Make This Sushi Burrito at Home, Become a Snack Legend
Best alfresco dining: Prime
For a village that's just a few paces from the bay, there are markedly few spots to sit outside or near the water. But Prime has its own dock that sits on Huntington Bay, which means it comes alive (primarily with divorced moms) in the summertime. The food is perfectly fine, if a little overpriced, but the scene and the spectacular water view are definitely worth it.
Best Thai: Sri Thai
Don't be frightened off by how few people are dining-in, as this is one of the best takeout spots in town. Pan-fried dumplings, drunken noodles, chicken massaman -- everything's fantastic here.
Best place to see everyone you hate from high school: Finnegan's
On the one hand, this townie bar is an excellent place to run into and catch-up with old buddies who went to either Huntington, Harborfields, or Cold Spring Harbor High School, but on the other hand, this is an excellent place to run into and catch-up with old buddies who went to either Huntington, Harborfields, or Cold Spring Harbor High School. Pretty decent burgers during the daylight hours, though!
Best beer: Sapsuckers
Reservations will not be had here, so come early if you want to eat well-above average veal stroganoff or a classic Cubano at one of the two- or four-tops in the cozy back space. You'll have to yell a little bit as the bar area gets loud and crowded, but you won't care after downing two boozy local beers from the 16 daily changing draft lines.
Best Italian: Piccolo Restaurant
The classic dishes here -- like the prosciutto- and mozzarella-stuffed veal chop or homemade penne alla vodka -- are nuanced and complex, and a welcome deviation from the heavy, over-salted monstrosities too often served at Italian-American eateries. Throw in A+ service, a cozy vibe, and a massive wine list, and you'll have no problem understanding why my best friend from high school Lauren Sweeney calls it "really solid."
Best burger: Vauxhall
Rookie Vauxhall fills Huntington's specialty burger void with combos like the 1/2lb Blue Velvet (tomato jam, pickled red onion, gorgonzola, brioche bun) and alternative vegetarian options like black bean sweet potato and chickpea and edamame burgers. It's pretty hip, but that's mostly just because of the complimentary popcorn.
Best French: Bistro Cassis
The classic French fare at this lil' cafe -- like magret de canard and sole meunière -- is as delicious as the acoustics are terrible. As in, the space is authentically crammed, which may work well in Paris where people mumble politely, but is not particularly conducive to the boisterous articulation of Long Islanders. That escargot, tho!
Best dive: JT Carrington's
Though it claims to be a bar & grill, you won't find food here. What you will find, though, is Marty, the silver fox behind the DJ booth who's been calling "last call" since presumably 1978, college kids home on break stumbling around to Billy Joel in inappropriate footwear, townies, and possibly your cab driver.
Best Japanese: Kura Barn
Some will argue that Kashi over on Elm St is the best sushi place, which is true -- if you want glitzy club-like lighting, creative rolls, and 18 sake bombs. But for quiet, comfort, and consistently excellent fish, look to standby Kura Barn. Start with the beef negimaki and wasabi shumai, then go for the classic sushi combo. Or don't; that's just what I do.
Best Greek: Skorpios
Skorpios sits about four doors down from Mediterranean Snack Bar, but somehow, someway, these two tiny Greek spots have peacefully co-existed for as long as I can remember. Personally, I'm a Skorpios gal because of my allegiance to its Health Special (basically just a salad with grilled chicken, but that protein is on point), though my research indicates that the town is actually split into two equal camps. Which may explain why both establishments are still in business.
Best margs: Besito
The enchiladas, platos fuertes, and table-side guac are overpriced, but the mezcal margaritas and expansive tequila options are why you're really here -- particularly if the weather is warm, and you can sip them at the outside tables. Inside, sepia-toned prints of charging horses ornament the walls in a way that manages to be 40% sophisticated and 60% campy.
Best diner: Munday's
A year ago I would've picked the delightfully dingy and kitschy Golden Dolphin, with its phonebook-thick menu and excessive dolphin paraphernalia, but in light of a recent renovation and expansion that's given it a fluorescent hospital vibe, I've gotta go with the old-timey soda fountain at Munday's. Enjoy crazy comforting grilled cheeses, club sandwiches, egg creams, and brunch-type things as a slideshow of past patrons' smiling pictures flicker on the flatscreens in the back -- or sit in the front and avoid that last part altogether (recommended).
Best plain pizza: Little Vincent's
Get the cold cheese -- the regular slice topped with a handful of fresh, cold mozz -- and settle in at the window counter for a show, because there will undoubtedly be 15 local jabronis fighting over either a babe or a slice (or both!). Some say the pizza's only good erm... after a night at the bars, but trust that this thin New York slice is delicious at any hour. Never get toppings.
Best speciality slice: Rosa's
This might get me in trouble with my boss who prefers DiRaimo on the edge of town, but if you want more on your pizza than a bucket of grated cheese, Rosa's is the move. The crust is sturdy enough to support even the densest of barbecue chicken, but you also can't go wrong with a simple margherita.
Best small plates: True North
The only thing about this place that lets you know you're in the suburbs and not in the middle of Manhattan is the ample amount of space between the tables. Start with a simple and lovely cocktail like The Last Word (Death's Door gin, cucumber, ginger, lemon), then move onto the extensive draft list. You'll be perfectly warmed up for endless small plates of grilled octopus, house-made wild mushroom gnocchi, and sautéed chicken livers, or whatever local somethings are influencing the menu that month.
Best Tex-Mex: Faz's
If Ortega had a gloriously inexpensive and efficient brick-and-mortar, this would be it. If you don't like hardshell tacos with cheddar cheese, get off my lawn.
Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.
Carrie Dennis is a food and drink editor for Thrillist. Her youth was spent walking between AMC Loews Shore 8 and Starbucks. Follow her on Twitter: @carrriedennnis.