Dining al fresco at the beach

June 21, 2024

With July Fourth just around the corner, it’s all about the beaches, shopping … and restaurants! Interestingly, one of the (very) thin silver linings around the dark cloud imposed on our local restaurants a few years ago is the increase in outdoor dining venues. The sight of diners relaxing in outdoor gardens, sidewalks, alcoves and porches adds even more of a hometown feel to our Cape Region resort venues.

As you might expect in a family-friendly resort, mid-priced eateries offer the greatest number of outdoor dining choices. And one of the best is Cultured Pearl, with its water-filled rooftop dining area. It’s fun to nibble overtop potential sushi swimming below you. And don’t forget the nearby Avenue-side dining area at Fins Fish House right next to Catchers nearby.

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, the remodeled Zogg’s. This taste of Key West punctuates an outdoor tiki bar with live music in season, burgers and fried alligator – along with the largest selection of rum at the beach.

On the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue, Rich Steele has already inaugurated his amazing paella feast on the back patio at Café Azafran. Give ‘em a call to be a part of this one-of-a-kind, reservations-only treat. In that same block is the popular outdoor people-watching patio at DiFebo’s. A few steps west is Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spirits. They’ve made their colorful and lively outdoor dining area one of the coziest go-to spots on that party-central block.

Sandy toes on a warm day can call for food acquired through a window. Maya Contractor and her French-speaking crew at the tucked-away Café Papillon in Penny Lane (between Rehoboth and Wilmington avenues) whomp up authentic crepes at her in-season-only noshery. About a half-block to the east, hurricanes and nor’easters have tried to put Gus & Gus’ Place out of business, but it’s going to take more than that to move this longtime beach-eats favorite. While you’re strolling downtown RB, don’t forget Purple Parrot’s biergarten, Cilantro’s two patios, the extensive outdoor oasis at Somewhere and of course, the huge deck at Aqua Grill.

Love upscale dining in the sun and under the stars? Back Porch Café is open well into October, and the back porch at the Back Porch serves up breezy sunsets. Victoria’s on the Boardwalk is also a good bet for upscale bites and unobstructed ocean views. Out on The Highway, we can’t forget the flickering outdoor dining room at Michy’s Relaxed Dining. While we’re out there on the (sorta) open road, seems only right to mention the al fresco experiences at Fins Ale House, the new 302 The Local (where Chaps used to be), Touch of Italy, Arena’s and Bushels Crab House.

In Dewey, you can dine in the breeze at several partying rooms at the (relatively new) Starboard Claw. In that same area are Gary’s and Woody’s patios, Jimmy’s open-air watering hole, Nalu’s umbrella-studded deck, and of course the Rudder, The Starboard and the newly remodeled Lighthouse behind the Hyatt on the bay.

‘Tis the season, and we’re at the beach! So grab your knife, fork and crocheted bib to enjoy our long list (waaayyy longer than what I mentioned here) of outdoor breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Bon appétit, y’all.


  • 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

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