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  • Nick & Tony’s sets the standard for Hamptons dining. (Photo: Nick & Tony’s)

    Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton is widely recognized as the most sought-after seat in the Hamptons, and each year brings fresh praise. Gael Greene of New York magazine wrote: “I’ve practically leased a table at the East Hampton Nick & Toni’s. The crew meshes as if they’ve been doing this forever – as some of them have. Am I imagining it? The food is better than ever.”

    Joe Realmuto, longtime executive chef at the famed eatery, has fine-tuned his skill at creative Mediterranean country fare, aptly described by Mary Alice Kellogg of Bon Appetit magazine as “simple yet sophisticated.”

    The menu changes seasonally, often using produce grown in Nick & Toni’s own one-acre organic garden. Realmuto’s woodburning oven specials, such as the whole fish served with sides such as trevisano, French beans, basil and olives, are perennial favorites.

    The famed woodburning oven turns out inventive pizzas like the “Cozze,” topped with Prince Edward mussels, white bean puree and sweet onions; and the “Funghi” with wild mushrooms and taleggio.

    Sample appetizers include: Wood roasted sardines with peperonata; grilled quail with fava beans, frisee and grana padana; and Arugula Salad with shaved foie gras and amarena cherry vinaigrette.

    Entrée selections include: Spaghetti with rock shrimp, asparagus, oregano and garlic; diver scallops with sweet peas formato, fennel and mint vinaigrette; spice rubbed rib eye steak with roasted Satur Farms baby vegetable and salsa verde and soft shell srabs with scarlet runner beans and lime aioli.

    Dessert is an event in itself. Among pastry chef Molly Harding creations are chocolate almond tart with espresso cream and toasted almonds; butterscotch custard with mascarpone cream and peanut butter cookies; and chocolate & roasted banana ice cream sandwich with espresso cream.

    The atmosphere of simple country elegance: wood and white tablecloths, fresh flowers and soft lighting, with the rustic mosaic tile-covered brick oven as the focal point.

    The New York Times gave the restaurant a rare “excellent” rating and Condé Nast Traveler recommended it to readers visiting the Hamptons – while advising them to book well ahead. New York Times food critic Joanne Starkey sums it up as “still our favorite. . . don’t miss Nick & Toni’s.”

    Of course, the restaurant’s loyal clientele is as famous as its food.

    “To see the Hamptons glitterati in their native dining habitat, nothing beats Nick & Toni’s,” wrote Bon Appetit’s. A regular influx of celebrities chow down there; look for Jack Nicholson, Sting, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Tom Hanks, Mick Jagger and others during the season.

    136 N. Main St., East Hampton, NY (631) 324-3550
    For More Info: Nick&Toni’s
    Hours: Sunday through Thursday 6pm – 10:30pm: Fri. and Sat. ‘til 11:30pm.