5 outdoor dining spots to check out in Connecticut

Outdoor dining is one of the best aspects of spring and summer.

From seaside views, to rooftop dining experiences, to charming courtyards, there’s nothing like enjoying a good meal and a gorgeous day – check out a few of these outdoor dining experiences this spring for fabulous feasts! 

Luce Middletown

98 Washington St, Middletown.

Luce Restaurant of Middletown, a Tuscan-inspired eatery with a modern American edge, has taken a big step in making its outdoor dining experience more charming; Luce embarked on the ambitious task of designing and building a permanent dining tent extension a few years back, and after many months, the new area is now open to the public.

The tent features a wide variety of luscious floral arrangements and greenery, making for a lovely meal in pleasant downtown Middletown!

Pro tip– don’t overlook the specials here. The Luce staff is known for creating some absolutely delectable dishes that are only available for a short amount of time, so be sure to really take in all the offerings your server mentions.

You might just hear of something that will make your day.

The Wharf

94 West Wharf Road,

Located inside the charming Madison Beach Hotel, The Wharf Restaurant provides not only locally inspired menus with a focus on seafood, but also a stunning beachside view of Connecticut's sparkling shore.

While many people may not consider entering a hotel to enjoy the restaurant, this hotel eatery is like no other.

Enjoy brunch, lunch, or dinner by the waterfront, and then take a stroll along the property grounds.

For a true New England dining vibe, The Wharf is the place to be.

River: A Waterfront Restaurant and Bar

Great Meadow Road, Wethersfield.

The banks of the Connecticut River host only so many restaurants – River: A Waterfront Restaurant and Bar, complete with a large multi-level outside deck, is a Wethersfield gem that calls the river bank home.

This restaurant and bar is proud to boast that they offer a true four-season outdoor dining experience thanks to their infrared radiant heater systems so if it’s a gorgeous but chilly night, River’s got you covered. 

In Connecticut, we’re no strangers to wonky weather, so if you want a great view and meal but don’t want to risk discomfort, keep this spot in mind.

Excellent in all weather, check out River.

Cava Restaurant

1615 West St., Southington.

This Southington spot has made a name for itself across social media thanks to its reputation to reign when it comes to decor.

For the most Instagram-worthy spot in central Connecticut, Cava might take the cake.

Known for the larger than life topiaries, props, and all around glitz that goes into making Cava stand out, it goes without saying that when it comes to outdoor dining, this eatery will have visitors delighted and dazzled.

The rich flavors combined with the overall vibe have made Cava an award-winning restaurant that keeps folks coming back for more from far and wide.

Rooftop 120

120 Hebron Ave.,

For a fun, trendy outdoor dining experience, head over to Rooftop 120, New England’s largest four-season rooftop spot.

Featuring two fire pits, comfy couches, and outdoor heaters, this spot is excellent for making memories on cool summer nights.

While they do a great job with their small plates and offer some phenomenal meal options, this spot can tend to have a little more of a nightlife feel, so keep that in mind when planning our outdoor dining experience.

More on nightlife, don’t miss the entertainment calendar here– each weekend, live entertainers take the stage for a different vibe that can’t be beat.

Check out Rooftop 120 on your next date night or night out with friends!

Connecticut has such a diverse outdoor personality. From rivers and shores to bustling cities, each corner of the state has something unique and wonderful to offer– so go find it, and save room for dessert! Happy (outdoor) dining.

Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. Email Francesca at eastsidevibeswithcess@gmail.com.


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