Whenever you are in Hampton Bays around lunchtime, you have a lot of wonderful options. Instinctively, you always drive towards the ocean, because of course that’s where a lot of the restaurants are. But if you were a wise local, or are lucky enough to know one, you’ll have Canal Café on your list.
You would have ZERO idea that the restaurant even existed if you’re not from around Hampton Bays. It’s not on a main strip or in an obvious area with other restaurants, and it’s north of the highway, sitting in a serious marina location where one would never think such a great restaurant could operate. Even figuring out where to park is weird; you follow a sign for the parking, but what goes through your head is, “Is this sign mistaken? This can’t be a restaurant parking lot over here.”
And then you have the aha moment.
There it is. Right on the water, with a little bit of reggae music going or rock and roll, and a beautiful view outside and a quaint little restaurant that is clearly a local favorite and run by a group of locals who all like each other, or at least they pretend to while they are there.
The menu is creative, with plenty of sandwich options well under $20 that makes for a nice wallet-friendly lunch. I had the Caprese sandwich, which was a great portion and came with homemade French fries. My wife had the mussels which were loaded with fresh garlic.
You can sit outside in the sun well into the Fall, but if you’re left indoors you’ll find yourself at an active bar and a lot of social activity that reminds you why you love Hampton Bays so much. It’s a true gem of a restaurant and a must go.