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The best restaurants for lunch in the Hamptons, Montauk

Dinner in the Hamptons requires either a lot of planning or a lot of waiting. Restaurants that take reservations are booked weeks in advance. Where it’s first come, first served, diners loiter on the sidewalk to get a table. Lunch, however, is a more casual, less stressful affair. The following spots are lively in the summer, for sure. But even the most upscale places are informal during the day. Most will seat you quickly and with no reservations. Some will even pack a lunch to go.

Silver's

2017 SUMMER FUNBOOK - Lobster roll serve at
Photo Credit: Eric Striffler

Silver's (15 Main St., Southampton): Silver's, a lunch-only bistro, has been serving luxurious sandwiches and salads to Hamptonites since 1923. With its sunny yellow walls and black-and-white checkerboard floor, it is a cheerful (but not cheap) place to enjoy a bite before hitting the beach or the nearby designer shops. Menu offerings include lobster rolls (pictured), lobster salad, grilled and sliced filet mignon over greens, and truffled pâté on a toasted baguette.  If you’re feeling extra-rich, ask your server for the Osetra caviar, which is always on hand. Classic desserts include pot de crème and French-style opera cake. More info: 631-283-6443, silversrestaurant.com

Tacombi

2017 SUMMER FUNBOOK - Diners sit outside Tacombi
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Tacombi (752 Montauk Hwy., Montauk): Tacombi, a stylish import from Manhattan, serves beachy Mexican food in a landmark Montauk building, a midcentury circular glass structure that’s great for seeing and being seen. Breakfast tacos, including eggs with slow-roasted beef or pico de gallo, are served all day. Baja-style fish tacos with spicy pickled cabbage and chili mayonnaise taste just as good near the Atlantic as the Pacific. Fresh juices including verde (apple, celery, kale, pineapple and lime), purpura (beets, strawberries, ginger and orange) and naranja (papaya, carrots, pineapple and orange) are colorful counterparts to the food. Tequila cocktails or ice-cold beer are another way to go. More info: 631-668-8338, tacombi.com 

LT Burger

The LT cheesburger with Mecox cheddar is served
Photo Credit: Doug Young

LT Burger (62 Main St., Sag Harbor): LT Burger, with its updated soda fountain décor and casual menu, is a good place to bring kids before or after the beach. Or bring your dog and sit at one of the bright orange cafe tables set up on the sidewalk. In addition to a range of burgers, including the Mexican (pictured, with chili, guacamole, pickled jalapeño and Monterey Jack), the dirty chicken (with smoked Gouda and frizzled onion), and the Route 27 (with caramelized onions and Madeira mushrooms), there are nachos, wings and Kobe beef hot dogs. Don’t miss the deep-fried dill pickles served with smoked buttermilk ranch dressing. And save room for a specialty milkshake. Popular flavors include Death by Oreo (chocolate ice cream, cookies, chocolate syrup), Crazy Nut (hazelnut gelato, Nutella and almonds) and French toast (vanilla ice cream, cinnamon and maple syrup). More info: 631-899-4646, ltburger.com

Bay Burger

2017 SUMMER FUNBOOK - Chocolate ice cream with
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Bay Burger (1742 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Sag Harbor): Bay Burger, a self-service burger joint, is a favorite of food divas Ina Garten and Martha Stewart. Owners Joe and Liza Tremblay grind their own beef and bake their own burger buns. Salad greens come from the organic farm next door. Long Island wine is served in plastic cups. In the summer, Bay Burger makes one of the best lobster rolls on the East End. Vegetarians can feast on veggie burgers and falafel. Addictive Tater Tots, served with or without cheese, are offered along with fries. Bay Burger’s own brand of ice cream (“It’s from the Hamptons so you know it’s rich”) is served by the scoop, in milkshakes and in pints for takeout. On Wednesdays, get a free scoop along with lunch. More info: 631-899-3915, bayburger.com

Cittanuova

Diners eat outside on the sidewalk at CittaNuova
Photo Credit: Citta Nuova

Cittanuova (29 Newtown Lane, East Hampton): Cittanuova, a sleek black-and-white, Milanese-style cafe, has outdoor seating on the street for those who want to be seen. A patio out back is better for hiding from the paparazzi. Even better for privacy is a semicircular, tufted leather booth. Once seated, enjoy large antipasti platters of cured meats and cheeses, or seafood. Or try the panini stuffed with prosciutto and stracchino cheese, roasted eggplant and mozzarella, or chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Bigger appetites will be satisfied by thin-crust pizzas and traditional pastas. Among the main-course choices are strip steak sprinkled with shaved Grana Padano cheese and truffle oil and served over arugula, or pan-seared salmon with grilled zucchini. More info: 631-324-6300, cittanuova.com

Bobby Van's

Lunching al fresco at Bobby Van's Steakhouse on
Photo Credit: Doug Kuntz

Bobby Van's (2393 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton): Venerable steakhouse Bobby Van's was once a literary hangout for the likes of Truman Capote and James Jones. Today it is a perennial hot spot for the cashmere-sweater and driving-loafer set. With its rattan furniture, ceiling fans and floor-to-ceiling windows opening right onto Main Street, it is a cool and comfortable place for a relaxed lunch. Raw bar items include shrimp cocktail, and clams and oysters on the half shell. Sandwich devotees will appreciate the French dip, turkey club and lobster BLT. For brunch lovers, eggs Benedict is served every day. A special bar menu includes mini Kobe burgers, mini Reubens and barbecue short-rib sliders. More info: 631-537-0590, bobbyvans.com

Estia’s Little Kitchen

The Turtle Rolls, which are on the lunch
Photo Credit: Gavin Zeigler

Estia’s Little Kitchen (1615 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Sag Harbor): Estia's Little Kitchen is a good place to fuel up for an active day of swimming, surfing, paddleboarding or kayaking. Much of the menu is healthy, generously portioned Mexican: burritos, quesadillas and tacos with a variety of fillings. Bowls of quinoa, topped with sausage, spinach and eggs or chicken, egg whites and avocado, will leave you feeling full, but also virtuous. Salads, sandwiches, burgers and omelets are among the choices. Also on the menu are turtle rolls (pictured): tortilla wraps made with avocado, napa cabbage and turtle beans with a touch of Serrano chili. Estia’s is small and popular, so expect a wait on weekends. In good weather, you can read the paper in the restaurant’s yard, overlooking an organic vegetable garden where salad fixings are grown. More info: 631-725-1045, estias.com

Little Red

Grilled hangar steak is served with Camembert mashed
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Little Red (76-C Jobs Lane, Southampton): Little Red, the more casual sibling of the popular RedBar, wants you to have it your way. Choose a seat on the cool patio, under an awning and surrounded by potted palms. Or dine at the cheery red bar indoors and under a quaint tin ceiling. Serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an in-between menu (which could be late lunch or an early dinner, depending on the hours you keep) from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Little Red offers a range of items from a blue cheese Caesar salad to a grilled flatbread pizza with shaved truffles and Gruyère, to pepper-rubbed hanger steak (pictured) with herbed garlic butter and Camembert mashed potatoes. Grilled cheese is made with Brie and slow-roasted duck. Fish and chips are served with lemon-tarragon aioli. On tap are local brews from Greenport Harbor and Montauk Brewing Co. and rosé from Raphael. Creative cocktails include the refreshing-sounding Spa Water, a mixture of cucumber vodka, soda, lime and cucumber slices. More info: 631-283-3309, littleredsouthampton.com

Babette's

2017 SUMMER FUNBOOK - Babette's is located in
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Babette's (66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton): The favorite organic cafe of celebrities, this stalwart Newtown Lane eatery serves up healthy dishes from around the world to the likes of Alec Baldwin and Jerry Seinfeld. Lunch choices at Babette's range from a Tunisian salad with pan-seared salmon, couscous and lemon cucumber raita to vegetable pad thai with tofu to chicken mole enchiladas. Atlantic cod is served with avocado, salsa and organic greens in a whole-wheat tortilla or try the tempeh sandwich (pictured). Gluten-free selections are available on request. Desserts include tofu cheesecake, carrot cake and nondairy coconut ice cream. A full juice bar offers more than a dozen juices and smoothies, while a conventional bar serves up craft cocktails, including cucumber-lime margaritas, and cilantro and fresh ginger martinis. More info: 631-329-5377,  babettesrestaurant.com

Townline BBQ

Customers order food at Townline BBQ in Sagaponack,
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Townline BBQ (3593 Montauk Hwy., Sagaponack): The giant woodpile in Townline BBQ's parking lot, along with the irresistible aroma of smoke, lets you know before you enter that the brisket, ribs and pulled pork at this stylish barbecue barn are for real. Order at the counter and grab a beer from the bar (don’t get distracted by the pool table) while you wait for your tray. The meat is the star, but side dishes, including collard greens, spicy bread-and-butter pickles and fried mac-and-cheese, also shine. Desserts such as banana pudding, icebox cake and whoopie pie are appropriately down-home. If you’d rather eat at the beach, food is available for takeout. More info: 631-537-2271, townlinebbq.com

La Fondita

Homemade tacos filled with carne asado, grilled steak,
Photo Credit: Doug Young

La Fondita (74 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett): This colorful drive-in with tiled counters is operated by the same folks who run Townline BBQ. La Fondita serves authentic Mexican specialties, including tacos filled with grilled steak (pictured), roasted pork, shredded beef, Mexican chorizo, fish and squash. In addition, there are burritos, quesadillas, nachos and tortas (Mexican sandwiches on Portuguese rolls). All corn tortillas are made in-house. Daily specials include chipotle chicken tostadas on Wednesdays, chili-rubbed beef ribs on Thursdays and posole rojo on Saturdays. Guacamole, salsa and house-made tortilla chips are available, as are rice, beans and aguas frescas. Good news. Plans are slowly progressing for tiny La Fondita to move next door and into the retro diner space previously occupied by catering company The Art of Eating. But don’t expect the new space (with an expanded menu) to open before the end of the summer. More info: 631-267-8800, lafondita.net

Joni's Kitchen

The Thai Me Up vegetable wrap, served at
Photo Credit: Joan Brosnan

Joni's Kitchen (28 S. Etna Ave., Suite 9, Montauk): Joni’s Kitchen sits between the village and the beach, catering to surfers who crave healthy salads, sandwiches and wraps. The menu includes some chicken and seafood dishes, but a lot of the food is proudly vegetarian. The Thai Me Up (pictured) consists of tofu and vegetables dressed with spicy peanut sauce and wrapped in rice paper. The Don’t Sing, Just Humm is hummus and veggies on a seven-grain baguette. An adorable kids’ menu includes the Little Monkey (apple butter and banana on seven-grain bread) and the Farmer (cream cheese and tomato on a toasted bagel with no green stuff). Smoothies come in more than a dozen combinations and can be boosted with protein, echinacea, flax meal or ginseng. And fresh young coconuts are always available if you crave coconut water. More info: 631-668-3663, jonismontauk.com

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