A patio table, a plate of glistening littlenecks, a beer and a waterside breeze. This is the picture of summertime bliss for many Long Islanders. Lucky for us, we have our pick of seafood shacks — plus plenty of fresh-dug cherrystones, freshly shucked Montauk Pearl oysters and fresh-caught fish to keep them well stocked.
Our picks for the Island’s best seafood shacks mostly cluster along harbors, marinas, inlets and bays, though at least one is landlocked (they make up for it by offering pizza). Some are weather-beaten, others are contemporary; some are open all year, while most have seasonal hours, spring to fall.
They all share an ultracasual vibe, a raw bar and a signature lobster roll. Just check ahead for hours.
Billy's by the Bay
Billy's by the Bay (2530 Manhanset Ave., Greenport): You can’t miss Billy’s at Brewer Stirling Harbor marina — it’s the canopied eatery and tiki bar with a giant lobster hanging above the door. That crustacean is a cue: This breezy spot serves plenty of shellfish and in multiple forms, from steamers and oysters Rockefeller to oyster tacos, bacon-wrapped bay scallops and lobsters up to 4 pounds. Lobster rolls — served both hot and cold — and soft-shell crab sandwiches are standouts; games of corn hole and weekend live music keep the scene hoppin’. Open for lunch and dinner, weather permitting, from spring until fall. More info: 631-477-8300, billysbythebayrestaurant.com
Peter's Clam Bar
Peter's Clam Bar (600 Long Beach Rd., Island Park): Almost every table has a view and a breeze at Peter’s, from the roadside high-tops to the seats on the expansive patio along Barnum Inlet. Peter’s has been serving seafood, raw and cooked, since 1939 — as its rustic look suggests — and the requisite fresh littlenecks, cherrystones and oysters all populate the raw bar. For a more substantial summertime snack, choose from king crab legs, lobster tacos, lobster rolls, steamed lobster, or a haul of fried seafood, from flounder (served as fish and chips) to fried smelts, shrimp and scallops. Open year-round for lunch and dinner. More info: 516-432-0505, petersclamhouse.com
Nick's Pizza and Clam Bar
Nick's Pizza and Clam Bar (243 N. Country Rd., Smithtown): The melding of Long Island’s two favorite food groups gives Nick’s broad appeal. Snag an outdoor table and take your carbs in the form of a cheesy white, Margherita or Sicilian pie — or the standout linguine with white clam sauce. Though Nick’s is decidedly inland, the seafood is plentiful, from oysters and clams on the half shell (raw cherrystones are fresh and briny) and ceviche to shrimp cocktail, baked and steamed clams and a lobster roll that you can score year-round, at lunch and dinner. (There are indoor tables, too.) More info: 631-724-5427
Point Lookout Clam Bar
Point Lookout Clam Bar (99 Bayside Dr., Point Lookout): A left turn at the end of the Loop Parkway delivers you into sleepy Point Lookout, and a few more turns to this mellow spot along Reynold’s Channel, whose catchphrase is “from our ships to your lips.” True to the motto, you can sometimes watch boats tie up to the dock to unload a fresh haul. Clams on the half shell, steamed littlenecks, crisp clam strips, shrimp cocktail, chowders, salad and lobsters — they’re all here, served at umbrella-covered tables with relaxation-inducing water views. Take some to go from the fish market, too. Open seasonally for lunch and dinner. More info: 516-897-4024, pointlookoutclambar.com
Clam Bar (2025 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett): This casual, roadside spot is known for its ample and excellent lobster salad roll, plus expertly steamed lobster, Montauk Pearl oysters on the half shell, New England-style clam chowder or spicy crab-and-corn chowder. We didn’t forget clams: Here, they’re served every which way, from steamed to fried to raw on the half shell. You may have to endure a wait — especially during summer lunchtime — but the spot has a relaxed vibe that makes hanging out here feel like a mini vacation. Open daily for lunch and dinner. More info: 631-267-6348, clambarhamptons.com
Kingston’s Clam Bar
Kingston’s Clam Bar (130 Atlantic Ave., West Sayville): At this waterside clam shack, which shares a terminus with the West Sayville Boat Basin, a deck runs the length of the dining room and umbrella-topped tables look out over bobbing boats. You can start with a half-dozen littleneck clams on the half shell, then move onto a very impressive lobster roll, the flesh bound with a lace of herbed mayo and spooned into a top-cut brioche hot-dog roll. More info: 631-589-0888, kingstonsclam.com
Clam Bar at Bridge Marine
Clam Bar at Bridge Marine (40 Ludlam Ave., Bayville): Just across the bridge from Oyster Bay to Bayville, and tucked into a marina on West Harbor, is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gathering of covered tables, plus an outdoor bar and busy kitchen turning out clam chowder, burgers and blushing littleneck clams. Many visitors boat in and tie up to the Clam Bar’s 160-foot-long floating dock for some of the freshest clams around, dug right from the nearby harbor and ordered at the counter. The kitchen’s lobster roll is stuffed with lots of shellfish, some mayo, a little celery and chopped onion heaped onto a hot dog bun. Have one at the Caribbean-esque open-air bar with a pint of local craft beer at your elbow. Open seasonally for lunch and dinner. More info: 516-628-8688
Oyster Bay Fish and Clam
Oyster Bay Fish and Clam (103 Pine Hollow Rd., Oyster Bay): On the patio of this century-old building about a mile south of Oyster Bay Harbor, you’re more likely to hear the sound of the traffic than the screech of gulls — but it’s a summery and solidly nautical spot, nonetheless. Inside, the bar and dining room are decorated with decades’ worth of seafaring props, and the checked tablecloths are pure, old-time oyster bar. Bivalves are the draw here: Bluepoints from Oyster Bay’s own Frank M. Flower and Sons are always fresh and briny. Or, you can choose to slurp top necks, littlenecks and cherrystones, plus plump fried belly clams. Open from spring ’til fall, with dates shifting each year. More info: 516-922-5522
Butler's Flat (86 Orchard Beach Blvd., Port Washington): The menu is succinct at this waterside New England-style clam shack, and focused squarely on steamed littlenecks, fried Ipswich clams, Long Island oysters on the halfshell, and sandwiches filled with whatever was just reeled in by the marina’s fishermen. A lobster roll, Nathan’s hot dogs, burgers, fries, boiled potatoes, corn on the cob and summer slaw round out the menu. More info: 516-883-8330, butlersflat.com