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Pepi's chorizo panini
The chorizo panini from Pepi’s in Southold. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Light and bright.

That’s the only way to describe the dining room at Pepi’s in Southold, where the tablecloths are white and so are the walls, plates and tent-covered patio lined with festival lights.

But the clean, inviting space isn’t the real draw to this local eatery.

It’s the view behind it.

Pepi’s boasts of one of the best waterfront views on the North Fork, with the gentle waters of Peconic Bay lapping behind you as you dine. The off-the-beaten-path restaurant was recently renovated and reopened in fall 2013 after sustaining damage during Hurricane Sandy. One of the new additions include floor-to-ceiling glass doors that enhance the view and ambiance of the Italian-style restaurant.

“You can see the water from every seat,” owner Pepi Gibinska told us shortly after the eatery reopened.

It produces a calming effect on the sunlight-filled dining room.

I ordered the chorizo panini off the lunch menu during a recent visit. Spicy chorizo, sautéed peppers, onion and muenster cheese was served on bread with a side garden salad ($15).

First, I must say, the presentation of this dish was lovely. The picture above doesn’t really do it justice. But when I saw the size of the dish, I wondered if it would be enough. But the long, vertical pieces must have been an optical illusion because it was indeed plenty filling.

The highlight, though, was the chorizo. It had a nice kick, but was not too spicy as to overwhelm its flavor.

The rest of Pepi’s lunch menu is fairly basic, but features staples like burgers and tacos as well as Italian-influenced items like eggplant caprese and vegetable lasagna.

The indoor and outdoor dining spaces were only about a quarter full on a recent Wednesday afternoon. The atmosphere was relaxed, with tables filled with female friends (for some reason there were only women eating there during my visit) enjoying a midweek lunch together.

I savored the laid-back atmosphere along with my sandwich during this last full week of the off-season. It will probably be a long time before I can enjoy my lunch without sharing a view like that with a crowd.

Pepi’s is located at 400 Old Main Road in Southold. Call (631) 765-6373 for reservations.

Vera Chinese

Previously:

Four Doors Down

Maple Tree BBQ

Wendy’s Deli

Wednesday’s Table

Petulant Wino

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