Celebrate these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer by eating at restaurants with a view of the water or on an outdoor deck. The following list of restaurants are good choices and range from casual to upscale. Each has something unique to offer: all feature fresh fish with landlubber options available, a liquor license, free parking and are open every day. Most have a raw bar; a few have dock slips, others offer live entertainment and many have been on local “The Best of ” lists.

 

Marnick’s Restaurant

and Rodeway Inn

10 Washington Parkway

Stratford, CT 06115

203-377-6288

Breakfast, lunch dinner

 “Don’t miss the double meat lobster roll served with fries and a side of Cole Slaw,” said many regulars about this right-on-the-beach, family friendly restaurant. Tables with unobstructed views of Long Island Sound are available inside or out on their new deck and bar. Marnick’s is right on Long Beach so save time for a stroll. Next door is The Rodeway Inn which makes spending a few nights here a tempting option.

 

 Costa Azzurra

72 Broadway

Milford, CT 06460

203- 878-6688

Lunch and dinner weekdays, and dinner only on Saturday and Sunday

 

This intimate American-Italian-American family-run restaurant has been in business since 1972. It’s best described as “a hidden gem,” with its unobstructed views of Long Island Sound and Charles Island. A wide selection of seafood and traditional Italian dishes are on the menu with Executive Chef Pietro do Nicolo’s signature dishes of Veal Saltimbocca and Zuppa die Pesce, which is enough to serve two people. Two large and recently renovated beach-side banquet rooms are available for catering and special events.

 

LaRoue Elayne at Cobb’s Mill Inn

12 Old Mill Road

Weston, CT 06883

203-227-7221

Lunch and dinner 

The J.K. Country Café, a stylish coffee bar, with pastries and sundries, will open mid-summer.

Known for its romantic setting and as one of the prettiest places in Connecticut to dine, the former Cobb’s Mill Inn recently re-opened under new ownership by partners Drew Friedman and Elayne Cassara.

Food with an Italian, French and Continental flair is served in several of the newly renovated dining rooms. Nearing completion is the screened deck overlooking the Saugatuck River and its spectacular waterfall for outside dining. Former owner Domenic Cocchia has returned as general manager, assuring past patrons that some of their New England favorites will be back on the menu, but perhaps with a modern twist. He recommends one of Executive Chef’s, Michael Achille’s signature dishes, Siam Style Seafood Stew, but adds, “Not many have French onion soup as good as ours.”

A host of live entertainment will be offered on many nights, ranging from straight plays to cabaret-style entertainment, as well as dancing to live bands.

 

Sunset Grille

52 Calf Pasture Beach Road

Norwalk, CT

203-866-4177

Lunch and dinner 

 

The dining room at Sunset Grille in Norwalk on the harbor. There is also ample seating outside on the deck, offering beautiful (sunset) views. ­— Photo courtesy of Sunset Grille

Although adjacent to Calf Pasture Beach, the entrance to Sunset Grille is from Norwalk Cove Marina and one must meander to the end of the boat yard before finding this family-friendly restaurant. Sit in the dining room with its large picture windows overlooking the sound, at outdoor tables on the water’s edge, or under the awning which offers a little more shade. “Ninety percent of the food we serve is seafood,” says Manager Felipe. “Aside from the traditional clams, oysters and New England chowder, other favorites are pan seared sea scallops, grilled swordfish and Paella ala Valenciana.”

Boat slips are available through Norwalk Cove Marina. Live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, weather permitting.

 

The Restaurant
at Rowayton Seafood

89 Rowayton Avenue

Rowayton, CT

203-866-4488

Lunch and dinner 

 

Yankee Magazine listed this one on its “Best in New England Seafood.” Starting as a fish market in 1996, a restaurant was added the following year. It’s remained the same casual, family-friendly restaurant and has a loyal following of staff and customers. Seating is on the covered porch with stunning views of The Five Mile River. Favorites are Seafood Stew, it’s always been on the menu, plus the usual fare of oysters, chowders and lobsters and innovative seasonal dishes created by Executive Chef Chris North. For more casual eating, the fish market across the way offers take-out with outdoor picnic tables.

Reservations are a must for a boat slip and dinner. Valet parking is available.

 

L’escale Restaurant

500 Steamboat Road

Greenwich, CT 06830

203-661-4600

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch

 

This upscale and sophisticated restaurant overlooks Greenwich Harbor. It’s known for its fabulous bar as well as dining on the picturesque terrace or elegant dining room, which makes this a favorite for Greenwich-ites, especially the suits and stiletto crowd. Its contemporary Provencal menu changes seasonally. Signature dishes are Dover sole with lemon caper Beurre blanc, fresh seafood from the raw bar and dry aged black Angus steaks. Private rooms are available for weddings and other events. The Delamar Hotel with the same waterfront setting is but a walk through the lobby.

Reservations suggested, valet parking.

 

So-No Seafood

100 Water Street

Norwalk, CT 06859

203-854-9483

Lunch and dinner 

 

What started as a fish market in 1983 extended into a popular waterfront restaurant the following year. One can sit inside at this cozy, family-friendly restaurant or on the spacious outdoor deck overlooking Norwalk Harbor. Waiter Ed Pinede describes it as “having a vacation feel without having to leave home.” The galley special is fish and chips; other favorites are seafood platters, lobster pot-pies and homemade chowders, all made by longtime chefs Omar and Gerardo. It’s within easy walking distance of The Maritime Center and charming SoNo.

Four boat slips on a first come basis.

 

 

Harbor Lights

82 Seaview Avenue

Norwalk, CT 06855

203-866-3364

Lunch and dinner 

 “This is a restaurant that happens to be on the water,” said owner Chris Gavrielidis. “The view comes with the restaurant, allowing us to concentrate on the menu.” Open since 2001, the glassed-in dining room terrace overlooks Norwalk Harbor. Although close to Calf Pasture beach, proper attire is required for this tasteful and beautiful restaurant. The contemporary menu has a Mediterranean flair with a signature dish of lobster Sartorini. Another favorite is lobster risotto, chock full of big pieces of lobster.

Reservations needed for dinner and boat slip.