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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Big Fish Grill Seafood Restaurant
Everyone knows they can score great seafood at Big Fish. What many don’t know is that “there’s not much of a waiting list if you sit at the patio,” says manager Susan Sokowski. A pergola covers a space in the front of the seafood store next door. Ten wooden tables with green plastic chairs can accommodate about 40 guests. Big eats include appetizers such as fried oysters or grouper fingers, as well as entrées such as Big Fish jambalaya. 4117 Highway One, Rehoboth Beach, 227-3665
Blue Parrot Bar & Grill
The patio is dominated by a mural of a provocatively posed Marilyn Monroe perched on a balcony in the French Quarter. An iron rail separates diners from Union Street, and by mid-summer, when its vines have crawled, there’s more privacy than you’d think. There are Cajun and Creole dishes, as well as all-you can-eat crabs on Sundays starting at noon. 1934 W. Sixth St., Wilmington, 655-8990
Bonz Restaurant & Lounge
When customers dine on the new 44-seat patio at Bonz, they feel like they’re someplace else. The area is shrouded in leafy foliage, and heavy wooden tables sit atop custom brickwork floors. There’s live music every weekend, and when the evening brings a breeze, simply cuddle next to the fire pit. Harrington Raceway and Casino, U.S. 13, Harrington, 398-5348
At Buckley’s, “green” means diners are surrounded by gardens and mature trees that make one terrific en plein air dining experience. The back patio, adjacent to an English garden, is paved with river rock and sheltered by an arbor that protects beautiful trompe l’oiel murals. A Virginia Creeper on the brick-floored front porch shades 12 cozy tables and creates a buffer from Kennett Pike traffic. The biggest renovation was made this year: a living roof on the bar of the rooftop terrace, where you can dine by a fireplace in the treetops. The Vietnamese sugar- and lime-roasted chicken is a must, as is the wild mushroom and mascarpone flatbread. 5812 Kennett Pike, Centreville, 656-9776
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