The latest update for this article was written by Lindsay Podolak.
There’s nothing like al fresco dining to fully enjoy summertime in New Jersey. It’s the perfect time to head outside for a meal with a breeze… and maybe a view, too! That’s why all of the below eateries & restaurants offer outdoor seating; now all that remains is picking the cuisine you want to enjoy. Tacos? Pizza? Something a little fancier? We’ve got you covered.
So grab your friends — and your appetite! — and embrace the beautiful summer air in the Garden State.
Location: 2 Washington Street, Mount Holly
Details: The outdoor patio at Robin’s Nest is situated right on the Rancocas Creek in Mount Holly’s beautiful historic downtown shopping district. Offering both vegetarian and gluten-free options, Robin’s Nest is sure to please everyone at the table. For example, this is the kind of place that you can get classics like BBQ beef brisket; or take a walk on the wild side with maple cajun salmon. Whatever floats your boat! And be sure to stop by on Tuesdays or Wednesdays for the Thrifty Menu, which features a special menu that includes soup or salad for $16.95.
Why I like it: Don’t want to decide on just one soup? The Soup Sampler gives you a taste of three of the daily soups.
More info: www.robinsnestmountholly.com or call 609-261-6149
Location: 1739 Cooper Street, Deptford
Details: Once the home of the Lakeview Inn, a coach stop in the 1700s, Filomena’s still has little pieces of its past all over the place. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy an authentic Italian meal. Stop by Filomena’s to get your pasta fix – hello, gnocchi! – or indulge in some fresh seafood. Not up for a full Italian meal? Just grab a delicious brick oven pizza, sit on the outdoor deck, and call it a day.
Why I like it: The name of the restaurant says it all…enjoy a view of the lake while dining al fresco.
More info: www.filomenalakeview.com or call 856-228-4235
Treno Pizza Bar
Location: 233 Haddon Avenue, Westmont
Details: Treno Pizza Bar is a place with a lot of options. Here are some things you might want to think about before heading over for a delicious, rustic Italian meal: Are you in the mood for wood- or brick-oven pizza? Treno has both. Do you want to sit inside or at the year-round patio? It’s enclosed, so even in the winter you’re good to go here. And, perhaps most importantly, which glass of wine are you going to pair with your pizza? Like I said, a lot of options here – and they’re all amazing!
Why I like it: Save room for dessert so you can indulge in the brown butter and rosemary shortbread cookie with vanilla gelato.
More info: www.trenopizzabar.com or call 856-833-9233
Location: 167 Park Avenue, Rutherford
Details: Like Filomena’s Lakeview, Café Matisse has a little bit of history in its walls. Once a horse and buggy firehouse, this spot now has a dreamy feel. The patio is modeled after a European garden, and the dining room is appropriately themed after Henri Matisse. And the menu is as unique as the venue itself. With seasonal specials (like the insanely beautiful grilled shrimp dish pictured), it’s always a good night to stop by Café Matisse. The menu is jam-packed with chef and owner Peter Loria’s incredible creations – and the dessert menu rivals the dinner menu when it comes to options that’ll make your mouth water just reading about them. So, what I’m trying to say is get to Café Matisse ASAP for a truly one-of-a-kind night out.
Why I like it: No need to travel to France – you’ll feel as though you did when sitting on the patio surrounded by the lush greenery of the European garden.
More info: cafematisse.com or call 201-935-2995
Location: 757 Eagle Rock Avenue, West Orange
Details: The Highlawn Pavilion takes you right up to the top of Eagle Rock Reservation — and the patio boasts an incomparable view of the NYC skyline. Originally a summer home, Highlawn still has the feel of a luxurious getaway spot – even if you’re only there for the time it takes to devour a perfectly prepared salmon dinner (see pictured at your own risk). This is the place to go if you’re feeling extra-fancy for date night — or looking to celebrate a special occasion. Although, you could argue that dining at Highlawn is a special occasion in and of itself!
Why I like it: The dinner menu is full of delectable seasonal fare sourced from the property’s Pleasantdale Chateau Farm, Greenhouses and Orchards.
More info: www.highlawn.com or call 973-731-3463
Location: 720 Ashley Avenue, Brielle
Details: If you’re in the mood for seafood by the sea, Shipwreck Grill is your spot. In fact, this casual eatery is a seafood lover’s dream. The menu is huge and every inch of it is covered in incredible options. Seared sesame tuna in a ginger soy demi-glaze? Yes, please. Feeling a little bit more low-key than that? Sit in the enclosed outdoor patio and go for the classic linguine and clams dinner. Or maybe take a page out of my book and just make a meal out of appetizers. I’m looking at you, coconut shrimp and crab cakes.
Why I like it: Looks are deceiving at this unassuming seafood shack– both the food and cocktails consistently receive rave reviews from the guests.
More info: www.shipwreckgrill.com or call 732-292-9380
Location: 622 Green Avenue, Brielle
Details: A sun-drenched deck offers breathtaking views of the Manasquan River and Hoffman’s Marina. The menu is filled with hearty options to ease you from light, summer fare into those warmer fall meals. But if you’re in total denial that the cooler weather will eventually be back again, stick to the seafood. The lobster and shrimp roll is a must-have! And if you’re looking for vegetarian or gluten-free menus, Waypoint 622 has your back.
Why I like it: The 12 new beer taps pouring pints at a cool 45 degrees are the perfect accompaniment to a summer afternoon spent on the deck.
More info: www.waypoint622.com or call 732-528-6665
Location: 112 Tomahawk Trail, Sparta
Details: Andre’s was a Newton staple for more than a decade, but has recently relocated to Sparta — where they now boast a beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the outdoor patio. Andre’s describes its menu as “French cuisine with an Asian flair” and, as you’ll see from the options, it delivers. My stomach is growling just thinking about the salmon-smoked potato chips.
Why I like it: Andre’s also offers cooking classes where you can learn how to use spices or make homemade pasta, so be sure to check the website for the schedule.
More info: www.dresrealfood.com or call 973-726-6000
Location: 7800 River Road, North Bergen
Details: The Miami vibes are in abundance at Waterside, so be ready for a colorful, fun night out when you visit this spot. Known for its skyline views and outdoor dining (which puts you thisclose to the Hudson River), Waterside has an expansive menu with a wide range of options to please every palate. Filet mignon, veal Milanese, and buffalo mozzarella ravioli are just a few of the mouthwatering dishes you’ll find at Waterside. Between that and the view, what are you waiting for?
Why I like it: Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 3:00 to 6:00 pm…half-price cocktails and the best view in town!
More info: watersiderestaurantandcatering.com or call 201-861-7767