Let’s Take This Outside! Al Fresco Dining in the Garden State

If there’s one way to make already-delicious food taste even better, it’s eating it outside, in great weather. Check out this list of the Jersey Bites team’s favorite restaurants offering can’t-miss al fresco experiences.

By Andrew Farinaccio

André’s Restaurant, 112 Tomahawk Trail, Sparta Township, 973-726-6000 (pictured at top)
Newly relocated on beautiful Seneca Lake in Sparta, André’s Restaurant features elegant lakeside dining. Chef and owner André deWaal offers French cuisine with an Asian flair. —Veronique Deblois

Avon Pavillion
Avon Pavillion

Avon Pavillion, 600 Ocean Avenue, Avon-by-the-Sea, 732-775-1043
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner paired with a breathtaking view of the sea. An restaurant where “the only thing finer than the view is the cuisine.” Dinner offerings include fresh, local seafood, prime-aged steaks, and farm stand produce, all part of a gourmet menu. Andrew Farinaccio

Back Bay Ale House, 800 N. New Hampshire Avenue, Atlantic City, 609-449-0006
Casual dining in Atlantic City’s Gardner’s Basin, with beautiful bay views from the outdoor deck. Features pub menu and house specialty mason jar drinks. —Mary Wozniak

Blue Fish Grill, 50 Mine Street, Flemington, 908-237-4528
Serves fresh, delicious food in a comfortable atmosphere. Menu highlights a variety of different seafoods, with dishes like Latin Mahi Bowls and Fried Catfish Po Boys, alongside some “turf” options as well. —AF

Blue Pig Tavern Exterior
Blue Pig Tavern

Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall, 200 Congress Place, Cape May, 609-884-8422
Classic American comfort food served in the garden patio. Farm-to-table menu featuring fresh produce and eggs from their own Beach Plum Farm. —MW

Chef’s Garden at Crystal Springs Resort, 3 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, 973-827-5996
This breathtaking outdoor restaurant provides guests a unique garden-to-table dining experience set amidst beautiful organic vegetables, flowers, herbs and a Kittatinny Mountains backdrop. Guests can watch as the chefs pick the ingredients from the surrounding gardens and use them to prepare a meal right in front of their eyes. —VD

The Clean Plate, 49 Main Street, Clinton, 908-200-7610
Specializes in “feelgood food,” prepared with organic and locally sourced ingredients. Lunch and dinner menus have something for everyone with plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Outdoor seating features serene riverside views set in the heart of Clinton. —AF

Essex Junction, 90 Washington Street, Bloomfield, 973-680-8110
Essex Junction offers al fresco seating, with 40 seats serving the full menu: lunch, dinner, brunch, and happy hour.

The Frog and the Peach
The Frog and the Peach

The Frog and the Peach, 29 Dennis Street at Hiram Square, New Brunswick, 732-846-3216
Enjoy one of downtown New Brunswick’s finest dining establishments with the added ambiance of covered garden patio seating. Executive Chef and Owner Bruce Lefebvre’s seasonally inspired, modern American cuisine has garnered rave reviews from both casual diners and critical reviewers for years. The restaurant offers an extensive wine list, specialty cocktails, and menus highlighting local ingredients with a creative flair.—Amanda Biddle

Halifax at the W Hoboken, 225 River Street, Hoboken, 201-253-2500
The restaurant is named for the capital of Nova Scotia and is influenced by the farm and coastal cuisine found from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. Halifax features outdoor dining with beautiful riverside views of the Manhattan skyline.—Marina Kennedy

Landshark Bar and Grill at Resorts Hotel and Casino, 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-431-4120
Beachfront dining on the sand side of the boardwalk. New summer menu for 2016 includes sriracha crunch burgers and “Who’s to Blame” margaritas.—MW

Maritime Parc, 84 Audrey Zapp Drive, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, 201-413-0050
Overlooking Liberty Marina, the Hudson River, and the glorious Manhattan skyline, Maritime Parc’s al fresco space seats 60 for à la carte dining, 30 in the bar area. Also available for private cocktail parties or dinners for 100 to 200 guests on Monday and Tuesday.—VD

Matt's Red Rooster Grill
Matt’s Red Rooster Grill

Matt’s Red Rooster Grill, 22 Bloomfield Avenue, Flemington, 908-788-7050
A contemporary American BYOB restaurant specializing in highlighting locally grown and harvested ingredients integrated into dishes prepared atop a wood-fired grill by Chef Matt McPherson. Porch seating provides a “relaxed and refreshing” outdoor dining experience.—AF

Moonstruck, 517 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park, 732-988-0123
With a menu featuring classic comfort food dishes rejuvenated by light, healthy preparations and fresh ingredients, the moon isn’t the only thing you’ll be struck by at this Mediterranean-American Grill. The views from countless windows and the wraparound porches of Moonstruck’s multistory Victorian-style building provide the perfect compliment to a delightful summertime meal.—AF

Moonstruck 2

Rat’s Restaurant at Grounds for Sculpture, 16 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 609-584-7800
Savor Rat’s renowned French country cuisine and handcrafted cocktails in a breathtaking, Giverny-inspired setting. Patio seating available against the backdrop of the lily pond and bridge, with views of Seward Johnson’s impressionist-inspired sculptures. Offering lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, and happy hour Tuesday through Friday. Dining reservations recommended.—AB

Rebecca’s, 236 Old River Road, Edgewater, 201-943-8808
Offers authentic Cuban and Caribbean cuisine prepared with handpicked ingredients to insure freshness and full flavor. Cliffside patio dining turns delicious meals into unforgettable experiences.—AF

Ryland Inn
Ryland Inn

The Ryland Inn, 115 Old Highway 28, Whitehouse Station, 908-534-4011
Dine on some of New Jersey’s most inventive dishes, prepared by Executive Chef Craig Politano in a peaceful and spectacular setting on the patio at The Ryland Inn. The dining area is flanked by a grand fireplace and offers an outdoor bar convenient for a quick before-dinner cocktail.—VD

Springs Bistro at Crystal Springs Resort, 3 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, 973-827-5996
Springs Bistro features authentic Tuscan-inspired cuisine with outdoor patio seating. Guests will enjoy fresh local ingredients presented with artistic flair. Enjoy dining with a Mexican twist at this Crystal Springs Resort casual poolside café. Enjoy a creative cocktail or tequilas from the extensive list.—VD

Tacoria, 56 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-317-2070
A newly opened, taqueria-style “Mexican street kitchen” situated on Easton Avenue, the heart of Rutgers University’s College Avenue campus. Excels in preparing affordable, freshly made, authentic Mexican cuisine, including tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, nachos, and tortas. Enjoy a delicious meal paired with comfortable, rustic atmosphere in the backyard patio area.—AF

Trattoria Proccacini, 354 Nassau Street, Princeton, 609-683-9700
Princeton’s “Natural Italian Kitchen” offers authentic, comforting Italian classics featuring artisan pastas and locally-sourced meats and seafood. Enjoy relaxed seating on the outdoor patio with a bottle of Hopewell Valley Vineyards wine or BYOB. —AB