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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Among other excellent reasons for loving The Buttery—not the least of which is its outstanding menu—diners enjoy the Victorian architecture, once a prosperous ship captain’s home. So owner John Donato took great care when expanding a tiny porch into a proper veranda, going so far as having a new rail and posts milled to look exactly like the originals. Now 40 diners can sit at glass-topped wrought iron tables under the gentle breeze of ceiling fans. It’s an ideal place for sipping a mojito or a light rosé. “I spend a lot of time in Charleston and Savannah and the vibe is a lot like that,” Donato says. “You have all the time in the world to relax”—and watch people stroll on quaint Second Street. Try the crab cakes. 102 Second St., Lewes, 645-7755
Enjoy breakfast and lunch any time of the year at this classic coastal cottage, but get there before season’s end to have dinner under the tin roof of Azafrán’s sidewalk dining area. It’s perfect for sharing a big bowl of saffron-steamed mussels, Manchego with assorted meats, scallops seared with piquillo marmalade and other tapas. There are full entrées as well, and a special on wines by the bottle on Wednesdays. 109 Market St., Lewes, 644-444
The gurgling fountain is the centerpiece of the intimate, relaxing Key West-style patio at Café Solé. The area is covered in flowers, bamboo and palm trees, and custom mosaics and mirrors add a bit of sparkle. Chill with a glass of peach sangria or Chardonnay while noshing on a Cuban sandwich or raspberry-spinach salad. 44 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107
This awning-covered section of Main Street sidewalk offers tables set with fresh linens and lit by candles. You may hear a live violinist. You’ll buy a bottle of wine from the 1,500-bottle cellar. You’ll be tempted to choose the nightly special, especially if it’s lamb rack lollipops or lobster risotto. And as you sip a glass of Muscat or tawny Port, you’ll wonder how you managed to finish that homemade vanilla bean gelato. 90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811
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