Favorite outdoor dining spots on Long Island
In sunny weather, restaurants with tables outdoors know how to keep you cool and dry. After all, they have umbrellas. So, enjoy your alfresco appetizers, whether it's blazing or drizzling out there.
Here are some inviting destinations that are more pleasurable in the open air, thanks to their canopies. And several of them offer water views on the side.
Selections by Newsday's food staff.
Grey Lady(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Grey Lady, Montauk: Grey Lady has opened on Lake Montauk, with a patio stocked with nautical director chairs and tables. The fourth location for owners Ryan Chadwick and Callum McLaughlin -- with others on the Lower East Side, on Nantucket and in Aspen -- offers a menu of fresh seafood, from chowder to fish paté, local fluke, fish and chips or lobster rolls. Happy hour offers $5 beers and $1 oysters weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m.
The Lake House(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The Lake House, Bay Shore: Since 2006, The Lake House in Bay Shore has successfully balanced high-caliber cuisine with a mom-and-pop vibe. That balancing act is more difficult now that the restaurant, one of Newsday's Top 10 fine dining picks, has moved from its modest location along Bay Shore's West Main Street to a grand new building overlooking the Great South Bay. A well-appointed deck at the water's edge offers 40 people a view of the Fire Island ferries chugging past Nicky's on the Bay toward Kismet. Order from the regular menu of innovative New American dishes, or a bar menu comprised of simple crowd-pleasers: lobster rolls, burgers, steamed mussels.
Nikkei of Peru(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Nikkei of Peru, Port Washington: Sushi bars with outdoor seating are a rarity on Long Island. Nikkei of Peru in Port Washington goes above and beyond with Peruvian-influenced Japanese cuisine and a stunning view of Manhasset Bay. (Try to snag a seat facing the bay to witness one of the Island's loveliest sunsets.) Chef-partner Hermanto Jong sharpened his knives and skills during a decade at Nobu 57 in Manhattan, so consider forgoing the typical California roll for the chef's signature creations. Kitchen dishes, such as pan-seared scallops, automatically belong with guacamole mousse, and jalapeño salsa and beef dumplings find a match with slightly grainy sesame-ponzu sauce.
Salt(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Salt, Merrick: A newcomer in Merrick, Salt doesn't take reservations and an hour or two wait builds up on weekends. But it's worth sticking it out if you add your name to the waitlist, then head past the host stand to the lounge area on the deck. The couch seating is remarkably low key and pretty quiet. For dinner, a table is an oasis, with plenty of elbow room and terrific bay views. Feast on casual eats like calamari, octopus small plates, soft-shell crab sandwiches or burgers.
H2O Seafood & Sushi(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
H2O Seafood & Sushi, Smithtown: Seafood, raw and cooked, is the focus of H2O Seafood & Sushi in Smithtown, whose expansive outdoor patio is pretty enough to make you forget you're on Jericho Turnpike. From the sushi bar come imaginative rolls including a few "tornado rolls" wrapped in fried potato. The kitchen has a particular skill for lobster: lobster-chipotle salad, lobster mac & cheese, lobster roll and "millennium"-style with garlic mashed potatoes. There are steamed lobsters, too, as well as traditional and more fanciful takes on fish and shellfish.
Trumpets on the Bay(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Trumpets on the Bay, Eastport: Diners at the two-dozen tables on the porch at Trumpets on the Bay in Eastport enjoy one of the most dramatic views on Long Island. Bordered by marsh, the restaurant is located at the tip of one of the fingers in Moriches Bay. The restaurant, which also hosts weddings and other events, offers everything from lobster cocktail and tuna tartar to teriyaki salmon and grilled steaks.
Campagne House(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Campagne House, Bethpage: For gastropub fare and plenty of space to hang out, there's the 30-seat patio at Campagne House in Bethpage, pronounced "campaign" and named for owner Don Schiavetta's grandfather, Charles Campagne. Salads, filet mignon, swordfish and paella are featured for dinner served inside and outside weeknights until 9 p.m., with a bar bites menu of wings, potato skins and pots of mussels or clams available until 9:30 p.m. On weekends, dinner stretches to 10 p.m. and the bar menu is served until midnight.
Sandbar(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Sandbar, Cold Spring Harbor: Sidewalk tables aren't always a draw as honking cars and fuming trucks can defeat the finest dining. But when the sidewalk belongs to Sandbar in the picture-perfect town of Cold Spring Harbor, the street only adds to the charm. Before or after an afternoon browsing antiques stores (or, kids in tow, the whaling museum) enjoy Eric Werner's assured New American menu (overseen by executive chef Guy Reuge). Highlights include a raw seafood tower, chickpea fries and pan-roasted halibut.
Southampton Publick House(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Southampton Publick House, Southampton: The outdoor patio serves as an intimate spot for sipping cold brews at the new location of the Southampton Publick House, with its blue and white motif on an eight-table patio with a line of seats down the outdoor bar. Order a lunch combo such as the mac 'n' cheese and a wedge salad, or share an order of potato skins or wings for happy hour following a day at the beach.
South Shore Dive(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
South Shore Dive, West Sayville: For a cozy nook filled with picnic tables and lounge seating, the outdoor area at South Shore Dive in West Sayville is a locals' go-to for a dozen oysters and a few beers. Wood paneling evokes a rec room, while twinkly lights dress up the space when the sun sets. Other details include lavender-filled planters and a projection of a surfer catching a wave. The late-night menu is offered every day until 1 a.m.
A Lure(Credit: Randee Daddona)
A Lure, Southold: A self-described "chowder house and oyster-ia," A Lure in Southold boasts an immense deck overlooking Port of Egypt Marina and Peconic Bay. Executive chef Tom Schaudel tours the world of seafood with gumbo ya ya, crabcakes with corn salad, Baja-style fish tacos, macadamia-coconut-crusted flounder, grilled Scottish salmon, plenty of classic steamed and raw dishes, too, plus an extensive wine list with many North Fork selections.
Vauxhall(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Vauxhall, Huntington: For a perch to see and be seen, grab a picnic table on the sidewalk outside Vauxhall, the Huntington spot for fine burgers and satisfying options for your vegan and vegetarian friends. Drinks do not disappoint, from the compelling cocktails and more canned beers than you would imagine.
Umberto's Pizzeria and Restaurant(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Umberto's Pizzeria and Restaurant, New Hyde Park: For a glass of wine, a tri-colored salad and a grandma slice or two, head to Umberto's Pizzeria & Restaurant in New Hyde Park, where tables await, shaded by umbrellas. The 30-seat patio is dressed up with groomed planters and vines cascading over the sides. Large parties can call ahead to reserve seats.
Michaelangelo’s Wine Bar(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Michaelangelo's Wine Bar, Massapequa Park: Roped off sidewalk seating at Michaelangelo's Wine Bar in Massapequa Park offers prime seats for in-town dining. With over 60 reds and nearly 40 white wines by the glass, Old World and New World wines are equally represented. Order a flight and a meat and cheese board or settle in for a meal of small plates, salads, panini and sweets.
La Fine(Credit: Montauk Manor)
La Fine, Montauk: Italian-American restaurant La Fine is situated in the landmark Montauk Manor. In addition to the traditional dining room, there also will be a patio this summer. The main menu includes baked clams, meatballs, eggplant Parmigiana, linguine with clam sauce and chicken scarpariello.
Prime 23 Steaks & Seafood(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Prime 23 Steaks & Seafood, Freeport: The Nautical Mile just got meatier with the opening of Prime 23 Steaks & Seafood, sharing ownership with and occupying the top floor of EB Elliot's. Look for seafood towers and lobster sliders, while steak and chops range from the coveted porterhouse to Colorado lamb chops. The sushi menu is a new addition, with rolls served in both restaurants and on the deck. Happy hour runs weekdays from noon to 7 p.m. with plenty of drink specials and a free buffet at 4 p.m.
The Cove(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
The Cove, Glen Cove: The restaurant at Jude Thaddeus Marina in Glen Cove has changed hands five times since 2010 (the most recent incarnation, Boca, lasted less than a year), but what never changes is that this is one of the North Shore's prettiest waterside dining spots. At The Cove, new for 2016, stick to the basics while you soak up the sun -- or the sunset -- on the spacious patio. Any bottle of beer, glass of wine, plate of oysters or bucket of steamed clams will taste just fine while you watch the boats bobbing in the marina, or making their way home from Hempstead Bay.
American Beech(Credit: Randee Daddona)
American Beech, Greenport: Outside American Beech in Greenport, you'll find cushy seating at tables and a row of stools that frame the square bar under a tree. Visit Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. for chef Kyle Romeo's outdoor clam bake, where $25 buys a pot of mussels, clams, corn, potatoes and a half lobster. The BeechBurger is also a good bet, dressed with Gruyere, caramelized onions and roasted mushrooms, served on a pretzel bun.
La Casa Cafe
La Casa Cafe, Northport: Instead of eating inside this beachside Italian dining spot, opt for an umbrella table in the outdoor courtyard. The menu is a little cheaper than indoors, and while you can't partake of the dining room salad bar, you have access to something unavailable inside: Neapolitan pizza, puffy-crusted and oozing molten cheese. That, a glass of wine, a salad and, perhaps a pasta or panino can precede a walk along the shoreline.
Nawlins Seafood Company(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Nawlins Seafood Company, Freeport: The French Quarter meets the Nautical Mile at Nawlins Seafood Company, a breezy space framed by murals and wrought iron that promises a visit as rambunctious as a trip to New Orleans. Grab a seat at the bar near the entrance and order an Abita. Or head to the back of the dining room for a table with plenty of room to spread out plates of fried green tomatoes, an oyster po'boy, a muffuletta, or chicken and waffles. The back deck offers the most laid-back seating, a perfect spot for sunset or to watch the boats go by.
Ting, Huntington: The partitioned-off sidewalk patio that wraps around one side of this Asian-fusion restaurant seems removed from the traffic on Route 25A. Enjoy the evening breeze as you dine, perhaps, on butternut squash soup, tuna pizza, crispy delight beef and scallops and/or traditional sushi and sashimi.
The Refuge(Credit: Angela Datre)
The Refuge, Melville: Sheltered from Route 110 by hedges and trees, the big wooden patio at The Refuge in Melville is a popular meeting place day or night -- happy hour rocks here. The menu, a crowd-pleasing mix of Italian-American and Latin dishes, takes aim at that dining sweet spot between ease and intrigue: ropa vieja nachos, rigatoni and meatballs, grilled skirt steak with chimichurri, "angry shrimp" tacos. For Sunday brunch during the summer, your dog is invited, too -- provided it's on a leash and stays outside.
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ, Long Beach: Having seen the wrath of superstorm Sandy, two renovations and five different pitmasters, Swingbellys Beachside BBQ comes out swinging harder than ever. Credit pitmaster and co-owner Dan Monteforte, who was on the scene when the place opened eight years ago and returns after a two-year absence.
Half Moon Cafe(Credit: Half Moon Cafe)
Half Moon Cafe, Long Beach: Decorated in surf memorabilia, Half Moon Cafe has opened in Long Beach, a casual cafe and bar in the East Park Avenue spot that used to be Biddy Mulligan's. The mid-sized restaurant offers seating inside and outside, with planters framing sidewalk tables. Happy hours highlight weekdays, with drink specials from 3 to 7 p.m. and a $6 food menu of wings, frickles (fried + pickles = frickles), nachos, clams and spring rolls. More substantive dishes on the lunch and dinner menu include burgers, sandwiches, tacos and quesadillas.
Nicky's on the Bay(Credit: Nicky's on the Bay)
Nicky's on the Bay, Bay Shore: Serving up salt air, sea vistas and sunsets is Nicky's on the Bay, a picture postcard of a seafood restaurant. In temperate weather, you'll want to sit on the outdoor deck, equipped with a canopied area at center. And before or after dinner, head up the stairs for drinks on the second level, where there's often live music. If you time it right, gorgeous sunsets, too.
EAT Gastropub(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
EAT Gastropub, Oceanside: A well-appointed patio with a bar, umbrella tables and lounge furniture offers a view of the restaurant's greenhouse, which produces the greens used in salads. From chef Gregory Baumel's new repertoire are dishes like salmon and crab burgers, and apricot chipotle roasted chicken.
The Clubhouse(Credit: The Clubhouse)
The Clubhouse, Bellmore: The Clubhouse sneaks up on you, hidden away in a residential neighborhood along one of South Nassau's many canals. Whimsical arrows on the dockside deck point one way to Montauk (89 miles), the other to Jamaica (1,574 miles). If you want to have a drink or even some food outside, seated in an Adirondack chair or at a high-top table, you have to get everything yourself, from the bar.
Blackstone Steakhouse(Credit: Angela Datre)
Blackstone Steakhouse, Melville: The patio has an awning that may be opened at this stylish, high-end steakhouse. Standouts include sashimi, sushi, sushi rolls, the seafood plateau, grilled whole fish, crabcake, sliders, porterhouse steak, double-cut pork chop, and lobster macaroni and cheese.
Jewel(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Jewel, Melville: This splashy Tom Schaudel establishment ventures outdoors with fine traditional and New American dishes, and some Italian piatti, too. Winners include tuna tartare, grilled oysters, octopus salad with a merlot vinaigrette, penne rigate with spicy sausage, pork belly tacos, the house burger, and a pistachio ice cream sandwich.
Chi Dining Lounge(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Chi Dining Lounge, Westbury: A rear patio with its own little waterfall has a clubby vibe and a global menu. As darkness falls, a deejay enters the scene. A new attraction is an outdoor brick pizza oven, which turns out pies that range from Margherita to chicken-bacon ranch. Also on the menu: lobster sliders, beef satay, gnocchi Bolognese and Asian skirt steak.
Farm Country Kitchen(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Farm Country Kitchen, Riverhead: Eat on the veranda of this secreted-away little house overlooking the Peconic River. Chef-owner Tom Carson offers a lunch repertoire of soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps. At dinner, you'll find lobster cakes, duck breast and pan-seared sea scallops over linguine.
Whale's Tale(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)
Whale's Tale, Northport: A laid-back vibe prevails at this summery spot by the Brittania Yacht Club. Eat on the deck within view of both pool and boatyard at tables shaded by umbrellas and awnings. Raw-bar items, wings, tacos, burgers, wraps, sandwiches and the like compose the menu.
Kyma(Credit: Uli Seit)
Kyma, Roslyn: It's all about Greek-accented seafood at Kyma -- grilled shrimp and octopus and whole fish anointed with lemon and olive oil. Take a bite, then a sip of dry white moschofilero, close your eyes and pretend that instead of a patio outside the restaurant in Roslyn Village, you're overlooking the Aegean.
El Toro 28(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
El Toro 28, Freeport: If it's tequila you're after, make a beeline for El Toro 28. The restaurant-- revamped for the summer 2016 season -- stocks more than 100 bottles. The dining room is accented with sugar-skulls and Day of the Dead-inspired murals. The menu boasts an array of guacamole from traditional to lobster, shrimp and crab variations. Salads are among the more refreshing dishes for a hot day, such as the watermelon and tomatillo served with pumpkin seeds and baby greens. Tacos run three an order, with radish slaw, pickled red onion, queso fresco and green chili salsa. Looking for a snack to go with your margarita? There's always Mexican street corn, served with a choice of three toppings: roasted garlic and chili, chipotle honey, or Buffalo-dipped corn with blue cheese.
Nick's Pizza and Clam Bar(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Nick's Pizza and Clam Bar, Smithtown: There's no water in sight along this tree-lined stretch of Route 25A, but sitting on Nick's deck, polishing off a dozen briny clams on the half shell, you'll swear you hear the roar of the surf. Also on the menu: oysters, steamers, salads, burgers and pizza.
Besito(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Besito, Huntington: Besito is one of LI's best Mexican restaurants, staying clear of the cliches and mixing a mean margarita. When the weather's warm, the experience is enhanced by the tables set up on the sidewalk of Huntington's bustling New York Avenue. Cool off with refreshing ceviche, or turn up the heat with mole poblano.
Grasso's(Credit: Jin Lee)
Grasso's, Cold Spring Harbor: The Main Street mainstay has a few outdoor tables and a lively dining room and bar. Notable: pan-seared diver scallops, cavatelli Bolognese, a spin on cioppino emphasizing shellfish, grilled filet mignon, grilled Berkshire pork rib, grilled calamari, chopped salad and roast duck.
Fisherman's Catch(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Fisherman's Catch, Point Lookout: At this waterside restaurant owned by fishermen, you can dine on an outdoor deck overlooking Reynolds Channel. Choices include sesame-seared tuna, herb-crusted swordfish and a catch of the day crudo.
The Oar(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The Oar, Patchogue: The Oar in Patchogue powers you to seafood and steak, and doubtless a few drinks, while providing a very summery water view.
Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails(Credit: Tony Cuban)
Tony Cuban Cucina and Cocktails, Freeport: This hybrid Cuban-Italian newcomer offers seating on an outdoor deck overlooking a boat basin. On the menu are such dishes as ropa vieja fettuccine and plantain-crusted branzino. And, of course, a Cubano sandwich.
Brixx and Barley(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Brixx and Barley, Long Beach: In fine weather, Long Beach's newest gastropub sets up tables on its broad sidewalk so diners can see and be seen. Enjoy expertly grilled burgers, overstuffed sandwiches and more than 30 beers on tap (another 30 in bottles).
Claws Seafood Market(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Claws Seafood Market, West Sayville: This fish market has a creek-side outdoor clam bar / crab shack. Stake out a picnic or umbrella table and order from a repertoire that includes steamers, mussels, lobsters and Maryland-style hard-shelled crabs. There's a fine lobster roll, too.
Uncle Bacala's(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
Uncle Bacala's, Garden City Park: Enjoy Uncle Bacala's crowd-pleasing, seafood-centric Italian-American cuisine on this spacious patio, which has been cleverly designed to block out the view (and most of the noise) from Jericho Turnpike.
Butler's Flat(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Butler's Flat, Port Washington: Named after the lighthouse in New Bedford, Massachusetts, this New England-style clam shack in Brewer Capri Marina West has a sweeping view of Manhasset Bay. Highlights include fried belly clams (with good fries and slaw), steamed littlenecks, and a meaty, mayonnaise-free lobster roll. Butler's Flat will open for the 2016 season on Thursday, May 5.
Cornucopia's Noshery(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Cornucopia's Noshery, Amityville: Courtyard seating is the warm weather choice at this attractive breakfast and lunch destination with four outdoor tables. Small well-behaved dogs are welcome, said owner Erica Reichlin. Come June, there should be dinner service with acoustic music.
Empanadaville(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Empanadaville, Mastic Beach: Warm weather is when this takeout shop for Puerto Rican-style empanadas shines. Alongside the building, youll find two picnic tables, each seating six, plus two smaller tables for two. No table seating inside.
MP Taverna(Credit: Uli Seit)
MP Taverna, Roslyn: Michael Psilakis' inventive Greek gastropub offers seating for about 50 on the rooftop patio. From your perch, under an umbrella, you can look over the town while eating a lamb burger or lemon-roasted chicken.
Scrimshaw(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Scrimshaw, Greenport: The wharf dining room at this Greenport spot gives you a water view on three sides, but pay attention to what's on chef-owner Rosa Ross' East-meets-West menu: leek-and-goat-cheese flan, duck breast with orange sauce, seared diver scallops, seafood chowder, gravlax, dim sum.
Kingston's Clam Bar(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Kingston's Clam Bar, West Sayville: Oysters have been shucked at this site overlooking the boats in Dutchman's Cove in West Sayville for centuries. Since 1978, the waterside spot has hosted a popular clam bar. You'll find clams on the half shell, steamers, fried clams and chowder. Post-Colonial menu additions include lobster rolls and fish tacos. Opens for the 2016 season on Wednesday, April 27.
Pop's Seafood Shack and Grill(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Pop's Seafood Shack and Grill, Island Park: Wear flip-flops to this seafood spot on Reynolds Channel in Island Park with its own little man-made beach. On the seafood-centric menu: sesame ahi tuna lollipops, three types of lobster rolls, and fish and chips. After dark, the place can be a major party scene with DJs and dancing. Pop's will open for the 2016 season on Wednesday, May 18.