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.
The Lake House
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.
Scarpetta Beach (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.
Trumpets on the Bay
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.
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.
Phil's Waterfront Bar and Grill
Phil's Waterfront Bar and Grill, Aquebogue: Phil's Waterfront Bar and Grill has opened at the Lighthouse Marina in Aquebogue in what had been The Meeting House Creek Inn for 25 years. There's extensive outdoor seating, boat-side service, daily specials, takeout, many TVs and live entertainment.
Navy Beach, Montauk: At this beachfront eatery, you can enjoy seafood specialties (or buttermilk fried chicken), literally with your toes in the sand.
Louie's Oyster Bar & Grille
Louie's Oyster Bar & Grille, 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.
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.
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.
Duryea's Lobster Deck
Duryea's Lobster Deck, 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.
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.
Wave Seafood Kitchen
Wave Seafood Kitchen, Port Jefferson: Enjoy views of Long Island Sound when dining al fresco at this eatery.
Bay Vue, 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.
Inlet Seafood, 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.
Prime, Huntington: This big, bold spot offers a New American menu that may be enjoyed on the porch overlooking Huntington Harbor. At the separate informal outdoor area, there's a dockside menu, but no protection from the sun.
Turkuaz Grill, 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.
East Hampton Point
East Hampton Point, 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.
The Old Mill Inn
The Old Mill Inn, Mattituck: There may be no lovelier dining spot on the North Fork than the gently swaying deck of The Old Mill Inn, a former grist mill built in 1820. Watch fishing trawlers and sailing boats returning from Long Island Sound to moor for the night. The menu ranges from Old American to New American to Mediterranean.
Wall's Wharf, 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.
Ocean, Bayville: This eatery at Crescent Beach Club, has a sunset lounge and a menu designed for enjoying on the deck.
View, 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.
The Sloppy Tuna
The Sloppy Tuna, 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.
Fatfish Bar & Bistro
Fatfish Bar & Bistro, 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.
Maliblue Oyster Bar
Maliblue Oyster Bar, 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.
Shipwreck Tavern, 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.