As if summer didn’t already have enough going for it (mad respect, pool parties and frosé), there are also some seriously buzzworthy restaurants that are only open during the warmer months. Some are feeding the discerning masses strictly for the summer, while others are serving up crazy-deliciousness through the fall. And all are worth writing a postcard home about. That’s if you can snag a reservation, of course…<
1. The Lost Kitchen
Freedom tastes damn good. At least that’s how diners at The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, ME, feel after diving into a feast from a locally-inspired, eight-course menu that changes nightly. Housed in a former gristmill, the restaurant is run by an all-female staff that often cooks with produce from their very own farms. This is destination dining at its most exclusive—which explains why getting a reservation requires fingers of straight-up lightning.
2. Bay Kitchen Bar
Waterfront spot? Check. Locally sourced seafood galore? Yep. The Hamptons-iest décor you could dream of? Absolutely. There’s at least three good reasons why fish-craving beachgoers have been flocking to Bay Kitchen Bar in East Hampton. The seasonal hot spot dishes up “dock-to-table” cuisine that specializes in East coast seafood classics like lobster rolls, crab cakes, and clam chowder. All served with some killer sunset views on the side.
3. American Seasons
There once was a restaurant in Nantucket…that turned out creative, regional New American cuisine for decades, of course. American Seasons serves up innovative seasonal plates in a rustic space (adorable patio alert!) that keeps sun-seeking foodies coming back for more grilled ribeye with summer squash, scallops with bacon-tomato vinaigrette, and salmon with smoked eggplant, year after year.
Come super hungry to Ceraldi, where you’ll be tucking into a seven-course, prix-fixe dinner (two seatings offered per night) on a pier in Wellfleet, MA. The local harvest dictates the daily-changing menu, and the beautifully-plated dishes are pretty likely to be decent fodder for your food-porn Instagram brags.
Everybody obviously knows that pizza tastes even better when eaten in front of epic landmarks. (Right?) That’s why Fornino’s summer-only rooftop location in Brooklyn Bridge Park takes the wood-burning-oven-cooked-pizza game to the next level. You can enjoy their signature pie while gazing at the Statue of Liberty—and the lower Manhattan skyline, for good measure.
It doesn’t get much more farm-to-table than when the table is mere feet from the farm itself. Primo in Rockland, ME, grows its own produce, raises its own livestock, and basically wastes no part of any animal or vegetable. Not surprisingly, the menu evolves daily to maximize the yum factor of the farm’s bounty—and diners are happy to make the drive/pilgrimage to the restaurant from just about anywhere.
7. Straight Wharf Restaurant
Summer salt-air standards like clambakes and fish and chips get reinvented at Straight Wharf, which has been a Nantucket institution for more than 40 years. The fishy culinary creators dazzle palates with seasonal menus in a timeless grey-shingled space overlooking a harbor. And their extensive wine list may or may not inspire some nearby night swimming.
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