Ahhh, the music of wavelets lapping a bulkhead, the reflection of city lights on a still river, the sound of crickets in the night. Could there be anything better than dining en plein air? Herein, alfresco for foodies.
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The two white plastic tables on the sidewalk are unremarkable, but we’re glad they’re there. And they’re hot commodities. When the General Assembly is in session, pols vie for those spots like they vie for office. Locals like to beat them to the punch and linger over gourmet salads, sandwiches, burgers and the terrific coffee. 33 W. Loockerman St., Dover, 735-9822
In Summit North Marina, this sizzling Cuban- and South Beach-inspired restaurant sits on a tranquil inlet of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. The patio offers spectacular views, especially at dusk, and it rocks with live music. Boaters tie up at the dock to enjoy martinis and unwind. 3000 Summit Harbour Place, Bear, 836-1800
Arena’s Deli and Bar
The 42-seat section of sidewalk in the Village By the Sea Shops is shaded by potted palm trees and umbrellas, like an oasis in Rehoboth’s bustling commercial area. Customers are allowed to bring pets, which helps create a friendly, relaxing vibe that folks seem to love as much as terrific sandwiches like The Hungry Surfer, cold microbrews and live music. 149 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-1272
The Back Porch Café
The appeal of dining at The Back Porch is the secluded feeling. “It reminds them of Key West or a New Orleans courtyard, away from the hustle and bustle of Rehoboth Avenue,” says co-owner Keith Fitzgerald. The upper and lower decks of the vintage guesthouse create a uniquely romantic atmosphere. At dusk, both the sunset and moonrise are visible from upstairs. Add a Havana Daydream or a couple glasses of wine. The innovative food is prepared with more care than many other good restaurants give. 59 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-3674
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