Whether you're sitting down to a pulled pork sandwich, a plate of fried clams or a big lobster dinner, your food will taste that much better when eaten at an outdoor table -- preferably one within view of sparkling water.
On Long Island, there is no shortage of restaurants that take to the decks and patios for picturesque summer dining. Any of these may have just the table for you.
Selections by Newsday's food staff.
Diners at Butler's Flat in Port Washington.
Patrons dine in the open air with a sweeping waterfront view on the back deck of Salt in Merrick.
The Sloppy Tuna restaurant in Montauk has a roof-deck bar and restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
There's no dress code here, and the atmosphere is relaxed and casual at the roof-deck setting of The Sloppy Tuna in Montauk.
The LakeHouse (135 Maple Ave., Bay Shore): Since 2006, The Lakehouse has successfully balanced high-caliber cuisine with a mom-and-pop vibe. That balancing act is more difficult now that the restaurant has moved 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 composed of simple crowd-pleasers: lobster rolls, burgers, steamed mussels. Outdoor dining available starting in May. More info: 631-666-0995, thelakehouserest.com
Scarpetta Beach (290 Old Montauk Hwy., at Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, Montauk): Scarpetta Beach makes the biggest splash of the summer and turns Gurney's oceanfront resort in Montauk into a dining destination. More info: 631-668-1771, scarpettarestaurants.com
Trumpets on the Bay
Trumpets on the Bay (58 S. Bay Ave., Eastport): Diners at the two-dozen tables on the porch enjoy one of the most dramatic views on Long Island. Bordered by marsh, the restaurant is at the tip of one of the fingers in Moriches Bay. The restaurant offers everything from jumbo shrimp cocktail and tuna tartar to teriyaki salmon and grilled steaks. Outdoor dining available starting in May. More info: 631-325-2900, trumpetsonthebay.com
Salt (3100 Whaleneck Dr., 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 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, lobster rolls or burgers. Outdoor dining available starting in May. More info: 516-442-7470, saltonthewater.com
Navy Beach (16 Navy Rd., Montauk): At this beachfront eatery, you can enjoy seafood specialties (or buttermilk fried chicken), literally with your toes in the sand. More info: 631-668-6868, navybeach.com
Louie's Oyster Bar & Grille
Louie's Oyster Bar & Grille (395 Main St., Port Washington): This local landmark has a perch on Manhasset Bay. In its current life, look for the East and West coast oysters, shrimp cocktail, steamed lobster, oven-roasted cod, hoisin-glazed tuna, tuna tartare tacos, calamari with garlic and hot pepper, dry-aged Meyer Ranch strip steak. More info: 516-883-4242, louiessince1905.com
A Lure (62300 Main Rd., Southold): A self-described "chowder house and oyster-ia," A Lure boasts an immense deck overlooking Port of Egypt Marina and Peconic Bay. Executive chef Tom Schaudel tours the world of seafood with crabcakes with tomato remoulade, 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. More info: 631-876-5300, alurenorthfork.com
The Cove Restaurant & Oyster Bar
The Cove Restaurant & Oyster Bar (74 Shore Rd., 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, 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. More info: 516-676-1211, thecoveny.com
Duryea's Lobster Deck
Duryea's Lobster Deck (65 Tuthill Rd., Montauk): This 80-year-old Montauk landmark lobster shack/fish market has opened under new ownership. The new Duryea's has retained such menu items as New England clam chowder and lobster rolls, but has added quinoa tabbouleh, tuna tartar and more. Once BYOB, Duryea's now offers beer and wine. Plastic seats (and plates and cutlery) have given way to teak furniture and stainless dinnerware. Outdoor dining available starting in May. More info: 631-668-2410, duryealobsters.com
The Oar (264 West Ave., Patchogue): The Oar in Patchogue powers you to seafood and steak, and doubtless a few drinks, while providing a very summery water view. More info: 631-654-8266, theoar.com
Wave Seafood and Steak
Wave Seafood and Steak (25 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson): Enjoy views of Long Island Sound when dining al fresco at this eatery. More info: 631-928-5200, danfords.com
Butler's Flat Clam Shack
Butler's Flat Clam Shack (86 Orchard Beach Blvd., 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. Outdoor dining available starting in May. More info: 516-883-8330, butlersflat.com
Bay Vue (854 S. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst): Look onto Great South Bay while relishing the lobster roll, lobster macaroni-and-cheese, linguine with white or red clam sauce, fish-and-chips, fried calamari and the raw bar. More info: 631-991-3370, bay-vue.com
Inlet Seafood (541 East Lake Dr., Montauk): Dine on the deck within view of narrow waterways, open sea and distant coastlines. At this east end restaurant, freshness of seafood -- sushi included -- is paramount. More info: 631-668-4272, inletseafood.com
Prime: An American Kitchen and Bar
Prime: An American Kitchen and Bar (117 New York Ave., Huntington): Come for dinner, lunch or brunch, and you'll find a serene, seductive waterfront setting, painterly sunsets and a polished look from dining room to deck. More info: 631-385-1515, restaurantprime.com
Turkuaz Grill (40 McDermott Ave., Riverhead): From the porch or patio of authentic Turkish restaurant, soak up the sun by day and, in the evening, count the stars over the Peconic River. Nibble on a vibrant shepherd's salad, an assortment of meze, or small plates, of house-made gyro and juicy kebabs. Creamy sutlac (rice pudding) makes for an optimal conclusion. More info: 631-591-1757, turkuazgrillriverhead.com
East Hampton Point
East Hampton Point (295 Three Mile Harbor, East Hampton): Three Mile Harbor glistens at sunset and sometimes all day. This waterside restaurant, provides the perch, plus tuna crudo, a local seafood stew, day-boat halibut, and strip steak with heirloom tomatoes. More info: 631-329-2800, easthamptonpoint.com
Wall's Wharf (18 Greenwich Ave., Bayville): At this spot, you can sit at an umbrella table right on the deck or even the beach, where you can watch your kids build sand castles over a burger, salad or lobster roll. Evenings, you'll find an American menu with such choices as crabcakes, steak and sesame-crusted tuna. More info: 516-628-9696, wallswharf.com
Ocean (333 Bayville Ave., Bayville): This eatery at Crescent Beach Club has a sunset lounge and a menu designed for enjoying on the deck. More info: 516-628-3330, cometotheocean.com
View (3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale): This chic waterside spot offers dining on the deck and sweeping nautical views of the Great South Bay from indoors. Culinary choices include wood-roasted local oysters, blue claw crab and corn chowder, fricassee of shellfish and filet mignon. More info: 631-589-2694, lessings.com
The Sloppy Tuna
The Sloppy Tuna (148 S. Emerson Ave., Montauk): Swimsuits and flip-flops are the rule at this spot on the edge of the beach with an upstairs bar and renovated deck overlooking sand and surf. On chef Reed Lucas' summery menu: watermelon salad, Montauk clams on the half shell and the signature tuna burger. More info: 631-647-8000, lisloppytuna.com
Fatfish Wine Bar & Bistro
Fatfish Wine Bar & Bistro (28 Cottage Ave., Bay Shore): This spot offers a great view of the Great South Bay, accompanied by a Mediterranean-inspired repertoire -- a bar and tapas menu, too. More info: 631-666-2899, fatfish.info
Maliblue Oyster Bar
Maliblue Oyster Bar (1500 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach): Situated within Lido Beach's Malibu Shore Club but open to the public, this casual spot is an American eatery with a sushi bar and fish-shack menu that offers patio seating in view of the pool and the dunes. More info: 516-442-2799, maliblueoysterbar.com
Shipwreck Tavern (10 Bayville Ave., Bayville): Eat on the rooftop deck, at a table or by the tiki bar of this kitschy spot. The view of Long Island Sound goes well with the fine lobster roll and hand-cut fries. Call ahead for days and hours of operation. More info: 516-628-2628, shipwreckpub.com