Experience 10 of Long Island’s
Best Restaurants

While enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant, have you ever wondered what’s going on inside the kitchen? Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of LI’s top eateries with the videos below. Hit play and drag the video left, right, up or down for a 360 view without leaving your living room.

Arata Sushi

Recommended Dish: The “Invincible Sandwich” Roll

From the outside, it looks like a hundred other Long Island sushi restaurants. Read More Inside, it’s got neither glitz nor glam. All the fireworks at Arata Sushi in Syosset are behind the sushi bar, where chef-owner Jimmy Lian, alumnus of New York’s vaunted Nobu, prepares pristine, innovative sushi that never crosses the line into wackadoo over-orchestration. Try the omakase — the chef’s choice of what’s best from the market that day, which may include white tuna with salsa verde and fluke with onion salsa; ceviche-packed fish tacos; or the signature “invincible sandwich roll” with salmon, avocado, flyingfish roe and Lian’s own “special sauce.” They don’t encourage lingering at Arata — there are too many people waiting to get in. Read Less

Yelp Rating

BBD’s – Beers, Burgers, Desserts

Recommended Dish: Griddle burger

Ralph Perrazzo named his restaurant for his three great obsessions: beers, burgers and desserts. Read More On the beer front, he’s got a state-of-the-art tap system with 28 beers on tap, one cask brew and more than 90 beers by the bottle. Burgers are done three ways: “steakhouse style” — a full 12 ounces grilled over live coals; griddled — seared to crispness on a hot flat-top; and steamed, for those who always wondered what White Castle would be like if the beef were fantastic. Killer desserts include banana splits and overstuffed s’mores. Since he opened in 2013, the restless Perrazzo has also developed some new obsessions . . . er menu items: wings and ramen. But BBDWR’s seemed like too clunky a name. Read Less

Yelp Rating

Bigelow’s

Recommended Dish: Fried Ipswich clams

Along a distinctly nonmaritime stretch of Sunrise Highway in Rockville Centre is one of Long Island’s most iconic seafood eateries: Read More Bigelow’s — essentially 30 stools and one long counter curving around a Fryolator station — which seems not to have changed since it opened in 1939: It’s a lean, mean, seafood-frying machine. All the fried seafood here is recommended — whiting, shrimp, calamari, smelts, oysters, scallops — but the undisputed stars of the show are the fried Ipswich clams, soft-shell and with the bellies still attached. The clams are tender, nutty, delicate, crisp — everything that makes fried soft-shell clams one of the world’s absolute best things to eat. Brothers Anthony and Christo Andreolas also do a fine job with Manhattan clam chowder. Read Less

Yelp Rating

Biscuits & Barbecue

Recommended Dish: Peach cobbler a la mode

Everyone who happens upon Biscuits & Barbeque wants to think it’s their own little secret: Read More a vintage railroad-car diner on a forlorn block at the edge of a Mineola’s industrial park that serves robust Louisiana cooking and smokehouse barbecue. But after five years, the secret is out. Cajun favorites include grapefruit-sized biscuits blanketed with creamy andouille sausage gravy; house-made potato chips topped with spicy chicken jambalaya; Louisiana gulf shrimp and grits; and all manner of po’ boys. From the smokehouse: ribs, pulled pork and chickens. Don’t leave without a slice of homemade pie. Read Less

Yelp Rating

Hendrick’s Tavern

Recommended Dish: Rack of lamb with a panko crust

With its timbered ceilings and rich leather accents, Hendrick’s Tavern looks like a country inn that’s been there forever; Read More in fact it dates only from 2012, when brothers George and Gillis Poll transformed the historic but rundown George Washington Manor into a favored watering hole among Roslyn’s smart set (with a parking lot to prove it — no Kia Sorrentos here). The venue sprawls with multiple dining rooms and bars, and more rooms and bars for catered events. The food shoots for classic, and scores. Among executive chef Mitch SuDock’s winners: Kobe beef hot dog wrapped in puff pastry (in other words, an $18 pig in a blanket), lobster-truffle mac-and-cheese, steaks, chops, and, yes, spaghetti and meatballs.Read Less

Yelp Rating

Kyma

Recommended Dish: Grilled octopus

Drive by Kyma any night of the week and silhouetted through the tall windows you’ll see most of Roslyn enjoying themselves. Read More But not only is this Greek eatery the hottest spot in town, it’s also one of Long Island’s best fish restaurants. Displayed in the dining room on a bed of ice is a collection of whole fish that usually includes black sea bass, royal dorado, pompano, red snapper, pink snapper, branzino, octopus, calamari and langoustines. Of course there’s also salmon, tuna and swordfish, and a good selection of steaks and chops too. All of these get expertly grilled over live coals by executive chef Chris Kletsides. Managing partner Reno Christou said Kyma (“waves” in Greek) was inspired not just by the Greek islands, but by “good times on vacation at a little tavern at any seaside resort.” Read Less

Yelp Rating

Maple Tree BBQ

Recommended Dish: House-smoked pastrami

Heading east on Route 25, the scent of smoke signals you have reached Maple Tree BBQ. Read More Over the last eight years, the little free-standing building opposite the Peconic River has evolved from a deli with a smoker out back to a proper barbecue restaurant. Last year, Andrea Glick and Dennis O’Leary bought the place, spruced up the dining room and installed even more smokers out back. In addition to smoked ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chickens, Maple Tree also puts out pastrami and pulled chicken as well as smoked chili and smoked clam chowder, plus sandwiches and soft-corn tacos. You could do worse than to fill an insulated food carrier with barbecue and head a few miles farther east for a picnic lunch at your favorite North Fork winery. Read Less

Yelp Rating

Mosaic

Recommended Dish: Barbecued prawn eggroll

Other restaurants offer a chef’s tasting menu; at Mosaic in St. James, that’s all there is. Read More Other restaurants change their menus occasionally; Mosaic changes it nightly. The meal you are served depends entirely on the market, the season and the whims of chef-owners Jonathan Contes and Tate Morris, who often pick up their produce, fish and meat on the way to work. Count on five artfully wrought plates that usually include a salad, fish, pasta, red meat and dessert sampler. The restaurant is resolutely modest: 30 comfortable seats in a small, quiet dining room. All the flash comes from the tiny kitchen, where Contes and Morris work in near silence with only a dishwasher to help them. Read Less

Yelp Rating

Thomas’ Ham & Eggery

Recommended Dish: Pulled pork sandwich melt

When Tom Koukoulas took over Thomas’s Ham ’N’ Eggery in 1984, he was three owners removed from the original Thomas, who established the diner in 1946. Read More But 33 year later, he has earned the right to have his name immortalized on the vintage neon sign, a landmark on Old Country Road. Where most Long Island diners compete to have the biggest menus — everything from chef salads to shrimp scampi — Thomas’s focuses on breakfast (albeit breakfast served from 6 a.m. to the 9 p.m. closing). Oatmeal is slow-cooked in big vats; cakes, pies and muffins are made from scratch in a distinctly non-industrial-sized five-quart KitchenAid; and most of the egg dishes are served in individual, stainless-steel skillets, many of which were acquired by the original Thomas and kept in gleaming condition by the current Thomas’s diligent (and elbow-grease-endowed) kitchen crew. Read Less

Yelp Rating

Verde Wine Bar & Ristorante

Recommended Dish: Cod puttanesca

Papa Joe’s pizzeria occupied this workaday location for 20 years before Anthony Carcaterra, the owners’ son, transformed it into a New American restaurant and bistro in 2014. Read More The architectural bones of the pizzeria are still visible (and every entree still comes with a free salad — old habits die hard), but chef James Ahern’s menu is exceedingly modern. He’s got a thing for offal: starters include veal sweetbreads with speck and sage, and rabbit kidneys with ciabatta bread. Or hang out in the separate bar area and sip one of Verde’s imaginative cocktails such as the Penicillin, with Corsair Triple Smoke Bourbon, ginger, honey and lemon. Verde’s terrific wine list is all American, with one of Long Island’s best selections of Long Island wines. Read Less

Yelp Rating

Related Media

Credit: Interactive editor: Alison Bernicker | Design: Matthew Cassella | Development: James Stewart | Video shooters: Jeff Basinger, Raychel Brightman, Chuck Fadely, Megan Miller | Video editor: Matt Golub | Video producer: Jessica Kelley | Reported by: Erica Marcus