There is nothing better than basking in the balmy days of summer with your nearest and dearest and enjoying fine fare, alfresco-style. Whether planning a romantic date night for two or hosting a group of friends and family, this lineup of modish dining establishments offers good times, great food, some with charming sidewalk cafes, some with breathtaking views of New York City’s famed skyline.

Elia {240 Hackensack Street, East Rutherford; 201.939.9292;}
This new Mediterranean hotspot has finally opened its patio, just in time for the season. Comfortably accommodating 46, guests can stay well into the night while dining underneath the string lit patio. Elia’s menu reflects the seasons, and with summer in full swing you can expect specialties like American Red Snapper and Red Seabream. Order the popular Loup de Mer, a charcoal-grilled European bass garnished with lemon and capers. A visit to the raw bar yields both East and West Coast Oysters, Littleneck Clams, and the Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail made with crab from northern Canada. Lightly fried and stewed for 12 hours, the heavenly Braised Lamb Shank is sprinkled with crumbled feta, served with a side of baby carrots and pearl onions.

Joe's Crab Shack Edgewater NJ

Joe’s Crab Shack Edgewater NJ

Joe’s Crab Shack {541 River Road, Edgewater; 201.840.9311;}
A visit to Joe’s Crab Shack promises a memorable time. With room for 85 guests on the outdoor deck, score a picnic table overlooking the George Washington Bridge and the Financial District. When a steaming pot filled with juicy crab, succulent mussels, and shrimp with all fixins’ hit the table, the majestic views won’t hold your attention for too long. Tuck in your bib and get ready for some good ol’ fashioned finger food.
What to eat: For those with voracious appetites, choose from the Steampots menu. The Ragin’ Cajun offers a kick of spice with Pacific Dungeness crab, Queen crab, and smoked sausage. The Arctic Bay features a mouthwatering medley of Snow crab, shrimp, and cold water lobster tail with garlic broth and Old Bay for dipping.
What to drink: The Category 5 Hurricane combines a whirlwind of Bacardi Limón rum, Absolut vodka, Cruzan 151 rum, blue curaçao, and sweet and sour. Topped with a shark and a few drops of grenadine, and you have one dangerously good drink.

View Chart House Weehawken NJ

Chart House in Weehawken, NJ

Chart House {Lincoln Harbor Pier D-T, Weehawken; 201.348.6628;}
Culling from the land and sea, Chart House has it all. Thanks to a million dollar remodel, the outdoor patio provides stunning views of the Empire State Building and Wall Street. On par with summer vibes, the refreshing Burrata and Melon consists of cantaloupe, arugula and lemon vinaigrette, pickled red onions, and strips of prosciutto. A Chart House favorite, the succulent, slow-roasted Prime Rib is served with a helping of Yukon Gold garlic mashed potatoes. Seafaring appetites can dive into the Alaskan King Crab served with drawn butter.

Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen

Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen

Waterside Restaurant & Catering {7800 B River Road, North Bergen; 201.861.7767;}
Looking for a night of romance? Stroll on over to Waterside Restaurant & Catering. Clink glasses with friends on the indoor-outdoor patio while enjoying views of the city. Indulge in Mediterranean appetizers like the Charred Octopus & Calamari Salad and Spicy Tuna Tartar with scallions, cucumber, and crunchy won-ton chips. Pair your mains—whether that be the Baked Lasagnette Alla Bolognese or Braised Veal Osso Buco—with a glass from the wine cellar, featuring varietals from the shores of Italy to the vineyards of Napa Valley.

Pier 115 in Edgewater NJ

Pier 115 Bar & Grill in Edgewater NJ

Pier 115 Bar & Grill {115 River Road, Edgewater; 201.313.2155;}
A wooden walkway leads to the sprawling deck at Pier 115, perched above Hudson River. Offering views of the Manhattan skyline, the riverfront deck seats 60 people, and can hold up to 200 revelers on a busy night. When dusk hits, the venue converts into a nightclub. Fuel up before hitting the dance floor with a bevy of new summer menu items, including salmon with black rice and lime sabayon sauce or order the sushi platter for the table. What’s a celebration without libations? Choose from a selection of 90 craft beers or peruse a roster of cocktails. The Orange Ripple, crafted with Ketel One Orange vodka, Malibu Passion Fruit rum, orange juice, and passion fruit, is the perfect summertime drink.

Le Jardin Patio

Le Jardin in Edgewater, NJ

Le Jardin {1257 River Road, Edgewater; 201.224.9898;}
Bistro vibes can be felt by all at Le Jardin. Indulge in French-Continental dishes, including the Steak Au Poivre with grilled New York strip and pommes frites or the French Cut Chicken while soaking up the sights on the large outdoor patio & bar.  All in view of the bustling New York skyline. Sink a spoon into the decadent Crème Brûlée to complete the experience. (Editor’s note: Le Jardin is featured on the cover of the Summer 2018 issue.)

Locale Cafe & Bar {208 Piermont Road, Closter; 201.750.3233;}
Beyond the swanky, white tablecloth interior lies Locale’s outdoor oasis. The endearing patio bursts with bright colors of orange and pink, outfitted with a number of shade providing umbrellas. Beyond sounds of hushed conversations, a waterfall quietly trickles in the background creating a getaway experience.

GRK Grill {39 Union Avenue, Cresskill; 201.399.7670;}
Crab cakes, mussels, oysters, and bait fish imported from Greece top the summer menu at GRK Grill. The restaurant will also unveil a new outdoor bar and patio. The patio will boast a cocktail menu, featuring cosmopolitans, martinis, and cotton candy flavored drinks. Fresh from the sea, the Branzino and Red Snapper are fan favorites while the the classic gyros drizzled with housemade GRK sauce is a popular takeout item.

Sicilian Sun Patio

Sicilian Sun in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

The Sicilian Sun {604 North Maple Avenue, Ho-Ho-Kus; 201.444.3494;}
What better way to enjoy classic Italian than with a little BYOB action on the open-air patio? Everything at the Sicilian Sun—a New Jersey staple—is made from scratch. From the pasta to the marinara sauce, the team here prepares everything fresh daily. Antipastos range from the Grilled Octopus to Seared Shrimp and Sea Scallops served with sautéed broccoli rabe. Choose from homemade Lasagna, the crispy, five-cheese Napolitano pizza, or the famous Veal Marsala, which Chef Billy Wilkins butchers in-house. Top your meal off with a scoop of gelato or a slice of pistachio cheesecake imported straight from the homeland.

By Lianna Albrizio