Outdoor Dining Spots in the Neighborhoods

The George Gershwin lyric “summertime and the living is easy” is all the more enticing during summer, especially when livin’ is particularly easy and fun in figuring out where to indulge at delectable outdoor dining hotspots within the neighborhoods. Whether for spontaneous afternoon nibbles on sumptuous salads or finger foods beside the canals or planned evenings out, there are outdoor dining hotspots “on the menu” Your NewsMag discovered that might be worth a visit.

nawlin's patioNawlin’s patio in Freeport for southern cooking and jambalaya

Open since Memorial Day, the newest member in the south Merrick neighborhood along the Merrick Bay corridor that could soon come to rival Freeport’s Nautical Mile, SALT impresses with its open air dining layout that overlooks Merrick Bay as it impresses with its choice of tasty seafood dishes that fit its outdoor dining ambience.

Diners can spend an hour indoors at the bar unwinding indoors from an afternoon of work, shopping or plowing in the garden by imbibing in a selection top-shelf cocktails s before being seated at an outside table, warm breezes continuing the mood. Local musicians play favorite songs four nights a week as revelers can partake in several already popular house dishes to please the palate.

SALT, for Sea And Land Together, offers several best-selling signature dishes such as Fish Tacos and Red Snapper that will ‘jump” off the plate. There is also a northern take on southern Chicken with Waffles, as well as a host of other dishes.

Red Snapper is pan-seared in a spicy dry rub and placed atop a risotto cake. The fish is delicate and flaky – if slightly crusted on the outside, and the risotto – which has come with crab cakes in the past, so ask for them – warm and easy.  Fish tacos, of which there are three, are made of cod in a buttery beer batter with a hint of sweetness, are flaky, wrapped in soft tacos and topped with cabbage and tomato drizzled with a chipotle mayo drizzle. A section of lime is included for adding extra zest to the meal.

caramiadueCara Mia Due in Seaford has a romantic outdoor dining spot in the alleyway

They can also be ordered on the brunch menu, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.

Chicken with waffles are pieces of lightly fried chicken strips over a Belgian waffle that includes a mildly spicy honey sauce for dipping the chicken and pouring over the waffle. These are also available in the brunch menu.

For broccoli lovers, one distinctive appetizer that will wake the palate is Broccoli and Burrata, charred crunchy stalks of broccoli that are transformed with the smooth creamy taste of burrata cheese mixed throughout. Calamari rings are crispy on the outside, tender and soft on the inside. They come with either a marinara or Thai sauce, at the diner’s request.


When dining out and hoping to be seated outdoors, diners may wish to take a look at their surroundings to see how the restaurant approaches the outdoor dining experience.  Ivan Sayles, proprietor of the new Nawlin’s restaurant in Freeport – as well as owner of Rachel’s – remarked that diners have several reasons for requesting outdoor dining, from the fresh air to the openness of the environment – to even people gazing.

At Nawlin’s he gives diners two choices for outdoor dining: close to music, and separate from music. Being close to the music involves being closer to the bar bands that will play, and the bar.  The restaurant’s other outdoor dining deck overlooks the Freeport canal, and is quiet, offering opportunities to view cormorants and other birds in the water or flying, or to witness the moon reflecting off the water, within a more romantic setting.

Nawlin’s is an authentic slice of New Orleans gastronomy, offering jambalayas and po’ boys, chowders with crawfish, and a variety of seafoods such blackened redfish. The restaurant serves up beignets, and features the signature Hurricane cocktail.

whitewhaleThe White Whale in Seaford celebrates 25 years this year, with  cozy intimate outdoor seating

At Rachel’s, there is an area of the restaurant for outdoor seating that can double as an enclosure to protect against weather elements if the weather suddenly changes. Glass doors atop the enclosure simply slide open in good weather, and slide shut during rainy weather.

The Clubhouse, at the intersection of the Bellmore Canal and Club House Canal – at the tip of Clubhouse Road in Bellmore –is a restaurant that wants to be an easy-living dining hotspot away from home.

Offering lunch, dinner and late-night snacks in an open-yet-cozy setting with cool breezes coming off the canals, The Clubhouse is a dream come true for former Merokian Lenny Zross. He purchased the building six years ago but had to endure the destruction from both Hurricanes Irene and Sandy before finally being able to open the restaurant last year.

Diners can come by boat for casual dining because there are 15 dockside slips for docking boats. The open air space is particularly useful for fun with the family, as games such as bean bag throws are front-and-center on the oversize deck while diners revel in spacious dining arrangements within the restaurant.

Plenty of seafood and Mexican appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, pastas and seafood entries make up an enticing menu from a new chef.

For Sergio DeCiantis, owner of Cara Mia Due in Seaford, many people love to sit outside in his outdoor section because of the ambience, such as the paintings on the wall and the music played. Indeed, Cara Mia Due’s outdoor section is an enclosed area between two buildings that exudes the charm of an old-world Italian eatery.

Offering fine traditional specialties from recipes his grandmother created, diners have a choice in summer of where to dine to indulge in classic creations such as lasagna, eggplant rollatini, flounder francese and  Shrimp monachino – among many entrees and appetizers.


The While Whale In Seaford Is celebrating its 25th anniversary and provides plenty of cozy outdoor dining for a leisurely evening out to rake advantage of the surrounding water views. Henrietta Hoppl comes from a long line of restaurant owners, as her father was Carl Hoppl, well-known restaurateur on Long Island who owned several restaurants.

She explained to Your NewMag that she believes in customer service and only serving the quality of food that she herself would eat.

Seafood is the star feature of The White Whale. Try the Mussels Bianco in a fresh garlic white wine sauce for an appetizer, the Alaskan King Crab Legs and New York Sirloin combo for main course or our fresh live lobsters prepared anyway you like it.

White Whale serves continental cuisine with daily blackboard specials, and is open seven days a week. You can come by land or sea, high tide for large boats. There is a private party room for catering for all occasions


Carol Schmertzler Siegel wrote on a facebook page that “Anchor Down has a really nice outdoor patio and we loved the shrimp tacos and crab dip. It’s a great neighborhood place, besides convenient, and it’s cozy and delicious. We have never been disappointed.”

 Christine Bucca Cacioppo wrote on a facebook page that “We like Rachel’s. Inside or out, there’s a nice canal view and the food is very good.  We also like Pier 95 for the same reasons.”

She added that Villa D’Aqua in Bellmore has an outdoor patio and serves delicious food as well.

                                                              DOUGLAS FINLAY





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