibimbap (a scorching-hot bowl filled with rice, vegetables and meat), japchae (stir-fried sweet-potato noodles over rice) and mandoo (dumplings) as well as a few Japanese dishes: ramen, udon, chicken katsu and tempura. More info: 516-883-1913, narinatto.com

Mandoo dumplings at Narinatto, which has seasonal outdoor seating in Port Washington. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Caminito Kitchen

87 Main St.

Argentinian cuisine is a rarity on Long Island; this bright little shop is a great place to sample it. You’ll see the influence of the Italian diaspora in the Milanese sandwiches (chicken and beef) that feature cutlets alongside tomato slices and a semi-firm cow's milk cheese called Quartirolo, which was invented in the Lombardy area of Italy but is now one of Argentina's most popular. Don’t miss the choripán, the beloved grilled chorizo sandwich that pairs rich pork sausage with a tart, herbaceous chimichurri sauce, or the lomito, stuffed with grilled steak and melted cheese. There are also excellent empanadas, both fried and baked empanadas. More info: 631-604-7800, instagram.com/caminitokitchen.

Flora’s Wine Bar & Restaurant

172 Main St.

This sliver of a wine bar is the second venture for Ervis and Gabriella Xhelaj, the husband-wife team behind Syosset’s cozy Flora’s Pizza Café. The menu includes most of Syosset’s pastas — decadent cacio e pepe, meaty malfadine alla Bolognese, truffled fettuccine with porcini mushrooms — to which you can add burrata or meatballs or substitute gluten-free penne or whole wheat rigatoni. Pizza toppings are traditional but all the crusts are made from gluten-free cauliflower. You’ll also find salads, a handful of entrees and a noteworthy roster of biodynamic, natural and organic Italian wines. More info: 516-758-3233, florasrestaurants.com

Chef-owner Ervis Xhelaj at Flora's Wine Bar in Port Washington, which serves pizza and pasta. Credit: Stephanie Foley

Jia Dim Sum

84 Old Shore Rd.

One of Long Island’s new wave of modern Chinese restaurants, Jia evinces a culinary artistry, minimalist design and menu prices are more in line with fine dining. The mostly Cantonese menu will seem familiar to Americans since it is Cantonese cuisine that forms the basis of so much Chinese American food: Here are the dumplings that won our hearts, the stir-fried lobster, the steamed whole fish, the Peking duck, the sweet and sour pork. But those crystal shrimp dumplings, packed with shrimp and fresh bamboo shoots, are tinted pink and brushed with gold; soup dumplings (a specialty of Shanghai) are handmade to order — evident in their gossamer but supple skins — and crowned with sweet-tart goji berries; tea-smoked chicken is made with Bo Bo Farms heritage poultry; seafood fried rice is made with lump crabmeat, jumbo shrimp, bay scallops and squid. More info: 516-488-4801, jia-dimsum.com

The dim sum “ Whel of Fortune” at Jia in...

The dim sum “ Whel of Fortune” at Jia in Port Washington. Credit: Linda Rosier

Salvatore’s Coal Oven Pizza

124 Shore Rd.

One of only a handful of coal-fired pizzerias on Long island, Salvatore’s has been at it since 1996. The pies issuing from the 900-degree oven are a soulful combination of char and creaminess. The crust is crisp yet pliant, the topping, a balanced meld of fresh, milky mozzarella and chunky chopped tomatoes. There are no designer pies here, just your choice of classic toppings to be enjoyed in a retro room where the soundtrack is 50% Sinatra. More info: 516-883-8457, salvatorescoalovenpizzeria.com

Serra Provisions

7 Sintsink Dr. E.

After a dispute with the town of Manorhaven, Serra Provisions recently ceased making pizza. But there’s still plenty to love at this low-slung, shipshape building across the street from Manhasset Bay Marina. Former New York City chef Jesse Olson makes great focaccia — and terrific sandwiches on that focaccia — as well as prepared salads, sauces and sides. (In food weather, stick around and enjoy them at a picnic table on the patio.) There’s a small but excellent selection of groceries, including absolutely top-shelf olive oils and vinegars. More info: 516-321-9393, serraprovisions.com

Butler’s Clam Shack

86 Orchard Beach Blvd.

The quintessential New England-style clam shack, Butler’s features clam chowder, stuffed quahogs and fried Ipswich (belly) clams plus lobster rolls, fried fish sandwiches and griddled hot dogs; craft beer and wine (and ice cream sandwiches) are available, too. The seasonal shack is located in Capri Marina West, offering spectacular views of Manhasset Bay (as well as many spectacular yachts that dock there). More info: 516-883-8330, butlersflat.com

The lobster roll and fried flounder platter at Butler's Flat...

The lobster roll and fried flounder platter at Butler's Flat in Port Washington. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Nino’s Beach

43 Orchard Beach Blvd.

In 2022, this oft-churned spot was taken over by brothers Franco and Michael Vendome. They gutted the building to create a sparkling venue with water views on three sides. The setting puts you in the mood for raw seafood and Franco Vendome, the chef, obliges, with oysters, clams and shrimp and crab cocktails as well as his own signatures such as suave hamachi crudo set off by cider gel and shavings of Honeycrisp apple and pickled fennel. All pasta is made in-house, from textbook linguine and clams to a more fanciful bucatini topped with a half lobster, Cognac-lobster cream, tomatoes and spinach. Likewise, Neapolitan pies range from a simple Margherita to one topped with parsley pesto, apples and smoked bacon. (All pastas and pizza are available gluten free.) From the grill come steaks and chops from Snake River Farms as well as salmon, branzino, tuna and halibut. More info: 516-502-0441, ninosbeach.com

Smusht

158 Main St.

Ready for something sweet, you say? Meet Smusht ice cream and its owner Steve Edelson, who, for decades, had a vision for a shop where homemade ice cream would be smushed (smusht!) between homemade cookies and then rolled in the topping (siding?) of your choice. In 2023, that vision became a reality. Choose chocolate chip or funfetti cookies and fill them with any one of a score of flavors such as Aztec chocolate, blueberry or dulce de leche. (Vegan cookies and ice cream are also available.) 516-234-0580, smusht.com

Specialty ice cream sandwiches at Smusht in Port Washington.

Specialty ice cream sandwiches at Smusht in Port Washington. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Sweet Treats on the Wharf

405 Main St.

A half-mile west of Smusht is Port’s oldest ice cream concern where for 30 years, Douglas Shepardson has produced ice cream, soft-serve, frozen yogurt, Italian ice, sorbet and even shave ice. They all taste even better as you saunter onto the adjacent Inspiration Wharf for one of the best views on the North Shore., 516-708-1706

Lifestyle Cafe

14 Main St.

Owner Tom Ligouri realizes that “healthy” means different things to different people, but almost everyone can agree that his selection of fresh-pressed juices, smoothies and low-sugar fruit-based snacks are on the right track. Juices — from the deep magenta of Code Relief (green apple, cucumber, beetroot, lemon) to the spruce-hued Total Reboot (green apple, cucumber, pineapple, mint, blue spirulina) — are processed in an enormous hydraulic press and then triple-strained. For his acai bowls ($12.99), Ligouri mixes unsweetened pulp with Gala apple juice and strawberries, banana, blueberries and vanilla for a taste and consistency and flavor that is more fruit than parfait. There are also smoothies, chia pudding and overnight oats. On the savory front, Lifestyle Cafe offers some mean toasts, wraps and salads that can also be ordered with chicken (which is the only non-vegan item the cook uses). More info: 516-758-3188, mylifestylecafe.com

A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Caminito Kitchen.

 
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