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‘Tis the season to dine out – outside

September 3, 2021

It’s no secret that our cherished shoulder season seems to be getting shorter every year. But temperate weather brings more opportunities to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner without having to deal with some nasty ol’ roof.

Upscale dining in the sun and under the stars is the order of the day (and night) at Back Porch Café. They are open well into October, and the bi-level back porch is a go-to spot for breezy sunsets. Victoria’s on the Boardwalk is also a good bet for fine dining and direct ocean views. Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spirits on Baltimore Avenue has given their little al fresco dining area an entirely new look. Across the street is Baltimore Avenue’s outdoor party central – Aqua Grill. New ownership has kicked the food quality up to new heights. That new ownership is also part of The Pines with their people-watchin’ porch and veranda. A few steps east is the brand-new Somewhere. Not only can you nest out front for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-nite, but they have a very private foliage-filled dining area in the back. Continue around the corner to Lake Avenue to dine on the deck at Sazio and across the street at Stingray. Up The Avenue near the drawbridge are upscale breakfasts at Egg. Their internationally flavored outdoor bistro is almost always on a wait.

As you might expect in a family-friendly resort, mid-priced eateries offer the greatest number of outdoor dining choices. Near the Boardwalk on Wilmington Avenue is Yolanda Pineda’s Mariachi restaurant, where a seat on the elevated front porch comes with an ocean view. Just across the street is one of Rehoboth’s best-kept secrets, Zogg’s. This little taste of Key West punctuates an outdoor tiki bar with live music, burgers and fried alligator – along with the largest selection of rum at the beach. On the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue, JAM Bistro’s front-porch hi-tops provide a panoramic view of the party life. Across the street, Rich Steele is still doing his amazing paella feasts on the back patio at Café Azafran. Give ‘em a call to be a part of this reservations-only treat. In that same block is the popular outdoor patio at DiFebo’s. On the Boardwalk, Obie’s by the Sea, one of Rehoboth’s most relaxed in-season eateries, punctuates crab cakes, hot dogs and five varieties of burgers with in-season DJs and dancing.

Sandy toes on a warm day often entail food being acquired through a window. Maya Contractor and her French-speaking crew at the tucked-away Café Papillon in Penny Lane whomp up authentic crepes at her in-season-only noshery. In the second block of The Avenue is the sidewalk dining room at Cilantro. Eastward on The Boardwalk, hurricanes, nor’easters and hulking waves have tried to put Gus & Gus’ Place out of business, but it’s going to take more than that to defeat this longtime beach-eats favorite. A few steps south is ocean view-central on the veranda at Greene Turtle. Back on The Avenue is the creatively appointed veranda at Cooter Brown’s Twisted Southern Kitchen & Bourbon Bar. Where else can you enjoy an aerial view of First and The Avenue while digging into a Frito Pie?

No mention of outdoor dining would be complete without Cultured Pearl’s water-filled rooftop extravaganza. It’s fun to nibble and watch potential sushi swimming right below you. Fins Fish House & Raw Bar (adjacent to Hotel Rehoboth) has a small yet festive outdoor dining room. As with their neighbor Claws, people-watching is the order of the day (and night). Directly across The Avenue is the new Sussex Public House with their very private back patio.

Some places even have heaters to take the edge off chilly nights (check out the flaming tornadoes at Victoria’s). So grab your knife, fork, and at some point maybe a sweater, and venture outdoors in downtown Rehoboth Beach. Bon Appétit!

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.

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