Sip wine by the fire pit at Il Giardino in...

Sip wine by the fire pit at Il Giardino in Aquebogue. Credit: Randee Daddona

With the turn of the seasons comes a shift in how Long Islanders can eat out. As summer's beachside eateries wind down, fall's cozy heated patios, pizza gardens and private dining igloos kick back up.


Villa Lobos Tapas Bar (499 S Main St., Freeport): Those seeking a true Spanish tapas experience — not to mention a proper, cooked-to-order paella — will have an easier time now that Larry and Jackie Villalobos have planted their flag in Freeport. The couple operate two casual Venezuelan spots in Manhattan and Queens, but both trace their roots to Spain and it has long been Larry’s dream to honor that heritage with a restaurant. Tapas here include shrimp in garlic sauce, pan con tomate (the Spanish version of bruschetta), Galician-style grilled octopus and tortilla Española, the great potato-filled Spanish omelet. Paella comes with seafood or meat. There’s an all-Spanish wine list as well as fine Spanish sherry and vermouth. Dine at the bar, in the cozy dining room or outside on the patio, which overlooks a marina. More info: 516-608-6042,

Beit Zaytoon (468 Hempstead Tpke, West Hempstead): If your experience of Middle Eastern food has been an endless loop of hummus, babaganoush, falafel and kebabs, Beit Zaytoon may just blow your mind. This West Hempstead newcomer has two things going for it. One, it serves the food of Lebanon, the most sophisticated in the Eastern Mediterranean. Two, it is owned by Elias Ghafary who, from 1991 until 2019 presided over Al Bustan, the first restaurant in Manhattan to serve Middle Eastern cuisine in a fine-dining setting. All your old favorites are here, and you won’t find better renditions on Long Island. They are joined by kibbe saniye, a sort of sandwich whose "bread" is a mixture of baked lamb and bulgur that is filled with morsels of sauteed lamb; kibbe laban (lamb tartare) served with scallions and fresh mint; mouloukhia, a leafy green braised with big chunks of chicken; bamia, stewed okra and lamb with tomatoes; batata harra, fried potato cubes with garlic, cilantro and chili. There is much more, all served in a sparkling dining room decorated with prints and paintings of the Lebanese countryside. BYOB. More info: 516-483-3941,

A selection of dishes at Beit Zaytoon in West Hempstead.

A selection of dishes at Beit Zaytoon in West Hempstead. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

1653 Pizza Co. (80 Gerard St., Huntington): A collaboration between chef Michael Vigliotti, one of LI’s leading pizzaioli, and the team behind Huntington’s cocktail-centric sports bar, The Rust & Gold, the swanky-casual 1653 Pizza Co. is, despite its name, a contemporary Italian restaurant. Vigliotti’s inventive menu includes charred octopus with pea purée and guanciale, pesto lasagna, tonnarelli carbonara, monkfish piccata and a butter-seared rib-eye. But you’ll need a pizza, too, perhaps the bianca (with mozzarella, pecorino, Fontina, scamorza and stracciatella), the wild mushroom (mozzarella, scamorza, maitake, king trumpet, pioppino, truffle paste and porcini dust) or the clam pie (an unorthodox triumph of little necks, lemon zest and pickled banana peppers). The liquid portion of 1653’s roster — imaginative cocktails and an all-Italian wine list — is the domain of The Rust & Gold’s Frank Antonetti. More info: 631-824-6070

Mamajuana Café (555 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station): We've always had first-rate Dominican food in our midst, but 2021 may be the year it hit new octaves on Long Island. At Mamajuana Café, an offshoot of an Inwood restaurant, the kitchen imbues Caribbean and Latin dishes with pan-Asian and Mediterranean touches, such as grilled octopus with red chimichurri sauce (a starter) or rigatoni with mushroom cream sauce, mofongo and puerquito al horno, pork shoulder that's slow-roasted with garlic and herbs. The fusion reaches a crescendo with "sushi Latino" (think chicken tempura, bacon, cream cheese and sweet plantains in a roll with Sriracha-sesame aioli). Feast inside in the cavernous, handsome dining room with exposed its steel rafters and blood-red backlighting, or take the rum cocktails outside to the palm-lined gazebo. More info: 631-923-3686,

Paella with saffron rice, clams, mussels, calamari, bay scallops, lobster...

Paella with saffron rice, clams, mussels, calamari, bay scallops, lobster and chorizo garnished with roasted red pepper escabeche at Mamajuana Cafe in Huntington Station. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

eShin Noodle Bar (1113 Rte. 25A, Stony Brook): Dozens of decisions go into a single bowl of ramen, and chef Kai Wang makes very good ones— based, in part, on his years working in the kitchens of Michelin-starred New York City noodle spots. The usual suspects are here: tonkotsu ramen, chicken dashi ramen, even a "dry" vegetarian ramen based on tomato dashi broth. But there's also housemade tofu (served cold, only in summer), open-faced, crispy toro buns, and a yellowtail crudo drizzled with brown butter-vinegar. The menu will change seasonally, but the spare, elegant interior, with an open kitchen, counter and wooden booths, will not. More info: 631-675-6333,

Schultzy's (265 Bayville Ave., Bayville): When Jimmy Schultz decided to open a seafood café not far from the waters of Glen Cove and Oyster Bay, both of which he’s been fishing for over 30 years, it was impossible not to take notice. "If I’m not catching the shellfish myself, I’m getting them right off the boat, every day," said Schultz, who rakes local beds for mollusks when he’s not at the restaurant, which affords diners access to such fare as Pine Island oysters. And what Schultz doesn’t catch himself is still reliably sourced. The scallops arrive fresh off a Massachusetts dayboat, and the lobsters on a similar daily schedule. More info: 516-588-6240,

Jumbo shrimp cocktail, chilled lobster, Pine Island oysters, and Oyster...

Jumbo shrimp cocktail, chilled lobster, Pine Island oysters, and Oyster Bay little necks at Schultzy's in Bayville. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

P.J. Harbour Club (154 W. Broadway, Port Jefferson): Port Jefferson’s loveliest view may well be from the second-floor dining room of the village’s newest restaurant, P.J. Harbour Club. Have a seat in the plush dining room and you can take in the whole harbor and the hills of Belle Terre beyond it. Chef-partner Joe Guerra’s menu is eclectic, ranging from New American (raw tuna ribbons with avocado and yuzu-miso vinaigrette) to Italian (baked clams, pasta, cioppino) to continental (onion soup, Caesar salad). You can also see the influence of his own Portuguese heritage in the bolinhos della casa (shrimp-cod croquettes) and a starter of pork belly with clams. Entrees include four steakhouse selections, including broiled porterhouse with potato pavé for two, four or six people and an herbed veal chop with Belgian endive and pancetta cream sauce. More info: 631-309-5800,

Rock City Dogs (3 E. Main St., Bay Shore): The frankfurter ascends to headliner status at this exuberant shrine to rock and roll. While The Rolling Stones and The Knack hum in the background, customers can groove on nine dogs inspired by owner Steven Vollmer’s favorite musical acts. There’s the basic Thin Lizzy, topped with nothing but mustard and sauerkraut, and the inevitable Chicago dog, served exactly as it would be in the Windy City. The Deep Purple is topped, of course, with red-beet-tinted pickled cabbage, as well as whipped goat cheese and pink peppercorns; the eponymous Rock City Dog is topped with lobster, whipped horseradish, Champagne mignonette and caviar. The rest of the menu (e.g. Paul McCartney & Wings, Fleetwood Mac & Cheese, Strawberry Fields salad, T Rex burger, Styx fries) and the cocktail list (Comfortably Numb, Life on Mars) follows the same beat. More info: 631-876-2530,

The Queen Dog, the Deep Purple and the Santana at Rock City...

The Queen Dog, the Deep Purple and the Santana at Rock City Dogs in Bay Shore. Credit: Randee Daddona

Prime 39 (39 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook): This hip, happening "resto-lounge" is something new for sleepy Lynbrook. The décor has the subdued bling of a chic club, with brick walls hung with vaguely art-deco paintings, backlit bar and custom-made crystal chandeliers hanging from a wood-raftered ceiling. But the soulful, global menu demands attention too: crispy shrimp with Cheddar polenta and Cajun Hollandaise, collard-green salad with cornbread croutons and pickled raisins, Southern fried chicken with jalapeño drizzle and dry-aged steaks (which can be "upgraded" with a fried or broiled lobster tail). In the wee hours, revelers can accompany their bottles with bar snacks such as lamb-chop lollipops or truffled fries. More info: 516-837-3939,

Standard Rec (49 E. Main St., Patchogue): How did you spend lockdown? Standard Rec co-owner Brad Wilson scoured eBay et al for '70s and '80s memorabilia to create this striking, retro-themed spot that blends arcade games, vintage vibes and street food. It replaced Public House 49 earlier this year. Chef Michael Meehan's menu draws broadly from across the world — think arepas, birria ramen, Cubano-style hot dogs, tuna poke and mac-and-cheese with pimento cheese sauce. Cocktails run an unusual but always polished gamut. . More info: 631-730-8100

Korean fried-chicken tacos at Standard Rec in Patchogue are slathered...

Korean fried-chicken tacos at Standard Rec in Patchogue are slathered in gochujang. Credit: Newsday/Corin Hirsch

Puerto Plata Seafood on the Water (42 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport): Puerto Plata is a coastal city in the Dominican Republic renowned for its beaches and natural beauty. Now Rudy Liriano and his partners are bringing that vibe to Freeport’s Nautical Mile with this chic, Latin-inflected seafood restaurant. The menu is dominated by steamed seafood trays that are designed to be shared by groups — each serves five to six people — and range from a salmon-only tray to the King’s Feast of snow crab and king crab, lobster tails and jumbo lobster tails and shrimp. All trays also include potatoes and vegetables. (Trays, and their prices, are appropriately downsized for singer diners or couples.) Among the starters you’ll find "sopa revive muertos," a seafood soup to revive the dead, and "La Doña del Sazon’s famous ceviche." More info: 516-665-3025


Saverio's (929 N. Broadway, Massapequa): The pork store-meets-pizzeria's new Amalfi-themed outdoor space is dubbed "Piazza Saverio," for its cozy patio square serving artisanal Neapolitan pies. There's a shipping container that doubles as an annex galley kitchen with its own wood-burning pizza oven, plus a tented area with tables. Plush couches and lounge chairs invite visitors to linger — perhaps with a cocktail — from the service bar. More info: 516-799-0091,

The Speck pie with smoked prosciutto, cream sauce, mozzarella and...

The Speck pie with smoked prosciutto, cream sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan at Saverio's. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Cena 081 (103 Post Ave., Westbury): Its outdoor patio offers an eyeful of attractions, from a moderately sized waterfall to a wood-burning oven that churns out calzones, focaccia and pizza, including a Buffalo chicken bacon pizza, "Quattro Stagioni," with capocollo, anchovies, olives and mushrooms, and an artichoke, spinach, Gorgonzola pizza. About 20 tables make up the area, which features light music, some standing heaters and a fire pit. A lounge occupies the space just outside of the restaurant’s back door. More info: 516-385-3795,

Piñons (23 Birch Hill Rd., Locust Valley): The succinct menu of organic-flour crust pies includes simple mozzarella cheese with herbs to more unorthodox creations involving Vermont maple syrup and white Cheddar cheese. Rotating weekly specials draw on what's around. Diners can choose to sit outdoors in a dog-friendly walled-off sidewalk garden area bolstered, as needed, with heat towers. More info: 516-801-3200,

Chris Brown and Jaime Burchfield, of Locust Valley, dine outdoors...

Chris Brown and Jaime Burchfield, of Locust Valley, dine outdoors at Piñon's in Locust Valley. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

1943 Pizza Company (308 D Main St., Greenport): Since 2014, Greenporters have congregated at Matt Michel’s wood-oven pizzeria, whose seating begins on a small deck with a view of the oven and then spreads out all over Stirling Square and onto the sidewalk of Main Street. Specialties include the "New Haven," topped with mashed potato and bacon, and seasonal pizzas that draw on the bounty of the North Fork. Folks wait all year for the white pie with Comté cheese, red onion, rosemary and sliced potatoes More info: 631-477-6984,

Mangia Bene (14 S. Park Ave., Rockville Centre): The menu at this new Rockville Centre trattoria ranges all over the boot, but attention must be paid to the individual Neapolitan-style pizzas, designed by executive chef, John Di Lemme, and owner, Maurizio Vendittelli, and baked in a newfangled electric oven imported from Italy. Crust and toppings are in perfect harmony, from the simplest marinara and Margherita to the "PLT" (smoked Tyrolean Speck, arugula, cherry tomatoes, lemon, mozzarella and Parmesan) and the "Calabrese," sparked by hot sausage and Calabrian chilies. Enjoy them in a tented "giardino" out back that has standing heaters to lengthen the al fresco season. More info: 516-447-6744,

At Mangia Bene in Rockville Centre, the Calabrese pizza is...

At Mangia Bene in Rockville Centre, the Calabrese pizza is topped with crumbled sausage and Calabrian chilis. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

King Umberto (1343 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont): King Umberto erected a glass-enclosed pavilion last year to provide its restaurant diners with more social distance and, this summer, it added a huge, marble-floored, open-sided terrace with tables and couches for lounging. With more than 140 new seats, it was the perfect excuse to introduce a new menu, "pizza on the patio." Nor could the timing have been better for John Cesarano, who owns King Umberto with his brother, Ciro, and the 45-year-old venue’s original partner Rosario Fuschetto. It’s John who runs the pizzeria and, over the last three years, he has become obsessed with artisanal pizza, learning the centuries-old ways of Neapolitan wood-fired pies as well as the "neo-Neapolitan" traditions that have taken both Italy and the U.S. by storm. John set up a little shed along one side of the terrace, got himself a fancy new oven, and perfected a 14-inch pie that has the structure and refinement of a classic Neapolitan, but with the crunch and crackle of New York. Along with the classic Margherita and Marinara, there are more fanciful pies such as those inspired by cacio e pepe and Amatriciana pastas. Plus an amazing calzone, filled with ricotta and either meatballs or eggplant. More info: 516-352-8391,


2 Spring (2 Spring St., Oyster Bay): Co-owner Lindsay Schenker has carved out a new outdoor patio out of this polished New American restaurant, decking it out with scaffolding covered by burlap, plus dried flowers, herbs, decorative woods, twigs, ferns and string lights throughout, even as the original patio was being transformed into an enclosed glass atrium. The outdoor area, which also features forced heat from above as well as heaters, accommodates 40, and accoutered with sheepskin throws, throw pillows and heated blankets. Reservations for Friday and Saturday are suggested. More info: 516-624-2411,

Centro Trattoria (336 W. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays): Eye-popping in every way is the newly opened outdoor expanse at Salvatore Biundo’s monument to all things primi and secondi. An outdoor fireplace creates a measure of coziness on chilly evenings, but Centro’s new gravel "piazza" builds a case for warm ones too, with strings of party lights swooping down from blond wood beams, bringing a friendly glow to the white tablecloth dining area. And Biundo is also injecting some healthy informality into luxe dining. Golf carts zip food across the restaurant’s parking lot to another new Centro space, in which umbrella tables preside over an inspired bit of unexpectedness — two bocce courts. Equally unexpected: the seriousness with which area old-timers play the game on select evenings. More info: 631-594-5744,

The gravel piazza at Centro Trattoria in Hampton Bays.

The gravel piazza at Centro Trattoria in Hampton Bays. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Hooks & Chops (6330 Jericho Tpke., Commack): Like anyone attempting to summon a fine dining establishment from the grave of a Ruby Tuesday, chef-owner Steven Del Lima didn’t plan for a pandemic when he broke ground on Hooks & Chops in Commack in early 2019, so he didn’t plan for an outdoor area, either. No matter. His large bluestone- and Nicolock-paved patio, now adjacent to the restaurant’s main dining room, is attractive and organic-looking. Arborvitae trees around the periphery shield diners from busy Jericho Turnpike, and musical duos and trios now play on select evenings. More info: 631-600-0521,

Lucharito's (177 Main St., Center Moriches): It is a playground? A restaurant? A farm? This first South Shore location of the Lucharitos mini chain is a combination of all three. Sprawling over more than an acre, the venue comprises multiple outdoor dining areas — cafe tables on a patio, picnic tables overlooking a field of vegetables, a long communal table under an open-sided, wooden-slat Quonset hut, a proper "dining room" inside an old farmhouse. There are lawn games and an obstacle course for the kids and a vintage Airstream trailer for parties of up to a dozen people. The food is Lucharitos own exuberant take on Mexican and Mexican American street food — tacos filled with coconut shrimp, quesadillas made with Crescent Farm duck — all washed down with premium tequilas, beer and Mexican soft drinks. More info: 631-400-9625,

BBQ pork nachos at Lucharito's in Center Moriches.

BBQ pork nachos at Lucharito's in Center Moriches. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Maria's Mexican & Latin Cuisine (211 Smithtown Blvd., Smithtown): It's hard not to do a double-take at the oasis of tropicalia that on the east side of Smithtown Blvd. in Nesconset. Blooming hibiscus bushes, palm trees and strings of twinkling lights blanket the stone patio of Maria's, lending it a transportive vibe, with outdoor tables wedged into the patio's nooks. A long roster of margaritas deepens the Caribbean vibe and the menu takes you across many countries, from ceviche to Mexican tamales to Cubana-style quesadillas and Argentinian-style churrasco steak. For a final romantic flourish, share a churro sundae. More info: 631-979-7724,

Stone Creek Inn (405 Montauk Hwy., East Quogue): Elaine DiGiacomo, along with her husband, chef Christian Mir, has been running Stone Creek since 1996, transforming an old speak-easy into one of the Island’s finest fine dining experiences. She’s also the creative force between the restaurant’s fabulous outdoor setup, which features a 46-by-65-foot sailcloth tent that’s as beautiful to look at as it is to eat under, credibly transporting an exquisite indoor experience to the great outdoors. Not far away, a vintage camper pairs well with two other vehicles on display, a pair of circa-1940 Fords that were part of DiGiacomo’s late father’s collection. Thanks to them, some pea gravel, flowering potted plants, bistro lights, Adirondack chairs and tiki torches, Stone Creek now has a fun outdoor space where patrons can repair for drinks before or after dinner. More info: 631-653-6770,

An outdoor dining setup at Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue.

An outdoor dining setup at Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Restoration Kitchen & Cocktails (49 E. Hoffman Ave., Lindenhurst): Seen from one angle, the 72-by-34-foot greenhouse-esque addition to this nonprofit eatery specializing in New American fare is an outdoor dining pavilion that dwarfs the restaurant that gave rise to it. The space is full of picnic tables that play host to Sunday brunch groups or families. And there's live music some nights, too. More info: 631-592-1905,

Macari Vineyards (150 Bergen Ave., Mattituck): Always wanted to dine in the vines? Macari Vineyards' private outdoor experience involves a table perched outdoors in the vineyards, where groups of six to 20 will get a catered lunch, cheese and charcuterie board and pre-poured flight of five wines to sample. There's also a private tour of the winery, $185 a person. The winery plans to bring its outdoor bungalows back for the fall season. More info: 631-298-0100,

The private tasting experience at Macari Vineyards in Mattituck includes...

The private tasting experience at Macari Vineyards in Mattituck includes a tasting flight of five wines accompanied by cheese and charcuterie. Credit: Randee Daddona

ITA Kitchen (45 W. Main St., Bay Shore): This Italian restaurant turned its side and back patios into an outdoor dining wonderland, where guests can dine within private open-air cabanas, greenhouses (and later in the season, igloos) that seat six to eight people. All feature mini chandeliers, heaters and music that guests can largely control. Reservations require a $200 minimum spend on weekends. More info: 631-267-5916,

Roslyn Social (1363 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn): Nick Luisi and Sal Sorrentino have pivoted their original cocktails-first space to serve elevated pub food on a rooftop patio that seats up to 35, with at least two tables set inside large igloos. Munch on fried Asian calamari, drunken vodka pizza, Italian-style sushi rolls, lollipop lamb chops and fried chicken sandwiches. Don’t overlook the drinks, which include a spicy pineapple margarita, and fall-ready Bourbon Smash (with muddled berries, lemon juice ginger beer). Roslyn Social also has an uncovered outdoor lounge area on the ground level that seats up to 20 and is kept warm by standing patio heaters. More info: 516-801-4963,

Sankeerth Jinna from Whitestone, Kevin Aramalla from Sands Point and Sravya...

Sankeerth Jinna from Whitestone, Kevin Aramalla from Sands Point and Sravya Saladi from Manhasset enjoy a meal on Roslyn Social's rooftop. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

That Meetball Place (206 Main St., Farmingdale): Nestled underneath the clamor and hustle of the bar and dining room of this busy spot is a cozy, bricklined hideaway that feels like a rathskeller. Called TMP Underground, two tables here (a communal wood table, and a half-moon leather booth) can host up to 16 people for bespoke meals of TMP's hearty comfort food, from myriad meatballs (of course) to baked paccheri Parmigiana, fried chicken drizzled with hot honey or NY strip steak surf-and-turf. Meatless eaters have plenty to choose from, too, and a private entrance lends the space even more mystique. More info: 516-586-8880,

Brew Cheese (40 Woodbine Ave., Northport): Just a short walk around the corner from Brew Cheese in an alley way near Sand City Brewing Co., the eatery has four yurts. Customers check in at the restaurant where they are expected to leave a license or credit card, and then are walked by staff to the yurts. A wooden picnic table with faux fur-lined seats sits on an area rug inside the circular tent, which also features greenery, lighting and a portable radiator. Customers order by calling the restaurant. Once the order is ready, a server brings it over. Reservations — 1 hour and 15 minutes each — are encouraged; no fees; seats up to six. More info: 631-239-1927,


Gurney's Montauk (290 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk): It's hard to top the scenery near the deck of this classic hotel, restaurant and spa, as it's only a short walk from the Atlantic Ocean, which crashes and splashes in the background. The fire pit here is among the venue's most-recognized attractions and it burns all year. Offseason guests won't get the live bands and DJs of summer, but there's still good reason to venture out. See if there's anything special being mixed over at the Regent Cocktail Club section of the hotel (which also happens to have a fine indoor fireplace as well). More info: 631-668-2345,

Gurney's Montauk has outdoor dining with fire pits to keep...

Gurney's Montauk has outdoor dining with fire pits to keep guests warm. Credit: Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa

Blackstone Steakhouse (10 Pinelawn Rd., Melville): Blackstone’s polished dining room extends outdoors to a garden patio that features heated bluestone flooring, a perk the restaurant has had since 2012. Electric fire pits, small patio heaters and a retractable roof (with lights strung from it), plus plenty of greenery give off a warm and cozy feeling. More info: 631-271-7780,

Hotel Indigo (1830 W. Main St., Riverhead): Patrons at the hotel's Bistro 72 restaurant are welcome to take their drinks out back to relax on pillowed patio furniture that's half-circled around a wood-burning fire pit as well as propane-powered triangular fire towers. The dishes here are really more appropriate for a dinner table — meat, fish and poultry — but smaller options such as fried pickles and wings or desserts (think brownies a la mode) would certainly work around the fire. More info: 631-369-2200,

Guests gather to sip drinks and socialize by the outdoor...

Guests gather to sip drinks and socialize by the outdoor fireplace and heat lamps at the Hotel Indigo in Riverhead. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Maxwell's (501 Main St., Islip): The busy casual pub and restaurant has a walled-off patio with a fire pit the welcomes people to take a seat to ward off the late autumn chill. If you're going to munch around the fire, Maxwell's "social plate" menu has loaded tots, nachos, pretzel flights and other bites besides a full roster of beer, wine and drinks. More info: 631-210-0011,

Il Giardino (739 Main Rd., Aquebogue): This is the kind of place that makes the North Fork so special — a restaurant located in a house-like structure with wooden floors and dim lights. It's cozy, romantic and has a menu of southern Italian food. Out back, there's a secluded courtyard with a brick patio and a circular pit where people often go to wait for their dinner table to be ready. This fire pit isn't really intended to eat a meal around, but take a glass of wine out back on a clear night and you'll see stars on top of stars. More info: 631-779-3900,

Kathryn Curran from Aquebogue and Noel Gish from Riverhead socialize...

Kathryn Curran from Aquebogue and Noel Gish from Riverhead socialize by the fire pit at Il Giardino in Aquebogue. Credit: Randee Daddona

Off Key Tikki (31 Baker Place, Patchogue): The log-burning fire pit at this place along the Patchogue River sees action all year-round. In the colder months, the live entertainment shifts indoors but many guests still find their way out to the raging flames for drinks and conversation while sitting in beach chairs. The pit here is a large stone ring and the flames get some nice height. This spot does Tiki bar-proud fruity cocktails, but in the cold air, perhaps a coconut jalapeño margarita is the kind of beachy yet spicy beverage to try. More info: 631-475-1723,

Prime (117 New York Ave., Huntington): Talk about a perfect storm: Sushi, steak and seafood, plus sophisticated cocktails, wines and craft beer — and then there's the view of Huntington Harbor. Prime's fire pit is on the most elevated portion of the deck, making for a crowd-pleasing experience with friends on any given night. More info: 631-385-1515,

Take in the sunset by the outdoor fire at Prime...

Take in the sunset by the outdoor fire at Prime in Huntington. Credit: Newsday/Chris Ware

H20 Seafood & Sushi (215 W. Main St., Smithtown) This inland spot captures coastal vibes via an ample raw bar (think local clams and oysters), molto sushi rolls and lots and lots of seafood, plus an undulating stone patio lit and warmed by the flicker of gas fireplaces. Bordered by birch trees and pretty landscaping, it's a relaxing place to sip rosé and tuck into a raw seafood plateau or Montauk swordfish steak with truffle couscous and a lemongrass beurre blanc. More info: 631-361-6464


Claudio's Beer Garden (111 Main St., Greenport): This Greenport waterfront fixture, 150 years old and recently refurbished, added a beer garden during the pandemic. Turf runs underneath and strings of lights above picnic tables where guests can nosh on warm pretzels, bratwurst, kielbasa and German potato salad — or, well, pizza. German and domestic beers are joined by frozen cocktails and hard seltzers, while games of cornhole and movie nights add another layer of fun. More info: 631-477-0627,

Dark Horse Tavern (12 S. Park Ave., Rockville Centre): This pub provides a buoyant crowd and a laid-back, old-world-style place to mingle, watch a game and enjoy bar food. Specializing in craft beer and a seven-hour happy hour, it also features a large courtyard that's open all year. Other locations at 273 Main St. in Farmingdale and 1029A Park Blvd. in Massapequa Park. More info: 516-442-5477,

Garden Social (1964 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow): Outside, the landscaped "beer garden" sits beneath a towering cedar pergola. The 24 taps feature Long Island and New York State beers almost exclusively, plus cider and rosé from Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack. There are even more craft beers in bottles and cans. More info: 516-750-5338,

Guests enjoy bites and drinks at Garden Social in East Meadow. 

Guests enjoy bites and drinks at Garden Social in East Meadow.  Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Main Street Tavern (177 Main St., Amagansett): The former Indian Wells Tavern was transformed into this new, outdoor-oriented hangout with a 54-seat beer garden of blond-wood picnic tables flanked by shrubs and planters. The 10 tapped, canned and bottled beers are a blend of local (Montauk Wave Chaser) and not-so-local (Peroni); the eats runs to pub staples such as wings, burgers, a lobster roll and fish & chips, plus a few hearty salads for more virtuous revelers. More info: 631-267-0400,

Plattduetsche Park Restaurant (1132 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square): This century-old German American restaurant with an outdoor area is the closest Long Island has to a traditional German beer garden, with tables spread across a concrete patio. There is also an outdoor bar, a bratwurst pit, a dance floor and a bandshell, where cover bands get the party started. More info: 516-354-3131,

Southampton Publick House (62 Jobs Lane, Southampton): Like many venues, this classic tavern has shifted service outside due to the pandemic; fortunately, they already had an pretty patio and outdoor bar in place. Grab one of the house-brewed beers, such as Double White or Burton IPA, to accompany the classic pub fare. More info: 631-283-2800,

Grab a house-brewed beer at Southampton Publick House.

Grab a house-brewed beer at Southampton Publick House. Credit: Facebook / Southampton Publick House

Prost Grill & Garten (652 Franklin Ave., Garden City): Prost’s patio with three picnic tables is part of the restaurant's sudsy appeal, furthered by Spaten Oktoberfest and Hofbräu Original. Main dining area sports tables made from old bowling alley wood, the German eagle flag, the blue-and-white banner of Bavaria, and a hearty menu with wursts (bock-, brat- and knock-), crab cakes, shrimp salad, salmon, burgers and chicken wings. More info: 516-427-5215,

Repeal XVIII Cocktail Lounge & Beer Garden (30 New St., Huntington): Rustic lounge atmosphere with two rooms, each having its own bar, in addition to an outdoor beer garden. Craft cocktails and beer menus, large screen TVs and a giant 165-inch screen. Large selection of local, domestic and imported craft beers. More info: 631-629-5878,


Barrow Food House (452 Main Rd., Aquebogue): Husband and wife chefs Kyle Romeo and Amanda Falcone met while working at North Fork Table & Inn, and theirs is an eatery of similarly high aspirations and distinction at a wallet-friendly price point. The setting is a dramatic one: a rebuilt 1850s farmhouse that boasts an apartment upstairs (where Romeo and Falcone currently live with their young son), a handsome indoor dining area and a partially shaded picnic table area outside, plus a front porch perfect for dining and drinking. All the dining areas are quaint and cozy, but no reservations are accepted, so get there early. More info: 631-779-3379,

Newsday food writer Scott Vogel visited Barrow Food House in Aquebogue to try the fried chicken thigh sandwich and learn about the couple behind this farmhouse restaurant. Credit: Randee Daddona

Cooperage Inn (2218 Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow): This North Fork stalwart is the very model of a rural restaurant, situated across the street from Fox Hollow Farm and next to Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard. The restaurant’s décor reflects its setting, with a verdant patio, old-fashioned tap room, a "harvest" dining room with a fireplace. The menu blends American standards (homemade pot pies, steaks, meatloaf, roast duck) with more contemporary touches and, of course, pasta. Cooperage Inn’s annual Fall Festival runs every weekend from Sept. 11 to Oct. 31. and features face painting, a hay playground and a petting zoo. Festival menu specials include roasted corn, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued ribs and chicken and bratwurst. More info: 631-727-8994,

Modern Snack Bar (628 Main Rd., Aquebogue) Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue is like a welcoming center on the North Fork, warm and reliable, as it has been since Truman was president. When it opens for the season, you know summer is near. Recommended: fried soft-shell crabs; lobster salad; chicken croquettes; deep-fried flounder sandwich; fried chicken; roast loin of pork with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and apple sauce; roast turkey, with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce; meat loaf; New England-style clam chowder; sauerbraten with red cabbage, potato dumplings, and gingersnap gravy; all pies. More info: 631-722-3655,

North Fork Shack (41150 County Rd. 48, Southold): Samy Sabil and Ryan Flatley, former staffers at North Fork Table & Inn, converted a tool shop for Cessna airplanes into North Fork Shack, a compelling little spot whose casual vibe belies its culinary ambitions. Follow a local clam chowder with a sandwich of local fish with tomato, arugula and Old Bay aioli, or a wrap of pulled lamb with cucumber yogurt sauce and pickled vegetables. Tacos and tostadas are filled with your choice of pulled chicken, marinated steak, fried fish or Buffalo eggplant. Order at the counter and dine at picnic tables outside. More info: 631-876-5566,

A local fried cod fish sandwich is garnished with tomato,...

A local fried cod fish sandwich is garnished with tomato, lettuce and old bay aioli at North Fork Fork Shack in Southold. Credit: Randee Daddona

North Fork Roadhouse (9095 Sound Ave., Mattituck): In 2020, brothers Brian and Keith Lewin and Jon Troyan opened this rollicking roadhouse in what had been the old Porto Bello. In addition to the 5,000 square feet of indoor space, the restaurant extends outside to a patio, a dining tent and plenty of grass on which to picnic. The casual menu includes bar snacks, salads, burgers, sandwiches and barbecue. The Roadhouse claims to have the largest tap selection on the East End and you’ll find everything more than two dozen brews, from Long Ireland Celtic Ale and Westhampton Strawberry Blonde to Yuengling and Bud Light (Yes, Bud Light on tap) plus hard cider, hard seltzer and 8 wines. More info: 298-8277, /

Sound Bistro (3225 Sound Ave., Riverhead): With its blue-awning-ed windows and proud yardarm flagpole, the big, rambling Sound Bistro is unmissable as you travel along Sound Avenue. The former Lobster Roll Northside is one of the only places around to find that Long Island specialty, fried puffer fish tails. You’ll also find lobster rolls, fried fish baskets, local clams and oysters and, in season, soft-shell crabs and lobster-stuffed beefsteak tomatoes. The family-friendly menu features roast chicken, seared tuna, linguine and clams sauce, veal Milanese and much more. A terraced patio offers outdoor dining. More info: 631-381-0519,

-- Contributed reporting by Joann Vaglica and Ian J. Stark.

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