Thursday, December 08
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Garden of Eating

These Greenery-Inspired Spots Invite Al Fresco Dining

North Fork Table & Inn

Well, the weather outside is no longer frightful, and that means it’s time to consider eating outdoors again (and again and again and again). With spring’s arrival, so, too, comes the re-emergence of the backyard garden. Restaurants are getting green again, opening the doors to their courtyards, patios, and outdoor spaces. And we sure are glad to see it. If you, too, are in the mood for breakfast, lunch, or dinner al fresco, allow us to guide you through the North Fork’s best spots for a garden-inspired meal. These spots offer up delicious fare and even more delicious surroundings, influenced, of course, by the season.

Greenport often feels like paradise in springtime, especially when the cherry trees begin their bloom. Stop in for a bite at the Olive Branch, on Front Street, where an outdoor space has been converted into a gorgeous garden bistro. Strung Edison bulbs, planters, and magnificent mature trees, and even fire pits make this dining space an enviable way to pass an afternoon or evening. And the Mediterranean fare is to die for! (Don’t shy away from the lamb chops — a double rack — served with jasmine rice and grilled vegetables.) 

At American Beech, also in Greenport, it’s a different kind of garden vibe. Transport yourself to Miami, where palm fronds and banana leaves grow, at this warm and funky hotel and restaurant. For dinner, dive into local Orient Point oysters on the half shell, burrata with sourdough bread and fig jam, striped bass with saffron and carrot broth, or a roasted half chicken with potatoes, oyster mushrooms, and sautéed greens. No matter what you order, though, the tropical vibe is strong enough at this spot to get you in the mood for a warm and lovely spring on the North Fork. 

American Beech

Mattituck favorite Love Lane Kitchen is known for its dedication to local fare and locally produced wines. But in the warmer months, the restaurant’s petite patio is just as good a reason to visit as any other. Sitting outside, guests can enjoy the restaurant’s comprehensive menu (Love Lane serves breakfast, lunch, and, on select nights, dinner). One of the most iconic dishes that’s perfect in these garden-inspired surroundings? Little neck clams, steamed with spicy soppressata, roasted fingerling potatoes, and a fresh herb broth and served over thick Tuscan bread. For dessert, never pass up a slice of this spot’s superlative cake. 

Southold’s iconic North Fork Table & Inn is always the place to go on the North Fork when you need a gentle reminder of the changing seasons. Inside, the cozy environs pair perfectly with Chef Fraser’s ambitious food. And outside, a carefully curated and green-as-can-be patio is a gleeful reminder that spring has, yes, finally sprung. But don’t allow the gorgeous outdoors to overshadow the food. This exceptional restaurant draws influence from the North Fork’s farms, local fishermen, abundant produce, and even wineries. If there is a restaurant that more deeply represents the idea of the garden, well, good luck finding it on this fork.