Elemental Dining

Outdoor dining at it's best



You can pick up ingredients found on the menu in the adjacent market that includes a butcher shop

Photograph by SKashkin/istockphoto.com

Take advantage of the warmer evenings and sun dappled days by choosing a table outdoors. Whether you prefer waterfront, garden or sidewalk dining, these restaurants serve up terrific meals in a scenic environment.

WATERFRONT DINING

Greenwich

L'Escale Restaurant Bar is on the coveted Greenwich waterfront with a large covered patio overlooking the harbor it's not hard to imagine why this restaurant is the site of many wedding receptions. During the summer you can arrive by boat and tie onto their private dock. With a classic Provençal menu infused with a Mediterranean flare the food is elegant and delicious. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner you should try their D'Huitres (fresh raw oysters), Risotto de Parmesan aux Truffes d'Été, Bouillabaisse and so much more. At their stylish bar and lounge there's live music during the week and on Saturday nights you can get your groove on with their DJ. 

Rowayton

The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood is in a 1900's gray shingled house on the banks of the Five Mile River. Nosh on their traditional seafood fare while you watch the boats sail up and down the river. You can valet park your car or dock your boat. Whether your having brunch, lunch or dinner this is one spot you don't want to miss. Try their Maine Steamers or Littleneck Clams, Lobster Grilled Cheese (gooey and splendid) at lunchtime, and the Sweet Chili Glazed Organic Salmon. You won't be disappointed.

Stamford

Crab Shack at the Crab Shell
This outdoor bar in front of the Crab Shell Restaurant is right on the dock at the end of a 1/4 mile boardwalk over looking the waterfront of the Stamford Landing Marina. It's only open from mid-May to mid-September days and evenings, (weather permitting). You can order treats off the Crab Shell Menu like Chilled Lobster salad, Baked Stuffed Shrimp with béarnaise sauce. Don't worry they also have plenty of tasty food for land lubbers; or nosh on their Crab Shack Platters with perfect bar food like Popcorn Shrimp and Jalapeño Poppers. When you're done eating their delicious sea fare you can dance the night away (Thursday-Sunday) to their great live bands.

Westport

The Boathouse at Saugatuck (Rowing Club) has such gorgeous views of the Saugatuck River that they often host wedding parties and events. Enjoy cocktails and dinner outdoors on their 2nd floor balcony overlooking the river. The views won't be the only thing to wow you here. Their inspired farm to table menu thrills with it's seasonal ingredients and inventive approach to classic Italian techniques. You'll love their Montauk Lobster Salad, Hand Made Ravioli and Red Wine Braised Beef Brisket, to name but a few of their divine offerings.

The River House is located right on the banks of the Saugatuck River. It's a perfect spot for brunch, lunch and dinner. They describe their menu as "classic New England bistro fare." I call it delicious. Serving River House Crab Cakes, Wild King Salmon, and land fare like Italian Antipasto, Roast Pork Chop and so much more. It's an incredible spot for a romantic dinner. Honestly your food tastes better when you watch the light dance off the water as the sun sets. On Thursday nights they have live music, too.

Splash Restaurant and Bar at the Inn at Longshore has an uninterrupted view of the Long Island Sound. Take in the views while you cozy up on the Miami-style couches at their Patio.They serve American fare with Asian flavors. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner be sure try their Raw Bar, Ahi Tuna Tartare, Crackling Calamari Salad, Macadamia Crusted Swordfish, and on and on.

GARDEN DINING

Fairfield

Artisan Restaurant, Tavern and Garden makes the most of it's Farm to Fork philosophy and we reap the benefits. The restaurant itself is so beautiful you might choose to dine in even when the weather is sublime. However once you glimpse their peaceful garden courtyard, you'll find yourself choosing an outdoor table or a seat at the bar. Good luck choosing from the menu, you'll want to order one of everything like the Chilled Thimble Island CT oysters and Cape Cod hard shell clams, Wild Mushroom and Faro Risotto and the Artisan Beef Pot Roast.

Stamford

Zaza Italian Gastrobar shares owners and the same menu with Molto Pizzaria in Fairfield. Their atmosphere has more of an urban flare with a busy bar scene. Their floor to ceiling glass walls in front slide open to include the 5 tables on Broad Street's sidewalk—perfect for people watching. But it's their back patio (that seats 40-45 people) that has a lot of ambiance with a brick wall surrounded by evergreen trees you'll feel like you've escaped the city. Their tradition Southern Italian comfort food is served up tapas style— Mozzarella Tasting Menu, and Crispy Artichokes are favorites, or you can dive into their entree portions of house made pasta like Orecchette Pugliese, Brick OvenPizzas and Baby Lamb Chops. Molto Bene!

SIDEWALK DINING

Fairfield

Osianna Mediterranean Taverna has a generous patio, under a blue and white awning, right next to the sidewalk. Whether you're there for lunch or dinner their appointed breezy decor makes you feel like you're on a Greek island; and if that doesn't transport you then their wonderful food will. You'll be dancing the Syrto after you eat their Grilled Greek Sausage with white beans salad, Greek Risotto, or Bouillabaisse with shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari, sea bass, and raw tomato in a seafood broth.

New Canaan

Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant has taken advantage of the widened sidewalk and now has tables outside. It's the perfect spot for people watching. Should the evening air turn chilly they have a bunch of heat lamps to keep you toasty. Serving lunch and dinner it's hard to choose from their wonderful menu, but the Cava Antipasti with hot and sweet sopressata, hot and sweet peppers, mozzarella, aged provolone and caramelized garlic, Seafood Risotto with local little neck clams, Prince Edward mussels, fresh white shrimp, and diver sea scallops, and the Pappardelle with fire roasted organic chicken are to die for.

Westport

Dressing Room has a lovely ambiance inside with it's barn like interior; but when the weather's nice their outdoor seating under umbrellas is divine. Tucked off of the Post Road along side the Westport Country Playhouse, their "sidewalk" dining feels more like dining on a friend's backyard patio. The food is outrageously good, using seasonal local, natural and organic ingredients and regional American heirloom food. Can't get enough of their Newman Says: "Use a Spoon" Chopped Salad with fresh strawberries, spring peas, baby carrots, asparagus, watermelon radish, Beltane goat cheese, toasted almonds, sea island peas, frisee with a cherry vinaigrette. (Yes, a spoon is helpful for scooping up every last morsel.)

Shake Shack makes pigging out an art form. Get ready for a treat at this "modern day roadside burger stand." Don't be fooled though. While you may chomp on a juicy burger, or hot dog, and lap up the frozen custards in shake or ice cream form, you can also toast your friends with a crisp glass of wine or frothy beer. All while sitting aside the Post Road on their massive deck.

Matsu Sushi was voted Best of the Gold Coast in 2010, and continues to impress us with it's fresh out of the water fish and ever evolving menu and weekly specials like the "Westport Now Roll" made with King crab, asparagus with shrimp, tuna and avocado on top. Matsu's wall of windows and extremely high ceiling gives this restaurant an open, airy feel. Get there early so you can score one of the tables on the sidewalk out front (they have 5).

Wilton

Tom e toes Restaurant and Pizza located in the town center has a large patio outside their bright airy dining room. Dig in to their contemporary Italian-American dishes. Obviously their pizzas are wonderful, but try their award winning Chicken Pizza Crust Club Sandwich it's mouthwateringly good. Also tasty are the Eggplant Rollatini, Portobello Mushroom Salad and their homemade pastas served any way you like it, just like Mamma's.