Waterfront Restaurants In CT: Top 23 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn
A cocktail in a tall glass at a waterfront dining spot that scored Readers Choice Category wins from Connecticut magazine

There’s something magical about dining by the water, no? The gentle waves, the salty breeze, and the fresh oysters that practically melt in your mouth. Connecticut’s waterfront restaurants offer all that and more, turning a simple meal into a truly memorable night. Whether you’re planning a romantic night out or a fun family gathering, these spots promise great food and stunning views.

Ready to explore the best waterfront restaurants in CT? Let’s get into it:

Quick Hits:

Connecticut’s Waterfront Treasures:

  • From upscale spots in Fairfield County to the diverse eateries in New Haven County, you’ll find picturesque views and delicious meals at any of these waterfront dining spots.

  • For luxury, check out L’Escale in Greenwich or Prime in Stamford. If you’re after a laid-back vibe, the Beer Garden at Shippan Landing is perfect.

Scenic Dining in Connecticut River and New London County:

  • Fresh Salt in Old Saybrook and Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank are must-tries for their fresh, local seafood and charming New England ambiance.

Alfresco Ambiance: Outdoor Dining by the Water

Outdoor dining by the water with a view of the harbor

Outdoor dining by the water is a treat for the senses. Imagine sitting at Pier 131, enjoying fresh oysters while watching boats drift by. Or sipping a signature cocktail at Outriggers as the sun dips below the horizon over the Connecticut rivers and Long Island Sound. At Fresh Salt, the first-come, first-serve seating lets you soak in the sights and sounds while savoring your meal.

Must-Visit Spots:

  • Pier 131: Fresh oysters that’ll make your taste buds dance.

  • Outriggers: Perfect for sunset cocktails.

  • Fresh Salt: The ultimate alfresco dining experience.

Whether it’s the stunning shoreline views or the mouth-watering dishes, Connecticut’s waterfront restaurants ensure every meal is an event to remember.

Restaurants on the Water in Fairfield County

L'Escale, a scenic waterfront dining spot in Fairfield County

Fairfield County, Connecticut’s shining star, boasts some of the best waterfront dining around. Whether you’re in the mood for a laid-back beachside cafe or a fancy restaurant, this county has got you covered. The variety of cuisines and vibes is as wide as the ocean itself, making every meal an adventure.

Some of these spots have even made it to the top 10 waterfront restaurants in the country! What really makes them special? It’s the combo of stellar service, high-quality food, and of course, those killer views. Dining here is like a mini-vacation, from the peaceful Connecticut River to the buzzing New Haven County.

L’Escale | Greenwich

Perched right on Greenwich Harbor, L’Escale Restaurant is a real gem. As the town’s only waterfront dining option, it offers:

  • An intimate setting

  • A breathtaking patio that overlooks the harbor

Founded in 2002, L’Escale has seen its share of storms but remains a local favorite. The Provencal decor will make you feel like you’ve been whisked away to the Mediterranean. Chef Frederic Kieffer’s French-inspired menu includes delights like Seared Sea Scallops and Amish Chicken “Coq au Vin” Style. This top pick of waterfront restaurants in Greenwich, CT, is perfect for a special night out!

Prime | Stamford

Prime Stamford, the next qualifying restaurant on the list of restaurants on the water in CT

Prime in Stamford, CT, is where luxury meets creativity. With a stunning glass wall showcasing water views and a wine room with over 750 labels, it’s a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

The menu is a mix of seafood, hand-rolled sushi, and prime steaks. Raw bar favorites and filet mignon? Yes, please! Plus, there’s parking, a chef’s table, gluten-free options, and wheelchair access. Prime is not just a meal; it’s an experience.

Crab Shell | Stamford

If you’re a seafood lover who enjoys a lively atmosphere, Crab Shell in Stamford is your spot. Right across from Harbor Point, it offers a party vibe with live music. The menu has something for everyone, seafood and non-seafood alike.

A cool feature of this top pick of Stamford restaurants? You can get there by car or boat, making it a fun destination for a summer day out.

Beer Garden at Shippan Landing | Stamford

Looking for a casual spot with a fun atmosphere? Head to the Beer Garden at Shippan Landing. Located by the water, it’s a mix of food trucks, craft beer, and live music. Perfect for unwinding after a long day or meeting up with friends for a night out in Stamford.

With a rotating lineup of food trucks, there’s always something new to try.

Ripka’s Beach Cafe | Norwalk

Classic convertible car at an outdoor dining spot on the beach in Norwalk, Connecticut

Ripka’s Beach Cafe is the perfect spot for some laid-back beachside dining. Located on Calf Pasture Beach, this casual hangout serves up fresh Copps Island Oysters and hosts fun events with live music in the spring, summer, and fall.

Open all year, Ripka’s is great for a lazy weekend brunch or a romantic sunset dinner. Picture this: toes in the sand, oysters on your plate, and a cool sea breeze. It’s a slice of beachy heaven.

Siena | Norwalk

A bowl of pasta while enjoying outdoor dining by the water

Siena in Norwalk is your go-to for a mix of traditional and modern Italian dishes. Here’s what you can expect at this top Norwalk restaurant:

  • Fresh pasta made daily

  • Wood-fired artisanal pizzas

  • An extensive wine list and high-end cocktails

Perched by the Norwalk River, Siena offers a sophisticated dining experience with an authentic Italian vibe. Perfect for lunch or dinner, it’s like taking a quick trip to Italy without leaving Connecticut.

The Boathouse at Saugatuck | Westport

A truly memorable night at a fantastic outdoor dining spot near New Haven

The Boathouse at Saugatuck in Westport, CT, is where elegance meets comfort. Think white tablecloths and locally sourced seafood with a new American twist. This waterfront spot offers stunning views and a refined dining experience, making it a must-visit for a special night out.

Boca Oyster Bar | Bridgeport

If you’re a seafood lover, Boca Oyster Bar in Bridgeport is a dream come true. With Mediterranean fare and water views, this Bridgeport restaurant offers a unique dining experience. The menu has everything from raw bar favorites to vegan dishes, catering to all tastes.

Looking for a vibrant hub with live music, brunch, and dinner options? Boca Oyster Bar has you covered.

Foundry Kitchen and Tavern | Sandy Hook

A big bowl of noodles, plus outdoor dining, makes for a special evening

Foundry Kitchen and Tavern in Sandy Hook blends history and delicious food. Located in a historic building by the Pootatuck River, this spot offers:

  • Handcrafted cocktails and local spirits

  • Charcuterie and local cheeses

  • Poke bowls and short ribs

  • Vegan options like the Impossible Patty Melt

Whether you’re into history, food, or both, Foundry Kitchen and Tavern is a must-visit.

Outriggers | Stratford

Outriggers in Stratford, CT, is a hidden gem in the Safe Harbor Marina. Known for fresh seafood, lobster rolls, and blackened scallops, it’s a laid-back spot with stunning views. With a lively happy hour and live entertainment every weekend, it’s a fun place to relax and enjoy great food. Whether you’re into boating or just love good eats, Outriggers is worth checking out.

Pier 131 | Shelton

If you’re ever in Shelton, CT, and craving a meal by the water, Pier 131 is your go-to spot. Located right on the Housatonic River, it’s the perfect mix of great food and beautiful views.

Here’s what makes Pier 131 special:

  • Delicious food with options for everyone

  • Stunning waterfront views

  • Fun activities like live music, karaoke, and trivia nights

  • A varied menu featuring fresh oysters, salads, sandwiches, and pizzas

Pier 131 has something for everyone, which is probably why it’s snagged a few “readers choice” awards. Whether you’re up for a lazy brunch or a relaxing dinner after a long day, this place has got you covered. So next time you’re in the mood for good food and good vibes, you know where to go!

Waterfront Dining in New Haven County

Stunning views and exceptional service at waterfront restaurants in New Haven County

If you’re a foodie who loves dining with a view, New Haven County’s waterfront restaurants are where it’s at. Imagine eating delicious food while enjoying stunning views of the water—pure bliss. Some of these spots are even nationally recognized, ranking among the top 10 waterfront restaurants in the country. From the peaceful Long Island Sound to the lively energy of New Haven, dining here is a special treat.

Dockside Brewery | Milford

Dockside Brewery in Milford, Connecticut, is perfect for a fun summer outing. Here’s what they offer:

  • Multi-level decks

  • Indoor and outdoor bars

  • A waterfront biergarten

  • A sandy beach area

Their menu has something for everyone, including casual favorites and New Haven-style pizza. Whether you love beer, pizza, or just a good time, Dockside Brewery is a must-visit.

Stonebridge Restaurant | Milford

Stonebridge Restaurant, known to locals as the “Bridge,” started as Milford Seafood in 1949. It has grown into a fancy dining and catering spot. They still serve fresh seafood, but their menu has expanded to delight all kinds of taste buds. Whether you’re a seafood fan or not, there’s something here for you.

Dive Bar & Restaurant | West Haven

Contact services account to ensure you get a table in your ideal spot

Dive Bar & Restaurant in West Haven is a favorite hangout. It’s got the best views of Long Island Sound and a friendly, casual vibe. It’s perfect for relaxing with a cold beer and some tasty food after a long day.

Shell and Bones Oyster Bar and Grill | New Haven

Shell and Bones in New Haven’s historic City Point area offers a unique dining experience. With a deck overlooking the water and a cozy dining room with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, you get amazing views year-round. Their menu features fresh local seafood, house-made pasta, and mouthwatering USDA Prime Steaks. Whether you’re dining indoors or alfresco, the natural beauty around you makes every meal special.

Fair Haven Oyster Company | New Haven

If you’re looking for a spot with great seafood and even better views, check out Fair Haven Oyster Co. on the charming Quinnipiac River. This place is like a cozy tavern with a mid-century twist, thanks to Chef Emily Mingrone. It’s got a large deck for those sunny days and a menu that mixes the classics with some eclectic flavors. Plus, if you’re a fan of gin and sherry, their drink menu will make you very happy.

Madison Beach Hotel | Madison

Shoreline near the Madison Beach Hotel

The Wharf at Madison Beach Hotel gives you dining with breathtaking panoramic views of Long Island Sound. They offer everything from brunch to dinner, with private dining and event spaces for those special occasions. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a big family gathering, the experience at this spot in Madison, Connecticut, is unforgettable.

Waterfront Restaurants along the Connecticut River

Enjoying waterfront dining along the Connecticut River

Alright, foodies, let’s keep this delicious journey rolling as we explore the fantastic dining spots along the Connecticut River Valley. This area is packed with unique eateries that offer a mix of flavors and vibes. From the charming Fresh Salt in Old Saybrook to the picturesque Brushmill by the Waterfall in Chester, and the lively Rocky’s Aqua in Clinton, dining here is truly a treat for all your senses.

Fresh Salt | Old Saybrook

View of the Lynde Point Light from Saybrook Point Resort

Tucked away at Saybrook Point Inn & Marina, Fresh Salt combines amazing food with stunning waterside views. This Old Saybrook, CT, spot is all about using the freshest local ingredients, offering:

  • Breakfast

  • Lunch

  • Dinner

  • Desserts

  • Special occasion menus

You can enjoy your meal outside (first come, first serve) while soaking in the marina’s peaceful beauty. Plus, don’t miss their award-winning Sunday Brunch, available year-round. Fresh Salt is the perfect spot for some top-notch waterfront dining.

Brushmill by the Waterfall | Chester

Connecticut magazine drew the latest reader poll, conducted online

In the quaint town of Chester, Brushmill by the Waterfall offers a blend of tradition and modern charm. This picturesque restaurant sits right by the Pattaconk River, serving up delicious New American cuisine in a historic mill that’s been around since the early 1800s.

Whether you’re dining inside, surrounded by the mill’s rustic charm, or outside by the soothing waterfall, eating at Brushmill is an experience that goes beyond the ordinary.

Rocky’s Aqua | Clinton

Rocky’s Aqua, tucked away at the Cedar Island Marina, is Clinton’s hidden gem. They’ve got:

  • Open-air seating on three covered porches

  • Picnic tables on an outdoor patio

  • Two full bars

Their menu features a wide range of seafood and American dishes, and the view of the boats and the water breeze adds to the perfect dining experience. After your meal, don’t forget to stop by “The Scoop” for their famous in-house ice cream and waffle cones.

New London County Restaurants on the Water

Exploring waterfront restaurants in New London County

Next stop is New London County, where the waterfront dining is as tasty as it is scenic. Whether you’re hanging out at Mystic River Marina, enjoying a meal at Breakwater in Stonington, relaxing at Dog Watch Cafe, or savoring seafood at Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank, you’re in for a treat. These spots offer unique cuisine and views that will leave you speechless.

Kitchen Little | Mystic River Marina

Perched on the peaceful Mason’s Island, Mystic River Marina isn’t just for boats. It’s home to Kitchen Little, a charming restaurant with panoramic views of the Mystic River. They serve up a delicious breakfast and lunch. So whether you’re a boating fan or just love good food with a view, Mystic River Marina is worth checking out.

Breakwater Restaurant | Stonington

The dining room of a qualifying restaurant on the Quinnipiac River

For an unforgettable meal with stunning views, head to Breakwater Restaurant in Stonington, CT. Located in a historic town, it offers great views of Stonington Harbor and Fishers Island Sound. Their menu includes raw bar items, small plates, burgers, and seafood. Picture this: savoring oysters on the half shell while watching the sunset. Hard to beat, right?

Dog Watch Cafe | Stonington

Dog Watch Cafe in Stonington is perfect for a laid-back meal. With locations in Stonington and Mystic, it offers a relaxed backyard vibe and beautiful waterfront views. The menu features local favorites like Watch Hill oysters, New England clam chowder, and signature sandwiches. Whether you want a casual meal or just to unwind, Dog Watch Cafe is a must-visit.

Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough | Noank

If you love seafood, Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank is paradise. Since 1947, they’ve been serving up fresh seafood like steamers, stuffed clams, and clam chowder. From clams and oysters to shrimp and crab, the menu has it all. Whether you’re a seafood aficionado or just looking for a relaxing meal by the water, Abbott’s Lobster is the place to be.

Waterfront Restaurants in Northern Connecticut

You can find up to three restaurants along streams, rivers, and lakes in upstate CT

Northern Connecticut’s rolling hills and quaint towns, combined with charming waterfront dining, make this region a hidden gem. From the award-winning White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant in New Preston to the scenic River in Wethersfield, there’s a lot to savor here. So, let’s dive into these delicious spots!

White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant | New Preston

White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant isn’t just a place to eat; it’s an institution. With over 60 awards, including “Best Traditional American” and “Best Outdoor Dining” from Connecticut Magazine, it’s a must-visit. Nestled on the banks of the East Aspetuck River and just a mile from Lake Waramaug, this spot offers:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining

  • Three patios

  • Two fireplaces

  • A waterfall

The atmosphere is cozy and picturesque, making dining at the White Horse an experience you won’t forget.

River | Wethersfield

River in Wethersfield, CT, is perfect for those summer nights when you want to enjoy good food and great views. This waterfront restaurant serves up fresh local seafood, house-made pasta, and juicy USDA Prime Steaks. The 2,000-square-foot multi-level deck overlooking the Connecticut River is equipped with year-round infrared heaters, so you can dine outside even on cooler nights. Whether you’re inside or alfresco, a meal at River is always a treat.

Hopkins Inn | Warren

The view of Lake Waramaug from Hopkins Inn, LLC | privacy settings

The Hopkins Inn, perched above the northern shore of Lake Waramaug, has been welcoming guests since 1847. It offers amazing views of the lake, the Litchfield Hills, and nearby vineyards. Owned by Franz and Beth Schober, the restaurant serves contemporary Austrian cuisine with a splash of American flavors. The Victorian dining room has huge windows with panoramic views, and the Tavern Room is super cozy with its roaring fire. With eleven guest rooms and two apartments, the inn is open from late March to January 1.

Tl;dr

Enjoying outdoor dining at one of up to three restaurants at Saybrook Point Inn & Resort

From casual beachside cafes to upscale dining, Connecticut’s waterfront restaurants offer something for everyone. Picture yourself savoring fresh oysters by the Long Island Sound, enjoying a romantic dinner by the Connecticut River, or indulging in a brunch with stunning views of the Mystic River. Connecticut’s mix of beautiful landscapes and delicious food makes it a top spot for food lovers and adventurers alike. So, why wait? Embark on a culinary journey through Connecticut’s waterfront restaurants and taste the magic for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any waterfront restaurants in Connecticut that offer outdoor dining options?

Absolutely! Connecticut has plenty of waterfront restaurants with outdoor dining. For instance, check out Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn & Marina or Mystic River Marina. You can enjoy your meal with a side of stunning water views.

What kind of cuisine can I expect at Connecticut’s waterfront restaurants?

You’re in for a treat! Connecticut’s waterfront restaurants offer a wide range of cuisines, including fresh local seafood, Mediterranean dishes, New American fare, and traditional Italian meals. There’s something to satisfy every taste bud.

Are there any award-winning waterfront restaurants in Connecticut?

Yes, indeed! Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn & Marina and White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant in New Preston have both snagged some prestigious awards. So, if you’re looking for an award-winning dining experience, these spots should be on your list.

Can I reach any of these waterfront restaurants by boat?

Yes, you can! Some restaurants, like Crab Shell in Stamford, are accessible by boat. It’s a fun and unique way to arrive for your meal.

Do these restaurants offer vegetarian or vegan options?

Yes, many of Connecticut’s waterfront restaurants cater to different dietary preferences with vegetarian and vegan options on their menus. You’ll find plenty of delicious choices to suit your diet.