It’s official, we finally made it to outdoor dining season in NJ. We braved the blustery cold, even it was from the comfort of a heated igloo. Gray skies have given way to blooming trees and bright sunshine. And many of our favorite restaurants are finally able to fully embrace their alfresco spaces.
Should your ideal setup include an open-air patio, hip Biergarten, oceanfront service, or socially distanced courtyard, there are plenty of places to grab a seat outside. From group outings for Sunday brunch or late-night cocktails for two, we’ve got the entire state covered from North and South to Central and Shore. Here’s our ultimate guide to outdoor dining in NJ.
North Jersey Outdoor Dining
Battello – Jersey City
Lining the perimeter of the restaurant, Battello’s outdoor patio offers expansive pier views of New York City. Lush landscaping surrounds each table with palm trees, bushes and overflowing window boxes throughout. Combined with their natural wood decor, nautical blue umbrellas, and colorful Italian dishes, Batello gives the easy, summer vibes we’re looking for. Boasting Chef Ryan DePersio’s “Italian without borders” menu concept, this waterfront gem is a must-visit.
Blue Eyes – Hoboken
Named after Frank Sinatra, this Italian restaurant is known for its authentic brick oven pizza. And if you take a quick look at their Instagram page, you’ll soon see why. However, what truly distinguishes Blue Eyes from our other favorite pizza joints are the unbeatable views. Thanks to its proximal Hoboken location, the waterfront site sits just across from the Manhattan skyline. Customers can admire their neighboring city while they dine, or move their gaze to the sprawling, tree-lined park located just beside the restaurant.
Cafe Matisse – Rutherford
Inspired by the colors and floral scapes of French artist Henri Matisse, this quaint Rutherford restaurant is home to an enchanting European garden patio. The Provencal-like setting is teeming with greenery and feels like one could be walking right into a painting. Cafe Matisse has restructured its highly-seasonal chef’s tasting menu to four courses which includes three savory dishes and one dessert per person. But remember, you must make a reservation.
Charrito’s – Weehawken
Serving up authentic Mexican cuisine, Charrito’s continues this cultural influence throughout every aspect of their decor. Lining their outdoor seating arrangements are boldly colored paper garlands, traditionally woven tablecloths, hanging flowers and art, bringing the space to life. This aesthetic carries over to the expanded dining area in the property’s parking lot, which is equally as charming with the addition of draped fabric and atmospheric string lights. Of course, their prime waterfront location doesn’t hurt either.
Cornbread – Maplewood
Sometimes it feels good to escape the frou-frou fine dining scene and head to a more cozy, low-key spot. That’s Cornbread in Maplewood. They offer Southern comfort food along with traditional barbeque via counter-service. You can take your meal to their outdoor setup, a wrap-around deck with hanging string lights. Both the food and the vibe here will make you feel right at home.
Corto – Jersey City
Haute cuisine has taken a backseat in 2021, and that’s what makes a visit to Corto in The Heights all the more appealing. This coveted BYOB spot has an open-air courtyard outfitted with firepits and an overhead tent for inclement weather. Here, we recommend picking up a bottle of natural wine and dining on Corto’s rustic dishes in the style of cucina povera—think handmade pasta, polenta with lamb, ricotta toast and more. Reservations are strongly encouraged, especially on the weekends.
Egan & Sons – Montclair
This Montclair restaurant and bar is a prime example of making the most of your space. Egan & Sons has a traditional outdoor deck and patio, both with all of the touches of a homey backyard. In addition to this, the North Jersey venue has expanded into their parking lot to accommodate more socially distanced diners. With varying decor and festivities for each season, this adapted area is an ideal spot known for its beers and casual pub fare.
Elia – East Rutherford
The alfresco setup at Elia in East Rutherford gives new meaning to outdoor dining. The restaurant transformed their parking lot (formerly Park & Orchard) into a Mediterranean oasis complete with Greecian white tents, couches and even gold chandeliers. While it’s hard to compete with the beauty of this Bergen County favorite, Elia’s menu is equally as admirable. The zucchini and eggplant chips alone are worth going for.
Faubourg – Montclair
Everything about the space at Faubourg, Montclair’s modern French brasserie, is designed to impress. From their 10,000-square-foot bi-level dining room and cocktail lounge to their expansive outdoor patio. Towering planters, string lights, canopies, decorative bars and a warm firepit will make you forget you’re tucked away on busy Bloomfield Ave. That is, if Chef Olivier Muller’s array of French and German-inspired dishes don’t transport you across the Atlantic first.
Frankie – Jersey City
No stranger to our many lists, Jersey City’s Australian-inspired Frankie has a lot to offer; delicious coastal cuisine, a broad natural wine selection, and a beach aesthetic perfect for the upcoming season. Their outdoor seating, composed of pastel-colored tables and chairs, matches their impressive store-front mural. On colder nights, this streetside setting transforms into an open-roof enclosure to keep their socially distanced customers comfortable. The restaurant is open only for outdoor seating at the moment.
Halcyon – Montclair
At Halcyon Brasserie, guests are given the choice between multiple aesthetic outdoor experiences. While seating alongside their flowering brick storefront is a staple, they have recently opened an expansive second option. With tented ceilings, natural pendant lights, towering plants, and bold striped umbrellas, this space is well-deserving of its “outdoor oasis” title. Located in Montclair, Halcyon is open from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Hudson Table – Hoboken
While Hudson Table is known predominantly as a cooking school, those who would prefer to take a hands-off approach can enjoy a meal and panoramic city views from their rooftop dining area. You’ll have to keep up with their schedule to book a slot, but typically dinners here range from a five-course chef’s tasting menu to family-style offerings often accompanied by live music. Hudson Table also hosts rooftop movie nights complete with snacks, dessert and turf seating.
Jockey Hollow – Morristown
The iconic Vail Mansion, better known today as Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, is a Morristown institution. The New Jersey restaurant provides one of the most unique experiences in the state with multiple indoor dining areas and vast outdoor patio on its striking grounds. Sitting under the marble columns of Jockey’s patio with a view of the reflecting pool feels even more decadent. Couple that with a dozen oysters and a craft cocktail, and we can’t think of a more ideal way to spend a spring or summer evening.
Managing Partner Chris Cannon aims to reopen Jockey Hollow in early May, 2021
Kitchen Step – Jersey City
It only makes sense that this favorite neighborhood bistro by Chef Ryan DePersio would adapt to the pandemic by creating a truly unique outdoor dining experience. Kitchen Step now offers six fully heated private greenhouses to be enjoyed in pairs. Each greenhouse is adorned in individual artistic decor and lots of fabric. These freestanding rooms are like the childhood forts of our dreams. The Jersey City venue also offers a traditional streetside patio, which gives off a similar storybook ambiance. Greenhouse seating is available by reservation.
Little Tijuana – Newark
Little Tijuana has been making some serious waves in Newark’s Ironbound district since their spring 2021 opening. Chef-Partner David Viana of Heirloom Kitchen has been added as a consultant, so you already know the food and drink menu has been “Top Chef” approved. Also, their outdoor setup offers a little something for everyone—whether you’re into a grass-covered courtyard or rooftop bar. There are plenty of Instagrammable spots too, the likes of neon signs, massive murals and hanging chairs to pose with.
Low Fidelity – Jersey City
Set on Palisade Ave, the back patio at Low Fidelity is a hidden gem amongst The Heights. There are no reservations here but it’s worth the wait to get your hands on their creative Detroit-style pizzas with quirky toppings. In other words, make it a point to get there as soon as humanly possible. You can grab a cocktail at the bar and post up on a wall bench outside if need be. The scene here is cool and casual with string lights hanging overhead, especially charming if you visit at night.
Marcus at NoHu Rooftop – Weehawken
Located in Weehawken, this stylish bar sits atop the upscale Envue Hotel. While their cuisine is renowned–cultivated by Food Network’s Marcus Samuelsson–their outdoor setup isn’t too shabby either. Surrounded by breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, you can sit back amongst their faux lawn, colorful Adirondack chairs, and ample fire pits to stay cozy. Activities such as live DJs and lawn games add another layer of interactive fun to the experience. The rooftop lounge is available by reservation, valid for a two-hour period.
Mathew’s Food and Drink – Jersey City
Though Mathew’s considers itself an American “neighborhood” restaurant, their sophisticated outdoor decor definitely evokes an international flair. Paired with the restaurant’s grey stucco walls and striped awning, their blue wicker seating and quaint tables resemble a Parisian cafe. Following the pandemic, they have expanded this aesthetic out into their street space. Outdoor seating is available by reservation.
Montclair Diner – Upper Montclair
After new ownership and a revitalization in 2019, the Montclair Diner continues to give North Jersey customers that classic diner experience. Owner Eliot R Mosby has set up tables on Valley Road and also seating down the “Valley Alley” with a distinct art vibe. Think live music from jazz bands to DJs and a colorful mural serving as the backdrop. While they have all the diner essentials, keep an eye out for seasonal specials.
Pier 115 – Edgewater
As its name implies, Pier 115’s outdoor dining setup is nestled quite literally on the Hudson waterfront in Edgewater. Enjoy the unique landscape while staying protected under their socially distant, cloth-veiled booths, or soak up some sun from their lounge-style seating. In addition to craft beers and specialty cocktails, Pier 115 serves a wide range of foods from casual American fare to woodfire pizza and sushi. The Edgewater venue operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Pilsener Haus Biergarten – Hoboken
Already a popular hangout, this Hoboken Biergarten remains at the center of the action with a selection of over 70 beers and 15 big-screen TVs. Pilsener Haus occupies a former Grand Street brick factory and has a courtyard replete with wooden picnic-style tables, distressed signage, string lights and seating aplenty. Regulars gravitate towards the giant Bavarian pretzel served with cheese and mustard, but you can’t go wrong with any of their grilled bratwurst or fellow German-inspired entrées.
Raymonds – Montclair
Anyone who’s been to Montclair knows that no trip is complete without a visit to Raymond’s. That being said, its beloved-by-all status can sometimes warrant a hefty wait. (Especially if you want to snag a seat outside.) The layout here is a sea of red tables scattered across the sidewalk and down the alleyway of tree-lined Church Street. Raymond’s boasts a menu full of American diner-style classics from buttermilk fried chicken and baked macaroni and cheese to homemade desserts and sodas.
Restaurant Serenade – Chatham
When naming some of the most iconic fine dining establishments in New Jersey, chances are Restaurant Serenade in Chatham will come up in conversation. They’re most known for their modern approach to French fare. Like many others on this list, they’ve been forced to pivot. Expect the same level of seasonal cuisine but with the option of eating alfresco. Owners Nancy and James Laird have extended their indoor dining room to the parking lot behind Restaurant Serenade, complete with tables and tents.
Samba – Montclair
Samba specializes in Brazilian cuisine, as well as gluten-free and farm-to-table dishes. This Montclair restaurant’s Latin flair is reflected in its design, combining colorful murals and rustic decor to create a stunning, cohesive space. Samba’s streetside dining, complete with golden umbrellas and a wealth of flowering plants, extends this cheerful aesthetic. Samba is open every day from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m., by reservation.
SLA Thai – Upper Montclair
Recently relocated to Upper Montclair, this North Jersey restaurant’s name stands for “Simple, Love, Authentic.” SLA’s passion for bringing people together over a quality meal, specifically Northern Thai Street food, is reflected in their outdoor dining options. Patrons can opt for a more private experience in their alleyway seating, with narrow tables, exposed brick and twinkling lights. Or, you can relish in their cheerful pink storefront from a sidewalk table over a steaming plate of Pad Thai.
Sofia – Englewood
We can confirm that Sofia’s self-proclaimed “unrivaled” outdoor experience lives up to the hype. Its first space consists of a second-story garden room with a retractable ceiling, string lights, teal fabric benches, natural wood tables and a striking tile floor. Beyond this, an additional backyard area opens to fit even more people. Serving up farm-to-table Italian dishes, this New Jersey restaurant’s outdoor dining spaces fit in perfectly with their contemporary cuisine. You can enjoy this area seven days a week by reservation.
South + Pine – Morristown
As we know, many restaurants have had to transform their accommodations to stay safe. South + Pine, the brainchild of renowned NJ chef Leia Gaccione, has gone above and beyond for their community. On a regular night, the street view patio provides a homey spot to enjoy their “seasonal American” cuisine. Gaccione’s chicken and waffles is perhaps one of the most picture-perfect dishes in the state. In the warmer months, however, they have been known to offer live music on Monday nights and Saturday yoga classes, among other events.
Stage House Tavern – Scotch Plains
Constructed in the early 18th century, this Scotch Plains restaurant has a long and important history. Stage House was once the site of political meetings during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The lodging became an upscale establishment serving rustic American fare in 2003. While it is now home to a vibrant nightlife (with happy hour three times a day!), Stage House Tavern makes sure to retain its historical charm. This is exemplified in the patio seating, which feels like an extension of its homey interior with flower-clad pergolas, pendant lights and planters.
Surf City – Jersey City
Holding the title of the “largest outdoor bar in North Jersey,” Surf City has various alfresco settings to choose from. From their sand-floor lounge to their Liberty Harbor waterfront dining tables, each area possesses the breezy energy and lively atmosphere you would expect of a classic beach bar. The same goes for their food—think lobster rolls, burgers, frozen drinks, and lots of beer.
Surf City reopens for the season in May 15, 2021
Tavern 5 – Pompton Plains
The outdoor dining area at Tavern 5 in Pompton Plains begins with a cozy, elevated wooden deck adorned with vine-clad walls and their golden neon signature. It then expands into a yard space, enveloped in tall shrubbery walls and a turf floor, giving the appearance of an enchanting secret garden. While dining here, make sure to try Tavern 5’s hand-crafted cocktails. Check out the strawberry pineapple smash or inventive seasonal specials.
The Hutton – Jersey City
A rotating draft selection and an array of flat-screen TVs make The Hutton an ideal spot for sports lovers and beer drinkers alike. However, they’re also redefining what a “pub” can truly be. You can expect to see favorites like fried cod and chips, but The Hutton goes further with sweet potato tamales and handmade pasta. Their patio is perfect for big groups or simple Sunday brunch. The traditional wood paneling aesthetic extends from the inside out and makes the space feel even more cohesive. Plexiglass partitions remain in place for social distancing.
Central Jersey & Shore Outdoor Dining
Agricola – Princeton
Agricola is Latin for “farmer.” The Princeton restaurant that bears its name specializes in food that is “fresh, down to earth, and full of flavor.” Agricola’s process consists of growing their own food for a farm-to-table approach. In addition, they incorporate fresh ingredients from other local providers. When the weather warms up, you can choose to relish your meal at their bustling streetside seating. This dining area boasts copious views of tree-lined Witherspoon street. Another option is Agricola’s quaint back courtyard, whose tight brick walls and hanging plants create a more intimate feel.
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten – Asbury Park
Spring has sprung at Asbury Festhalle and Biergarten. This beloved Asbury Park restaurant has finally retired its outdoor dining igloos and reopened its spacious rooftop pub. On a sunny weekend afternoon, guests can sit with a stein of their favorite beer and relax at one of their many picnic tables. Regularly scheduled live and local music will also return as the weather gets warmer. Reservations are not necessary but with the rooftop being first come first serve, we highly recommend getting there early.
Birravino – Red Bank
Birravino in Red Bank is moving out its greenhouses and making way for BirraBeach (think live music, spritzes and frosé) and soon, an outdoor Biergarten. Beneath their unique triangular awning and shining string lights, guests can enjoy rustic Italian cuisine. The trattoria’s owner, Vic Rallo, has also created an extensive wine list of more than 100 selections from the major wine-producing regions of Italy.
D’Floret – Lambertville
Started by a husband-and-wife duo, D’Floret is a modern American restaurant with an enticing and secluded patio area. Between the fencing, vibrant trees, fairy lights and simply dressed tables, the space feels like you’re stepping into a neighbor’s backyard. This relaxed atmosphere is paired with elevated dishes that range from light and vegetal chilled pea soup to heavy and savory dry-aged sirloin. Don’t forget about dessert either because profiteroles, crème brûlée, and raspberry tarts are all on the menu.
Iron Whale – Asbury Park
The Iron Whale in Asbury Park screams modern nautical with wave details, netted lights, blue accents, and wide-open spaces. The outdoor dining area is directly on the infamous boardwalk, separated from the passersby with an all-too-appropriate nautical cord. Look directly across and you’ll see the Atlantic while you munch on some fresh seafood.
Marina Grille – Belmar
The tiered deck and massive outdoor bar at Marina Grille give the feeling of a community barbecue every time you dine there. The bar has dividers to provide safety among patrons. Their comfy lounge area offers a fire pit and cushy couches. Grab a table to chow down on fresh seafood, comfort dishes, or sip on a specialty cocktail while you watch the sun set over Shark River.
Mediterra – Princeton
Mediterra has perhaps one of the coziest outdoor dining spots in NJ. Their courtyard opens onto a display of vibrant plants, while the warm brick and soft string lights make for a welcoming dining experience. Mediterra mainly specializes in cuisine from Spain and Italy, but their menu features dishes from 12 different countries. Their prodigious wine list and ingredients from local farms are also draws to this homey spot.
Ninety Acres – Peapack
Once a mansion for the King of Morocco, Natirar is now a boutique hotel that houses Ninety Acres, an upscale restaurant that’s focused on elevating produce from the local landscape. The patio looks out onto a great expanse of endless greenery, with the brick of the mansion’s facade as a backdrop. Fairy lights seem to float overhead, and you’ll be sure to stay late next to the fire pit with a cocktail from their senior mixologist in hand.
Porta – Asbury Park
In just a few weeks, “Porta National Park” will be teeming with hungry diners once again. This Asbury Park pizzeria designed its alfresco gravel patio to resemble a cute nature preserve. Fit with cozy picnic tables, bright red umbrellas, and shady trees, this courtyard is the perfect place to share a slice of pizza. Additionally, their menu offers hearty bowls of pasta, savory sandwiches, and decadent desserts. While reservations for Porta National Park are encouraged, walk-ins are also welcome.
Proving Ground – Highlands
Between the string lights and the water coming right up to the dock, you’ll feel like you’re floating at Proving Ground. Their deck is modern and rustic, mixing iron accents with wood grain and chic fire pits. Proving Ground’s specialty is in bold American comfort food, but their menu is also punctuated with fresh seafood. Reserving a table in advance is highly recommended.
Rat’s Restaurant – Hamilton
While some restaurants feature works of art, Rat’s Restaurant in Hamilton is a work of art. Located inside the infamous Grounds for Sculpture, Rat’s is designed to give visitors the sense they have stepped into a painting by impressionist Claude Monet. Their outdoor patio is surrounded by towering weeping willow trees, tranquil waterfalls, and even a lilied koi pond. Regardless of where guests dine, they will have a beautiful view of Monet’s Bridge, a real-life imitation of the artist’s 1899 masterpiece. The restaurant’s menu boasts an impressive selection of authentic country French cuisine as well as an eccentric list of beers, wine, and cocktails. Just make sure you make a reservation ahead of time, as the restaurant doesn’t take walk-ins.
Red Rock Tap + Grill – Red Bank
Red Rock Tap + Grill has everything you are looking for in your typical sports bar, and more. In addition to having creative pub fare—think wings, burgers, and egg rolls of the month—the eatery also has a tiki bar on its second-level deck. On warm days, this bar becomes a lively hangout spot to sample signature cocktails with friends. From here, you can also look out onto their expansive street-level patio, lined with wooden benches, red umbrellas, and lots of greenery.
Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant – Long Branch
Although this Jersey Shore staple is a product of the ‘90s, the patio at Rooney’s brings back ‘70s retro vibes. With teal and cobalt blue accents and a sightline directly to the ocean, the patio at Rooney’s might as well be directly on the beach. Bask in the sun, or shade yourself behind a palm tree, as you dine on fresh seafood and sip on any one of the beverages from Rooney’s expansive drink menu.
Stone House at Stirling Ridge – Warren
Stone House at Stirling Ridge truly lives up to its name. As you walk out onto the patio, the laid stone starts at the restaurant’s facade and expands across the entirety of the outdoor dining space. Stone House’s outdoor area is divided into three massive trellises. One houses a fully stocked outdoor bar, while the other two support gorgeous twinkling chandeliers above colossal dining tables. Between the lighting and the fire pits, the atmosphere is as bold as can be.
Surf BBQ – Rumson
If you’re looking for a mouthwatering barbeque restaurant at the Jersey Shore, Surf BBQ in Rumson, New Jersey is the place. Surf has an extensive selection of pit-smoked meats and tons of classic American comfort food. (In addition to an extensive selection of artisan beers, bourbons and whiskies.) The venue’s spectacular aesthetics only adds to the delicious experience. Fitting with their Southern theme, they have traditional wooden bench seating both indoors and out.
Tacoria – New Brunswick
At Tacoria in New Brunswick, every day is Taco Tuesday when you dine in their charming outdoor garden. Within the white brick archways of this courtyard, potted plants and dangling vines peek out from every nook and cranny. Picnic tables painted in various shades of green and blue add a pop of color while the string lanterns sparkle above. A colorful mural by renowned visual artist Bradley Theodore welcomes guests to the eclectic patio; the hand-painted skull donning a sombrero contributes to the restaurant’s vibrant atmosphere. The garden even features two wicker porch swings and a retractable roof.
The Frog and the Peach – New Brunswick
This New Brunswick hotspot is run by two Rutgers graduates, and the Garden Room at the Frog and the Peach is the place you’ll want to be for outdoor dining in NJ. Insulated by an array of plants and bamboo accents, the Garden Room is incredibly calming. Normally a space reserved for events and gatherings, The Frog and the Peach has transitioned this area into an outdoor dining space for their diners. The tented area is filled with open-air, and it’s the perfect spot to enjoy Italian, Mediterranean, and French cuisines.
Toscana – Cherry Hill
This Tuscan-inspired restaurant is proud of its roots, and all of Toscana’s dishes reflect the restaurant’s Italian flair. All of the pasta is homemade, seafood is a must, and crudo is also on the menu. Enjoy your favorites on Toscana’s rustic patio. Tall wooden beams make the space feel massive. Black metal accents bring in some modern touches. Antique planters and cream-colored tile pull you right back to Tuscany. Make sure to call ahead to reserve your table.
Undici – Rumson
Frosé season is here, and there’s no better way to celebrate than at Undici in Rumson. This Tuscan-style farmhouse features an open-air brick patio wrapped with deep green ivy vines. From the comfort of their distinctive picnic tables, guests can chat with friends and sip on the eatery’s signature frozen cocktails. Undici is passionate about sourcing the best ingredients for their rustic Italian dishes such as their housemade pasta or brick oven pizza. If frosé isn’t your drink of choice, consider a glass of red or white from their comprehensive wine menu; they’re known for having the largest selection of Italian wines in New Jersey.
Wharfside Restaurant – Point Pleasant Beach
If you love waterfront dining, Wharfside Restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach does it right. From its numerous tables on their outdoor deck, diners can admire the gorgeous hues of the setting sun while indulging in some of the freshest seafood. As you dine, watch fishing boats in the Manasquan Inlet glide by. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Gull’s Island, a conservation area located across the river. You can also head next door to the restaurant’s Patio Bar. Here, you’ll find Wharfside’s enormous wraparound bar, order-at-the-counter food, and live music.
Yankee Doodle Tap Room – Princeton
After a long day of shopping in downtown Princeton, consider grabbing a bite from Yankee Doodle Tap Room. Their bustling patio is located just off the lobby of the Nassau Inn and overlooks historic Palmer Square. In the spring and summertime, the terrace is bursting with color as delicate flowers and lush greenery begins to bloom. Feast on delicious American gastropub cuisine underneath the shade of one of their signature red umbrellas or explore their substantial drink menu. It features 19 craft beers on tap, an excellent wine list, and signature seasonal libations.
South Jersey Outdoor Dining
Blue Pig Tavern – Cape May
Tucked away in Congress Hall Hotel is the historic Blue Pig Tavern. The restaurant has an 1800s-style interior, drawing on the site’s history as the first tavern in Cape May. They also have an extensive outdoor dining setup available that includes a patio with overhead string lights and umbrellas. Although the menu rotates with the season, favorites here are the jumbo lump crab cake and tavern macaroni and cheese with buttery breadcrumbs.
Carlucci’s Waterfront – Mt. Laurel
Carlucci’s Waterfront is a traditional, family-owned Italian restaurant with classic recipes passed down through many generations of the Capuano family. Their relaxing outdoor dining setup is right on Rancocas Creek in NJ. Since it’s facing west, it offers some pretty spectacular sunset scenes. In addition to their traditional outdoor seating, they’ve also added a large outdoor tent. Guests can find more tables to be used up along the water.
Deauville Inn – Strathmere
What’s better than eating on a deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean? Eating right on the beach itself. The recently-opened Deauville Inn offers both. Their dining deck is open year-round and has a canopy just in case a summer storm rolls through. They also have picnic tables with umbrellas right on the beach for guests to experience the most abundant oceanfront dining possible. There are even Adirondack chairs on their lawn space if you’re just looking to relax and watch the sunset.
Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille – Cape May
Everything about Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille feels like summer. Their oceanfront rooftop bar provides picnic-style tables with umbrellas just feet from the sand. Goers can expect live music and a ton of cocktails to choose from. They’re even debuting some new creations for the 2021 season including their Cold Brew White Russian.
Il Villaggio – Cherry Hill
This Cherry Hill restaurant is the closest you’ll probably get to Italy this year. While the interior dining rooms of Il Villaggio have a classic villa feel, their outdoor patio is akin to stepping into another world entirely. Il Villaggio’s enchanting setting is fit with stucco walls, white shutters, grapevine-clad pergolas, and wrought iron decor. And honestly, it feels more Tuscan garden than Garden State. Recently, they have expanded this festive space further with the help of heated tent seating.
Lake House Restaurant – Newfield
Lake House Restaurant in Newfield has one of the most serene outdoor dining setups in NJ. The patio is beautifully built with several two and four-person tables that include a small heater at each if it’s chilly. Tables are separated by vibrant flowers overlooking the water which has a traditional pond fountain creating a calm aesthetic. Guests can venture further down the patio just to sit and acknowledge the beauty of the premises.
Parker’s Garage & Oyster Saloon – Beach Haven
If you’re heading DTS this summer, check out Parker’s Garage and Oyster Saloon. Find solace from the sun when you dine on their breezy outdoor deck, equipped with ceiling fans to keep you cool. With waterfront seating, guests can appreciate beautiful views of Barnegat Bay and picturesque sunsets as they enjoy their meals. This easy-going seafood venue pays homage to Beach Haven’s golden era when Ellis Parker opened a restaurant and later a boat engine repair shop on the site in the 1900s. Every day, this bayside eatery aims to serve the freshest seafood. They’ve even partnered with a local oyster co-op to catch their own signature oyster, the Parker’s Pearl.
Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant – Cape May
Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant has a reputation for being one of the most historic and iconic venues in all of Cape May. Guests can choose to eat inside one of the Georgian mansion’s five upscale dining rooms or on the front porch, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Additional outdoor seating is also set up on the patio where guests can dine even closer to the NJ shore.
Riverwinds Restaurant – West Deptford
Regarded by many as South Jersey’s top waterfront dining experience, Riverwinds has been a popular summer destination for over 10 years. Located on the edge of the River Winds Golf Course, their alfresco seating overlooks both the Delaware and scenic Philadelphia skyline. The West Deptford site is known for its stunning sunset views. Along with their upscale seating and summery decor, Riverwinds of course has a stage for their many live music performances that take place throughout the spring/summer season.
The Beach House – Beach Haven
For those vacationing in LBI this summer, the family-owned and operated Beach House Restaurant is one of the most popular seafood spots on the island. From the outside, the building closely resembles an actual beach house, creating a sense of authenticity for their heavily seafood-influenced menu. Their outdoor dining spaces include a street-facing wrap-around porch with string lights and a separate tented area.
The ChopHouse – Gibbsboro
For a lakeside dining experience, The ChopHouse has indoor and outdoor seating along with a bar overlooking picturesque Silver Lake in Gibbsboro, NJ. Guests can enjoy a specialty cocktail or an in-house dry-aged steak while taking in the views. The modern architecture and openness here create a beautiful layout.
The Diving Horse – Avalon
This understated, seasonal restaurant in Avalon is designed for summer fun with the family. The Diving Horse’s outdoor dining area boasts picnic-style tables, while walls of shrubs and greenery provide tranquil seclusion from the hustle and bustle of summertime tourism in NJ. The menu is simple, offering only a few entrée items, but that just tells you that the Diving Horse sources their ingredients locally and what you’re getting is truly fresh. Drinks are BYOB and the outdoor area operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Gables – Beach Haven
It’s easy to fall in love with (and at) The Gables in LBI. This Victorian-era restaurant has bright flowers, white tablecloths and a strong “happily ever after” feeling. The gracefulness and abundant greenery of the outdoor dining area makes The Gables feel like one of the most peaceful places to eat in NJ.
The Washington Inn – Cape May
The Washington Inn is a staple of historic Cape May. It was first constructed in 1846 and now it serves as a fine dining establishment for the coastal community. With killer surf and turf options, the Washington Inn emphasizes its flair for New American cuisine. In their private outdoor dining area, the brick patio and barrels of greenery give a secluded feeling. Ivy on all sides blends in with the fairy lights above. You’re sure to feel the ambiance of the space while dining out for date night or with the family.
Vintage BYOB – Cape May
Vintage BYOB is a brand new upscale restaurant spot located within the magnificent Physick Estate, a historical Victorian house museum in Cape May. Owned by the Kara family, Vintage serves elevated, American bistro-style cuisine. Their outdoor setup is something out of a movie, located right in a colorful garden with decorative lights and polished outdoor furniture. It’s all these little details, as well as their sophisticated menu, that makes a night out at Vintage unforgettable. Vintage BYOB is currently open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and for dinner Friday through Sunday.
Water Star Grille – Stone Harbor
Since opening in 2013, Water Star Grille at The Reeds has redefined what casual elegance means. Its chic outdoor deck and terrace sit right on the bay connect to a luxury hotel. Views of Pleasant Bay are particularly spectacular at sunset, but the cove is truly dazzling any time of day. The Water Star serves an extensive breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu that encourages shared plates. At this outdoor dining spot, all you have to do is soak up the sun and sip on their classic Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, and other specialty drinks.