Monte’s at the Manor – A Review

Paul Monte and Chef Andrew Doran

by Sue Giustino

A long history of fine Italian dining continues with the establishment of Monte’s at the Manor. The Manor itself is special – The history and architecture makes it a beautifully unique location. Introduce an Italian Café with ‘sidewalk’ seating in the grand lobby, and it’s like taking a step into an intimate Italian village in Italy.

The Monte Family has been an integral part of the Montauk community since they purchased Gurney’s Inn in 1956.  However, that’s not where their story begins…

Way back in 1885 Angelo Montemarano was born to Angelina and Rocco in Sant’ Angelo di Lombardi, a suburb of Napoli, Italy.  Four years later they migrated to Brooklyn, where they set up a Grocery store at 492 President St. In 1906, The grocery store became so popular, that Angelo opened a restaurant across the yard, sourcing all the fresh ingredients directly from the store, and his wife Filomena cooked recipes from back home for the local Italian neighborhood. This is where the sauce was born, always on a simmer in a large pot-bellied stove.

In the apartment above the restaurant, Angelo and Filomena gave birth to 7 boys, Rocco, Michael, Vincent, Joseph, Nicholas, Angelo and Peter who all went on to work in the restaurant at one time or another.  Jumping ahead to 1939, with the onset of World War II, five of the Monte boys joined the service. Due to his limited vision, Nick was not accepted by the service leaving him in charge of the restaurant. Fortunately, by 1945 all five brothers returned home from the war, and were put right to work. Following Nick’s new vision for the restaurant, they extended it by hand with bricks from buildings being torn down in the neighborhood- rebranding as Monte’s Venetian Room. The 1950’s, with the new look and feel of the restaurant, brought a newfound popularity and Monte’s became a staple for Italian food in Brooklyn. Dishes like Shrimp Florentine, Veal Scallopine, Eggplant Parmigiana, Baked Clams and Mussels, Cappelli di Angelo, and their Famous Italian Cheesecake drew a who’s who of New York City. Sammy Davis Jr, Hugh Carey, Ben Gazzara, Joey Gallo and Tony Bennett frequented alongside longshoremen, judges, bookmakers, business tycoons, loan sharks and bankers. Montes entertained all walks of life.

Upon an invite for the best linguini and clams in Montauk by a regular guest, Jack McGowan, Nick and his wife Joyce ventured out east. Enjoying Canadian Club and Dewars on their ride out, the plan for linguini clams had been forgotten and instead they stopped at Gurney’s Inn for lunch. Upon finding out there was no liquor served at this property, and Nick quickly falling in love with the incredible view and property, he made an offer to Mrs. Gurney to buy the property. To his surprise, she called him a few weeks later and offered to sell to Nick for $200,000. By 1957, Nick had enlisted the help of his brother Angelo, and quickly packed up, moved their families to Montauk and got right to work expanding the oceanfront property. What was just a small restaurant and a few beachside cottages quickly grew into the world-renowned resort it is today. First things first, Nick and Angelo built a full-service bar and state-of-the-art kitchen. Over the next 20 years, over 100 hotel rooms, a conference center, beach barge and International Health and Beauty Spa were constructed.

Alongside Nick and Angelo, the second generation carried the torch through the next 50+ years. All 5 of Angelo and his wife Gladys’ children (Paul, Angelo “Chip”, Phyllis, Ann Marie and Teresa) went on to operate Gurney’s. The family served another generation of celebrities, politicians, artists, wise guys and customers from all corners of the world and walks of life. Guests enjoyed the hospitality throughout the property and the menu which carried on the classics from Brooklyn and featured many seafood dishes made from the local seafood caught and imported into Montauk.

After the sale of Gurney’s, the Montes reinvented themselves in the Hudson Valley of New York with the advent of Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room in Amenia. This more recent development in the long historical legacy of the Monte Family came about in 2014 when Ann Marie found a location in Amenia, NY that closely resembled the original Monte’s building in Brooklyn.

In 2018, after apprenticing under Chef Angelo “Chip” Monte and studying the recipe, combined with months of trial-and-error working into the wee hours of the night, Paul’s son PJ Monte sold the jarred sauce out of the trunk of his car to specialty shops and farm stands from the Hudson Valley, New York City and the Hamptons. Monte’s sauce can now be found on numerous shelves throughout the east end and beyond –

In 2023, Paul Monte brought some of the gang back together to continue their legacy of hospitality at Monte’s in the historic Montauk Manor. The traditions continue now 3+ generation, with over 100 years of serving the best of everything to the best people, in the best possible manner. [See the website for additional information and photo’s –]

The Montauk Manor is one of Carl Fischer’s creations from back in the 1920’s. His vision for Montauk was to create the Miami of the North- ‘the most fabulous summer resort ever imagined in the western world’. In the spring of 1927, a part of Mr. Fisher’s vision became a reality, with the opening of The Manor as the grand centerpiece. Ballrooms were filled with the rich and famous of the day. Restaurants were serving internationally acclaimed cuisine. Croquet was being played on the expansive front lawn. Tea was served on the veranda overlooking the entire 10,000-acre dream resort. In short, Montauk Manor was the quintessence of luxury… a fairy tale castle in a magical time.

Montauk Sun Publisher Ken Giustino and John Russell

Perched high above Gardiner’s Bay visitors’ expectations are peeked by its sheer majesty as they stroll the path past the gardens and through the grand entrances of the historical English Tudor style building, The grand, vaulted lobby is an exquisite setting, complete with fireside seating, sounds of an autoplay piano filing the air, and a bar and café tables just outside the restaurant for enjoying cocktails and/or a meal.

The lobby bar is expertly tended by John Russell- a familiar face to many- offering an array of cocktails, wine and beer. Some of our favorites include the Negroni, Bella Paloma, and the Martini Limone.

We’ve enjoyed meals by the bar as well as in the newly renovated dining area. Our recent visit found us at the cubby-like corner in the lobby with beautiful view of the bar, fireplace and grand lobby. Greeted by Paul himself, and tended to by our friendly waiter Daniel, our experience was once again enjoyable and a treat for the palate.

Any of the selections from Salads, Family Favorites, and Appetizers are a wonderful way to begin your meal. The Classic Ceasar Salad is always fresh and gently dressed, add grilled shrimp or chicken and make it your main course. We enjoyed both dishes under the Family Favorites section of the menu- the Stretch, melted mozzarella topped with Monte’s sauce and served with Italian Crostini is a unique decadently delicious take on a mozzarella appetizer. The Shrimp alla Monte– butterflied jumbo shrimp cooked in a gentle butter lemon sauce is flavorful, tender and crisp from the breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. It’s no wonder these two are family favorites!

If fried calamari are something you enjoy, I must say that the Camari Fritti is one of the most tender and tasty varieties I’ve had. Another table delight was the Baked Oysters. The blue cheese and garlic breadcrumbs atop the tender oysters, just adds to the fresh briny flavor of the oyster, without taking over.  Enhancing the beautiful presentation of each seafood dish is a grilled lemon half, perfect for squeezing onto the dish if desired. Piccola Carbonara– a dish I’ve never tried, was a unique appetizer choice. Spaghetti blended with egg, parmesan and guanciale all dressed with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, is gently creamy with savory bursts of flavor from the crispy pork cheek.

Monte’s is the place for pasta; with four delicious choices it can be a difficult decision. One of my favorites is the Paccheri [pasta in the shape of a very large tube] Bolognese. The thick flat pasta blended with meaty heartiness from the browned pork and beef, a sweet tang from the rich tomatoes, as well as an herbal kick from the Italian seasonings can be very filling- but that’s what to-go containers are for. To try something new, we decided on the Orecchiette with chunks of savory Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe in a light garlic sauce. Finally, the multi-dimensional Pappardelle with tender Shrimp in a spicy pink sauce was a table favorite. Each of these pasta dishes are outstanding, fresh, and cooked to a perfect al dente consistency.

Offering an eclectic list of mains, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Plated with watercress, a side of French Fries and au Poivre sauce, the thick piece of Swordfish was simply seasoned allowing the natural fish flavor to be enjoyed with an added accent from the au Poivre. The New York Strip can be prepared Grilled or as Pizzaiola. Grilled to a perfect rare temperature, our grilled steak was served with a mixed side salad. During another visit, my brother-in-law thoroughly enjoyed the Steak Pizzaiola which he said reminded him of how his mother used to make it.

So, in the midst of all of the fine foods, we had to order a side of Grandma’s Meatballs. They stole the show- I love a good meatball and these did not disappoint. Moist, flavorful, and bathing in Monte’s Tomato Sauce– just like my momma used to make.

Monte’s is a family affair; Paul and his son Chris are managing the restaurant while PJ and Taylor each have a hand in the social media side. The ‘family feel’ obviously extends to the staff, who in turn treat the customers as they would their own family- always polite and attentive. Chef Andrew Doran has creatively woven the traditional Monte recipes into a delightful, appetizing menu. Great service and food like your grandma used to make- welcome home.

For more information and hours –