Al fresco dining on Long Island: restaurants to eat this spring

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Consider it Outdoors 2.0. A year after the start of the pandemic, more and more restaurants on Long Island are looking at loosened restrictions that make it easier to set up outdoor dining areas for customers who prefer to eat out. Hastily erected parking tents with scattered bistro tables have given way to upscale pavilions and cushioned seating areas with table service. Some recently renovated places to discover this spring:

Pinons Pizza Company (23 Birch Hill Rd., Locust Valley): Locust Valley is one of the most picturesque towns on Long Island. Andrew Robinson’s neo-pizzeria-wine bar erected a few tables up front last year and made it through winter with a combination of fireplaces and vertical heating towers. Now, between bespoke coffee tables, high tables and picnic tables, the outdoor capacity is approaching 40. In addition to creative personal pizzas and mouth-watering small plates and salads, Pinons is that rare establishment that has managed to hang on to the pies Youngs Farm for dessert. Robinson, who also owns Cold Spring Harbor Wine Shoppe, always has an interesting selection of wines and beers. More info: 516-801-3200, pinonspizza.com

Metropolitan restaurant and bar (3 Pratt Blvd., Glen Cove): Like a number of the island’s dining venues, this long-standing facility has shifted to dining in recent times, attractively redeveloping two large rooms into socially distant dining venues. . But don’t overlook the quaint outdoor space of the new restaurant. The fenced in patio, which can only seat 20 people, is inevitably intimate but a good choice for long happy hours after work, thanks to a simple cocktail list and Chef Anthony Falco’s menu including small plates like the tuna tartare and pan-seared scallops, cauliflower-crusted pizzas to share, taco platters and more. More info: 516-671-4444, metropolitandining.com

Flora (149 Main St., Westhampton Beach): The reconstruction of Main Street in Westhampton Beach was completed last year, and the eastern boundary line is one of the most beautiful roundabouts on Long Island. This is the setting for Flora, the brand new company of the Rooted Hospitality Group which operates the Rumba and Cowfish power plants in Hampton Bays and Rum in Patchogue in the open air. The entire restaurant bears witness to the expected floral theme, but nowhere more than on the covered patio, a perfect perch for people watching (not to mention BMWs and Jaguars). Flora’s menu offers a contemporary range of multi-item dishes such as stuffed eggs marinated with pancetta, Fresno peppers, chives, and celery ribbons; hot lobster roll with tarragon aioli, Flora havarti burger, marinated onion, black garlic aioli, truffle arugula and tomatoes; Grilled filet mignon with wild mushroom semi-glaze and mashed potatoes. More information: 631-998-9600, florawhb.com

Bigelow (79 N. Long Beach Rd., Rockville Center): The pandemic had at least one benefit: It inspired Bigelow owners to build an outdoor dining area. Since 1938, seating at the Long Island epicenter of Ipswich clams (whole belly fried) – and other fantastic fried fish – had been limited to the cramped counter, but the six-foot rule put the kibosh on that. The Andreolas brothers have therefore erected a 36-space pavilion in the parking lot that can be zipped and heated in winter, peeled off the screens in summer. Also on offer: Craft beer and a small selection of desserts from the nearby Front Street bakery. More info: 516-678-3878, bigelows-rvc.com

Peconic County Brewery (221 Main Street, Riverhead). At the rear of the brand new Riverview Lofts building is one of Riverhead’s finest outdoor huts – an elevated patio with beautiful upholstered lounges for 75 people, as well as views of the Peconic River. Orders are taken at the indoor counter for beers and beers (such as witbier, nitro stout and a myriad of IPAs) produced by head brewer James Miller, while Chef Luke Andrews’ full kitchen is considered flatbreads, cheese toast, wings, burgers and lobster rolls. . Then, if you can grab one of the first come, first served seats on the patio, especially on the weekends, enjoy the live music with the sun. The brasserie opens daily at noon. More information: 631-740-9797, peconiccountybrewing.com

The ugly Duckling (906 W. Beech St., Long Beach): This new restaurant, which quickly built an following due to its duck theme (all cocktails and dishes are accompanied by a rubber duck), offers dining outdoors next to its front door, right on Wisconsin Street (away from the busier stretch of W. Beech Street). Five tables – seating up to six people each – are separated by large, lush planters. Overhead lights and a retractable awning make up the rest of the area, along with a row of large glass windows, allowing diners outside to watch TV on the flat screens suspended above the bar at the interior. The kitchen offers everything from pulled duck nachos, tacos and wings to salads, burgers and more. More info: 516-208-3383, theuglyducklinglb.com

Hunt the restaurant (1053 Oyster Bay Rd., East Norwich): In this upscale French-inspired bistro, the brick patio out front is laid out with just over a handful of tables that can seat up to 22 people. Cantilever umbrellas and plants also make up this welcoming, earthy space where guests can enjoy Chef-Owner Hunter Wells’ direct approach to classic dishes such as steak and chips, bouillabaisse and paella and the duck with orange. More info: 516-624-8330, hunterrestaurant.com

Prince umberto (721 Franklin Ave., Franklin Square): Owner Maria Caliendo has added an outdoor area with free games so that “the kids have a place to come and relax,” while tilting her menus to appeal to the younger ones . Located in four parking spaces across from the Italian restaurant-pizzeria, the tent has an old-school Italian vibe, with bright red upholstered banquet-style chairs and red and white checkered tablecloths. Two barrel tables serve as chess and checkerboards, and a foosball table can be found nearby. The most popular dishes include wings (with a choice of 12 sauces) and personal pizzas that can be made with a cauliflower crust. An expanded dessert menu now includes pistachio cheesecake and slice rainbow cake, booze ice cream, and ice cream. There is no shortage of Caliendo’s gluten-free menu either – guests can choose from more than 30 dishes, including calamari, rice balls, baked gnocchi, and parma chicken. More info: 516-872-9049, princeumberto.com

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