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The best restaurants for fine dining on Long Island: Our picks for 2017

From the Five Towns out to the North Fork, fine dining proved exceptionally fine in 2017, standing out with pasta, steak and all sorts of fish. Here, Newsday’s food critics rank their Top 10 favorites.

10. Cardoon Mediterranean Grill

Smoked trout taramasalata served with grilled pita bread,
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Cardoon Mediterranean Grill (2479 Adler Court, Seaford): You must navigate a string of easy-to-miss turns to find this hidden gem nestled along a canal. The search is worth it. Despite its laid-back, beachy looks, Cardoon’s dishes are playful and polished, with unexpected flavors bristling against each other in memorable ways. To kick off the meal, go for the crispy shrimp kataifi in a creamy “fondue” sauce dotted with fava and sausage, the silky halibut crudo or smoked-trout taramasalata. Changing seafood specials — such as crisp, pan-seared hake with a watermelon-watercress salad — match the waterside vibe, while the halloumi-topped burger and grilled Cornish hen seething with pepper, cinnamon and other earthy shawarma spices are worth returning for. More info:  516-785-2390, cardoonny.com

9. Il Giardino Restaurant by John Gambino

Seafood salad, shrimp, calamari, scungilli, mussels, octopus and
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Il Giardino Restaurant by John Gambino (739 Rte. 25, Aquebogue): John Gambino earns his byline. He’s the constant gardener of Il Giardino. In an 1830 building, owner Gambino and chef William Londono offer Southern Italian and Italian-American favorites with care and flair. Recommended: seafood salad headed by octopus; Sicilian salad featuring orange, fennel, olives, potatoes; paccheri pasta with goat cheese, zucchini and arugula; lasagna with meat and cheese; orecchiette with white beans and escarole; chicken Parmigiana; chicken Milanese; shrimp fra diavolo; rib-eye steak with horseradish crust. More info: 631-779-3900

8. Catch Oyster Bar

Grilled octopus salad with tomato, onion and potato
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Catch Oyster Bar (63 N. Ocean Ave., Patchogue): A pearl unveiled, Catch Oyster Bar is a spot you want in your neighborhood. Bright, energetic, smart, casual, the 30-seater full of subway tiles and exposed ductwork, is very 2017, a son-and-father production from Michael and Jim Avino. Recommended: all raw oysters; New England and Manhattan clam chowders; baked clam “stuffies”; bluefin tuna crudo with sesame seeds; South Shore fish stew in garlic-tomato broth; shrimp-and-chicken jambalaya; “grilled dockside dog” with kielbasa, slaw, onions and pickles. More info: 631-627-6860, catchoysterbar.com

7. Louie's Grill & Liquors

Miso black cod, broiled with a yuzu citrus
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

 Louie's Grill & Liquors (395 Main St., Port Washington): Yes, Louie’s. In its latest life since starting as a barge in 1905, the newly named Louie’s Grill & Liquors offers traditional seafood and steak fare plus Asian-accented highlights under chef Tomo Kobayashi. The appealing water view is unchanged. Recommended: New England-style clam chowder; warm lobster roll; lobster tacos; steamed lobster; gingery lobster Cantonese; miso black cod; sole en papillote; bone-in rib-eye steak with chimichurri; Berkshire pork chop; steamed edamame dumplings; panna cotta with crystallized ginger. More info: 516-883-4242, louiessince1905.com

6. The Halyard

Oysters Rockefeller with spinach, parmesan, bacon and ritz
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Halyard (58775 Rte. 48, Greenport): The Sound View hotel finally has a restaurant worthy of its seductive beachfront location. Chef Galen Zamarra of Mas (farmhouse) in Manhattan raises the halyard high in a contemporary dining room with American classics. Recommended: New England-style clam chowder; oyster po’boy, oysters Rockefeller; fish and chips made with local fluke; steamed lobster; lobster salad roll; grilled swordfish with gremolata; fried chicken with macaroni and cheese, corn and a biscuit; deviled eggs with pickled vegetables; yogurt panna cotta. More info: 631-477-0666, thehalyardgreenport.com

5. George Martin 1989

Cauliflower ravioli in a Marsala wine sauce with
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Geroge Martin 1989 (33 Berry Hill Rd., Syosset): The latest member of the George Martin Group delivers a lively social scene, seamless service and dependably first-class wide-ranging cuisine from chef Christopher Holt. Recommended: cauliflower ravioli with lemon zest, chives, cream and Marsala-spurred sauce; strozzapreti Bolognese; Korean-style barbecue duck tacos with kimchi slaw; dry-aged, boneless rib-eye steak with creamed spinach; bone-in strip steak; caramelized onion fondue with Gouda and Gruyère; the house burger on brioche bun; pineapple upside-down cake. More info: 516-364-2144, georgemartintheoriginal.com

4. Lost at Sea

Cod arrives topped with breadcrumbs, seated in a
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Lost at Sea (888 W. Beech St., Long Beach): At first glance, you wouldn’t know that Lost at Sea is pairing some of Long Island’s most interesting seafood dishes with playful cocktails. It’s an understated, cash-only space that seems more speakeasy than restaurant. There is no sign to welcome you, just an address that gives way to the sophomore act from executive chef Alexis Trolf, who dazzled the neighborhood with Lost & Found. Here, you’ll find an attentive staff along with an ever-changing small plates menu and hefty specials list. Recommended: broiled scallops with drawn butter and fresh herbed salsa; oysters Rockefeller; dry-aged steak frites; cod with bright lemon sauce and bread crumbs. No dessert means one more cocktail from mixologist and partner Steve Magliano. A Salt N’ Peppa, which fuses tequila with salt, pepper and rosé, is a good place to start. More info: 516-632-5263

3. Coral

Rib-eye steak, Coral Restaurant, East Moriches, Sept. 21,
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Coral (215 Atlantic Ave., East Moriches): Tapas are the lure at Coral, situated at the aptly named Windswept Marina, with a grand water view. Chef Alex Bujoreanu, formerly of Viaggio Tapas in Rockville Centre, tantalizes with small plates, and some big ones, too. Recommended: smoked oysters with chorizo and “lemon air”: chicken-and-chorizo croquettes; very bravas patatas; grilled Spanish octopus; seafood soup with shellfish and squid; paella; grilled lobster; secreto pork; grilled rib-eye steak; crema Catalana. More info: 631-703-3479, coraleastmoriches.com

2. Doma Land + Sea

Painters plate tartare features yellowfin tuna, avocado, soy
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Doma Land + Sea (490 Chestnut St., Cedarhurst): Put away any doubts you may have about kosher food. Doma is an excellent restaurant that happens to be kosher. Ambitious, expensive and stylishly designed, it’s a stunner. Chef Oscar Martinez oversees all. Recommended: “painter’s plate” of tuna tartare; “Tomahawk chop” rib-eye steak for two; Southern-fried chicken drumettes; beef-brisket tacos; a high-rise burger; whole fried red snapper; whole wild black sea bass; sushi rolls; cinnamon-sugar doughnuts; apple tortada; cotton candy tower. More info: 516-881-7712, domalandsea.com

1. Da Gigi Trattoria & Bar

Hand made capellacci pasta stuffed with burrata, pistachio
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Da Gigi Trattoria & Bar (174 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook): In an unlikely setting, three stars align: Pierluigi Sacchetti, Freddy Sammarone, and by way of Florence, Nicola Schioppo. Their restaurant is tucked away, reached via a side entrance and adjoining a caterer. It looks like a social club, which happens to serve the year’s finest Italian food. The menu changes seasonally. Recommended: cappellacci, or hat-shaped ravioli, with burrata and ground pistachio, in stracchino cheese sauce; bucatini with spicy ’nduja sausage; saffron gnocchi with crab, and shrimp in a rosé wine sauce; pan-seared red Sicilian shrimp, octopus with cubed potatoes and cherry tomatoes; tiramisu. More info:  516-599-0298, ptwelvecatering.com

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