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 beautiful two-level terrace outside this charming old home is best described as country-contemporary, with metal chairs and tables under beige canvas umbrellas, all surrounded by a formal garden and large yard. The lower terrace boasts a fragrant herb garden. The entire menu is offered. Enormously popular are the Outer Banks quesadillas, made with four cheeses and vegetables. Clients bring their own wine or buy two doors down at Collier’s of Centreville. 5800 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 777-4911
The dockside deck offers unparalleled views of Back Creek Basin and C&D Canal. The tiki bar on the western end serves rum cocktails and frozen drinks, and nightly live music helps foster a boat party vibe on the main deck. “We look at our place as the next best thing to the beach,” says owner Gianmarco Martuscelli. 605 Second St., Chesapeake City, Md., 410-885-2040
As if all of the building isn’t a study in stunning design, the rooftop takes the tres leche cake. Sail-like awnings soar over lofty steel structures that shelter bar-goers as diners at surrounding tables enjoy traditional Mexican dishes and Southwestern favorites revved up with contempo twists. Reservations for primo dinner hours can be hard to come by. Book early. 102 E. Market St., West Chester, Pa. (610) 429-8900
The Cultured Pearl
The rooftop is so unlike anything else, diners are usually more amazed. More than 15,000 gallons of water create a man-made lagoon shaded by gazebos. Reach your table by tiptoeing across boardwalk bridges while koi and goldfish swim below. Palms, irises and bamboo reach skyward, as does the quality of The Pearl’s cuisine. 301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8493
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