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Dining Alfresco: Taking It Outside During Long Island's Summer Season

There are dozens of restaurants on Long Island featuring alfresco dining, but if you’re going for a ride out to our eastern end, here is a short list of picks not to be missed.

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Photo by: Free-Photos

Long Island, NY - June 18, 2018 - Long Island summers are sacred and short, so taking in the seascape we were blessed with is a must during the warmer months. Once you’re ready to shed the socks and second layer, it’s time to take your meals outside. There are dozens of restaurants on Long Island featuring alfresco dining, but if you’re going for a ride out to our eastern end, here is a short list of picks not to be missed.
  • Case’s, New Suffolk: Just under the radar, Case’s offer surprisingly breathtaking vistas of the Great Peconic Bay. This unassuming but charming eatery has outdoor picnic tables as well as indoor seating with plenty of windows to the world. The menu is great for both kids and adults, featuring the gamut of lighter fare and sandwiches to local favorites like baked clams and chowders. A great stop for lunch.
  • Cowfish, Hampton Bays: One of my shoo-ins come summer. Beware, the wait is long, and they don’t take reservations for under 10 people. But the bar itself is a highlight – bustling any night of the week and an exceptional spot to watch the boats pass by on Shinnecock Canal. If you are lucky enough to get a table, the sushi is out of this world, as is the buffalo shrimp appetizer and blackened fish sandwich.
  • Claudio’s, Greenport: New owners took over this year, so I can’t really give an opinion on the menu. The location is the same, however, and is still a staple for an afternoon cocktail or dockside dinner. Since the town docks have been revitalized, they are a lure for mega yachts – and I mean mega. The outdoor deck boasts a giant bar that juts out onto the water, and is a popular stop for day trippers to take in the sights.
  • Phil’s Waterfront Bar and Grill, Aquebogue: The success of Phil’s Sports Bar in Wading River sent owner Phil Marcario to set his sights eastward. He bought the Meeting House Creek Inn three years ago, bringing new life to the place by revitalizing the structure complete with an expansive outdoor deck. It’s always brimming with both locals and tourists no matter what time of day – there are not many spots this side of town at the water’s edge.
  • Oakland’s, Hampton Bays: A summertime essential stop, you can’t beat the sunset from Oakland’s back deck. Although the food is usually on par with local seafood and fare, the setting is what makes the place magnet for scenery seekers. A cocktail in hand and a golden sun atop a landscape of fishing boats and the Shinnecock Inlet…paradise.
  • Docker’s Waterside, East Quogue: A bit on the pricey side, Dockers is nestled on the north side of Dune Road offering calm vistas of the bay. The sunset here is exquisite and serene, and the venue is perched at the edge of the marsh giving it a surreal, natural feel.  It is a perfect place for a special night out – pristine décor, attentive staff, and sumptuous seafood dishes make it an exceptional experience.
  • The Halyard, Greenport: Though I haven’t been there yet, this is next on my list for sure.  The longstanding Soundview Inn went through a major transformation last year, emerging as the acclaimed stunner The Halyard. For starters, the locale alone is a lure, set on the Long Island Sound with forever water views. The new space is bright and beautiful, and the kitchen focuses on freshly caught fish and seafood and regionally inspired dishes.
  • Sundays on the Bay, Hampton Bays: Just a notch more casual than its neighbor, Sundays on the Bay on Dune Road is adjacent to Oaklands (same owners by the way), offering similar views in a laidback setting.  The sunset is captivating and the attitude is easy breezy - a great place for happy hour or a family friendly meal.
  • Sunset Beach, Shelter Island: If you’re into a little adventure, this hot spot is a short ferry ride from Sag Harbor or Greenport. It is quite the scene, with the who’s who of the east end garnishing the establishment on any given summer evening. Boasting exquisite seasonal plates and fine wines and bubblies, it’s really a spectacular place to take in a sunset.
  • Duryea Lobster Deck, Montauk: What was once an unassuming shellfish shack is now a lavish lure for discerning foodies looking for some ambience. Charming vistas, succulent lobster, sailboats and schooners in the distance…a trip to Montauk almost wouldn’t be right without it.
If you’re not planning a ride out to the twin forks, here are some picks on the water’s edge throughout the rest of the island:
  • Ocean Restaurant, Bayville: Just a little off the radar nestled in the Crescent Beach Club awaits this seafaring gem. You’ll feel like you were whisked away to the tropics on the stylish and comfy back deck and lounge, while the lively and spacious dining room gives way to breathtaking perspective of the Sound. They serve up masterful sushi, fresh seafood, and other Americana cuisine in addition to innovative cocktails and a raw bar. 
  • SALT, Merrick: This fairly newvenue on the water’s edge pairs contemporary American cuisine with cool cocktails in a kick-back-and-enjoy kind of vibe.  A great place to dock and dine if you’re sea-bound for the day and evening. Besides fabulous dinner presentations, they’ve also got a little bit of everything else – a happening happy hour, live tunes, and brunch on the bay every Sunday.
  • Captain Bill's, Bay Shore: Positionedin a prime location on the harbor at the Bay Shore Marina, this long-standing south shore treasure remains a quintessential waterside establishment. Perfect for special celebrations or an elegant evening, Captain Bill’s menu boasts fresh seafood selections, creative cocktails, and premium steaks.
  • EB Elliots, Freeport: The ultimate gathering place for a festive get-together,EB Elliots commands the longest happy hour on the nautical mile. With deep connections to the community, their proprietors message is: “Our spirit reflects the heart of Freeport: A love for our locals and our history. They invite patrons from near and far to come and “experience a taste of the Atlantic.” 
  • Wave Seafood & Steak at Danfords, Port Jefferson: With not many places to take in the waterside in this part of town, Wave is the place to go for take in the harbor and enjoy eclectic regional fare. The interior space is breezy and contemporary, with ample windows to let in the light and give you a view. You can also dine alfresco on the outside deck, which features a slightly lighter menu and creative cocktails.
  • LaMotta's, Port Washington: A premier waterfront hotspot since 1994, LaMotta's offers beautiful vistas of Manhasset Bay from April through October. This nautically-inspired haunt is also a great dock-and-dine destination for boaters. The menu features lots of choices to share, while their “hook to table” section highlights delicious catches of the day. Enjoy an outdoor Tiki Bar and live music on the weekends.