There’s still summer out there, and let’s face it: you want to take advantage of every opportunity to soak in the sun and warm weather. Restaurants across Long Island offer just that chance with alfresco dining that puts you seaside with dazzling views of sunsets and vistas, or even streetside, where small-town life comes into full focus. Here are some delightful options for places to eat in the open air.
1446 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn
This bustling gem is notable not only for its authentic Greek food and elegant ambiance, but also for its access to the open air. Its outdoor patio hosts up to 12 tables, or about 45 people. If the weather isn’t cooperating, there’s room for about 140 inside. Adding to Mediterranean alfresco feel, large windows allow sunlight to wash in during the day. Around this time of year, specials include a watermelon salad with arugula and feta and skewered diver scallops with bell peppers and vidalia onions.
55 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor
On the Nassau/Suffolk border, soak up the quaint downtown of Cold Spring Harbor village in sidewalk tables while savoring American cuisine by celebrated executive chef Guy Reuge. Among this season’s specialties, look for the blackened mahi mahi, which comes with a cauliflower purée, chanterelle mushrooms, haricot vert, patty pan squash, red wine and herb vinaigrette. You can also find plenty of classic comfort foods. To top it all off, walk around the village and visit neighboring shops.
333 Bayville Ave., Bayville
If ever there was a picture-perfect beachside restaurant, Ocean is it. With palm trees lining the patio, it would be easy to think you’ve been transported to the Caribbean. Except, you’re beside the Long Island Sound. Favorites dishes include the lobster roll, lobster mac & cheese and fish n’ chips. Plus, there’s an outdoor sushi bar featuring sushi master Mr. Lee open through September. Reviewers also say the sangria is a can’t-miss.
Rachel’s Waterside Grill
281 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport
Create a list of Nautical Mile must-try staples and Rachel’s rises to the top. With seating for 40 people outside overlooking the Woodcleft Canal, the restaurant has served up New American seafood for more than 20 years. The grill, which has brunch, lunch, dinner menus, as well as a catering business, takes advantage of fresh catches off the South Shore and lures patrons with summer drinks like white peach sangria.
SALT on the Water
3100 Whaleneck Drive, Merrick
Aside from the excellent views of East Bay, patrons here pine for the SALT burger (8 ounces of a proprietary meat blend with pecan-wood smoked bacon, brie, caramelized onion, basil aioli on ciabatta bread), oysters, baked clams and the pineapple upside down cake. The adventurous go all-out with the SALT Tower: eight local fresh oysters, eight jumbo gulf shrimp, lump crab, tuna poke and two, 4-ounce Maine lobster tails.
Fatfish Wine Bar & Bistro
28 Cottage Ave., Bay Shore
At this Mediterranean-inspired seafood restaurant you’ll find panoramic views of the Great South Bay and “a little bit of everything to satisfy anyone’s palate,” says manager Lin Carroll. The venue seats about 80 people outside, plus another 60 inside, with an extra 40 seats at its indoor wine bar. On Mondays the restaurant has all-day-long lobster fests, which include 1 ½ lobsters, mussels in red or white sauce, a chargrilled vegetable salad, oven-roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. The branzino special is a fan favorite, as are the sauteed scallops; shrimp and scallop fettuccine; and the Fatfish tower, which consists of a half lobster, three colossal shrimp, four oysters, eight littleneck clams, two king crab legs and a mussel salad.
15 Wall St., Huntington
In the heart of downtown Huntington village, Jonathan’s Ristorante is a place where locals catch up with friends and find out what’s happening in the bustling town, especially at the six tables of two that line Wall Street, while foodies from near and far dine on their favorite Italian fare. The restaurant, which has been around since 1994 and offers an exceptional wine list, features daily specials such as tuna tartare.
Wave Seafood Kitchen
25 East Broadway, Port Jefferson
No compilation of dining alfresco on Long Island is complete without Wave Seafood Kitchen at Danford’s Hotel, Marina & Spa in Port Jefferson. Overlooking the Long Island Sound, right next to the ferry to Bridgeport, Connecticut, the restaurant has two outdoor decks with first-come, first-serve dining and 4-7 p.m. weekday Happy Hours. Summer dinner entrees include a whole Main lobster with warm, drawn butter and lemon; Atlantic cod with red wine farro, glazed baby fennel and red pepper coulis; and a 20-ounce shell steak. Breakfast and lunch options are just as enticing.
3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale
Lessings.comThere’s a reason they call it View. Even when it’s cold, this waterside eatery known for its fresh, local seafood has stunning views of the Great South Bay. When the weather turns warm and the rear deck opens, patrons get a close-up view of all the beauty that the South Shore offers –including breathtaking sunsets. The special sushi menu at View, currently offered Wednesday through Sunday, has flown under the radar. Other summertime dishes include Maine lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, Taylor Bay scallops, littleneck clams, Prince Edward Island mussels, cockles and tomato-blue claw crab brodo.
The Whale’s Tale
81 Fort Salonga Road, Northport
What’s the best part of The Whale’s Tale? Patrons with have a hard time choosing between the tacos and the view of Northport Harbor. Located in the Britannia Yacht Club, the restaurant gets particularly packed on Taco Tuesdays, but it’s worth going any day for the food and the scenery. Thursdays nights offer 50 percent discounts on taps, flatbreads and apps. And be sure to try the beer supplied by Harbor Head Brewing Company made right next door.