Nearby eateries you can cruise to by boat
An advantage of boat ownership is being able to ride to dinner by water. We are lucky to have some excellent restaurants on the Gold Coast, where you can either dock, moor or anchor at a great place to eat. There is something so special about going to dinner by boat and having a cocktail on the way with a guaranteed view.
The first harbor on the North Shore, which I call “Exit One” off the Long Island Sound, is Manhasset Bay. Made famous as Egg Harbor in The Great Gatsby, there are four restaurants where you can bring your boat to your table.
At the northeast end of the bay, La Motta’s Restaurant (www.lamottas.net) at the Manhasset Bay Marina has quite an extensive continental menu and every seat has a view. Outdoor seating is limited, but there’s lots of room at the outdoor bar area. Friday nights are especially fun, because the outdoor bar rocks with live music.
Louie’s Oyster Bar & Grille (www.louiesoysterbarandgrille.com) has roots here dating back to 1905. In 2002, the place was refurbished with a welcoming nautical atmosphere and seating is available both indoors and out. The menu is rich with seafood choices, including a large selection of oysters and clams from the raw bar.
Riverfish on the Bay (www.riverfishny.com) is the first restaurant when entering the channel. Their menu offers a mix of salads, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, steak and seafood. Seating is available both indoors and out.
Port Washington’s answer to a New England clam shack is Butler’s Flat (www.butlersflat.com) for casual dining with outdoor seating. My favorite dish is the whole belly clams, which are always crunchy and fresh tasting. They also specialize in fried scallops, shrimp, flounder and lobster roll.
The Town of North Hempstead makes it easy for boaters to frequent other restaurants along the water with the use of free mooring balls. Once tied to a mooring ball, boaters can call the water taxi or dinghy to the Town Dock or gazebo in Port Washington North. Traveling this way, boaters open themselves up to a host of restaurants options, including La Piccola Liguria (516-767-6490) for some of the best Italian food on the Island.
Also within walking distance are Diwan Restaurant (www.diwanportwashington.com) for Indian cuisine, La Parma (www.laparma.com) for family-style portions, Dynasty (516-883-4100) for Chinese food and Ayhan’s restaurants (www.ayhansrestaurants.com) up the hill for Mediterranean fare.
Moving east to Exit Two off the Long Island Sound, you enter Hempstead Harbor. Boca (www.bocakbny.com) is the sole dock and dine restaurant here at the end of Glen Cove Creek, where guests are met with lounge furniture and large rocking chairs in the outdoor area while waiting for a table. The inside has tall ceilings, giving an airy feel. Boca’s menu ranges from casual to upscale with a complete raw bar, a half dozen Mexican entrées, along with 28-day aged meat and fresh seafood.
Two other restaurants in Hempstead Harbor require you to anchor out and dinghy in. These include Singleton’s Seafood Shack (516-609-0300) at Tappan Beach along with the Boathouse Waterside Café at the Brewer Yacht Yard (516-277-2088), which both offer a casual menu.
Cruising east on Long Island’s North Shore, one of my favorite destinations is Northport, which is boater-friendly since all of its restaurants are just a few minutes’ walk from the dock.
My summer tradition is to call ahead and order Maroni Cuisine’s (www.maronicuisine.com) famous Meatballs and Pasta Hot Pot to go for an on-board picnic at the dock. Maroni’s also offers a gourmet multicourse tasting menu.
Other places to consider are the upscale pub, The Ritz Cafe (www.ritzcafenorthport.com), Bistro 44 (www.bistro44.net) and its excellent continental fare, and the classic Skipper’s Pub (www.skipperspub.com). Whether you go for lunch or dinner, it’s always fun to walk around Northport after your meal.
Gold Coast cruisers can expand their dining destination by heading west across the Sound to City Island, just east of the Bronx. Boaters can find a few dock and dine places that include the City Island Lobster House (www.cilobsterhouse.com) and the Sea Shore (www.seashorerestaurant.com), which specialize in large seafood platters filled with clams, scallops, shrimp and fish with a lobster or crab legs topping option. One platter can easily feed three.
My favorite City Island spot is Bistro SK (www.bistrosk.com). To dine here, you get a mooring ball from the City Island Yacht Club and walk several minutes to the nonpretentious French bistro, which offers a classic menu at reasonable prices. For years, they have been delicious and consistent. I sometimes go for brunch, because it serves one of the best Croque Monsieur sandwiches this side of France.